Tag Archives: Gerald McCoy

What Tampa Bay is Getting with Dirk Koetter, If He’s Named The Buccaneers Head Coach

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the only team to the play fast and loose with their head coaching position, but the Glazers have certainly made some eyebrow-raising moves since winning the Super Bowl with Jon Gruden thirteen years ago. It began with Gruden, currently ESPN’s color analyst for Monday Night Football, being shown the door after consecutive 9-7 seasons, and there’s been a folly of errors with the Bucs top job, including the questionable dismissal of Lovie Smith earlier this week.

The team’s improvement to 6-10, from 2-14 in Smith’s first season, apparently wasn’t enough, so the core of Gerald McCoy, Jameis Winston, and Mike Evans will get their marching orders from a new leader when mini-camps and OTAs begin later this year. We’ve heard rumors from the ridiculous to the absolutely reasonable, so you can rule out Alabama head coach Nick Saban, but there are other candidates not named Dirk Koetter interviewing for a job they like won’t be offered when it’s all said and done.

Say what you will about the Rooney Rule, I personally understand the spirit behind it, but I don’t feel the mandate for a minority candidate interview fulfills its purpose, nor do I feel its necessary, given how much we’ve evolved since Art Shell was hired in 19891Shell was the second African American Head Coach in professional football history, and the first since Fritz Pollard stopped coaching the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928. It’s difficult to put a name to this, and I don’t care to insult the man, but with Koetter being the in-house favorite, we’re going to label Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin as the Rooney Rule candidate.

It isn’t fair to Goodwin, available to interview during the Cardinals’ bye week, but all parties involved can get something out of this. Best case scenario, speaking to supporters of the Rooney Rule, Goodwin blows them away, and gets the job. Under this scenario, Koetter walks, which is something of a wash, because Goodwin will certainly want to be the architect of the offense, in his first steps away from the shadow of Bruce Arians, aka “The Quarterback Whisperer”. Bottom line: This is an interview Goodwin deserves, but many will see it as a farce, and only the ones in the room will ever really have a feel for how legitimate the process is.

Until Cam Newton started to make Riverboat Ron Rivera’s offense tick, the strength of Carolina’s game is what you see when the Panthers don’t have the football. Sean McDermott has been coordinating that defensive unit since 2011. Give him credit for knowing how to utilize Luke Kuchely, and how to disrupt in the trenches, his defense is the reason they sit on the 1-line in the NFC as we enter the playoffs. He’s a candidate, but he’d have his work cut out for him with the 7th-worst scoring defense in the game, and that was in Year 2 of Lovie Smith.2This is more about personnel. Gerald McCoy is great, but he doesn’t play around a lot of great talent…not yet.

I could get hit by a bus, but I’ll probably be home for dinner.

Barring a very genuine surprise, the former Arizona State head coach will be promoted by the Tampa Bay brass from Offensive Coordinator to Head Coach very soon, but they have to complete the process. Honestly, what does it hurt to talk to viable candidates, even when you’re 99% of the direction you want to go? In Jacksonville, Atlanta, and now Tampa Bay, Dirk Koetter has received a lot of praise for the way he calls an offensive game for whoever was featured on the Jaguars offense from 2007 to 2011, for Matt Ryan, and for the very talented Jameis Winston.

One area of concern remains; there’s a big difference between being the Skipper and the First mate. The Glazer family, Jason Licht, and everyone involved with this rumored decision to put Koetter in charge of the show are willing to make a leap that no has dared to attempt since failing to elevate the Arizona State over six seasons3Koetter was 40-34, and impossibly bad in the state of California against the four conference rivals who reside there.. Koetter put a few players in the NFL, most notably Terrell Suggs and Zach Miller, but the Sun Devil football program never could conquer the Pac-10 on his watch.

He may be another Norv Turner, a guy who is brilliant until he gets the big whistle and a challenge flag, but I have to commend the Buccaneers commitment to stability for Jameis Winston, even if you might want to denigrate them for pink-slipping Smith after two seasons, and just one with the services of Winston. After all, you usually hear about the head coach/quarterback tandem more than the chemistry between the signal caller and the OC.

You might hear conversations about Brady and Weis, McDaniels, and O’Brien, but none of them roll off the tongue like Brady & Belichick or Belichick & Brady do. Things tend to change over time. Maybe under the guidance of Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith, he understands the head coaching role better now, as well as the NFL game. There’s a precedent for that with the aforementioned Belichick. He didn’t get it done with the Browns, spent more time with Bill Parcells, and quickly took the Patriots to the promised land with his first second chance. I might believe Josh McDaniels was on the verge of that, but he’s got some work to do if he ends up in Nashville.

If any of these jobs were easy or “good”, there probably wouldn’t be vacancies, so they’re all difficult undertakings. Keep in mind, there are no exclusive rights to Koetter’s service, despite the Bucs being his current employer. He’s talking to San Francisco and perhaps Philadelphia, but probably isn’t the favorite to land either of those jobs. The move makes sense, and honestly, Goodwin and McDermott are logical targets, but potentially giving Jameis Winston the same voice for the foreseeable future carries a value that can’t be matched. Sun Devil fans won’t believe they’re watching the same guy when they see the pewter, orange, and red on their screen on Sundays.

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1. Shell was the second African American Head Coach in professional football history, and the first since Fritz Pollard stopped coaching the Chicago Black Hawks in 1928.
2. This is more about personnel. Gerald McCoy is great, but he doesn’t play around a lot of great talent…not yet.
3. Koetter was 40-34, and impossibly bad in the state of California against the four conference rivals who reside there.

Bridging the Gap: The Midweek Report, Week 8

It’s nice seeing a win. Or actually, I should say that it’s nice to see that the Browns won. Unfortunately, I had to spend the weekend working on a project in Washington DC, so I was unable to tune into the game and watch the Browns come out on top. On the bright side though, y’all will be spared my rambling about what went wrong, who I was disappointed with, and what needs to be improved looking forward. So instead I will just touch on a bit of other Browns news from the past few days, as well as give a short preview of this weekend’s game:

– The loss of Jordan Cameron (again) is big. But how big? While Gary Barnidge and Jim Dray have performed well when they have been targeted (5 catches for 54 yards on 8 targets and 9 catches on 11 targets for 118 yards and a touchdown, respectively), neither can really be considered a receiving tight end in the way that Cameron is. Although he has been relatively quiet and ineffective this season so far, his loss for the next game or two will have a significant impact on the offense. Brian Hoyer has been struggling over the past few weeks, and with no running game to lean on ever since the loss of Alex Mack, he has started to lean more heavily on Cameron. If the running game repeats last week (25 carries for 39 yards) against the Buccaneers on Sunday, then this game will be quite ugly for Cleveland. Although Andrew Hawkins has been playing well, Miles Austin has been consistently making key plays, and Taylor Gabriel has been out-performing everyone’s wildest expectations, an offense that expects to be successful and consistently move the chains while depending just on those three players is not at all realistic. The running game needs to step back up to early season form this week in order to make up for the absence of Cameron, otherwise a repeat of Jacksonville should be expected.

– Defensive Coordinator Jim O’Neill has instituted a really cool system in the Browns’ locker room. Each defensive player has been given a dog collar that hangs in their locker. For each “Play Like A Brown” play they make during a game, they are gifted a dog bone to hang from their collars. Now, I’m not quite sure what the heck a “Play Like A Brown” play is or means, but I love this idea. Being the overly competitive freak that I am, the idea of receiving some type of little reward to symbolize my dominance and success at whatever I am doing is beautiful. This type of system creates a lot of healthy competition among players in the locker room, as each tries to outplay and outdo the others in order to win a bone. Although systems like this could potentially be detrimental to a team’s on-field cooperation, the way this system is set up has the opposite effect. From my understanding, a “Play Like A Brown” play doesn’t only refer to things like sacks or forced turnovers, but also can refer to acts such as absorbing multiple blockers at the line of scrimmage or successfully disrupting the timing of a receiver and causing the quarterback to make a poor pass or decision. This kind of system¬†enhances the functionality of a squad by successfully incentivizing players to create opportunities for their teammates to make big plays and get the glory, thus making the team as a whole better. The other added benefit, at least in my eyes, of this system is that it gives players extra reason to play hard even when they are comfortably ahead in a game and have room to relax a little. Similarly, it incentivizes players to continue to give it their all even when the came seems out of reach, helping create the opportunities for comebacks like the one that occurred against the Tennessee Titans. Basically, what I am trying to say here is props to O’Neill for coming up with a brilliant and simple system to keep his players invested in playing well.

– As for this week, the Browns face a third bottom-dweller in a row. With injuries really hindering them right now, this is quite fortunate for the Browns. Sitting only one game out of first place in the division, this game is a must win for the Browns, and realistically it is one that they can and should take. The Buccaneers have been spectacularly bad this year, with what was lauded as a talented defense falling disgustingly short of expectations. Lavonte David has been playing very well, already having racked up 80 tackles on the year, while Gerald McCoy has also been performing at a high level. But two players do not make a defense, and there have been times where it has appeared that they were the only two actually on the field. Unfortunately for them, their offense has been nearly as poor as their defense, with the passing unit ranked 28th this year while the ground attack is 29th. Doug Martin has been a non-factor this year, and Vincent Jackson has been disappointing all season as well. The Browns defense should be able to continue to come up with turnovers this week, and a weakened offense should be able to do enough against a poor defense to give the Browns the victory this week:

Prediction: Browns 27 – Bucs 13