The Bucs arrived at the midway mark of the NFL season in last place in the NFC South. Another cellar finish would be their eighth in nine years and their fourth under general manager Jason Licht.
Given the fact that Licht has had five seasons to build a winner, we asked the Times' Bucs coverage team what it will take for Licht to keep his job:
Win and he’s in with Jameis
Rick Stroud, Bucs beat writer @NFLStroud: Very few if any NFL general managers get to draft a quarterback No. 1 overall. If that player doesn't make it, you don't often get to pick another one. The Bucs have not made the playoffs under Licht and so far have one winning season. But if Jameis Winston returns to the lineup and plays great down the stretch, regardless of record, Licht may be spared. Another possibility would be a winning record under Ryan Fitzpatrick. Licht gets credit for building a good offense when that side of the ball is king in the NFL.
Go 6-2 the rest of the way
Eduardo A. Encina, Bucs/pro sports enterprise writer, @EddieintheYard: It has to start with winning now. The Bucs enter this weekend's game with Washington having lost five of six games, and that pace won't save anyone's job. The Bucs must finish 6-2 to finish 9-7 on the year. That's ambitious, and even that doesn't guarantee a playoff spot, but it at least shows that things are heading in the right direction.
Just win, baby
Tom Jones, columnist @tomwjones: Not only must the Bucs win, they probably need to win with Winston as QB. Winston is Licht's guy. He drafted him. He'll forever be linked with him. If Winston can get his job back and get the Bucs on a roll into the playoffs, Licht returns. Anything shy of that and his job is in jeopardy.
Martin Fennelly, columnist @mjfennelly: Outside of an 8-0 or 7-1 second half, not a chance. He was given an extension to look out for the long-term prospects of the Bucs, and he failed at that job.
Thomas Bassinger, sports data reporter, @tometrics: Let's not make this complicated. It's playoffs or bust. To do that, it looks as if the Bucs are going to need to get to 10 wins. That means they'll have to win seven of their next eight. I haven't seen anything in the past month that would indicate such a run is realistic.
Do you believe in miracles?
Ernest Hooper, metro columnist, @hoop4you: If I'm making the decision, I would need to see the Bucs go on an epic playoff run and even win a postseason game to save Licht. He has to take responsibility for the lack of playmakers on the defense — one interception this season — and the aforementioned Roberto Aguayo should haunt him at night. Nothing short of that miracle should save Licht, but I predict he'll survive — he got a contract extension this year — and Koetter will be the fall guy despite having one of the best offenses in the league.