The long running debate of the last month, about whether Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter would fired after his second season and former coach Jon Gruden might be brought back to replace him is apparently over.
A report first from the Tampa Bay Times Friday afternoon says that the Glazer family, who own the team, made the unusual move Friday afternoon to inform Koetter that he will be brought back for a third season to run the Bucs in 2018.
A source tells F.F.I.’s Roy Cummings, that there is no definitive word on any possible staff changes that Koetter may forced to make for next season, as part of his being brought back. This, on the heels of a disappointing 4-11 season with one game to go.
A season, where the Glazers and Buc fans had playoff expectations.
Koetter did not address his situation at all in the first portion of his live Friday evening radio show on WDAE 620-AM in Tampa. But then, a caller called to congratulate him on the news of being retained. Koetter replied, “I’m very grateful to the Glazer family for their support. Any other comment on my status or the staff should wait until after the game on Sunday.”
The Bucs had a 9-7 season in Koetter’s first year as head coach, but after an initial win over Chicago this year, proceeded to drop to 2-6 with QB Jameis Winston struggling to play through an injured shoulder. Tampa Bay has now lost it’s last five games, which heightened speculation about Koetter’s future with the season ending Sunday.
Winston threw for over 4,000 yards in his first two NFL seasons, including his 2015 rookie year, when Koetter was the offensive coordinator. His overall yardage numbers in 2017 have been skewed because he’s missed significant parts or all of five games this season because of the shoulder.
However, his last two games throwing the ball have been outstanding, where he’s completed over 70% of his passes and had over 300 yards in both games, which were losses to the Falcons and the Panthers.
The Glazers typically don’t comment on coaching situations until after the season, but obviously, felt strongly that it was necessary to quell the rumors and speculation with the losing streak headed into New Year’s weekend.
The Glazers fired their last two coaches, Lovie Smith and Greg Schiano, after dismal finishes in their second seasons.
The Buccaneers host New Orleans Sunday at 4:25 p.m., and the Saints must win to guarantee an NFC South Championship.
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