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The Bucs are a “problem franchise”, say coaches and executives

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Minicamp Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The MMQB visited Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp this weekend, and the result is a few long bits in Peter King’s weekly Monday column. He has a few interesting nuggets in there — like Dirk Koetter basing his coaching philosophy on Dr. Seuss’ Oh, The Places You’ll Go. And Roberto Aguayo talking about the pressure on his shoulders.

One thing King dwells on is the hiring of Dirk Koetter, and the head coaches the BUcs fired over the past decade. He gets Jason Licht to say his job is on the line with the hiring of Koetter — which is probably correct. But King also suggests that the Bucs’ problem is a lack of patience, rather than a record of hiring poorly-performing coaches.

I spy a trend. Dungy and Gruden got long tenures, relatively speaking. Morris, Schiano and Smith averaged 2.3 years of a chance.

On my camp trip, when I’ve asked coaches and executives (three so far) about the impatience of teams with head coaches, every one named Tampa Bay as a problem franchise, particularly after Smith was whacked last January despite having a rock-solid relationship with his defense and the strident support of Jameis Winston, his franchise guy.

I get this point, but I also tend to think this gets cause and effect backwards. The Bucs fired their coaches because their coaches weren’t doing a good job. They kept Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy because they did do a good job. Dungy got the Bucs to the playoffs in his second season in charge. Jon Gruden won the Super Bowl in his first season. That’s the kind of performance that’s rewarded with a long tenure.

In other words: hire coaches who perform, and they’ll get long tenures. Hire coaches who win eight games in two years, and they get fired. Because sticking with a coach who isn’t getting the job done, just to get him a long tenure, is a really good way to get stuck with a bad coach for a long time. See also: Jeff Fisher, Los Angeles Rams.