Ask Gary: Ready to accept Koetter as Bucs’ coach?

by Gary Shelton on January 9, 2016 · 0 comments

in Florida State University, general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Rays

(Each week, the readers take over and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, and we all talk about the world of sports.  Think of it as a radio show where you don't have to be on hold. Join us and ask a question, make a comment or be funny. Send the questions to

Saturday, 6 a.m.

So how do you feel about Dirk Koetter possibly being a head coach in the NFL?

Nick Houllis, Bucstop


I like Dirk, and I can see why the Glazers wouldn't want him to get away. You saw his unit improve, not Lovie's. You could find an identity to his. Not Lovie's. You felt the team wasn't that far away. Not Lovie's. Even his press conferences were better than Lovie's; more candid, more forthcoming.

But the honest truth is that none of us know how he would do as an NFL coach. It's a different animal than being an assistant, and a great many very good assistants have failed. Bill Callahan. Bill Arnsparger. Rod Marinelli.

Koetter is intriguing, but he isn't perfect. There were seven times

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this year the Bucs failed to score 20. There were six times when Doug Martin had 15 carries or fewer (and the team was 0-6). I like his work with Winston, though. I'd trust him more than, say, an offensive coordinator for the Bears.

But if I ran the Bucs, I'd look around, too. Koetter may be the best answer, but let's be as sure as possible about the questions.

If you were GM of the Bucs, who would be your first choice to be the new head coach?

Scott Myers

Here's an off-beat choice for you. How about Jimbo Fisher?

Fisher supposedly flirted with the Tennessee Titans' job before Ken Whisenhunt got it. He's bright, and energetic, and he may be ready for a change. Just the rumors with LSU are enough to tell you that. And obviously, he would get along well with Winston.

I don't want it to seem like I think Koetter is a terrible choice. He's not. I just think an assistant coach has questions to answer before we decide he's ready to be a head coach.

For the just-completed 2015 NFL regular season,  Mike Evans has:

  • dropped a lot of balls
  • been called for lots of penalties, including one ejection
  • wined to the refs incessantly
  • scored only 3 touchdowns (he scored 12 his rookie year)
Is he really an 'elite' receiver?
Scott Myers
Easy answer: No, he's not.
I think Evans has the ability to be elite, but no one is going to mistake him for Julio Jones anytime soon. Or Antonio Brown. To be an elite receiver, a guy has to appear unstoppable. Evans doesn't.
He still has to do too much hand-fighting to get open, and I wonder if that contributes to his drops. I could name a dozen receivers I think are better than Evans, which begs this question: how many receivers in the league are "elite?"
I like Mike. But Evans will tell you that 2015 wasn't a very good year for him. And, with Winston,  it should have been. But Evans, according to sporting, led the NFL in drops.
 If I'm Evans, I work all off-season on my catching skills. Also, I make a vow to quit whining at the refs. Like I said before, the guy has more whine that Ernest and Julio.
Right now, Evans is in that middle group of receivers. Pretty good, but not great.
Do you know who the genius was who made the decision to have both college football championship semi-final games be played on New Year's Eve instead of on New Year's Day?
Howard Powders
I think it was the same guy who came up with New Coke, decided to cancel Firefly and told Bruce Jenner he should wear more dresses.
Seriously, that was an awful decision, wasn't it? You have two choices: One is an evening that is spent at parties with friends. One is a day that screams football. And you pick the first one.
It didn't affect me much, because my bride goes to sleep early. But it affected a lot of people. It may have been the most boneheaded decision of our time. I can deal with games on Labor Day. I can deal with games on Christmas.
But New Year's Eve should be reserved for the Russell Athletic Bowl or some other bowl you can afford to miss.
Would you mind giving us a little NFL Organizations 101 Primer on the hierarchy of NFL teams.  Do most teams have a team president who acts between the owners and GM and oversees the entire organization (GM, HC, Scouts/Player Personnel). Do the Bucs have similar structure as the other teams? There just seems to be something missing with this franchise above the head coach as far as decision making is concerned. Seems very rudderless.
Rick Martin
Rick, one of the frustrating things about the NFL is that there is no depth chart for a front office the way there is for a team. With some teams, it's hard to tell just who is in charge, who has the 53-man roster, who is in charge of free agency at the draft.
The good organizations seem to have a GM or guy in charge. The coach reports to him. If the owner is active, he can serve as team president (Dan Rooney). The scouts report to him.
The team president name was in vogue for a few years when ex-coaches such as Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren wanted a job above the general manager and head coach. It was a silly idea. "I'll have no blame but take all the credit." It still exists with little Danny Snyder and Jerry Jones.
The coach is in charge of the roster and who plays on Sunday. The g.m. sets long-term direction, drafts and signs free agents.Some teams try to outsmart themselves, but usually, they just seem to get confused.
I read that it was Lovie who decided to get the information over the phone? But, after being told the Glazers wanted, sorry, a Glazer wanted to meet with him the next day Lovie, after receiving a call from Joel, decided he wanted it done over the phone. So much has been said about how he got the news, I wasn't sure if my perception was off. Granted the Glazers bungled it. I think the surprise would have been if they had not. 

Reminds me of a song by Nikki Lane, It's Always the Right Time To Do The Wrong Thing.
Veronica Richardson 
I wonder how many of Lovie's players refused to go to his office with their playbook when they knew he was going to cut them?
The thing I wonder is why there was a late-night call (10 p.m. or so) to begin with. Why wasn't this decided during Wednesday's business hours? Why couldn't it wait until Thursday?
There is no good way to fire a guy. We know that. But it does seem that it could have been handled with a little more dignity. And one or more of the Glazers could have shown up at the press conference just to answer the questions about the reactionary nature of the team. Only three teams in the NFL -- the Raiders, Browns and 49ers -- have gone through more coaches than the Bucs since 2008, and in Tampa Bay's case, there were no  interim coaches.
Here's some advice. If you're a head coach who didn't have a good year, don't answer the phone. Or keeping yelling into it "I can't hear you now."
Do you think that Koetter is a lock and that the interviews are just for show... and compliance?
No, I don't think he's a lock. Loyalty to Lovie might keep him from taking it. He may prefer to get out of town. He might like a different organization  better than this one..
I do think Koetter is the favorite. He knows the players, and he'd give some semblance of stability. But there is no perfect candidate. You never know how a guy will fit as  a head coach. I've written it before. Koetter's points didn't match his yards.
I do think a general manager can learn a lot during interviews. The Bucs are talking to Arizona and Carolina. Wouldn't you like to know how they handle things. Besides, in two years, one of these guys might be your next coach.
I kid, but the lack of stability at one Buc is a shame. This will be their fifth coach since the end of 2008 -- only three teams have had more -- If you ever do find the right guy, he's going to need some time.
If you owned the Bucs, who would you hire as coach? I'm talking about a coach who  is available and realistic  (not Belichick)?
Jim Willson
I mentioned before that Jimbo Fisher intrigues me, even though college coaches come with a built-in risk. I might interview Chip Kelly, but I understand if the Glazers felt burned last time. I'd consider Koetter.
You know who'd I'd talk to? I'd talk to Jon Gruden, who always seems as if he might be ready to come back. (I wouldn't.) But I'd only hire Gruden as a coach; no g.m. powers at all.
I wouldn't hire Josh McDaniels for your team, let alone mine.  To me, Adam Gase is Koetter light. But whoever I'd hire, I'd think this needs to be it for a while. The Glazers are close to being thought of as changing their coaches with the frequency other owners change their yachts.
Who else? Well, it's been a while since Bill Parcells rejected the Bucs. That seems to happen every time a Rocky movie comes out.
Alabama or Clemson?
Jim Willson
Alabama. I just think you're giving Nick Saban too much time to figure out how to stop DeShaun Watson.
I love Watson, and I think he has a chance to be enough of a playmaker to keep it close. But in the end, Alabama is so good across the defensive line at receiver, on the offensive line and at running back. I think it's their year...again.
I saw Dalvin Cook have a very good game against Clemson. Can the Tigers slow down Derrick Henry?

I was at a Rays' game last season and the guy behind me wore a Rays' hat and said he was a Rays' fan and was very knowledgable about the team — and in nine innings never said one good thing about the Rays, not one...and the Rays won! Even when Longo hit a dinger he complained that Longo wasn't hitting them often enough. To me, being a fan is supposed to be fun, rooting for your boys (or girls), enjoying the wins and lamenting the losses — just as long as you can watch and cheer them on. If it isn't fun, why would you do it? If you're a fan of a sport, why wouldn't you want to find a team that plays the game and runs their business the way you like, and become their fan — and enjoy being a fan? Or, anymore, does enjoyment equate to bad-mouthing and complaining in our culture?

 Cecil DeBald

Cecil, my advice is to move your seats and enjoy the game.

There are different kinds of fans. You know that. A guy can feel passion -- and frustration -- as he sits next to you. He can cheer like crazy. He can be analytical like a manager, critical like a scout, funny like a comedian. It's all allowed.

Some fans want to feel like they're smarter than other fans. They load up on trivia, and then they spend the entire game in doom and gloom. If their team wins, great. If not, well, they saw it coming.

There is a factor in our society where criticism is passed off as wisdom. It's in the media, too. It's somehow safer to criticize -- as in "I knew it all the time." It lets a fan feel smart while protecting him against disappointment. It's like a lot of people's marriages.

Cecil, I would urge you to hang onto the fun. If Longo hits one out -- heck, enjoy it. You can talk about how many he's hitting later. As far as the surrounding crowd, I'm serious about moving. Buying a seat can be like buying a house; the neighborhood matters.

I'll admit to it. I grumble, too. I like Chris Archer a lot, but there are times I'll talk about how he doesn't win as much as he should. I like Brad Boxberger, but I think Jake McGee is a better closer. Doesn't mean you don't appreciate what you see. But sometimes, being a fan can be a frustrating experience. Sometimes, being the fan next to him can be, too.

I see the football officials on the field, and they all wear those little headsets, which I'm guessing allows them to communicate with each other. Then someone throws a flag or something, and all of them run from wherever they are to gather together and discuss things. Why don't they just use the little headsets?

Cecil DeBald

Because they're all listening to Bruce Springsteen instead of each other.

Seriously, I laughed at your question. It's like commercial where the refs are talking about what to call, and the guy yells "your mike's on." Funny.

Here's another one. There is a flag, which to me, indicates a guy saw something. Right? Then the refs huddle, and they decide that there is no foul. What happened? Did the guy throw a flag without seeing anything? Did it sound like holding?

Of course, players can be funny, too. My favorite play in football is when a receiver is 15 yards open and drops the pass. On the way back to the huddle, the cornerback's teammates can't wait to high-five him. For what? Getting beaten by 15 yards?

More and more, I see a running back stopped, then the big offensive linemen come from behind and push the scrum down the field. When the running back finally falls that's where the ball is placed. But if the defensive team stops the scrum and starts pushing it up the field, the whistle blows and the runner gets his furthest down field progress. Why? Seems to me the defense should have as much right to push the scrum as the offense does. And I personally find the pushing of the scrum to be "offensive.''

Cecil DeBald

I think refs should be quicker with the whistle sometimes. I guess they're waiting for that rare play where the running back breaks free and rushes for yardage. But a lot of backs get hurt by a lineman coming in late, or a safety.

In general, I think ball-spotting is the most miscalled play in football. If you study where a back goes down, it's often a yard off from what the officials call.

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