Midway through the first year of the experiment, the Buccaneers attempt to rebuild themselves in the image of the “Dixie Chicks” team that went to the 2012 NFC title game is not working out as planned.
The Bucs are 3-5 and the rash of injuries that have hit them at running back and along the defensive line are not the only reasons they can’t seem to find a way to win consistently.
First year head coach Dirk Koetter, who was the offensive coordinator of that 2012 Falcons team, has struggled not only with game management decisions but some seemingly routine play-calling decisions as well.
Meanwhile, defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who was the head coach of that 2012 Falcons squad, has struggled to get the Bucs to understand his apparently ultra-complex defensive scheme.
Those issues naturally have disgruntled fans calling for the heads of Koetter, Smith or both but one former Buccaneer suggests yet another change at the top is the last thing this team needs.
Recently dispatched former starting cornerback Johnthan Banks says one of the biggest reasons the Bucs continue to struggle is because they continue to change head coaches, coordinators and schemes.
“It’s tough to adjust every year,” Banks told mlive.com upon his arrival last week in Detroit, where the Lions gave up a conditional seventh-round draft choice for to get him during a deadline day deal.
“I mean, Tampa is a great place. And I respect (Koetter) and the Glazers. I think they have a fine organization. But every year, when you get a new defense, a new defensive coordinator, new defensive backs coach, everybody wants to mold you and twist you and turn you into this player and that player. It kind of gets old. You lose your fire for the game, and it’s frustrating.”
It’s not hard to understand Banks frustration. He came to the Bucs as their first selection (second round) in the 2013 NFL Draft, and during his three plus years with the team he played for three head coaches and – if you count Lovie Smith, who took over the defense last year – four defensive coordinators.
And this should not be taken as sour grapes from a player who either didn’t fit or couldn’t find a groove in his latest coordinator’s scheme. Four-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has expressed the same sentiments in recent years.
The bottom line is, new coaches bring new coordinators and new schemes, and the Bucs are once again proving that the time it takes for all the players to adjust to and learn those schemes can sometimes derail a season before it’s even half over.