Buccaneers news says plenty about what was going on behind the scenes

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The headline is that Dirk Koetter will return for the Buccaneers in 2018. The clear implication is that Jon Gruden won’t be returning to the Buccaneers in 2018.

Between the lines, there’s a lot more intrigue than that.

The news, as leaked by the Buccaneers to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times late Friday afternoon, is that ownership decided — on Friday afternoon — to stick with Koetter. They didn’t decide it yesterday or last week or last month; it wasn’t a no brainer. The Glazer family specifically and affirmatively came together and decided — on Friday afternoon — to stay the course.

So what happened to cause the Buccaneers to decide on Friday afternoon to keep Koetter? Based on the fact that they often know who they’ll hire before they fire their current coach, it’s very fair to speculate that they were talking to someone else (Gruden) and that, for whatever reason, the talks fell apart.

The next question is whether the talks can un-fall apart. The fact that the Buccaneers  gave Koetter a private assurance means not all that much. If whatever it was that caused Plan A to crater puts Plan A back on the front burner, the Buccaneers can still move on from Koetter, if they so choose.

What’s that, you say? That’s no way to treat a coach? Frankly, the Bucs haven’t shed many tears over potential bad looks in the past. They lined up Raheem Morris before firing Gruden in 2009, and many still believe that the Koetter-for-Lovie Smith maneuver from early 2016 was calculated, too.

If, in the end, they tell Koetter he’s returning and then out of the blue they fire him and interview a few candidates and hire Gruden, what will be the consequence? The end result will be Gruden as the head coach of the team, and that will go a long way toward getting any unhappy fans to get over the fact that Koetter was lied to.

If, in the end, Koetter stays, the fact that his status for 2018 wasn’t decided until two days before the last game of the season puts him firmly on the hot seat for next year.

18 responses to “Buccaneers news says plenty about what was going on behind the scenes

  1. Really, really poor decision if they stick with this guy. He couldn’t even coach a high school class. Horshack or Barbarino would eat him up.

  2. In my personal opinion ( not a bucs fan ) I don’t think Koetter is a great coach, but did anyone watch Jason Licht during Hard Knocks? the guy comes off as a pompous man child. He literally threw a temper tantrum and cussed out Jeremy McNichols because the kid saw a better situation for himself in San Fran. And his behavior in general is not how a 40 year old general manager in the NFL should conduct himself. The Bucs have a culture problem and everything starts from the top.

  3. I agree with all of this. Gruden would ONLY come back to coaching if it’s the Bucs. He has a great gig and lives in Tampa. Either he was never really interested in coaching again or talks fell through.

    Keep in mind, the Bucs have been burned before. Bill Parcells and Chip Kelly both left the bucs at the altar. The Glazers probably insisted that Gruden absolutely commit to a long term deal before canning Koetter, and Chucky balked.

    For what it’s worth, I think sticking with Koetter is their best move. If the Bucs falter in 2018, Gruden will still be available. He’s not coaching anywhere else.

  4. “… the fact that his status for 2018 wasn’t decided until two days before the last game of the season puts him firmly on the hot seat for next year.”

    Is the HC’s seat in Tampa ever less than uncomfortably warm?

  5. .
    There’s no shortage of people in Tampa who were very disappointed in the Bucs performance this year. However, it’s simply not true that fans are clamoring for John Gruden to return to the scene of the trainwreck he left behind. People may want change but the only ones screaming for Gruden are his media allies.

    Teams hiring capable assistants last year , such as the Rams, Bills, 49ers, Eagles, Jaguars and the Chargers have excelled. Why pass over coaches with their finger on the pulse of the game for some has been who’s been out of the league for nearly a decade?

  6. Timing is everything. Just last weekend Gruden was “mingling” with Raiders brass prepping for the Monday night game. Hmmmm

  7. The fans care a lot more about winning than a lot of owners do. That’s the sad truth. It I were a player being asked to play with an injury, I’d just laugh in their face. I think the comments by Eric Dickerson last year might have been what pushed Jeff Fisher out the door, and we see how that turned out. I wonder if there are any ex-Bucs players who feel as strongly about winning as Dickerson.

  8. Whats Grudens deal with espn? He still have an out if he heads back to the sideline? Or could he possibly be a salary dump, ala Jaws? Makes me wonder with all this recent chatter if he’s wondering about job security.

  9. The fact that the Buccaneers gave Koetter a private assurance means not all that much.
    Maybe to you, but that speaks more towards your low expectations from others or your personal values when it comes to business deals such as this. For me, that attitude is unacceptable. When I say something like that, I keep my word and expect others to do the same. Maybe that’s naive and maybe that makes me vulnerable to shady actions from those I choose to do business with, but I wouldn’t be happy treating someone that way…and I can control it somewhat by not entering into business with someone I believe to be unscrupulous.

  10. So the other 3 NFC south teams should be grateful for the Bucs padding their stats in 2018 giving each of them 2 free wins each… Same predictable HC and same sketchy turn-over machine – same results… Some teams are just “homecoming” teams…

  11. This is nothing more than a trial balloon by the Glazers to see if the Buc fan base revolts. Watch the game – if the seats are empty the leaked story will be worth nothing and Koetter will be gone. If the fans show up, Koetter is safe for another year. Gruden probably leveraged what he wanted out of ESPN and inflated his salary demands to get the Bucs to balk.

  12. I dont think Gruden was ever going to be the new coach of the Bucs. I think all the talk of him coming to Tampa came from Grudens camp. Bucs aren’t going to reverse their direction. If they do, shows that the Glazers dont know what they are doing…. I think Gruden is going to Oakland.

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