This past week, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the relationship between Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston and head coach Dirk Koetter was not doing well.
On Friday, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken commented on the report. In his press conference, Monken stated,
"“I’ve been here almost two years, and from a coach (and) player relationship I have never seen anything close to what’s being talked about between our head coach and our quarterback. Not one thing.”"
He went on to draw parallels from his own coaching experience, personal relationships, etc.
Basically, his overall statement was every relationship is going to have moments or multiple moments of turmoil.
And he’s correct. I’ll stop short of saying he chastised the media members in the room, but he did follow up his comments by saying,
"“Holy cow, News Flash, we’ve got a strain in the relationship…That is a flat out joke that, that even becomes news.”"
Coach Monken was visibly upset by the situation, and understandably frustrated by the reports which have certainly only added to the stresses being experienced throughout the Buccaneers organization.
However, I had two fundamental issues with his reaction and approach to the report.
First, and yes this is going to sound biased, the media which reported this story in the first place was not in a room.
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Again, I stop short of saying he came at the media in the room. Reporters like Jenna Laine, and from what I can deduce through Twitter feeds, Trevor Sikkema and Greg Auman among others.
None of these names are the one who reported the strain we’ve been talking about. So to make comments to them about the news being a “joke”, is misplaced at best. If a national media member, especially one as established as Rapoport is reporting something like this, then beat writers certainly have a duty to follow up on it. Which they did, and are doing.
I understand frustration, but maybe place it where it’s deserved.
This moves me on to Mr. Rapoport himself. And why this is news. It’s not a joke. In fact, it’s very serious. When a report like this reaches these levels of media without being heard by local reporters first, it means something.
Someone is trying to get a message out. Now, we can speculate all day. Maybe it was Jameis Winston’s agent who is unhappy about how his client was supported during his injured period. A focus of Rapoport’s report.
Maybe it was a teammate who just felt like a change is needed, and a report like this certainly doesn’t help Koetter’s chances of being retained.
It may even have been a staff member who simply sees disfunction above normal levels, and for much of the same reasons as a teammate might do so, decided it needed to be aired out. Force the subject, so to speak.
Common sense says this: Of course, every relationship has strain. My own Wife and I have argued about finances, decisions impacting our children, and even my career moves. However, not every relationship reaches disfunction. Rapoport’s comments speak to disfunction, and a nationally recognized insider isn’t going to fabricate such a story for no reason. He’s got 32 teams’ worth of news to talk about. He doesn’t need the ratings bad enough. This came from someone, for a reason. Not saying Monken should be happy about the reasons, but he can’t discount the validity of the news-worthiness surrounding disfunction between a franchise quarterback and offensive minded head coach.
I have nothing but respect for coach Monken, and in my mind have tried to fathom scenarios where he is retained even if coach Koetter is fired at the end of this season.
However, in this case while I respect his coming out and giving his take on the situation, my own take is very much different than his.
"Speaking of frustrations! O.J. Howard was interviewed for the Locked on Bucs podcast about his rookie season, and more!"