08 May 2015: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Lovie Smith during the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2015 Rookie Mini Camp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Florida.
SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL:
FAB 1. BUCS DEFENSIVE OVERHAUL COMING
Changes are coming to Tampa Bay’s defense in 2016. Big changes.
Assuming Lovie Smith stays on as head coach, it will be interesting to see whether he will remain the defensive play-caller next year given how bad the Bucs performed this year on his side of the ball, or if the Glazers will force Smith to cede control to a bona fide defensive coordinator.
For Smith’s own good, I hope he relinquishes control of the play-calling and focuses on improving as a head coach and game-day manager. Smith needs to figure out how to transform the most undisciplined team in the league into a disciplined one so penalties won’t continue to be the Bucs’ undoing.
Bucs DC Leslie Frazier – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Will Leslie Frazier, Tampa Bay’s defensive coordinator in title only, return in 2016? He signed a two-year deal and can’t be happy that he was stripped of his play-calling duties after the 2014 season. If Frazier hits the road, whom will Smith bring on as a replacement? Even if Smith continues to call plays he’ll need an assistant to break down film, game plan and coordinate the defense during the week in meetings and in practice.
Will potential changes in Dallas allow Rod Marinelli to come on board in Tampa Bay to potentially save the day?
The Buccaneers will have to examine their defensive coaching staff and determine if changes need to be made. Defensive line coach Joe Cullen is widely regarded as one of the best in the league and he’s helped make Gerald McCoy a four-time Pro Bowler with guidance over the past two years, in addition to improving the play of defensive ends Will Gholston and Jacquies Smith.
I want to see what he could do with an ultra-talented defensive end that the Bucs acquire with a first- or second-round pick in 2016. Cullen is part of the solution moving forward in Tampa Bay – not a problem.
Linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson deserves credit for rapidly developing rookie Kwon Alexander into a starter and playmaker for the defense. It’s no coincidence that the Bucs are 0-3 without Alexander in the lineup.
Lavonte David had a couple of forgettable games early in the season, but once he forged trust and a rapport with Alexander he resumed playing at a Pro Bowl level. Nickerson is a keeper as Tampa Bay’s linebackers coach.
The Bucs secondary has regressed this season, and I had a trusted source familiar with the coaching staff tell me that cornerbacks coach Gil Byrd, nickel backs coach Larry Marmie and safeties coach Mikal Smith, Lovie’s son, are far from elite coaches. There could be a change or two there, but not likely at the safety position.
I can’t see Lovie firing his son even though the safety position has been one of the weakest on the team over the past two years and has been a revolving door. First Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron couldn’t play. Then it was Major Wright and Bradley McDougald.
Bucs HC Lovie Smith and Ss coach Mikal Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
This year the Bucs have been shuffling Wright and McDougald, Chris Conte and Keith Tandy. Conte has been the best, but McDougald hasn’t developed into a reliable playmaker as the team expected. Some of those safeties may not return and Tampa Bay is expected to draft one to enter the mix in April. That’s a good thing because the safety positions have netted exactly six interceptions in 31 games under Smith’s watch.
Six. The Bucs need better results here, but nepotism will likely get in the way.
It’s been the same thing at nickel cornerback and cornerback. The Bucs have rolled through a ton of them over the past two years. After foolishly jettisoning Pro Bowler Darrelle Revis last year, Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks, Brandon Dixon, Isaiah Frey and Leonard Johnson were the primary cornerbacks and nickels in 2014. Only Verner and Banks made it to the 2015 roster, and Banks was benched early in the season, while Verner was demoted to nickel corner.
Tim Jennings, a Bears crony, was signed and inserted into the starting lineup along with Mike Jenkins. Jennings was so bad he was cut, and Jenkins was demoted. Heading into Week 17, the Bucs have started six players at cornerback this year, including Jennings, Jenkins, Banks, Verner, rookie Jude Adjei-Barimah and Sterling Moore, who has been the best of the bunch.
The truth is the Bucs have added more defensive backs over the past two years than any other position and don’t have much to show for it. Wright, Conte, Verner, Moore, Jennings, Jenkins and Adjei-Barimah are all new additions and an overall may be coming.
Jennings is already gone, and Jenkins, Moore and Conte were all signed to one-year deals and may not return.
Verner’s salary climbs from $4.25 million to $6.75 million in 2016, which means he’s not likely to return without taking a significant pay cut. And that is if the team wants him back. Verner only has three interceptions in two seasons in Tampa Bay.
Banks, a former second-round pick in 2013, was a good pick for Greg Schiano’s scheme, but not Smith’s Tampa 2. He’s not a lock to return next year, either.
The nickel position has been a huge letdown since Smith brought his Tampa 2 scheme to Tampa Bay two years ago. Leonard Johnson and Isaiah Frey didn’t work out last year and only had one interception between them. Moore and Verner have split time at nickel corner and only one interception – Verner’s – has come from that position this year.
As former Tampa Bay defensive tackle Booger McFarland pointed out on Twitter this week, most teams usually have one defensive backs coach and an assistant to help out. Think Mike Tomlin and Raheem Morris, and then Morris and Jimmy Lake.
Bucs CBs coach Gil Byrd – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Part of the chemistry issues with the Bucs secondary could be the multiple voices the players are hearing from three defensive backs coach – Smith, Marmie and Byrd – rather than just one voice. Don’t look for the coaching scheme to change though, as having a dedicated nickel corner coach is Smith’s brainchild.
There needs to be a shakeup in the secondary coaching staff, too. But I would be surprised if Smith doesn’t remain loyal to his assistants and not make any changes even though it would be in the team’s best interests.
Tampa Bay could wind up with as many as nine new defensive backs next year, but new talent doesn’t necessarily mean better talent.
There will be new faces in different places, too. Backup middle linebacker Bruce Carter is slated to make $4.25 million in 2016, which is way too much for a reserve. Even if the team decided to keep him and start him at strongside linebacker, that’s too rich for a part-time position.
Danny Lansanah, the team’s Sam linebacker, is a restricted free agent, but was a bit of a disappointment this year with no interceptions after three last year, including two pick-sixes. He’ll be 31 next August and Tampa Bay will likely want to get younger and faster on the strong side.
On the defensive line, defensive end George Johnson is likely a goner. He’s been a bust, failing to record a sack in 2015 and he’s slated to earn $2 million next year. The Bucs will likely have another defensive end or two next year at George’s expense.
Overhauling the offensive line worked this year with four new starters – rookies Donovan Smith and Ali Marpet and veterans Gosder Cherilus and Joe Hawley – coming together and helping Tampa Bay have a top 10 offense this season. Will the same thing work for the Bucs defense next year, especially the secondary?
It needs to for Lovie Smith’s sake.
FAB 2. ROSTER CUTS WILL CREATE MORE CAP ROOM FOR TAMPA BAY
According to OverTheCap.com, the Buccaneers will enter the 2016 offseason with $46,929,507 million in salary cap space, which is the third-most cap room in the NFL behind Oakland ($61,638,819) and Chicago ($56,291,827). Tampa Bay has $103,205,256 on the books for 2016 with just $390,237 in dead salary cap room.
Bucs fans want Doug Martin re-signed – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
That’s plenty of room to extend the contract of Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin and to get a few free agents at reasonable prices. The Bucs’ days of spending lavishly on free agency are over (think Dashon Goldson, Michael Johnson, Alterraun Verner and a plethora of others).
Do not expect the Bucs to be big participants and heavy spenders in free agency, as the front office’s philosophy remains to build through the draft. But here’s how Tampa Bay can create even more cap room to accommodate Martin’s new deal, re-signing some of the Bucs’ own free agents and signing some new additions.
The Bucs will likely part ways with the likes of defensive end George Johnson, who is scheduled to make $2 million and produced no sacks in his first year in Tampa Bay. Parting ways with reserve linebacker Bruce Carter could save $4.25 million. He would be a better fit making half of that if the Bucs wanted to retain him with a pay cut.
Cornerback Alterraun Verner has failed to live up to his big salary and was demoted to the nickel role this year. He’s slated to make $6.75 million, which is way too much.
Tight end Brandon Myers was re-signed to a two-year extension last year, but is on the books for $1,916,668 in 2016. Myers has been inactive down the stretch with the return of Austin Seferian-Jenkins to the lineup and the emergence of Cameron Brate. That’s too rich for a fourth-string tight end.
Despite being a second-round pick in 2013, cornerback Johnthan Banks’ stock is on the decline at One Buccaneer Place and his $1,503,829 salary in 2016 could be too much for the team’s liking. The same could be said of safety Major Wright’s $1.75 million salary.
If the Bucs were to release Johnson, Carter, Verner, Myers, Banks and Wright it would represent a cap savings of approximately $18 million. That would give Tampa Bay an estimated cap space of $65 million.
Bucs WR Vincent Jackson – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
If the Bucs cut wide receiver Vincent Jackson, who will be 33 in January, it would save Tampa Bay close to $10 million. The Bucs don’t want to pay the aging receiver the $9.7 million base salary he’s due in 2016, which is the last year of his contract, but the offense functioned much better with Jackson in the lineup.
Combine that with Jackson’s ability to mentor young receivers and all of the community service he does in the Tampa Bay area and it would be difficult to part ways with him. Don’t be surprised to see the Bucs suggest a pay cut for Jackson in the offseason.
Left guard Logan Mankins is due to make $7 million in 2016, which is the final year of his contract. The Bucs won’t ask him to take a pay cut, but at age 34, there is a chance that Mankins decides to retire. If he does, that’s an additional $7 million worth of salary cap room for Tampa Bay.
Despite having a good deal of salary cap space and the ability to add much more, don’t expect Tampa Bay to come close to using it all in free agency.
FAB 3. BUCS’ FREE AGENT FORECAST
With the extension of linebacker Lavonte David’s contract prior to the 2015 season, Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht has one less big contract to deal with heading into the 2016 offseason. The biggest contract hurdle for Licht and director of football administration Mike Greenberg to clear will be that of running back Doug Martin’s.
Here’s a preview of Tampa Bay’s free agents heading into 2016.
Unrestricted Free Agents – 2015 Salary Cap Value
DT Henry Melton – $3,750,000
RB Doug Martin – $2,159,668
RB Bobby Rainey – $1,542,000
CB Sterling Moore – $1,525,000
SS Chris Conte – $1,500,000
DT Tony McDaniel – $1,500,000
CB Mike Jenkins – $825,000
FS Keith Tandy – $690,150
DE Larry English – $586,750
DT Da’Quan Bowers – $131,470
Bucs RB Doug Martin – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Analysis: Martin could wind up as the league’s leading rusher this year and deserves a new contract. But don’t expect the Bucs to break the bank for him. Look for Tampa Bay to offer Martin a deal in the $5 million neighborhood rather than the $7 million he might be looking for.
Moore and Conte might be deemed keepers by the front office, but the Bucs won’t be offering either player a premium paycheck.
“I would love to stay here,” Conte said. “I think we’re building something special here. I feel like I’ve been a part of that and I want to be a part of that, so I want to do everything I can to be here and stay healthy. I think this franchise is on an upward trend. We’re making a playoff push now. I think we should be a team that is in the playoffs. This is definitely a place I’d like to be.”
McDaniel wants to remain in Tampa Bay and the feeling is believed to be mutual.
“Not as of right now, but hopefully it works out where I get to stay here,” McDaniel said. “This is the place I want to be. We’ve got an awesome defense and we’re winning some ball games.
“Joe Cullen is a great coach. He’s taking me back to basics and working on my hands and he has me playing with pad level. He gets me prepared for the game by teaching me how to read offensive linemen by their stance and how they give away things with their hands. It’s all about getting off the ball and playing defensive line with him.”
The Bucs like Melton, but not at his current salary. The jury might be out on whether to bring Rainey, Tandy, Jenkins and English back next year. Bowers won’t return.
Restricted Free Agents
LB Danny Lansanah – $660,000
FS Bradley McDougald – $585,000
WR Russell Shepard – $585,000
FB Jorvorskie Lane – $585,000
RB Mike James – $68,823
Bucs LB Danny Lansanah – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Analysis: Lansanah will turn 31 in August and had a down year from 2014 when he had three interceptions, including two pick-sixes. The Bucs will likely offer him a one-year tender and bring him to camp to compete for the strongside linebacker position. McDougald, Shepard and Smith are part of the team’s long-term plans and will receive one-year tenders.
The future for Lane and James in Tampa Bay is unknown at this time, but both could be tendered one-year contracts and brought to camp for competition.
Exclusive Rights Free Agents
LB Jeremiah George – $510,000
LS Andrew DePaola – $510,000
DE Jacquies Smith – $510,000
TE Cameron Brate – $450,000
DE T.J. Fatinikun – $374,647
CB Jude Adjei-Barimah – $358,235
WR Adam Humphries – $255,882
LB Josh Keyes – $179,117
Analysis: Tampa Bay is expected to sign all eight exclusive rights free agents. DePaola has done an admirable job snapping the ball, and Brate and Humphries are key building blocks on the Bucs offense. Adjei-Barimah and Fatinikun showed promise on defense, while George and Keyes are core special teamers.
FAB 4. BUCS’ FREE AGENCY WILL HAVE A NEW TWIST IN 2016
This section of the SR’s Fab 5 is going to be short and sweet.
Imagine the recruiter that Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston will be in free agency. Imagine a free agent going out to dinner with general manager Jason Licht, head coach Lovie Smith and the enthusiastic and effervescent Winston.
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“I would think so,” Bucs offensive lineman Kevin Pamphile said. “I would think guys would be happy about the opportunity to get with a young quarterback who is up and coming and like the prospect of winning like that.”
How does a player not want to play with Winston? How can anyone say “No” to that guy and the Buccaneers?
“Bottom line is probably the money and how they fit on the roster of a team is what makes the difference,” Tampa Bay tight end Brandon Myers said. “But to have the opportunity to come here to play with a guy like Jameis and with the offensive coordinator we have I could see that being a big selling point.”
FAB 5. SR’s BUC SHOTS
• Buccaneers tight end Luke Stocker speaks for his teammates when he says that quarterback Jameis Winston deserves the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
“Jameis definitely deserves it,” Stocker said. “His overall understanding of our playbook was huge. That’s one thing that stood out to me during the OTAs and the mini-camp. From Day One of him stepping in and announcing the cadence he never missed a beat. His understanding of the entire game plan – he’s spot on with all of the calls, the checks and the protections.
“That’s big for a rookie quarterback – to learn how to protect himself by knowing how to I.D. the fronts so that everyone is picked up and accounted for, and also understanding when he doesn’t have a guy accounted for and getting the ball out quickly. He’s done a great job with that. He’s the rookie of the year, in my opinion.”
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
• Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston has 3,717 passing yards, which is the fourth most in NFL history by a rookie behind Andrew Luck (4,374), Cam Newton (4,051) and Peyton Manning (3,739). Winston needs just 22 yards to move past Manning, and 334 yards in the Week 17 game at Carolina to pass Newton’s rookie total.
If Winston throws for 283 yards against the Panthers he’ll hit 4,000 for the season and became just third rookie in NFL history to accomplish that feat. If Winston passes for 349 yards on Sunday he’ll top Josh Freeman’s franchise record of 4,065 yards set in 2012.
• Tampa Bay tight end Luke Stocker is one of the smartest players on the team and has coaching aspirations when his NFL days are done. Stocker had three different offensive coordinators in college and has played for three more in Tampa Bay.
“I definitely want to go into coaching after my playing career is over,” Stocker said. “I really enjoy football. Going back to my days at Tennessee, I’ve had a lot of different coaches and I’ve been in a lot of different install meetings. I don’t know if that’s part of it or what. I’ve had a lot of exposure to different verbiage and a lot of different ways to do the same things. Football comes to me naturally. Hopefully I can become a coach one day.”
Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon raved about Stocker’s football I.Q.
“He’s a very intelligent guy,” Glennon said. “He’s one guy that could truly line up and play any position on offense for us. I mean he could line up and play wide receiver if we needed him to. I think he wants to get into coaching after his playing days are done and he’ll make a good one because he’s so smart.”
• Out of all of the Buccaneers on the practice squad this year, the team is the most excited about rookie tight end Tevin Westbrook, who was signed to the active roster this week. Whether Tampa Bay will play him this week at Carolina or the reason it signed him was to avoid another team signing him this week is unknown. But the Bucs definitely want to have him around for next year.
Westbrook, who played at the University of Florida, was underused as a receiver in college. The 6-foot-5, 257-pounder caught only 11 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns for the Gators and has good hands. The Bucs feel he could possibly develop into a bigger version of Cameron Brate in time.
• One of the reasons why the Buccaneers have so much salary cap room in 2016 is that the team only has 10 players that make more $3 million or more. As I’ve pointed out in this edition of SR’s Fab 5, a couple of these high-paid players may be jettisoned this offseason, too.
Buccaneers With $3 Million+ Cap Values
1. DT Gerald McCoy – $13,000,000
2. WR Vincent Jackson – $12,209,777
3. LB Lavonte David – $10,000,000
4. G Logan Mankins – $7,000,000
5. CB Alterraun Verner – $6,750,000
6. QB Jameis Winston – $5,761,654
7. LB Bruce Carter – $4,250,000
8. WR Mike Evans – $3,990,410
9. RT Gosder Cherilus – $3,500,000
10. DT Clinton McDonald – $3,250,000
• Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is the highest-paid offensive coordinator in the NFL. The Bucs absolutely love him and won’t lose him this offseason. If another NFL team makes a play to hire Koetter as its head coach, that could be the lone situation where Lovie Smith is fired and Koetter is promoted in order to keep the continuity with quarterback Jameis Winston and the Bucs’ top 10 offense.
• Happy New Year, Buccaneers fans and PewterReport.com readers! Visit PewterReport.com on Saturday for the final edition of SR’s Pick 6, my Bucs vs. Panthers game preview. And be sure to follow us on Twitter at @PewterReport.
PewterReport.com will be your offseason headquarters for Bucs coverage with plenty of free agency and NFL Draft information. We’ll have live reports from the East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl practices to kick things off in January.
Thank you for making 2015 a memorable one for PewterReport.com, Bucs fans. We’re looking forward to an even bigger and better 2016 – thanks to our loyal PewterReport.com readers.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Correct me if I’m wrong Scott, but didn’t Lovie tell us when he was first hired he could turn this team around quickly? Now we need a total overhaul of personal, and a bunch of coaching changes heading into year three? Hasn’t Lovie already done that with the players? The defense as you said has already been a revolving door personal wise, and as you say, doubt if he fires his son, so don’t expect to many coaching changes. You also say Lovie should hire a bona fide D.C., isn’t that what he’s supposed to be? So over haul the roster again, get a real D.C., right? What the hell do we need Lovie for then? His free agent track record has been dismal, so now I’m supposed to believe he’ll get it right this time? Yeah we need to draft better defensive players, but do you believe Scott that a couple of rookies can come in next year and turn this D around? Wouldn’t it be easier to just fire Lovie then to have another over haul? All pre season Lovie would say we’re not Tennessee ready yet, like now he says we’re not there yet. Guess what, we were never Tennessee ready, and we’ll never be there yet while Lovie’s in charge.
The biggest personnel overhaul we need is to get rid of Lovie.
Well surferdudes and I feel exactly the same way. I pretty sure Glazer’s won’t fire Lovie, but I sure hope they take away some of his powers. If everything stays the same with the coaching then we will be another 5-7 win team. I don’t think I could stand to hear the same ole Lovie Press Conferences and his arrogance towards the Press who are just asking the same questions that the fans want to ask. He reminds me of Ray Perkins.
Scott Reynolds deserves the kudos for saying what must be sad while all the other Press People look on and say “thank you”. You’re the man Scott. Fire Lovie!
Great Fab 5 Scott. I agree with everything you said Surfer. It just scares me Lovie will be picking the defensive players in this upcoming draft!!!! The only firing needed is Lovie…..the rest will take care of itself.
But I fear it will be another mediocre year under Lovie…….THEN HE GETS GONE!!!!
Great fab 5 as always. Fab 1 is the perfect response to Lovie supporters. Look how many people Lovie has brought in. I don’t want to hear this crap about him getting one draft to get it right on the defensive side. This guy can’t teach veterans how to play and some of you think he’ll teach rookies how to .
Guy is a bum and I hope the glazers fire him and his whole defensive staff outside of Nickerson and Cullen. Lovie has had two years and I’ve watched turn around a with other coaches I think heir first year. Why are some of you so eager to give this clown a pass?
What a great NY’s day present, a Fab 5.
Scott Reynolds, always on the job, 24/7. When do you sleep.
Unfortunately it is also gives all the Lovie haters another chance to spew their venom.
Give it a rest you guys. It gets tiresome and boring reading the same old tired unoriginal posts.
Really doubt if Lovie gets fired this year. This team was a mess when he got here after 12 years of just horrendous drafts and I seriously doubt if he even knew how bad it was.systematic it was.
I dare anyone to tell me the drafts over the dozen years proceeding him weren’t bad.
I mean for gods sake we passed on Aaron Rogers because we had Chris Simms.
Are you kidding me.
Gruden was a great ooach but terrible at evaluating talent. The GM was worse.
Morris and Schiano were neither although Schiano was a bit better at evaluating talent.
Until you can prove to me otherwise by posting empirical facts, get off of it.
I wonder if u pay for bucs season tkts since u seem to support Lovie and his poor results.
Do you even live here? If you have been a Buc fan and seen all the coaches in the past get that 3rd or 4th year when they didn’t deserve it; you would feel the way many of us feel. I hate no one; you throw that word out quite easily so you must have a lot of experience with it as I sure don’t.
You mention no talent yet Goldson, Johnson and Swearinger are all now playing on playoff teams. Johnson and Swearinger are playing for teams which are probably going to be the 2nd seed in their conferences. So if the Cardinals could pick up Swearinger off the street and plug him into their defense how come Lovie could not use him?
Not to mention Barron starting for the Rams as well. Prior to all of this Lovie jettisoned Revis to get three starters of which none of them are now two years later.
So why are these players productive for other teams but not with Lovie? If your response is they do not fit the scheme then that is the primary problem with Lovie he is unwilling to alter his scheme to fit the players he has.
BTW, I agree with your defensive coaching overhaul but don’t see Smith getting axed as safety coach.
I don’t like nepotism either and don’t like working for companies that allow it but it runs rampant in the NFL.
lovie must go he is a clown, people like him and fisher must have something on people, because they get jobs and keep them even though the results are terrible
It’s kinda lonely over here in the “keep Lovie” line, but I’m not moving to the end of another long line and starting all over. 2 Years is simply not enough time to turn around a team that was more than just poor. No one can deny progress was made. Count me among the many that “said” we’d be happy with a 6-7 win season. there are at least 2-3 games where, if players had simply executed their assignments, this would be a different discussion. Lovie and Licht put together a pretty damn good offense in years 1 and 2. #58 is a great indication for me that when they turn their draft attention to defense, a similar outcome will be realized. That said, after year 4, if we haven’t seen progress into the >10 game win column, I’ll step out of line. Go Bucs!
Finally, somebody gets it!
Schiano was fired after two years, and there is no doubt he would have won more games than Lovie did last year, which would mean no Winston. Odds are we’re stuck with Lovie even past 2016. Get used to the Bucs being carried by the offense.
I am not thrilled with Lovie, but everybody is forgetting the impact that firing Lovie would have on Winston. You don’t rattle a young QB’s confidence or learning curve by firing his head coach after his first season. No matter how many mistakes you believe Lovie is making, none of them have a greater impact on this team compared to the development of Winston. Firing Lovie right now would be the dumbest move the Bucs have ever made next to the Revis trade. It is well documented that the 2nd season for a QB is when they make the biggest strides. If any of you Lovie haters think there is anything more important than Winston’s learning, then maybe it is time for you to switch sports and watch golf because you just do not understand what the QB position means to a football team.
Preach. Got to keep Lovie and Koetter just to groom Winston. Give it a couple years, if there’s no progression, you move on. We’ve seen progression, let’s see where it takes us.
Although I will admit PR’s statement of Lovie being fired if Koetter were offered a head coaching spot in order to keep Koetter working with Winston. In that scenario, it might be the best option to not mess with Winston’s progress
Thank you Scott for an outstanding Fab 5, great information included as well.
I am not new to the “Fire Lovie” bandwagon, but it is more obvious than ever that it needs to be done. Schiano won 11 games in two years and a radio station was putting up billboards stating “Fire Schiano”, since Lovie has won 8 games in two years with one yet to play, where are the billboards proclaiming “Fire Lovie”? He has proven that he is not capable of evaluating talent, his selection of coach’s have not been able to improve the defense. Make the announcement Monday and allow this team to be able to improve with Koetter as H.C. and allow him, along with Jason, to make decisions regarding the other coach’s on the staff, it’s time.
You know one of the biggest problems I have is that I read. I mean I read everything. While I don’t keep everything I read, I do remember where I read it.
Now I’m not going to take everybody back and ask “are these your words and did you say this on this particular date”. But words do matter. Sometimes it’s good to see what you’ve said before and examine why you’re feel differently now.
I’m going to say nothing more than to ask you if appreciate the fact that we have Winston as our QB. Then examine why you would want to replace Lovie with Koetter. Would Winston be our QB if Koetter were HC at draft time?
Now look to see who other than Scott Reynolds, Martin Fennelly, and JP Peterson (great company), if any other local media person or national media person that has even suggested that Lovie should be fired.
As I said, I read everything and I can’t find one. And I looked at Al Breer’s list of 17 potential NFL 2016 HCs and Koetter does not even make the list. See if you can find a list that he’s on?
I didn’t want Lovie for HC when he was hired, but he has done two unexpected and out of character things since he got. He forwent two drafts in favor of the Offense, only drafting a LB in the 3rd round (4th pick who looks like a budding star) and he drafted QB Jameis Winston against what some would say is better judgment.
Now all of you who want to fire him now, go right ahead, but think of the alternatives before he has had a full defensive draft to support his claim as a capable defensive coach! If past is prologue, it gets worse not better!
In the Link, I should have directed you to read paragraph 8!
You make some good points Mac as always. I look at it as , when Koetter came to the Bucs, I knew right then and there we were picking Jameis. I could venture a pretty good guess we would take Jameis if our head coach was Koetter based solely on the offense he runs.
DO I think the Glazers will fire Lovie? No. But He should be held to the same standard that every coach before him has gotten. Wins.
He’s had two off seasons to put together a defense through free agency and has whiffed on literary every player taken.
What makes us beleive he’s going to hit on four starters again in the draft? That is a very rare treat we got this year. 4 rookies aren’t going to make his defense any better, especially when they’ll all be playing 10 yards off of the WR every play.
Believe me, there is no one in this room that appreciates having Jameis as our franchise QB more than me and that is why Koetter should be our new HC. The guys press conferences say it all to me. He’s a no BS guy and tells it how it is. Lovie’s just regurgitates “coach speak” every press conference.
Does Koetter want it? That I don’t know, but having him is much more important to Jameis than Lovie is.
Well sorry that was long winded, I just beleieve deep down that Lovie is too passive from gameday all the way through and will never lead a team to the superbowl, and that’s what it’s all about for guys like Jameis. Winning.
Mac, what you say makes so much sense. I’m tired of new coaches and systems every 2 – 3 years. Let the guy have a defensive draft, get some good FAs and see what happens. Give him at least 3 years.
Lovie was quick to point out numerous times when he was hired that he was inheriting a 4-12 team. Lovies first year we sunk to 2-14, this year we likely finish 6-10. That’s progress? Drd calls us Lovie haters. I don’t hate anyone, although drd might make the list. Hate is an emotion, I like Scott am just going by the product I see on the field. Lovie says stats are miss leading, like completion percentage, lol. Koetter says refreshingly, the only thing that really matters is winning. Going by that alone, Lovie should be shown the door to his basement.
I’m predicting 7-9. Players make plays and FG kickers make kicks and we’re a 11-5 team. Can’t fire HC or OC. Patience is a virtue.
Drd you know whats really tiresome, and boring? Lovies press conferences, and excuses.
Mario Williams is supposed to be cut and should be targeted by the Bucs. Nick Fairley should also be a target to add talent and depth to the DL. Lastly both Rams CBs(Janoris Jenkins and Johnson) will be FAs and both/either should be targeted if they are not locked up by STL. Stop signing players like George Johnson and hoping that we are the smartest people in the room and start paying proven impact players like the guys I’ve mentioned.
I could not agree more there stlbucsfan. Especially Jenkins and williams. With our bank account next year, we should be able to lock up some of these guys. And Jenkins comes from the south, so hopefully he misses that FLorida weather.
I agree the right FA’s can make a difference. I’m a fan of both J. Jenkins and T. Johnson but I’ve never been a M. Williams fan, and I’m less of a fan after hearing he’s been mailing it in for the Bills the past few months. I like Jenkins and Johnson better than any of the CB’s in this draft (I consider Ramsey a safety).
Not sure what you don’t like about Williams Pink. The guys averaged double digit sacks his entire career. He’s been off this year as he’s clearly a 4-3 guy and rex’ dumb ass is trying to make him a 3-4 guy.
As for the players saying he mailed it in, others say he didn’t. We can’t go by what other people say or we wouldn’t have a franchise QB right now.
Only problem is we haven’t had much luck with any FAs named Jenkins or Johnson in the past lol
I agree. We should not give up in FA just because we have been bad at it. Pick better groceries by shopping in a better store. Get some quality FAs that are proven and stop bargain hunting except for depth.
Been a season ticket holder since 1980m sunshinebe. I’m in on 219. If you want the seat and row number I will have to look it up for you.
What about yourself and all of the other haters, can you say the same.
i have had season tkts since bucs started in 1976 . I also went to sb in San Diego so yes i have paid the price. Not sure why u called me a hater as but I tied of the bucs being a joke. What has Lovie done to make u think he is a great coach?
Me too sunshine.
Another great read macabee, as always.
Unfortunately you are trying to teach Calculus to grade school pupils.
Of those players you listed, in the defensive secondary keep, Moore, Conte, McDonough, Tandy and Aberjeemie.
LB: Possibly but make it incentive heavy. This guy plays better hungry.
DL: Melton and Smith.
Vjax: Try to renegotiate but don’t insult him. We have wasted a lot more money in worse places.s
Martin: After two seasons of little wear, this guy has plenty of tread left on the tires.
6 to 6.5 mill.
Humphries, Brate and Shepherd are no brainers.
For 7 mill I’m wondering if we can get a better younger guard than Mankins.
Evan Smith might need to take a sabatical as well.
I would also give Stocker a singing bonus but only because he annoys Cards fan jongruden so much.
We have a good young guard in Kevin P.
drdneast, glad you purchase tickets and happy for you Lovie will take us to the promise land.
I predicted a 6-10 season during preseason and although I wish the Bucs were Super Bowl contenders, I agree with Lovie that the team is improving. I think he needs another two years…yes two years…to make this team be a contender. If he can’t, then absolutely get rid of him. Calling for his firing now is unrealistic. We can’t keep turning over head coaches every two years unless we want to be cellar dwellers forever.
Horse, not sure if Lovie will take us to the promised land but I do think he deserves one more year to show he has ue headed in the right direction.
I like Lovie as a coach because he stays calm and composed, the same reason many of you hate him.
I also know I have never heard a player, past or present, speak bad of Lovie.
Last year at 2-13, there was no quit in this team. They were winning the last game of the season until they came to their senses and realized they needed to go in the tank.
Thanks god they did.
Even at 6-9 they are still playing hard, even though they have dropped three ina row.
I believe that is more of a result of the DL being depleted by injuries and the loss of Kwon Alexander.
On offense I think they have suffered greatly from the loss of Vjax, just as they did earlier in the season without him.
Tell me when was the last time you saw any head coach getting in some players grill and reading him the riot act because he caused an illegal motion penalty, let alone any other penalty.
This isn’t high school. These are highly paid professionals and grown men. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t work for managers who scream and yell at me if I make a mistake.
I just call the clown a few bad works, question his heritage and walk away.
The last company I worked for had an excellent policy in regards to this subject.
“Praise in public, criticize kn private.
If the managers didn’t follow this rule, they would find themselves sitting in the principals office, not the person who made the mistake.
As for taking players out of the game if they make a penalty, who are you punishing, the player or the team.
if the person behind the player being penalized is definitely not as good as the player who you sitting, who exactly is being punished.
Those who do,
Here’s my take, Lovie is not getting fired, short and…….”simple as that.” But I do think the Glazers will insist on changes to his coaching staff and demand that Lovie concentrate on just being the HC. I know Raheem says “statistics are for losers” but our offensive and defensive rankings are much improved from a season ago as well as a modest improvement in the win column in spite of each having a jonnyg asterisk. The starting line-up when intact could be competitive, but when your depth is so weak players are literally being brought in off the street and inserted in the game that’s “tough duty” for any coach. Surely folks can recognize that. My main issue has always been the FA failures for which I think Lovie “Bears” the “Lions” share of the blame.
The defense really does need new secondary coaches and a new coordinator. Perhaps Mykal could break down film or something.
I don’t think giving up on Mankins or Jackson would be wise. There is no one around who could make the difference up and there’s way too much salary cap room to be stingy with quality veterans, even if they are only a year or two away from retiring. If the Bucs get stingy with Martin, I pity them. He’s been the one consistent fan favorite all season who is obvioualy doing everything he can to help the team win. If the Bucs let Martin or William Gholston walk, no season ticket for me next year.
I don’t see the Bucs gaining much by letting guys like Banks, George Johnson, or Alteraun Verner go. A new defensive coordinator could shape the system to better suit their skills. This is where we miss a guy like Raheem Morris, who always found a way to get the most out of the personnel and personalities available to him. Coaches who insist on getting exact fits for their schemes and temperaments lose a lot of players and a lot of games. Michael Bennett, Mike Williams, Darelle Reavis, and Aqib Talib all filled needs that are proving very difficult to meet now. You can’t help but roll your eyes over how many smug Bucs GMs have patted themselves on the back for penny pinching or trading future Pro Bowlers for 6th round draft picks. Hopefully none of those guys ever gets back into 1 Buc Place.
Thanks for the read Scott. As usual, I’m with @stlbucsfan. FA is not a bad word….we have the best WR in our history to thank for it, the QB that won us the Super Bowl, in fact we have a number of those Super Bowl teammates (including the best DE we’ve ever had) due to it. I’m sorry that L&Ls first foray was a dumpsterfire, but that doesn’t mean it all has to be. In addition to the guys @stlbucsfan mentions, there are the two probowl safeties I mentioned before and several excellent OLinemen. We simply have far too many holes – as Scott points out in this article – to draft our way out of this….
Great article Scott! We have a chance to cut a good amount of dead weight this offseason, both in cap space and performance. I hope to see Licht and his team continue building as they have the last 2 years, but this time on defense. A few valuable FA pickups to shore up our depth would also go a long way in helping us out for 2016.
As for everyone calling for Lovie’s head…I think cutting him at this point may do more harm than good
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