Sunday, November 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs roundtable: How Dirk Koetter can keep his job

Dirk Koetter became an NFL head coach at age 56, and almost made the playoffs in his first season with the Bucs.

Now he owns a 17-23 career record through two and a half seasons in Tampa Bay and has never been better than 3-5 at the halfway mark. That's where he stands again after losing four of five and benching the quarterback who helped him get the job.

Our Bucs coverage team weighs in on what it's going to take for Koetter to hold on as Tampa Bay's head coach beyond this season:

Fight out of the hole, again

Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer @NFLStroud:  The Bucs did it once before. In 2016 they were 3-5, won five in a row and went 9-7. Koetter looked like he would be the coach for many years to come. But two years later, like any head coach, he needs wins. Probably  nine or at least 8-8 with circumstances. A lot can be blamed on Jameis Winston's three-game suspension. Even though the Bucs went 2-1, it threw Winston off his axis. But the wins have to come.

Players prove they will play for him

Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs/pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: One thing Dirk Koetter doesn't lack is accountability. He stood at the podium after the Bears game and said everyone should be fired after that effort. On Sunday, he took the blame for a failed fake punt. Now that the Bucs have dug themselves into a 3-5 hole, his players have to show some fight for him to prove he's the man to keep this ship sailing beyond this season.

10 wins

Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: Crazy, isn't it, that Koetter got the job because of Jameis Winston and to keep it he felt he had to bench Winston? Koetter has helped build one of the league's more efficient passing attacks and that might be reason enough to keep him — if he were the offensive coordinator. He's the head coach, though, and he knows he's judged — fair or not — on wins and losses. He didn't do himself any favors with his game situation management Sunday at Carolina.

A vote of confidence

Tom Jones, columnist @tomwjones: I wouldn't be so quick to fire Koetter. I happen to think he's a pretty good football coach. Now, if the Bucs go 5-11 or even 6-10, it's hard to see him surviving. But if he can get this team, with this horrible defense, to 8-8, that would be a miracle and reason for him to come back. After all, he's in charge of the offense and the offense is pretty good.

Miracles, Part II

Ernest Hooper, metro columnist, @hoop4you: Koetter  needs an impressive win streak to save his job. It's a shame because his offense appears to be hitting on all cylinders, but he kept Mike Smith on board as the defensive coordinator after last season and that may very well seal his fate. I would argue the architect of the defense — general manager Jason Licht — holds more responsibility for that unit than Koetter, but Koetter's the coach and he'll likely take the fall while Licht gets another year.

No chance

Martin Fennelly, columnist @mjfennelly: The Glazers love Jameis, so if Koetter can prove he and Winston have a special connection, now is the time to prove it. Time approximate: After pigs fly. Koetter going to Fitzpatrick without a viable long-term solution was a death knell.

Comments
Why the Buccaneers can beat the Giants but still lose

Why the Buccaneers can beat the Giants but still lose

Tampa Bay is in a race, just not the one you hoped it would be in.
Published: 11/17/18
Bucs-Giants: Predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. Tampa Bay-New York game

Bucs-Giants: Predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. Tampa Bay-New York game

Here are the Times' Bucs coverage team's predictions for Tampa Bay's 1 p.m. game Sunday at the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium:Have you seen the injury report?Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer, @NFLStroud: I think everybody needs to take a step back a...
Published: 11/17/18
Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul is on a mission to make a memorable Meadowlands return

Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul is on a mission to make a memorable Meadowlands return

TAMPA — Jason Pierre-Paul often talks about how he's unstoppable, but he knows there's a business side to sports that no level of determination can control.He knows this now because not long ago he thought he'd always be a New York Giant. That ...
Published: 11/17/18
The end of the Bucs’ Dirk Koetter-Jameis Winston partnership

The end of the Bucs’ Dirk Koetter-Jameis Winston partnership

It's hard to imagine the head coach and the quarterback both back with the Bucs in 2019.
Published: 11/17/18
Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said OC Todd Monken will call plays against Giants

Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said OC Todd Monken will call plays against Giants

TAMPA — Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter said Friday during his weekly radio show that offensive coordinator Todd Monken will resume offensive playcalling duties for Sunday's road game against the New York Giants.Koetter took over playcalling dutie...
Published: 11/16/18
Bucs enter Giants game with defense decimated by injury

Bucs enter Giants game with defense decimated by injury

TAMPA — The Bucs will go into Sunday's road game against the New York Giants more decimated by injury than they've been at any point this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball.Three defensive starters — linebacker Lavonte D...
Published: 11/16/18
Beleaguered Bucs fans deserve a win Sunday

Beleaguered Bucs fans deserve a win Sunday

Haven't Bucs fans been through enough this season?
Published: 11/16/18
Bucs haven’t seen anyone like Saquon Barkley since Barry Sanders

Bucs haven’t seen anyone like Saquon Barkley since Barry Sanders

The Bucs picked a lousy week to potentially be without LB Lavonte David as they face Barkley, who is third in the NFL in yards from scrimmage
Published: 11/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul can’t wait to face Giants

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs’ Jason Pierre-Paul can’t wait to face Giants

With the Bucs heading to East Rutherford, N.J., to play the Giants, Jason Pierre-Paul is anxious to face his former team.
Published: 11/16/18
Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson expects chilly Meadowlands reception

Bucs receiver DeSean Jackson expects chilly Meadowlands reception

DeSean Jackson said Giants fans haven't forgotten his game-winning punt return in the final week of the 2010 season.
Published: 11/16/18