Ask Gary: Did Bucs influence firing of Hayes?

by Gary Shelton on February 17, 2018 · 2 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays

Each week, the readers take over and play Ask Gary. They send in a question, or a couple, on Thursday night or Friday morning 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, 4 a.m.

How much stock do you put in reports that the reason the Bucs fired their defensive line coach was due to requests from the players? Why else would they wait so long to make a move like that? Is this another sign of dysfunction with the Bucs leadership?

Larry Beller

I certainly hope that Koetter wouldn't dismiss a coach without checking with his players as to what they thought of his job. Not that he would have to agree, but the defensive linemen of the Bucs -- while of mediocre talent -- have some of the best minds on the team. We're talking Gerald McCoy and Robert Ayers and Clinton McDonald. Even Chris Baker has spent some time in the league.

 Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

All players go through exit interviews. I would assume that the players discussed it with Koetter-Licht, and those two felt it was time for a change. Koetter has been close to Jay Hayes for a long time. I'm sure he didn't go willy-nilly with the firing.

That said, Koetter's job is to advance the Bucs. If he sees a coach who is underperforming, he has the same responsibility as when a player is underperforming. Things change, or the people are changed.

Koetter had the choice of making excuses (injuries, etc.) for Hayes, or starting over. Most NFL staffs have had change this year. Why shouldn't the Bucs?

I didn't see it as a sign of dysfunction. I saw it as just the opposite. Someone was held to  a standard. It's about time.

It looks like a close race between Alex Cobb and Yu Darvish, who just signed with the Cubs.  If Yu is getting $126 million, Alex should get a least a $100 million. BTW, how can Alex go 12-10 with a WAR of 2.3 while Yu goes 10-12 with a WAR of 3.8?

Alex Cobb (age 30)

                   WAR          W       L       ERA    GS       IP        SO     Whip

2017                 2.3           12        10        3.66       29       179.1      138     1.221

Career            10.8          48        35        3.50     115       700        570     1.217      

Yu Darvish      (age 31)

2017                 3.8           12        10      3.85         31        186.2     209      1.163                       

Career.           19.4          56.      42.     3.42     131       832.1    1,028   1.170

Scott Myers

The WAR stat is a hotly contested one even among baseball statisticians. There are two grades for it. What other statistic has two different interpretations. Thirty home runs in one place is 30 in another, right? But not with WAR.
At it's best, WAR is a reflection of all the things that make a player better than an average replacement. But it doesn't always work out for each individual.
I do know this. Cobb should hire you as his agent immediately.
I read that the "new" subscription-based blog, The Athletic, has the goal of replacing the local newspaper sports page, at least in the cities they are targeting, hiring the best sports writers away from those papers. In an interview, the founder (I think...) sounded like a very predatory person. Your thoughts on how it will do - will it become a major national presence, or like Bleacher Report be snatched up by a bigger media fish and end up just another advertising-based sports blog?

Cecil DeBald

I applaud them, and I wish them well. I have some friends who have signed on in their markets.

I'm going to wait and see, though. A lot of online sites just haven't been able to generate the income to keep paying top dollar. The temptation is to skim, to send one reporter when you really need two, to make sure your staff is at the big events that you could cover (less efficiently) instead of using the wire services.

I think the website is fighting an uphill battle, though (some uphill battles have been won). On a big day at the Bucs, for instance, the newspaper can send three, four even fight writers. I don't know that a website is going to be able to do that.

I remember The National. They truly had an all-star staff, and they couldn't make it. Of course, they had production costs. I was flirted with by the paper at the end of its run, but it was great reading. I'm just concerned that The Athletic won't be able to match the numbers. In Chicago, for instance, the Bears are still a big enough deal to draw 4-5 writers from the Tribune, 4-5 from the Sun-Times and several from outlying areas.

I'll say this, though. I think the future is online. You can bypass the time it takes to print the paper and to deliver it. You can work later on a start and get it to the readers earlier. That's pretty good.

A lot of it will depend on how much money the founders wish to spend, and how many people they have on the ground.

I still think it's better than Bleacher Report, where the reporters have often never been to a game they're writing about. I think I've told the story before; one of their Bucs' writers lived in Belgium. I don't know what insight someone in Belgium can have on a local team.

With Dale Earnhardt Jr. retired and the Daytona 500 here, who is going to be the next face of NASCAR?

Peter Kerasotis

I don't know his name, but he drives a white Kia, and every morning, he cuts me off on the way to the interstate. He drives like he's auditioning to be the next Earnhardt, so I'll give him his due. What a disappointment if he's only driving to the 7-11.

Heck, Pete, I don't know. It reminds me of golf. There is a lot of young talent out there, but the guys will separate themselves with performance. I've read about Chase Elliott, and he has all the ingredients that Earnhardt had (the son of a popular driver, good personality, etc.) But he has to win.

I've read the lines of Kyle Larson and Rylan Blaney, too.

We do know this. There will be someone. There was when Michael Jordan left, and when Joe Montana left, and when Derek Jeter left. There are always stars who will show us their charisma and the way they handle both winning and losing.

Maybe it'll be you. Do you drive a Kia?

(Peter is a long time Florida sports columnist, a buddy of mine, and the author of several books. His latest is Felipe Alou My Baseball Journey is scheduled to be released on April 1. He'd grin if you bought one.)

As always, I'm looking forward to the Masters (as always, I didn't win the lotto for a ticket) so here is a two-part question to get my juices flowing - of those that have never won a Masters, who has the best shot this year? And, I believe you covered the Masters for years, what memories immediately surface when you think about Augusta in April?

Cecil DeBald

Don't you have to start with Dustin Johnson, who is ranked No. 1 in the world and is a betting co-favorite with Justin Spieth?

Justin Thomas is worth watching. He won the PGA, and he went to Alabama, so there is the possibility of a Nick Saban sidebar.

There is a lot of talent on the PGA Tour. Enough so that you could pick 10 names, and none of them might win it.

If I had to guess, though, I think that it's about time Rory McElroy won this darned thing. He'd look good in green, right?

I am not a particular fan of replays and reviews; that said, I’m not a particular fan of hugely blown calls, either. I don’t think an MLB runner that reaches a bag safely is out because the fielder holds the ball to his leg hoping, for an instant, that both feet are in the air – something that can only to be seen in ultra-high definition slow-mo. I don’t think an NFL receiver didn’t make a catch because that same ultra-high definition slow-mo saw the ball shift slightly. For goodness sakes, we let MLB umpires call balls on pitches right down the center of the plate, NFL referees call penalties on phantom holds - and all that is ok evidently. Makes no sense to me. The PGA has done away with viewers calling in about violations that can only be seen on high definition slow-mo – I think MLB and the NFL should refuse to allow high definition slow-mo to be used in their reviews – review the plays as they occurred in real time, overturn if it’s obviously a blown call. Your thoughts?

 Cecil DeBald

In the first go-round of instant replay and the NFL, I covered a Miami-Dallas game where it seemed the officials were trying to make a point that replay was silly. They stopped for replay, like, 14 times, and 12 of them were to spot the ball. You're kidding, right?

But that's the thing about replay. We all want it to be an appeals court so a controversial call at least gets another viewing, but we don't want it to be about the tacky-tacky rules. like whether someone came an eighth-of-an inch off of the bag.

I think a lot of that will sort itself out. Runners will get used to hanging onto the bag longer. Umps will get better and what is blocking the plate and what isn't. Personally, pass interference boggles my mind. You could call it on so many big plays, and then the officials call the smallest nudge. But on a penalty that can be most of the field, why isn't it reviewable? It's a crucial play.

Don Shula used to say this: The NFL can't do away with replay. TV is always going to show it. So what the league can do is use the replay, rather than argue about it, to make calls right.

I know this: When I grew up, there were the darnedest arguments. Did Franco catch the ball, or did a teammate touch it? Did Drew Pearson push off or not. These days, those calls aren't argued as loudly as they used to be. Even when an official misses a call -- like the Eagles' throwback to Nick Foles in the Super Bowl -- people seem to think they've at least had their protest heard. It doesn't make losing easier, but it makes it seem somehow fairer.

All in all, I'll suffer the tacky-tack to get justice. But I don't have to like the small stuff, do I?.




{ 0 comments… read it below or Subscriptions }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: