Welcome to another installment of SR’s Fab 5 Reaction where every Tuesday I take the time to answer your questions and respond to your comments from the previous week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. Due to time constraints from my responsibilities as publisher, I am unable to respond to every reader comment each week, but I do read every one of them.
Comments have only been edited for clarity and grammar. Now on to your comments.
The topics in this week’s SR’s Fab 5 include: Fixing Evans Is Monken’s Mission; Monken Brings Energy, Fun To Bucs Receivers; Best Of SR’s Fab 5 – Focus Now Turns To More Points From Koetter’s Offense; Koetter Could Be The Next Arians
Bucs DC Mike Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
That was a great SR’s Fab 5. I’m excited about what all the new coaches bring. If you’re answering questions, Scott, gut feel – will Mike Smith be one and done in Tampa?
I believe Smith will turn our defense around, and be a top head-coaching candidate next year. Does he want that job again in his career, or would he be happier finishing the job here? He obviously believes in Dirk, and knows he has a special quarterback in Jameis Winston, so what will he do? – surferdudes
Thank you, surferdudes. That’s a great question, and one that I hadn’t thought of before. Will Mike Smith leave Tampa Bay after one year if he really turns the defense around? I must admit that I don’t know Smith well enough at this stage to ask him what his future career aspirations are.
I think he enjoyed being the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons and I’m guessing he would entertain the idea if the right opportunity came along. At the same time, he might find that he missed calling plays as a defensive coordinator and will want to stick with that role, especially working with a good friend and trusted ally in Dirk Koetter. Only time will tell, but he’ll have to really have success turning the Bucs defense around before he’ll get any more consideration for another head coaching job.
Bucs HC Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Interesting comment about what scoring six more points per game can do. Imagine if the Bucs can score six more per game – a distinct possibility – and give up six fewer per game – another distinct possibility.
I really think this team, for the first time since Jon Gruden’s exit after 2008, is going in the right direction. – cobraboy
The Bucs averaged 21.4 points per game on offense and allowed an average of 26.1 points per game on defense. I mentioned scoring four more points per game, which is essentially turning a trip that ended in a field goal last year into a touchdown this year with more experience in Dirk Koetter’s system.
Six points, as you suggest, would be huge. That would put Tampa Bay at a 27.4-point average on offense and a 20.1-point average on defense. If that type of transformation happens, and it’s not entirely out of the question, then the Bucs automatically become a possible playoff team.
Dirk Koetter has yet to coach a down in the NFL as a head coach, but I do have a good feeling about him. There’s just something about his style that fits the team very well. We’ll see how he does.
Bucs DBs coach Jon Hoke & DC Mike Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
I’m pretty happy with the new coaching staff thus far. Granted, this is all based off conjecture at this point but I see a lot of reason for optimism.
Fixing Mike Evans’ butter fingers, coupled with an improved defense, will go a long way toward making the playoffs. – plopes808
I think Dirk Koetter has done a remarkable job assembling his coaching staff, from keeping the ones he did, to importing Todd Monken as offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach, to the defensive coaches to the new special teams coordinator. The one defensive coach that has stood out so far is Jon Hoke, who coaches cornerbacks. That’s a good one as that position is in serious need of help and Tampa Bay’s first-round draft pick was cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
I think we’ll see improved play from Mike Evans and Monken will be a big reason why. That’s why I wrote about the topic. If Evans can reduce the number of penalties he commits, catching even 20 percent more of the passes he dropped last year this offense will put more points on the board and this team will win more games – even if the defense doesn’t improve much. But I think the defense will be much improved, especially in the secondary.
Bucs CBs Alterraun Verner & Jude Adjei-Barimah – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Great read. I am excited about this coaching staff and how they will mold this team. Mike Evans: In case you read these posts, it is great you have passion and fire, but attitude unchecked is wasted emotion that will drain you. Make sure you funnel your anger over a bad call or a missed holding penalty on the next play. Hold it in – then explode in a positive manner.
I have been shocked this year to find Jude Adjei-Barimah still on the team much less first string. Last year he was constantly out of position. I even remember another player yelling at him out of frustration after a play. Am I wrong here? Did I misread his extremely poor performance? – tjhuth
Thank you, tjhuth. I think Mike Evans’ maturity and personal growth will be on display this year. He did get married and has admitted that he believes that having that support system will help him control his emotions better. I think Todd Monken will also get through to Evans. Monken has an effervescent personality and he kind of soaks into your skin when you hear him talk. Heck, I want to suit up and play for the guy.
As for Jude Adjei-Barimah, keep in mind a few things about his play last year. First, he was an undrafted rookie free agent that didn’t have any NFL experience. Second, he had played safety in college and was making a transition to cornerback at the highest level. And third, no Bucs cornerback looked good last year in Lovie Smith’s awful defensive scheme.
Yet, Adjei-Barimah did enough in practice and games to warrant starting seven games and seeing action in 13. Furthermore, he has impressed two different defensive coaching staffs. Adjei-Barimah got the majority of first-team reps during the entire offseason at nickel cornerback – even since the drafting of Vernon Hargreaves III in the first round. That wouldn’t happen if the kid couldn’t play.
I do believe that Hargreaves will eventually win the nickel cornerback job due to his superior ball skills. But I also believe that Adjei-Barimah will make the roster due to his ability to play nickel, cornerback and even safety in a pinch. Who knows? Maybe Brent Grimes only plays a year in Tampa and Hargreaves takes over, which allows Adjei-Barimah to become the starting nickel? The preseason will shed a lot of light on the improvements in the secondary.
Bucs WR Louis Murphy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
That was another great article, Scott. I have been very optimistic about what Todd Monken will do to improve our wide receivers from the start, and your inside info here confirms what I thought.
I hope Louis Murphy will be able to play this preseason. He needs to be ready to back up Vincent Jackson should he get hurt.
However, there is a good replacement in free agency available that knows Dirk Koetter’s offense from playing at Atlanta. – owlykat
Thank you, owlykat. I don’t think the Bucs have any interest in Roddy White. At age 34, he just can’t run anymore. Tampa Bay is very pleased with its wide receiving corps as the team didn’t draft a receiver or add anyone in free agency outside of Bernard Reedy, Andre Davis and Freddie Martino.
The Bucs hope that Todd Monken’s coaching ability can help transform the existing group of good receivers into a great unit. Monken’s presence is a big reason why the team decided to essentially stand pat at the receiver position from a talent standpoint. We’ll see if the Bucs made the right choice by the end of the year based on the improvement – or lack thereof – at the receiver position.
As for Louis Murphy, I think he’s destined to start the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and is a candidate for injured reserve with a designation to return (after eight weeks). That could prove to be valuable because if an early-season injury were to occur to veterans Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, having an experienced pro like Murphy available for the second half of the season would be beneficial.
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
I hope being a Florida native, having had success as an NFL H.C. already, working with people he knows, respects, and being in his 50’s, will keep him here. The fact there’s no salary cap for coaches means the Glazers would be willing to pay him to stay on. It would be nice to keep a staff together for a few years, compared to the musical chairs we’ve been playing.
I believe that this group of coaches is one of the best assembled for Tampa. Go Bucs
Excellent comment about Murphy. The Bucs have been tight-lipped on his ACL rehab status, and on what kind of procedure Sweezy had.
But PUP & IR-Return may be a solid suggestion, almost like having a known veteran on the Practice Squad without other team recall rights.
Let the youngsters play and see what they have…
Interesting perspective and one I hadn’t considered with Murphy.
Murphy’s injury was strange in itself since I didn’t see him experience any hard physical contact on the play either.
Most ACL tears occur without contact. Usually when cutting, pivoting, or landing.
I don’t care about the scheme or where he was drafted I judge a person based on performance alone and Jude Adjei-Barimah was aweful and was smoked on a regular basis, why is he still on team? Same reason Mike Jenkins made the team last yr and why Stocker is still on team, coaches don’t know everything only Drdneast does
I agree with Cobraboy- This team is headed in the right direction why? Well, they have a franchise qb to build around and have pieces in place to help him as well both young Smith and Marpet will anchor the line for yrs with Doug Martin who some posters wanted to run out of here in the off season saying “he has no break away speed and doesn’t deserve a 7 mil a yr contract and it was the stellar play of Stocker that created running lanes” etc, lol anyway, and we have David, Kwon and McCoy and maybe Hargreaves on defense so yes the team is headed in right direction hell Koetter could be a great head coach, (here’s to wishful thinking)
Thanks jongruden. Never pretended to know everything but I do know your judgement is often flawed by personal emotion.
The kid was a FA who made the team and is still developing. You say he was smoked on a regular basis but I only remember one play against the Rams where he was so called “smoked.”
Since there were so many, would you please cite a few of them for your own credibility.
“…it was the stellar play of Stocker that created running lanes”…
That’s the most intelligent comment jgru has made in 6 weeks:)lol
76Buc- If you too think D Martin success was do to the blocking of Stocker than you are the fans I’m speaking about in Tampa, “over hyping mediocrity and totally delusional”
jongruden, I don’t think I am a “fans” because I am not legion. I think you know the chapter and verse I am talking about:)I never said all the success of Martin was because of Stocker alone. I am someone who strives against mediocrity and I have never hyped the Bucs few successes. The delusional part I am not sure about…I have been a fan of this franchise since 1979 when I bought my first season tickets. Maybe the hot sun at the old sombrero made me delusional for the next 40 years.
I don’t have every single play throughout the season etched in my mind I do remember him getting beat in every game just like I remember Jenkins and Jennings who played awful as well and nope can’t tell you every play they got beat on either, I have a crap load more important things etched in my mind than what plays those corners get beat on, I have a life outside of Bucs fortunately and don’t re watch all the games
I agree. I thought he played pretty solid as well. Every corner gets beat sometimes. I don’t recall him making a habit out of it.
Hey Jude, he Wasn’t bad, played on a sad D, and made it better. Remember to let him into your hearts, so even if he don’t start, can make it better, better, yeah Jude!
“jude wasn’t bad”? Its these comments that prevent my buddies who are 35 yr Bucs Fans who can’t even stand to read these posts by fans anymore
I agree with the others that he wasn’t too bad. Also, your friends missed the first 5 years when we had the real fun.
I hear you surferdudes. Nice tune. JGru just couldn’t hear it due to having to defend his unpopular opinions
JGru is okay. He’s just…umh…misguided at times:)I’m sure he is sincere in his opinions.
Good stuff Surfer. I think it went right past these youngsters.
Kids now days lol
Jon Gruden solved the problem of what to do with a coordinator who has done a great job and maybe entertaining head coaching aspirations – make the other guy ‘assistant head coach.’
I for one always find it odd why a great coordinator just has to be a head coach. Maybe if he thought he could do better(I remember Bill Parcells saying that) . . . I guess we’ll see how Smith feels; I hope he goes because he feels like he can do better, instead of leaving and breaking up a good O coordinator/D-coordinator thing.
I’ll be surprised if Murphy makes the roster. He’s got a lot working against him – age relative to the guys with whom he’s competing (he’s 29 while Bell, Humphries, Reedy, and everyone else who could make the roster instead of him are all at least 5 years younger), health/fitness, and, most of all, the fact that he’s just not that good. We’re talking about a guy who’s averaged 21 yards on 1.5 catches per game over the last five years of his career. He is, at very best, a mediocre #3 receiver. And coming off his knee injury and at a much higher salary than all of his competition, there’s essentially zero upside with him, which isn’t the case for the rest of the competitors for his position. I think he’s done as a Buc.
Using the IR designated to return spot on him would be an incredible waste, by the way. I’d much rather just cut him and have that spot open for someone much better who may need it.
I tend to agree, Murphy hasn’t been all that impressive. Especially when taking into account the salary difference. I believe we drafted Bell as VJax’s eventual replacement so we’ve already got a backup this year and eventual starter
Hey, my first comment published in an article on PR! I look forward to many more as PR has been my favorite source for Bucs news.
I may be transferring with my job to Tallahassee sometime in the near future as well, so I’ll be looking to get even more involved. Catching a game at Ray Jay has been on my bucket list for years. I hope to do even better and get some season tickets. One day I hope to say I has season tickets the year we turned the corner!
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