Sunday, February 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Roundtable: Answering Dirk Koetter's call for a Bucs culture change

As Rick Stroud wrote in today's Tampa Bay Times, head coach Dirk Koetter says the Bucs need a culture change.

Members of the Tampa Bay Times' Bucs coverage team offer their thoughts on how to change it:

Become disgusted with losing

BY MARTIN FENNELLY, TIMES SPORTS COLUMNIST

First, Dirk Koetter might want to focus on changing the culture on how to use NFL timeouts.

Second, "Changing the culture" is new most overused phrase in sports. I hear it all the time. I hear kids soccer coaches talking about it.

Boy Dirk and Culture Club?

Karma Karma Karma Karma Karma Chameleon.

But if I'm Koetter, I'm worried about the lack of urgency and accountability, judging by early results. He called himself out, he called his team out.

I know culture changing when I see it.

Tony Dungy changed the culture in Tampa Bay, demanding accountability and professionalism on and off the field. Jon Gruden changed it, too, turning up the heat on even one of the best defenses in football. Get me six touchdowns, Gruden told that unit, and I'll ratchet up the offense, And the Bucs won a Super Bowl.

They're 0-for-4 at culture changing since then. Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith whiffed.

It's early for Koetter, but I dig where he's at and what he's saying.

The problem is that he isn't Dungy or Gruden. He's a first-year NFL head coach who, by the way, was part of the culture last season as offensive coordinator.

I think the players, the veterans, are going to have to move the needle here. What the Bucs need is a culture that despises and will not accept losing. Think Tom Brady doesn't bring that to New England? Think Earl Thomas doesn't bring that to Seattle?

It has to come from inside that locker room. Part of me thinks Austin Seferian-Jughead might still be here if he'd had a mentor.

I think real culture change has to come from inside that locker room.

Jameis Winston is trying to be that guy, but it should really be someone like Gerald McCoy.

Time to be disgusted with losing. Acceptance is not an option.

That's the culture that needs changing.

Culture takes time

BY THOMAS BASSINGER, TIMES STAFF WRITER

It's easier to establish a culture when a head coach and general manager are in place for a while. The Bucs haven't had that consistency since they fired Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen after the 2008 season.

After Gruden, Raheem Morris got three seasons while Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith each got two. With every coaching change, a new system follows, as well as an overhaul of the roster to fit that system.

We're only three games into the Dirk Koetter era. Cultivating a culture in his vision is as much about time as it is attitude and confidence.

The Bucs are still building -- or recovering, if you prefer to look at it that way. Tampa Bay didn't sign defensive end Robert Ayers, cornerback Brent Grimes and linebacker Daryl Smith because it believed it was a handful of players away from contention. The Bucs, burned recently by pricier free agent signings, needed stopgaps while they added talent through the draft.

After focusing almost exclusively on offense the past two drafts, general manager Jason Licht turned his attention to the other side of the ball this offseason, taking defenders with three of his first four picks. Only cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, however, has been an every-down player, as Greg noted on tampabay.com on Monday. Defensive end Noah Spence (second round) and safety Ryan Clark (fourth round) have played relatively sparingly.

As the first three games have shown, the Bucs need an infusion of talent on defense. When that happens, these culture concerns will fade. Unfortunately for the Bucs, there are no quick fixes.

Winning is the only answer

BY TOM JONES, TIMES SPORTS COLUMNIST

The Bucs need it, but where does it start?

The head coach says it starts with the head coach. But he's wrong. It starts with the players. That's not to say that coaches don't matter or can't set the tone for an organization, but at the end of the day, coaches only coach.

Players play. It's the players who makes plays. It's the players who throw the ball, catch the ball, block and tackle. And win. The only thing that can change a losing culture to a winning culture is to go out and actually win games.

Until the players start playing winning football, the Bucs will continue to find ways to lose games. If these players can't get it done then it's up to the general manager to find better players.

Upset the Broncos

BY ERNEST HOOPER, TIMES METRO COLUMNIST

The Bucs have to change their culture by building belief in each other and the coaching staff, and that kind of change only comes from winning games when the team is a decided underdog.

In the Dungy era, the team unshackled itself from a history of losing with one significant win after another: a 1996 victory in San Diego, ending a skein of west coast losses; a season-opening victory against a dynastic San Francisco team in 1997, followed by road wins in Detroit and Minnesota to snap losing streaks in those terror domes.

The good news is that the Bucs have several upset opportunities on the remaining schedule this season. And I'm not talking about San Francisco or Chicago.

Comments
Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

TAMPA – Jameis Winston is heading for a big payday with the Bucs. He's played well enough to make that an easy decision.But what impact will that have on the type of players they surround him with?The Bucs are expected to exercise the fifth-yea...
Published: 02/16/18
Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

The Bucs continue to move quickly with the defensive line opening on Dirk Koetter's coaching staff, interviewing former Cardinals assistant Brentson Buckner.Buckner, 46, spent the last five years as Arizona's defensive line coach, leading the unit to...
Published: 02/16/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

It’s a Mailbag Friday as Rick Stroud answers your questions, including what will happen with the Jameis Winston investigation, who should the Bucs sign in free agency and would Warren Sapp make a good defensive line coach?Also, who will win more game...
Published: 02/16/18
Kevin Pamphile on Bucs’ O-line: ‘We’re not far from breaking through’

Kevin Pamphile on Bucs’ O-line: ‘We’re not far from breaking through’

Free agency is less than a month away, and the Bucs have several decisions to make about unrestricted free agents from their 2017 squad. One is Kevin Pamphile, who started all but one game at left guard last season but still split the job with backup...
Published: 02/16/18
Jameis Winston’s ‘Eat a W’ ritual lives on at Florida State

Jameis Winston’s ‘Eat a W’ ritual lives on at Florida State

Jameis Winston's pregame "Eat a 'W'" speech didn't go over too well the last time he gave it in front of the cameras and teammates.Before the Bucs-Saints game in New Orleans on Nov. 5, Winston formed a "W" with the fingers on his right hand and proce...
Published: 02/15/18
Browsing the Bucs’ needs and possible free-agent answers

Browsing the Bucs’ needs and possible free-agent answers

No sooner had the Bucs 5-11 season ended than coach Dirk Koetter identified the two areas his team needed to improve for 2018."I think we were 3-7 in one score games. You're going to have a hard time getting where you want to go when you win 30 perce...
Published: 02/15/18
Free agency preview: Brate, Humphries lead Bucs’ restricted free agents

Free agency preview: Brate, Humphries lead Bucs’ restricted free agents

NFL free agency is now just a month away, and as we begin the process of previewing the 2018 free agent class, we'll start with a less prominent part that is still relevant for the Bucs this year: restricted free agents.Unrestricted free agents have ...
Published: 02/14/18
Derrick Brooks to sign autographs at sub shop for charity

Derrick Brooks to sign autographs at sub shop for charity

A Tampa sub shop is offering fans a deal to help raise funds for former Bucs linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks' charity efforts.From Feb. 21 to Feb. 25 next week, the Jersey Mike's shop at 14839 North Dale Mabry Highway (inters...
Published: 02/13/18
The Bucs pass rush was so bad, Dirk Koetter sacked his friend

The Bucs pass rush was so bad, Dirk Koetter sacked his friend

TAMPA – It was friendly fire. The decision by Bucs coach Dirk Koetter to terminate a guy he's been buddies with for nearly 40 years was not an easy one. But defensive line coach Jay Hayes was let go last Friday, an apparent fall guy for the 5-1...
Published: 02/12/18
Updated: 02/13/18
Bucs D-line coach name to watch: former Colts DC Ted Monachino

Bucs D-line coach name to watch: former Colts DC Ted Monachino

The surprising firing of defensive line coach Jay Hayes on Friday is one that was difficult for Bucs coach Dirk Koetter.Not only had the Bucs picked up  the one-year club option on Hayes' contract, he and Koetter go back nearly 40 years when the...
Published: 02/12/18