While we head toward the draft, there’s always some offseason filler to talk about. Like the rankings of head coaches and general managers. Obviously, where random members of the media think these people should be ranked is the most important thing in the NFL right now.
So, CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco ranked all the head coaches, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Dirk Koetter lands at number 19.
He went 9-7 in his first season with the Bucs, justifying ownership's decision to fire Lovie Smith and make Koetter the coach after he served as offensive coordinator in 2015. Koetter is a bright offensive mind who has nice give-and-take with players. I always expected him to be a better NFL coach than college coach, where he served stints at Boise State and Arizona State. That's because he's a true football guy. He has no time for glad-handing the alums. I think Tampa Bay is finding that out, and his young team should push for a division title next season, which should move him up the list. I think he's the right guy and will have long-term success in Tampa.
I get that you can’t rank him that highly after just one season and no playoff berths, but last season was a pretty impressive showing overall. The team improved, was close to the playoffs, and played much better football than the year before — especially on defense.
Meanwhile, Rotoworld’s Patrick Daugherty ranked Jason Licht 17th among all NFL general managers.
Hired in 2014, Jason Licht has gradually rebuilt a roster that was one of the league’s worst upon his arrival. Mostly quiet in free agency after an unsuccessful 2014 spending binge, Licht made franchise-changing picks in Mike Evans and Jameis Winston. He also selected a kicker in the second round. There has been some bad with Licht’s mostly good, but everything continues to point in the right direction. Licht’s young defense was ferocious down the stretch last season, allowing just 17 points per game as Tampa closed out the year 6-2. With Winston and Evans just now coming into their primes, the Bucs could become an annual contender if Licht can put the finishing touches on his promising squad.
Given that pretty positive evaluation, I’m not sure how Daugherty can justify a 17th overall ranking, but okay. Licht has been pretty good throughout his tenure, but he hasn’t been perfect.
Almost every player he signed in his first year has been a bust, and free agency has been a mixed bag since then. The draft has been better, but far from perfect. Austin Seferian-Jenkins has been a disappointment, Roberto Aguayo remains a head-scratcher, and Licht keeps picking fullbacks in the seventh round and then cutting them before they can play a down.
But those are the negatives, and there are far more positives. The Bucs are trending in the right direction, Jason Licht mostly seems to make strong decisions (some busts will always happen, no matter how good you are as a general manager), and both he and Koetter should be ranked much higher next year.