The season is halfway over, but Dirk Koetter’s seat has been warm since late last year.
Koetter cooled his seat some when the team came out 2-0 and looked like the greatest show on turf. It cooled down even more after the firing of Mike Smith but then quickly heated back up following a close win against the Browns and a loss in two games that should have been fairly winnable.
Defense is the issue—has been the issue—and Koetter has allowed the team to suffer from it for far too long. He could get fired at the end of this season if the Buccaneers do not at least have an above .500 season or maybe even if he misses the playoffs.
If Koetter is fired, who do the Bucs replace him with?
I’ve seen all kinds of names tossed out there for possible replacements, from one of the Ryan brothers to one of the Harbaugh brothers to some far-fetched ones like Nick Saban, Bruce Arians, or even former FSU Heisman winner Charlie Ward to former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher. We tried for Cowher once before. Obviously I’d be ecstatic to have Bruce Arians or the better half of the Harbaugh brothers if the Bucs could talk him into leaving Michigan.
One name that was tossed at my feet is Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. There is a murmur going around that he is possibly interested in becoming a head coach. It wouldn’t be a bad idea.
There are plenty of guys out there who could fit the bill, like James Bettcher, who is currently the DC of the New York Giants. Now before you laugh, know that when Bruce Arians left Arizona that he highly recommended that Bettcher become his successor. Plus the Giants defense is significantly better than ours.
Then there is the Patriots’ OC Josh McDaniels, who for whatever reason screwed the Colts over. Maybe it’s because he thought the Colts stunk and wanted his first coaching gig to look better than his counterpart’s, Matt Patricia. Who knows? But I think if Tampa could work some magic and get McDaniels, it could be a good thing as well.
In my opinion, I think James Bettcher might just be the best fit. Many fans call for a guy who has a proven track record as an HC, but most do not take into account that it’s not just the HC but the coaches around him that make for a successful team. Bettcher has been the guy who has helped his HC be successful. He has also worked with Coach Buckner, so it would be business as usual. Plus James Bettcher is a bit of a disciplinarian, and the Bucs definitely need some discipline in their lives.
Another selling point for me is the fact that Bruce Arians highly recommended him as his successor. Most fans want Bruce Arians as the Bucs HC, but Arians made the statement that if he did return to coaching in the NFL that the Browns would be the team he would return for.