clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Hard Count Episode 18-12: Firings, Benchings, and Monday Night Football

Thoughts and opinions stemming from Week 8 in the NFL

Los Angeles Chargers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers officially hit the midway point of their game schedule next week in Carolina when they face the Panthers in their third and final road divisional match-up of 2018.

Until then, we’re all going to be left to speculate about how the team will look now that Ryan Fitzpatrick has been re-instated as the team’s starting quarterback. For now though, let’s take a look at the week that was in Week 8 around the NFL.

OFFSIDES: Browns coaching drama comes to a head

Green Bay Packers v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The dominant thought in the NFL is talent can outweigh drama. Well, Cleveland’s coaching drama got just a bit to heavy for the - ahem - talent to withstand.

With the firings of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley an apparently highly toxic leadership duo have been cast-off as just the latest in Browns failures.

We all laughed and laughed during HBO’s Hard Knocks as the apparent tension between the two coaches entertained the masses.

But as the cameras stopped rolling, the drama continued, and at 2-5-1 it was clear a change was needed.

To be fair, it was clear last year a change was needed, at least at the head coaching position. Passive aggressive comments about being a head coach by Jackson felt a little to pointed at Haley at times, and the two just couldn’t settle their differences in the name of team cohesion.

In a press conference following the moves, owner Jimmy Haslam said,

“The message today is we’re not going to put up with internal discord.”

It’s a good move for a franchise who just hasn’t seen many of those made under Jackson’s tenure.

And who would have thought Gregg Williams would be the level headed coach in all of this?

FALSE START: Monday Night Football’s Presentation

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

A future Hall of Famer in the booth and a former player on the sideline are among many new features for 2018’s version of Monday Night Football. Sounds like a recipe for success.

I feel bad for Jason Witten, I honestly do. Can we really blame him for jumping at the chance to headline one of football history’s most adored broadcast staples?

Still, he’s out of his depth and it shows all too clearly.

Despite the bad commentary, misplaced excitement and lack thereof when moments warrant it, my beef is with Booger.

I’m not alone, I know.

Whoever came up with the idea to put McFarland on a crane and drive him up and down the sideline owes the football watching public a sincere apology, starting with the fans paying a lot of money to sit up close and personal on said sidelines.

Several videos and pictures have been popping up throughout the season of and from fans who miss crucial parts of primetime match-ups because Monday Night Football incists on putting McFarland above the action.

It’s a better view, sure. This is why press boxes are up above the field, and not on it.

But this is just ridiculous. So when will ESPN and Monday Night Football stop parading this monstrosity on the field? Well, likely not this season.

Because like many Madden fans who consistently voice their displeasure with this latest technological ‘advancement’, it continues to prove successful.

NFL television ratings are up across the board, and if ratings are up, the executives who control these decisions will see no reason to change.

Maybe, just maybe, next season we’ll see something different in the name of further ‘advancement’ and the network can save face by not canning the misguided idea prematurely.

Until then, perhaps re-think your ticket purchases if you’re attending a future primetime match-up on Monday night.

FREE PLAY: Could the Bucs fire their head coach and replace their franchise quarterback?

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

I said a while ago, as long as Hue Jackson has a job, Dirk Koetter should have one. Well, one of those shoes has fallen.

However, does it mean the second will fall? Most people assume a losing record and even a winning record without a post-season appearance will spell doom for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ third-year head coach.

But will it? Team management has some tough decisions ahead of them, and the biggest one may very well center on quarterback Jameis Winston.

If the franchise still holds Winston as their franchise future, then finding a new coach who may be able to scheme to his strengths better makes a bit of sense.

However, if the team is moving on from the embattled quarterback, then does it make much sense to also fire the coach who has at least helped bring Tampa Bay the leagues most productive offense?

The Bucs currently rank first in the league in yards per game (467.6) and are eighth in scoring (28.7 per game).

Perhaps the firing of Mike Smith came too late to make any real difference in 2018, but it came. And despite significant injuries at every level, the defense has looked aesthetically better even if the results haven’t improved much.

After his latest turnover filled outing, many are pointing at Winston as this team’s biggest flaw. If this is true, perhaps replacing both Winston and Koetter would be a step in the wrong direction?