The Bucs’ Season from a Fan’s Perspective

    After observing the Bucs over the past few seasons and reading numerous entertaining articles by various local sportswriters, I thought my amateur observations might at least “stir the pot”  to some degree.  There are two ways to look at amateur observations.  One is to definitely “take them with a grain of salt,” while the other is to understand that if the observations seem obvious to an amateur, perhaps some of them ought to be obvious to professionals.  

   My gut tells me that Dirk Koetter, a talented offensive coordinator, is probably a talented head coach, however, he needs to check with Andy Reid who has finally come to realize that, brilliant as he is, he could not do justice to the roles of head coach and play calling.  It is a lesson another offensive wizard failed to learn after taking the Bucs to a superbowl victory as he began to neglect the interpersonal relationships with players that are necessary for long term success as an NFL head coach.

    Meanwhile, Jason Licht did not provide Koetter with the requisite talent to win consistently in the NFL.  I believe that, to a great extent, lack of discipline has proved to be the root cause.  What the Bucs have needed most over the past few years is a pass rusher.  Drafting in the second round for a kicker in a league with plenty of adequate free agents instead of addressing your most desperate need is an undisciplined choice.  Following up the next year and drafting a player you want instead of the one you need is understandable, but equally undisciplined.  Thus Licht is, I believe, a greater disappointment than Koetter, especially since the team lost at least two games early on due to junior high school quality kicking.  They lost other close games due to late fourth quarter dropped passes, fumbles and unnecessary penalties.  Statistics show that that is the difference between winning and losing seasons.

    The problem is that the lack of discipline seems to manifest itself all the way down the line. Many times receivers don’t seem to run crisp patterns and are seldom wide open, seriously limiting yards after the catch.  Thus players try to take all the pressure on their individual shoulders, leading to too many turnovers and missed assignments.  Players simply don’t feel that the “team” is good enough and they exhaust themselves trying to do more than they can or actually need to do.  How many times did we hear Derrick Brooks remind his teammates to “just stay in your gaps?”

    If the observations that I have suggested are anywhere near being accurate, it may not be necessary to fire either Licht or Koetter if they can own up to their failures and learn from their mistakes.  If a new GM or Head coach can’t see these problems, he will fare no better.

Al Finkelstein, 12/19/17