The Buccaneers have managed only two wins in seven games this year, losing five of their last six and currently four in a row. The situation prompted a caller to the Buccaneers Radio Network to ask coach Dirk Koetter whether a culture of losing possibly lingers in Tampa Bay.
“Well, that’s an excellent observation,” Koetter said in response, via JoeBucsFan.com. “And I thought, I thought that we kicked it last year, you know. I thought we were over that. We had an excellent offseason. We’ve got really good leadership from our players. So here we are. Here we are on this losing streak. And, you know, I don’t want to believe it’s culture; I really don’t. And I’m around these guys every day. But at the same time we have lost four in a row; you can’t hide from that. I want to believe that’s not what the reason is because we’ve worked very hard to overcome that.
“But until you overcome it consistently, and I’m a part of that, so I’m not trying to point a finger at anybody else. I’m a part of that, all the coaches are and the players are as well. I hope that’s not what it is, but I don’t have a steadfast answer as to what it is right now other than the one thing that definitely shows up on tape is we’re just not playing consistent enough across the board. . . . When we get back to playing good solid football in all three phases, I think the wins will come back.”
If the wins don’t come, Koetter’s candor could get ownership thinking about making big changes, because that’s what ownership in Tampa tends to do — especially when expectations surge but performance doesn’t.
Things won’t get easier down the stretch. Last week’s home loss to the Panthers was only the first NFC South game of the season for the Buccaneers, with a visit to the Saints coming on Sunday, two games against the Falcons, a trip to Carolina, and a visit from the Saints to end the season. And every one of those teams currently is demonstrating a culture of winning, since each one is over .500.
So at 2-5 it may be too late to turn the culture of losing in to a winning record for 2017. Which could make it too late for ownership to refrain from hiring what would be its fifth head coach in nine years.