Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Glazers were right to bring back Koetter and Licht

SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on prior to their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 23: Head coach Dirk Koetter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looks on prior to their NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

Speculation grew and grew during the 2017 NFL Season about Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach and general manager, and whether or not their jobs were safe towards the end of the year. But all of this was squashed before the final game as the team announced both would be back for 2018.

I don’t think one writer at the Pewter Plank called for the jobs of the two leaders of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization, but none of us necessarily felt comfortable about whether or not they’d be back either.

Outside of the argument surrounding the lack of consistency replacing a head coach just two years after bringing him in is based on, it would have been hard to defend Dirk Koetter.

His offense was stale for most of the season and defeated itself as defenses too often knew exactly what to expect from the Bucs.

The offensive line struggled for most of the season, especially in run blocking. When they got better in run blocking towards the end of the year, they got worse in pass protection.

Perhaps it was less about the talent up front though, and more about the defensive attack they had to face with and without an injured Jameis Winston.

Defense struggled as well. Sometimes even more so than the offense. On multiple occasions the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had late game leads just to see the opposing offense move down the field like air through a hula hoop.

Some questioned why Koetter and Jason Licht were brought back, and Joel Glazer gave the answer to Scott Reynolds of the Pewter Report.

"“Here’s what I know. I know up to the final whistle of the season and the final pass for a touchdown – our team was playing hard. That has something to do with the head coach.”"

There’s a lot said in those few sentences. Leadership is not something to be tossed aside just because things went poorly.

The 2017 roster never quit on their coaches. They had some frustrating moments, sure, and I’m certain not every player was exactly enamored with the news. How many of us work in a place where everyone loves the bosses? It’s natural.

But. Glazer is right, that the team never quit. If certain players did, they are almost certainly no longer a part of the franchise.

More from The Pewter Plank

Beyond being right, he and the organization are smart to recognize that as long as the team is moving towards an objective together, and as long as strides are being taken to improve, then there’s no reason to blow it up.

Going into a layer beyond the field though, it’s important to look at who came back to the locker room.

Mike Evans for one. Re-committed himself to the franchise which drafted him, well before any of his fellow receivers across the league could sign new deals and drive the asking price in his position through the roof.

He’s well payed of course, and it’s well deserved. But make no mistake about the fact Evans could have made more money by playing out his final year and forcing the team’s wallet open just a bit more in 2019.

Speaking of guys with wallet opening power, there’s Cameron Brate. The fourth-year tight end has gone from undrafted to being one of the top five or so players at his position. So why then, would he turn down the opportunity for a big pay day to go elsewhere and sign such a team friendly deal?

Brent Grimes. Here’s a guy who has nothing to prove to anyone. When the average length of a career is three years, Grimes has not only gone from Shippensburg University to the NFL field, he’s started. For a long time.

Had he hung it up, spent more time with his family, joined the Big3 basketball league, nobody would have blamed him. But he came back. And he came back to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Remember, he wasn’t under contract contemplating retirement. He was a completely free and unencumbered free-agent who could go anywhere in the NFL he wanted.

Those are just three examples. Why do all of those guys do what they did? Because they believe in what they’re doing in Tampa. And they aren’t ready to give up on it just yet.

Next: Derrius Guice Profile

Even when more money is around the corner, when there’s a first-round draft pick zeroing in on your starting job, or when you’ve made plenty of money already and could easily walk away with your health mostly intact.

This team has something left to accomplish, and they wanted to do it with the guys who started it. The guys who preached winning culture, who jumped in pools to celebrate victories, and the guys who have to know that simply playing to the final whistle is no longer the ceiling; it’s the floor.

"The host of the Locked on Browns podcast joined the guys at Locked on Bucs to make the first pick of LOB’s 2018 progressive mock draft!"

David Harrison is one of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Co-Experts for The Pewter Plank. You can reach him about this or any other NFL topic on Facebook, or on Twitter.