The 2017 season is about to come to an end for the Bucs as they will conclude their season at home against the Saints tomorrow. It looks likely they will finish with an record of 4-12 which is disappointing as we all thought this year was going to be different. Anytime a losing season occurs usually firings take place whether it be players or coaches especially come of an 9-7 finish the year before. Yesterday, we found out that the Bucs will be retaining HC Dirk Koetter for the 2018 season per Rick Stroud of the tampa bay times. This was surprising news to me due to what was being reported during this month and surely thought another staff change was on the way. There still could be changes coming to the staff especially on the defensive side and perhaps even at OL coach. However, i thought the head coach should have been dismissed, let’s talk about why i believe this.
- Red Zone Offense continues to be a hot mess
Yards are great, but this league is about points and to score points it comes down to red zone offense. Since Dirk Koetter has arrived this has been an issue and has shown no signs of improving during his tenure. His offense is designed for explosive plays which is great when they are made, but the offense fails to adapt when inside the 20. Play creativity and design is lacking when this offense gets inside the 20, which is needed when space becomes less and things get tighter. Use of slants, rub route concepts, draws, inside runs, and RPO plays usually are effective but that is rare to see for some reason. Yes execution of called play is important but this has been occurring for three years, coaching needs to be accountable too.
- Slow Starts on both sides of the ball
If it seems like the Bucs are always playing from behind, well it’s because they are. This year they have been terrible in the first half of games. Unfortunately its not just one side of the ball, the Vikings and Cardinals games come to mind where the team looked completely lost and couldn’t do anything right. This has happened way too often this season where the offense does absolutely nothing in first halves of games or the defense doesn’t show up at all. A coaches job is to make sure their players are prepared and ready to play. However, fast starts and execution continue to avoid this team for some reason. Points in the first half this year was way too scarce, and trying to win the second half each game is tough to ask for any team hence the close losses.
- No Scheming done to hide weakness
So probably the Bucs biggest weakness was in the trenches on both sides of the ball which is another reason for a 4-12 finish. However, good coaches find ways to hide their weakness and for whatever reason that was missing this season. On offense you know you have weak O-line, but its okay we will still call deep pass plays to leave our franchise QB to get hit and hurt(which happened). Instead a quick passing game along with more of a commitment to the ground game could have been called, but the force of going for explosive plays continued to be issued. Our Qb is good outside the pocket, but lets not have designed plays to get him out there more frequently, it just doesn’t make sense. Now on the other side, the staff knows they lack a consistent pass rush but lets continue to play cover 3 and 4 in hopes something changes. Instead a more aggressive defense with more blitzing and press man coverage could have been called. It’s mind boggling that this staff did the same things week in week out knowing the weakness at hand, and yes you can say they tried to adjust but still unacceptable.
I could point to other things like poor game management, player rotations, not putting players in best position to succeed, but the points above is why I thought changes would be made at head coach. I just don’t see the direction this team is taking as there is no identity on both sides of the ball which leads to inconsistency on the field. Now granted, I see the point of having stability which the Bucs have lacked, but if Koetter is not the right coach then why waste time. Wait what about all the injuries, 16 straight games, poor o-line play, no run game, no pass rush, and all of that probably plays a part in why Koetter is returning for 2018. However, I just don’t see where the changes are going to be made and all of sudden Koetter is going figure out the answers. Let me be clear in that I hope i am wrong and that Koetter and this staff figure out what needs to be done to get this team to where it needs to go. I’m afraid though that right now it looks unlikely based on what has been shown during his tenure here. Here is a play that sums it up for me.
— RealBucsTalk (@RealBucsTalk) November 29, 2017