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DLT’s Doubloons – Dirk Koetter May Have Fired Himself

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost yet another winnable game, tumbling to 3-6 and essentially oblivion in the NFC South. To make the playoffs in the highly competitive NFC, Tampa Bay would likely need to win out. More than likely, the Bucs have a better shot at a top 5 pick and regime change.

Pieces of Eight

1) Washington is everything the Bucs are not. They have a pop gun offense, a solid defense and a running game. Tampa Bay has a normally potent offense, a crappy defense and no running game to speak of. Well, this week the Bucs got a good performance out of their defense and ran the ball better than expected against the 5th ranked defense against the run. It wasn’t enough for one reason only – Washington didn’t beat itself. The Bucs had every chance in the world to blow the doors off Washington but instead went an abysmal 0-for-5 in the red zone.

Well. That’s just great.

2) Dirk Koetter took away play calling from Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken, who has coordinated the greatest offense in Buccaneer history and the second-best offense in the league. The result? 3 points, the lowest output of the season by the Buccaneers and, as we mentioned, o-for-5 in the red zone, where the Bucs, coming into the game, were a decent 13th in the NFL with a 63.3% scoring percentage. When asked why he took back playcalling today, Koetter curtly answered, “My own reasons.”

Koetter has benched the team’s star quarterback for a 36-year-old journeyman. He fired the defensive coordinator and now he’s neutered the offensive coordinator, while his team has crashed and burned, losing six out of the last seven games.

Barring one of the greatest turnarounds we’ve seen in recent history, Dirk Koetter is dead man walking in Tampa Bay. It’s a shame, I liked Dirk, but he’s proven that he can’t be a head coach in the NFL. His decision to take over playcalling today may have cost his team the football game and any hope of salvaging the season.

3) The shame of it is the defense actually played pretty well today. Still no turnovers, which isn’t surprising against Alex Smith, who rarely turns it over, but the Bucs held Washington to just 16 points (3 of which Fitzpatrick gift-wrapped with an interception) and 286 yds of total offense. Heck, that’s usually a quarter of work for the Bucs defense.

4) When the story is written about the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s going to be about turnovers. Tampa Bay was -4 in turnovers yet again, bringing them to an eyepopping -19 on the season. The Bucs have a ways to match the 2017 Cleveland Browns, who were -28 (worst turnover ratio in the last decade), but at the rate they’re going, it won’t be long until they get there.

5) Look, it’s great that Fitz threw for 400 yds again. It doesn’t matter, really, does it? Not when you’re losing football games. The Fitzmagic is gone, folks and it’s time to get real. Fitz isn’t the future of the Buccaneers. Jameis Winston probably isn’t either, but Winston deserves one more shot to prove that he can be. Why? Well, this was the first time football was taken away from Winston for on-the-field performance. He was reckless because he never thought the team would bench him. Now that they have, perhaps Winston will finally get it. Or he won’t. Either way, the Bucs have to find out what they have and decide whether or not they need to invest in finding a quarterback next season or pay Winston the king’s ransom to keep him on the roster.

If Winston can turn it around, that gives the Bucs one more chip to perhaps attract a good general manager or coach (or both). Sitting on the bench isn’t going to solve that. Playing Fitzpatrick, who is at the end of his career won’t either.

Dirk Koetter needed to win games, that’s why Winston went to the bench and Fitz took over. They’re 0-2 since then. Would it have been any different with Winston? Who knows. What we do know is it didn’t work, the season’s just about over, time to put Jameis back in the lineup and see what we got.

6) It’s another painful game for Bucs fans to endure. Tampa Bay may have lost by two scores – but this game was theirs to be had. The defense playing well, the running game going strong. The Bucs rolling up and down the field. If the Bucs cashed in on just two of their five red zone opportunities yesterday, they’re 4-5 and perhaps still clinging to life. They failed and its another lost season in a decade of lost seasons for Tampa Bay. Bucs fans deserve better.

Frankly, I’m at the point where it’s time to start over again. I know, nobody wants to hear that. GM Jason Licht has had five years to build a playoff team in Tampa Bay, what he’s built is a historically bad defense and special teams and an offense that is potent, but has no running game and their offensive line is suspect. Oh, and there’s that pesky Quarterback problem. All Bucs fans want to see is winning football, like it was with Dungy and Gruden. They want playoff games and division titles. They want prime time games and big time showdowns. They don’t want to be the laughingstock any more.

I think the Gerald McCoy’s and Lavonte Davids have been here too long. I think the disease of losing has infected them. They accept it. It doesn’t kill them like it used to. You can see it tear apart guys like JPP and Vinny Curry, but Tampa Bay’s “leaders”, “Meh, just another season in the NFC South’s basement. Oh well, who’s the next coach?”

When I say clean house, I’m not just talking front office and coaching staff, I’m talking a roster purge, too. Now, of course, you keep your offensive weapons. Hell, that’s all you really have going for you. I’d keep JPP on defense. The rest of them? Send them packing. Trade them for picks.  And Jameis? Well, these last seven games are a referendum on his future with the Buccaneers.

7) When Jason Licht made Ryan Jensen, a one-year full starter in Baltimore, the highest paid center in the NFL, fellow GM’s eyebrows were raised. It was masterwork by Jensen’s agent, making the Bucs overpay because they suck and Jensen got himself a hell of a deal, but one he’s struggling mightily to live up to. Jensen isn’t a Pro Bowl player and lately, he’s played below average. Perhaps he’s nicked up or just isn’t feeling it but he’s not the guy the Bucs thought they were getting.

8) If Chandler Catanzaro isn’t cleaning out his locker tomorrow morning, GM Jason Licht should be cleaning out his desk. Period.

DLT’s Emotional Game Tweet of the Week

J.C. De La Torre

Want to give JC a piece of your mind? E-mail him at JC De La Torre is formerly a columnist/blogger for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blog site where in 2016, he was nominated as best sportswriter in Tampa Bay by Creative Loafing. Previously, he served as a featured columnist for Bleacher Report on Tampa Bay sports, an editor and featured columnist for SB Nation Tampa Bay covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Gators, wrote for’s Blog Blitz and contributed to Pewter Report, one of the top magazines on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. JC is also a filmmaker, comic writer and rabid Whovian.

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