In this current worldwide landscape, there are some things that people cannot accept, some things that people cannot support and some things that no matter how difficult, you just have to swallow and get on with. Included in this is Brexit, needing the Prime Minister to either make a tough choice or resign. Another is supporting a Premier League team that isn’t going forward, and pushing for the manager to go. Arsenal, Southampton and Fulham fans can relate this.
On New Year’s Day, the Glazer family need to take decisive action and fire Dirk Koetter.
I take no pleasure in rooting for a man to lose his job, and with that, many of his coaching staff. It is a horrible thing, but a necessary one in order for the Buccaneers franchise to move forward and advance.
There was more than a few Bucs fans on Twitter and Facebook prior to yesterday’s defeat to the New Orleans Saints that were in support of Koetter. He is forcing change, things are getting better. This is the view of those who have fallen in love with “Victory Monday’s” (see last weeks column).
Who can blame fans not wanting to see their coach go? It’s not like the Bucs have an incredible recruitment track record at Head Coach. Lovie Smith, Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano to name just a few recent failures. However, now is the time to move forward and try to buck this trend.
Why now? It’s simple. Back to back losing seasons are on the cards after a defeat in which the Bucs were 14-3 up at half time. The Special Teams performance was so embarrassing, that if anybody ever goes back to watch the tapes, they will hear the Benny Hill theme for every missed FG, blocked punt (I know, I cannot believe it’s even possible to block a punt in 2018 NFL) and horrific missed tackle viewed on said tape.
The O-Line is even worse. Numerous penalties and sacks allowed by this awful group of players. Donovan Smith has regressed so badly, he’s in danger of not being re-signed, despite this being the worst up-coming Left Tackle class in the last 15 years. Ryan Jensen and Jameis Winston had words on the sideline, as Winston was unhappy at the amount of needless penalties given up by him for unnecessary roughness.
After 13 games, there is only one underlining constant. The Buccaneers do not know how to win football games and do not have the belief. They have had 5 wins this season. One against New Orleans week 1 which was a free hit as Winston was out due to his suspension. The Eagles in Week 2 was another. They have been poor for most of the season, and this was a battle of the backup quarterbacks.
Then, a win over the Cleveland Browns. They have absolutely resurged this year, but they still had Hue Jackson in charge and only 2 wins on the board. We were at home and it took Overtime. There was then a win over the decimated 49ers team heading to the number 1 pick in next years draft, on the back of their 3rd string QB. And then finally a Panthers team who have now lost 5 straight and 6 of 7 road games this season.
Sure this season has had flashes of brilliance. There have been some things to celebrate: Fitzmagic, Andrew Adams’s 3 interceptions, Mike Evans getting 1000 yards again. But this 2018 Buccaneers team has a historically bad defence, on it’s second coordinator of the season after Koetter reluctantly fired his good friend Mike Smith. They also have a historically bad O-Line, conceding sacks galore in recent weeks and are responsible for over half the penalties the team concedes every week. And then there is the Kicking. Santos missed 2 makable Field Goals at the weekend. This is the second Place Kicker the team has had this year after cutting Chandler Cantazaro, for missing 4XP’s in 4 games and a collection of Field Goals. Special teams on this team is beyond poor in terms of returns, kicking and tackling.
There is no proof that this is a much better team than the one that finished 2-14 five years ago. Except this team has the potential for multiple Pro-Bowlers, and that they have had serious investment. This current crop of players has a Number 1 overall pick at Quarterback. A 1000+ yard a season receiver in Mike Evans. A D-line with a man over 10 sacks in JPP, and multiple sacks with Nassib, McCoy (a six time pro-bowler and man of the year nominee) all getting involved. There is a strong receiver cast as deep as any teams in the league. Yet there is no chance this team makes the playoffs, again!
This is basic coaching. And belief. The team needs to hire a winner. A man with meticulous attention to detail, and the proven track record of taking league leading talent, and turning it into wins, post season wins and Super Bowl wins. Dirk has none of these attributes unfortunately. It’s time to move on, and hire a Jon Harbaugh or Mike McCarthy. Someone who has been there and done it. There is a strong need for a winner, and has the drive and dedication to succeed. I like Dirk as a man, but there has been no evidence in three years that this man has any of the above attributes.
So this year, when the season has finished, the owners need to look in the mirror, take stock, a deep breath, and make a tough decision. Fire a man they like and respect, then go out there and get yourself a winner. It won’t be easy, but leadership isn’t easy. Sometimes you need to face it head on, make the decision, and then work hard everyday to make sure it was the right one. Leadership by conviction is the only way to lead.
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