Despite months of swirling rumors that Jon Gruden is trying to come back to coaching and join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bucs have decided to stick with head coach Dirk Koetter. That’s what Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports. The report has since been corroborated by Pewter Report
Apparently, the progress Winston has made was one of the reasons to stick with Koetter.
Among the reasons for sticking with Koetter includes the fact that Winston suffered a shoulder injury that forced him to miss three games and saw him struggle to play three others while hurt.
Over the past four weeks since returning from his injury, Winston leads the NFL in passer rating (114.5) and yards per attempt (9.25) while ranking third in completion percentage (72.0), fourth in yards (1,221 and tied for the fourth most touchdown passes with eight.
Koetter took over as Bucs head coach last year, after the Bucs fired Lovie Smith—in part to hang on to Koetter and his coaching of Jameis Winston, as the then offensive coordinator was garnering interest elsewhere. He guided the Bucs to a 9-7 record in 2016, but the team collapsed this year, particularly on defense, with a 4-11 record so far.
Calls for Koetter’s head have increased as losses have mounted, which is what happens when you’re coaching a bad team. But, in Koetter’s defense, the team hasn’t been blown out much and remains competitive—they just can’t seem to get that last break they need to actually close out a game with a win.
He’ll have to prove he can do so next year, when another poor string of results would almost certainly result in the loss of his job.