Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

GM Jason Licht expects 'significant major progress' in 2016

After a season-ending four-game skid, general manager Jason Licht said, “We want to be playing our best at the end of the season.”


After a season-ending four-game skid, general manager Jason Licht said, “We want to be playing our best at the end of the season.”

BOCA RATON — Should the Bucs be a playoff team in 2016? General manager Jason Licht stopped short of saying that Monday when asked what reasonable goals are as Tampa Bay tries to improve on its 6-10 record from last season.

"With this team, we want to see significant major progress, playing in meaningful games late in the year, knocking on the door," Licht said during a break at the NFL league meetings at the Boca Raton Resort and Club. "We are striving for major progress. We want to be playing our best at the end of the season."

The Bucs were 6-6 last season and in the hunt for a wild card, but dropped their last four games to fall out of contention, leading to the firing of Lovie Smith and the promotion of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to head coach.

Not a problem: When the Bucs signed Pro Bowl CB Brent Grimes two weeks ago, the move came amid speculation that some NFL teams might have not pursued Grimes to avoid the potential distraction of his outspoken wife, Miko, who is active on social media and occasionally critical of teammates and management.

Licht was asked about whether that was a factor in the Bucs' decision to sign Grimes, and had a smart response about what's ultimately important to a general manager.

"I think a bigger distraction is losing and not playing good defense," Licht said. "We had met Miko and (Brent and) his family and have enjoyed every minute of it. I don't see any problem. We didn't have any discussions about it, to be honest with you."

Grimes has plenty of coaches on the Bucs' staff who have worked with him — and his wife — and can vouch for what he would bring.

Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith worked with him in Atlanta with the Falcons and linebackers coach Mark Duffner spent time with him with the Dolphins the past two years.

That message was well-received online by Miko, who quickly tweeted out her message back: "i LOVE my GM! he's about winning, not gossip & bs! winners wanna win so they sign winners. losers keep bums around & make excuses for losing."

No thanks: A year ago, the Bucs had considered free agent DE Greg Hardy despite his off-field issues, ultimately bowing out just before he signed with the Cowboys.

Asked if there was interest again this year in the free agent, Licht said it hasn't been an option.

"We haven't talked about Greg Hardy," he said. "We like (newly signed) Robert Ayers. He was a player we targeted."

Pro Bowl bracketologist: Bucs LB Lavonte David was always good for a big pick here and there, but it's still impressive that he ranks second overall in's celebrity portion of the site's basketball NCAA Tournament Challenge.

David correctly picked 12 of the Sweet 16 teams — he foresaw the ACC's showing, with North Carolina, Virginia and Duke joining the Big 12's Kansas in his predicted Final Four. David is predicting a UNC win over Kansas in the final.

Mourning a loss: Licht said he talked with Ravens coach John Harbaugh and general manager Ozzie Newsome to pass along condolences on the death of CB Tray Walker, who was killed Friday in a motorbike accident in Miami. Walker, 23, was struck by a sport utility vehicle at an intersection in his hometown.

Asked if the team had any reminders for its players about being safe in the offseason, he said the sad news already did that.

"I think they all got the message with the unfortunate incident," he said. "I'm sure it's something we'll remind them. That was a tragedy and I feel bad. Thoughts and prayers go out to their family and team. … It's just really unfortunate."

Contact Greg Auman at and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

GM Jason Licht expects 'significant major progress' in 2016 03/21/16 [Last modified: Monday, March 21, 2016 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays journal: Alex Cobb trying to erase sting of last outing

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The sting of Friday's ninth-inning letdown was still felt four days later by RHP Alex Cobb, who faces the Orioles this afternoon in the homestand finale.

    Tim Tebow is an example of the many college athletes who have won the Sullivan Award, earning the honor in 2007 as the  Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback for the Gators. [Associated Press)]
  2. Rays vs. Orioles, 12:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field


    Today: vs. Orioles

    12:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM

    Tickets: $15-$275; available at Tropicana Field box office,, surcharge of up to $5 within 5 hours of game time.

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  3. Bruce Arena blends intense demands with humor to lead U.S. soccer


    SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Bruce Arena bites his fingernails religiously, a habit he has had since age 10.

    Among some other unmentionables.

    Bruce Arena
  4. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan


    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  5. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.