Folks have been talking about the reported strain between Jameis Winston and Dirk Koetter for a week now, and no one’s having any of it—at least not on the record. Today, Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken joined the chorus of folks who are denying any real problem in that head coach-quarterback relationship.
“I want to talk a little bit about what we’ve had to deal with in terms of talk about relationships. I’ve been here almost two years and from a coach-player relationship, I have never seen anything close to what is being talked about between our head coach (Dirk Koetter) and our quarterback (Jameis Winston) – not one thing. What I want people to understand is this: the majority of players that I’ve ever coached in my life, at some point in our relationship, it’s been strained – fact. If you ask any player I’ve ever coached, ‘Have you had a strain in your relationship? You bet. The best man at my wedding was my roommate in college. You don’t think we had strains in our relationship at times? My wife of 26 years – that I wouldn’t be who I am without her – that we haven’t had times in our life where we’ve had strains in our relationship? All of the sudden it becomes news that all of the sudden there is a strain? You know what the strain is? The frustration of being 4-9. That’s a frustration. When you put everything into it, what you’ve got is a quarterback that is very competitive – a guy that wants to be great and has had a frustrating year, probably some things on and off the field. And [you have] a head coach that does an unbelievable job coaching our players and our quarterback. That becomes news? Holy cow, news flash, we’ve got a strain in a relationship. There is not one person that can’t say that that’s ever happened before. That is a flat-out joke that that even becomes news.”
That’s a giant heap of words to say ‘maybe they are strained sometimes, but they’ll be fine, this is part of the job.’
Which it is, of course, and Monken nails it when he says that the real strain is being 4-9. Not just because that’s frustrating for everyone involved, but because a better record would fix everything. If the Bucs were 9-4, no one would be talking about a strain no matter how much Dirk Koetter and Jameis Winston might hate or love each other. That’s just the way it is.
Unfortunately for the both of them, though, the Bucs aren’t 9-4. They’re a losing team that needs to start winning games, and soon, or all of that talk about strains will be meaningless. Because in that case, the team is likely going to have to search for a new head coach anyway. Not because of a strain, but because of terrible results.