The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are terrible this season, there’s no two ways about it. There’s many reasons for that—a lack of talent at some positions (defensive end), regression from some players, some unlucky miscues, some weird personnel decisions, injuries and probably some other things I can’t think of. When you start the season 2-6, many things are to blame.
ESPN’s Jenna Laine tried to find a few, or at least find some things the Bucs could and should have done differently this offseason. She names five different things the Bucs did poorly, but it’s hard to see how fixing all of them would have resulted in fundamentally different outcomes. Adding a good pass rusher would have helped, as would getting safety help that was better tailored to the scheme, but the Bucs’ are underperforming by a mile, regardless of the talent on their team.
That means something more fundamental is going on that can’t be fixed by adding the right kind of talent. The game is about playing well, but it’s also about coaching well, about getting players in a position to succeed, and about getting players to play at an optimum level. That’s the responsibility of both players and coaches, as well as the general manager, and somewhere along the line, something failed there.
There’s no easy answer to those kinds of issues. Koetter isn’t seen as a disciplinarian, so calls for some kind of old-school, hard-nosed coach will start up again—but then, those fail often enough, too. Just look at Greg Schiano. Any coaching style can succeed, and getting a different style isn’t a fix.
So where do the Bucs go from here? I have no clue. Fixing a performance like this is no easy task, and way above my pay grade. All I know is that the results are terrible, unacceptable, and typically Tampa Bay Buccaneers.