The 2016 season started off with a win and a lot of optimism – Photo by - Cliff Welch/PR
Following Sunday’s 37-32 loss to the Rams, Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said the team’s “culture is not where it needs to be,” and called it his job to fix.
Before anyone took the comment the wrong way or directed blame at the wrong people, Koetter took a moment Monday to elaborate on what he meant by saying there needed to be a culture change in the Bucs locker room.
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy celebrates with his teammates – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“When I’m talking about the culture, I’m talking about the culture of our football team,” Koetter said. “I’m not talking about our organization, I’m not talking about ownership, I’m not talking about this building and I’m not talking about our fans. I’m talking about the 53 players, the 10 practice squad guys and however many coaches we have – the guys who are coming up with the game plan, putting the game plan together and trying to execute the game plan.
“The best teams that I have been on beat with one heart,” Koetter said, showing emotion. “They count on the guy next to them to do their job, every time. They win and lose together.”
Right now Tampa Bay is missing that “it” factor, Koetter said, and it’s his job as head coach to speak up. Koetter said the Bucs are finding too many ways to lose a game instead of creating ways to win a game.
To illustrate the point, consider this: Sunday night was the Bucs’ 16th loss by seven or fewer points dating back to the 2014 season. What’s more, Tampa Bay has won just six of those contests over the 35-game span.
Changing that and finding “it” starts with Koetter.
“Now, when I say that, I put myself right at the top. I’m No. 1 on that list,” Koetter said. “I’m not calling out any player or any coach above myself, and that’s just how I feel. And until we change that, we’re going to have nights like last night.”
Giving him confidence that Tampa Bay will, in fact, change that and not have finishes like Sunday night is his team’s effort. Despite being knocked down numerous times – Koetter called the sack-fumble touchdown as “demoralizing of a play as you can get” – the Bucs fought their way back and gave themselves a chance to win in the end.
Competing was a point of emphasis, the head coach said, and twice coming back from being down two scores in the fourth quarter says a lot about a team’s character. It takes time for a team to “beat with one heart,” and it’s even harder to sustain that type of culture – but the first step is getting there.
“Again, (a winning culture) is elusive,” Koetter said. “It’s not something that you can just reach out and put your fingers on. I think our guys believe, for the most part, but I talked to the guys a lot about this in the team meeting. And I’m sure you can understand a lot of that needs to stay between the coaches and the players. I know the fans are going to speculate. Hey, this is the most popular game in the world so I get it.
“But we’ve got to figure it out and we ask the fans to hang with us and it makes a difference,” Koetter continued. “We’ve got to find it and I just don’t think we should sit back and act like it doesn’t exist because in my eyes it does. I’ve been on those teams that have it and we’re going to keep looking for it until we find it.”
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We need a Winston on defense and we just don’t have it. In our glory years we had three, Sapp, Brooks and Lynch. Then Barber. Most of the guys on defense look and perform like they are just playing for a paycheck.
Dont forget about Nickerson. He was the original Winston on Defense.
I’m more confused know than I was when I read the first statement he made about “culture”. Now it’s an “elusive” thing that you can’t just reach out and touch. But we’re gonna keep looking for it. WTF, this is professional football, not “Where’s Waldo”.
Is “culture” gonna help our kicker? If he makes all of his kicks we win 38-37 without a need to score at the end. How about this for a culture: do your effing job or get the hell out.
Instead of looking for the elusive “it, how bout we make the qb complete a hundred balls in a row of which none are above the numbers of the receiver. Maybe then he’ll learn the proper mechanics to drive the ball downward instead of floating half his passes high.
If “it” can’t be coached, aren’t we wasting valuable practice time looking for it?
We can focus on a few miscues here and there to try to point the blame for this loss, but the fact is, this defense is giving up too many points via big plays. If the defense does its’ job, the poor time management doesn’t even occur because Jameis would be kneeling down at the end of the game and the missed kicks would be an annoyance instead of a reason for the loss.
Without Jameis Winston that game would have been a blowout by the Rams.
I’m glad Koetter is recognizing the psyche of the team needs fixed. I’ve been saying it for years. The only way to fix it is to win and maybe more importantly, beat a team you’re not expected to have a chance to defeat. Someone like the Broncos or Panthers.
Scubog, you cant put this on the defense. The defense played a decent game. The Defense scored 20% of our points and really only allowed 21points. The rest of the points was due to offense turning the ball over and special teams missing field goals. There is no excuse for a kicker drafted so high to be performing so poorly. I love Winston and think he is a good QB but his mistakes cost us the game not our defense. His INT at the end of the first half on the 20 yd line cost us 7 points before half and his sack fumble for a TD cost us the game. Without one of those plays, Winston would have been kneeling down at the end of the game and those miss kicks would be an annoyance instead of another reason for the loss. That’s 7 turnovers in 2 games for Winston. His touch down to turn over rate is 8 to 8 this season. We cant win games when he is turning the ball over like that no matter how good our defense plays period. I still feel we have a chance to start 2-5 like I predicted with a win against the Panthers. They aren’t playing well right now and look beatable. All depends on how we play.
great points but on the TOs: the 1st INT was right in the hands of Sims he either dropped it or the defender made a play and jarred the ball loose …. strip fumble: i blame the playcall for being such a long developing play on the 13 yard line and also winston for not stepping up into the pocket or getting rid of the ball sooner…
also last game Sims tipped a ball for an INT and a couple of the INTs were on the WR not running the right route or not fighting for 50-50 balls
You’re seriously blaming that INT on Jameis? That might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. The ball was nowhere near a defender and simms practically lateraled it to the defense.And the defense doesn’t get a break when the offense turns the ball over. It’s called sudden change defense. They hold to a field goal there and we don’t have to worry about scoring a TD at the end. This defense gave up 30 points to the Rams no matte how much you want to twist it. That’s pathetic.
If the offense doesn’t turn the ball over and the special teams doesn’t miss a field goal then defense doesn’t give up 30 points and we win that game no matter how you twist it. Turning the ball over 8 times in 3 games is bad even if one or two of them wasn’t your fault. You should never have the same amount of turnovers as touchdowns period. No team can win if there QB turns the ball over 8 times in 3 games. Like you said, turnovers forces your tired defense back on the field without a break. With the exception of McCoy, David, and Alexander, our defense lacks talent and elite players. Even without talent, our Defense is doing enough to win games if our Offense doesn’t turn the ball over and our kicker makes his kicks. You can call our defense pathetic all you want, but they are doing a good job with what they have. The defense isn’t great by any means but they are putting us in position to win games if our offense and special teams would just execute properly and stop turning the ball over.
If the kicker was not drafted he would be gone already.
You are so correct 76Buc. The GM doesn’t want to admit he made a mistake and now our whole team will suffer because of it.
I guess you missed the two 40+ yard TD passes from some mediocre QB and the two 3rd down and 18 conversions.
Who said anything about Winston being mediocre? Go back and read my posts. I have never said Winston was anything but good and talented. I have seen him make those 40yd TD passes but for every TD he has accounted for this year is a turnover to match. For every TD catch is a pick 6 or sack fumble pr an INT to match and that’s what we need to eliminate. If we can get rid of those turnovers, we will be able to win more games.
I have to agree with my fellow PR-ites on this one. Culture is the problem? That sounds like something you’d pay McKinsey $1m to tell you if you were a Fortune 500 company (a.k.a. a lot of BS).
The problem is the players aren’t playing very well – not all of them of course, but enough of them and several of them at key moments.
The difference between teams that win (including all of those close losses since 2014) and us, is that winning teams don’t stop doing their jobs on 3rd and 17 at crucial moments of the game. Winning teams don’t block pass rushing DEs 90% of the time, allowing them 10% of the time to get strip sacks. Winning teams don’t have kickers that miss 50% of their 40+ yard field goals.
It’s not culture – it’s the simple case of doing your job for as close to 100% of the game as possible (and 90% isn’t good enough)…because in the parity-league, taking breaks 10% of the time (like Tandy did, and Verner did, and Aguayo did, and McDonald did, and Gholston did, and Jones did, and Donavan Smith did, Sims did, and Spence did, and Daryl Smith did, and VJax did, and Dotson did, and so on and so on) is the difference between winning and losing.
The heart of a player is where many winning coaches go for not th stats one obtains in college. We’re missing that point. I’m already convinced Mike Smith is past his prime and why many of his defenses in the past were so so. Bring back Hardy Nickerson as Defensive Coordinator and he will find the players who have the fire for the game. Koetter is okay and I’m not giving up on him. This is Meatheads fault as GM and he’s not finding enough players with fire in their heart. He better get it right in this draft. I know some will think I’m nuts to say this next statement? Time to start picking up draft picks and trade some players who won’t be here in two years because we have to think of the future and not the present. We are in a bigger mess than I realized. I think most of us love the game so much we were hoping we had this turned around.
Look what we need? 2 DE’s, 2 Safties, 1 LB, 1CB, 2 TE, 2 WR, 1RB, 1 OT, 1OG, 1 Center, 1 Kicker, 1 backup QB
The “it” factor this team is missing is a Head Coach that can manage 2 minutes with 2 timeouts and a 40 minute rain delay to prepare. The “it” factor we need is a GM smart enough to know that signing two 34 year old players (Grimes and Smith) is probably the dumbest thing we could do to “improve” our team. The players will never have the “it” factor until the people up top start making the right calls consistently instead of occasionally. Again these players have lost in every scheme imaginable, at some point the eyes have to focus on the root of these players with weak hearts.
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