The 2007 Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the season with a 9-7 record and an NFC South division title. Then head coach Jon Gruden took the team to their third playoff appearance in six years at the time. They would lose to the New York Giants in the Wild Card round, but still, they made the playoffs. No other Buccaneer team can say they reached that level since.
Ten seasons have flown by and the Bucs have failed to reach the playoffs despite multiple attempts at retooling the roster and multiple head coaches. Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith, and now Dirk Koetter have all been given chances. Morris would come close with a 10-6 record during the 2010 season but the ball never really bounced their way.
The team was
youngry hungry then, as silly as we all made that out to be. For one season we actually saw a team play collectively for a postseason push only to be screwed over by a referee’s call against the Detroit Lions in Week 15.
Man, those days were fun.
Eight seasons later, the Buccaneers have an opportunity to make 2018 a big year. The roster looks like a group of players — on paper — that make up a club other teams have no choice but to respect. But after last season’s losing record, why would any one respect this team despite the names on the depth chart?
Head coach Dirk Koetter and the rest of his coaching staff are the only ones responsible for this team’s success. Jason Licht keeps bringing talent in — despite the belief from others that he has not succeeded as general manager — but the coaches continue to fail the organization.
Questionable playcalling. Poor personnel management. Bad defensive gameplanning. The list goes on.
In 2018, Koetter’s seat isn’t the only one that’s hot. It is especially hot for defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Blown leads, lack of quarterback pressure, gashed up the middle by runs, and constantly beat in the passing game can have the finger pointed at the players. But when Smith was introduced to the media after signing on with Tampa Bay, he stated he would be putting players in position to be successful.
That has yet to happen.
Under Smith, the defense finished 23rd overall in 2016 (22nd against the pass, 22nd against the run) and dead last in 2017 (23rd against the run, 32nd against the pass). And although the team was much better statistically on offense both seasons (jumped from 18th for 2016 into the Top 10 in 2017), Koetter’s faults were in the plays he called in red zone.
Despite that, it’s fair to say everyone within the organization is on the hot seat, from the Glazers on down the ladder.
No one, not even some of the players, are safe. This year will prove who will stay or go. There are no more excuses and there are certainly no reason for this team to not be better. Tampa Bay has made changes to the staff — like promoting Todd Monken to offensive coordinator and bringing in Brentson Buckner to coach the defensive line — that like the player on paper, the staff also looks and feels much better.
And in two weeks, they’ll have a shot at proving themselves when training camp gets underway.
Who’s on the hot seat?
This poll is closed
The entire staff.
All of the above.