Monday, August 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Dirk Koetter restates need for winning culture with Bucs

TAMPA — The sun was shining and the breeze was strong enough Monday to unfurl the oversized Buccaneers flag outside the team's training facility, one day after a 37-32 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. It was pleasant enough to blunt any sense of urgency.

Perhaps that's why Bucs coach Dirk Koetter talked to his players about changing the team's culture after a 1-2 start and five straight losing seasons.

"We're just missing something, I feel like, and as my title suggests, it's my job to speak up," Koetter said. "I feel like sometimes we find too many ways to lose a game instead of creating ways to win a game. Now, when I say that, I put myself right at the top. I'm No. 1 on that list. So I'm not calling out any player or any coach above myself, but that's just how I feel. And until we change that, we're going to have nights like (Sunday) night."

The Bucs blew a 20-10 lead against the Rams and self-destructed almost every way imaginable. Shaky rookie kicker Roberto Aguayo missed an extra point and 41-yard field goal. The fumble lost by quarterback Jameis Winston was returned for a touchdown. The defense gave up two more long touchdown passes of 43 and 44 yards. And after a 69-minute weather delay, even Koetter mismanaged the clock, failing to call one of his two timeouts after running back Charles Sims failed to get out of bounds.

The game ended when Winston was tackled at the Rams' 5-yard line on second down.

"Charles absolutely does the right thing by going for yardage right there," Koetter said. "I mean, he is so close to pulling out of that tackle and we've got Vincent (Jackson) and Cameron (Brate) ahead of him with one guy left. I mean, if he pulls out of that last tackle, he's going to score. So at that point, we have a guy in the press box that's keeping an eye on the clock management. He was doing exactly what he was supposed to do. He was saying, 'Timeout, timeout, timeout!' That's 100 percent me. We had a play that I'd been wanting to get to the whole game in no huddle and I thought had a chance to be the game-winner. I wanted to keep the defense from huddling, I wanted to keep it going."

It all backfired, of course, and the Rams, which came in with the league's worst offense which had not scored a touchdown in two games, left Raymond James Stadium with a win.

Koetter wanted to make it clear Monday the change he is advocating has nothing to do with the Glazer family which owns the team.

"I'm talking about the culture of the football team. I'm not talking about our organization," Koetter said. "I'm not talking about ownership, I'm not talking about the building. I'm not talking about our fans. I'm talking about the 53 players, the 10 practice squad guys and however many coaches we have. You know, the guys that are coming up with the game plan, putting the game plan together and trying to execute the game plan. The best teams I've been on beat with one heart. They count on the guy next to them to do their job every time and they win and lose together. Maybe our fans have cheered for a team like that at one point. Hopefully all our players have played on a team like that. I know when I've been on a team like that, you can feel it, and man, you want to grab it and hold onto its tale because it's elusive. When you don't have it, you can also feel it."

The worst thing, according to Koetter, would be to deny that the Bucs are struggling to find a winning culture. But they will want to find it quick. In the next two weeks, Tampa Bay will play both Super Bowl 50 participants. The world champion Denver Broncos (3-0) visit RJS Sunday, then the Bucs travel to Charlotte, N.C., for a Monday Night Football game against the NFC champion Panthers.

"We've got to find it," Koetter said. "I just don't think we should sit back and act like it doesn't exist because in my eyes it does and I've been on those teams that have it and we're going to keep looking for it until we find it."

Comments
Who says preseason doesn’t count for Bucs?

Who says preseason doesn’t count for Bucs?

TAMPA — Monday was a beautiful day out at One Buc Place.Sunny. Blue skies. Hot, but not a thousand degrees like it has been in recent weeks around here.The Bucs were finally back home after spending most of the past week in Nashville. And despi...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Vita Vea, Mitch Unrein injuries have Bucs scouring waiver wire again

Vita Vea, Mitch Unrein injuries have Bucs scouring waiver wire again

TAMPA — The Bucs continued to address their mounting injuries on defense by signing fifth-year defensive tackle Jerel Worthy.Rookie defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first round pick from Washington, hasn't played since suffering a calf str...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Justin Watson standing out in battle for Bucs’ final receiver spot

Justin Watson standing out in battle for Bucs’ final receiver spot

In the battle for the fifth receiver spot, Justin Watson needed to stand out.  Being 6-foot-3, 216 pounds helps. But the Penn rookie needed a play to separate himself from the pack.He got it at the end of the first half in Saturday's 30-14 win a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Bucs now have Men in Black, injured players with no-contact jerseys

Bucs now have Men in Black, injured players with no-contact jerseys

Bucs cornerback M.J. Stewart and safety Jordan Whitehead suffered injuries in Saturday's 30-14 win against the Titans Saturday and had to leave the game.They were both back at practice Monday, but with a warning flag of sorts. Stewart and Whitehead w...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What a difference in Bucs quarterbacks

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: What a difference in Bucs quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled while Jameis Winston dazzled, showing improvement in his footwork and scrambling, in the Bucs' preseason victory over the Titans. Tampa Bay also has gotten good play from DeSean Jackson, while rookie Ronald Jones ...
Published: 08/20/18
Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

Nothing is going to stand in way of Peyton Barber and his goal to be Bucs’ starting running back

TAMPA – Ask Peyton Barber his approach to training camp or preseason games, and his answer is meant to bull over the questioner as if it's all that's standing between him and the goal line."I think the end-all goal for me is to be the star...
Published: 08/19/18
Bucs claim defensive tackle Adam Reth off waivers from the Eagles

Bucs claim defensive tackle Adam Reth off waivers from the Eagles

Facing a critical shortage of interior defensive linemen, the Bucs on Sunday claimed Eagles defensive tackle Adam Reth off waivers. To make room for Reth, the Bucs waived/injured defensive tackle Drew Iddings, who joined the team last week.With both ...
Published: 08/19/18
Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

Why wait? Time for Bucs fans to start missing Jameis Winston

NASHVILLE — Here in the land of love-sick country ballads where the dog dies, the pickup truck tires are slashed and somebody leaves a note on the way out of town, Bucs fans should already start missing Jameis Winston.Oh, he's not gone, gone, g...
Published: 08/18/18
Updated: 08/19/18
Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tom Jones’ Two Cents: Mixed bag for Bucs’ first teamers vs. Titans

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents while tuning in to the WFLA-Ch. 8 broadcast of Saturday night's Bucs-Titans preseason game.It's preseason. And it was just the second preseason game at that, so there's no reason to get too ...
Published: 08/18/18
Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

Bucs journal: When in doubt, keep throwing to Mike Evans

NASHVILLE — Coach Dirk Koetter joked last week that the Bucs' offense consisted mostly of throwing to WR Mike Evans.All kidding aside, it's not a bad plan.Evans is the most reliable weapon among the Bucs' corps of target-rich receivers. He prov...
Published: 08/18/18