The Buccaneers seemed to be primed for success this year. The team addressed issues on both sides of the ball, but injuries plagued the team early on. However, the lesson of this season is a continuation of that from previous seasons—the team is not able to overcome in close games.
The Buccaneers falter again with poor clock management, being too conservative in later halves of the game, missing kicks, and mishandling play-calling, likely causing the end for Dirk Koetter. Koetter gave up play-calling to his offensive coordinator Todd Monken and Mark Duffner for the defense, but he is the head coach with the final say, and adjustments have to be made.
The issue with losing close games does not fall squarely on the shoulders of the coaches. It boils down to the players themselves. The team is just that, a team. It falls on them all. The debacle at kicker has been one of the main causes of defeat in recent years, and miscues and misreads by the quarterbacks have been another. Can’t turn the ball over when driving down the field, nor can you overthrow your targets when trying to come back in a game or hold on to a lead.
Calling a run play when you should have passed or vice versa, or not challenging when you should have or challenging when you shouldn’t have, all boils down to coaching. The coaches need to be held accountable, and considering it’s the head coach’s job, he should be held accountable the most. In this case, he should be fired.
The Buccaneers have formed a pattern of losing when it comes to close games. They’ve lost more than won over the past ten or so seasons, the reason five head coaches have been fired aside from Jon Gruden, who left with a 9-7 record.