After the departure of now former HC Dirk Koetter and the rumors of Bruce Arians landing the gig, excitement in the Tampa Bay area seemingly increased by the day. Now since his hire became official and his staff in place, there has been an electric quality apparent throughout the organization and the fan base. Some are even murmuring that this team could be above .500 this year, and possibly even secure a playoff spot ending a more than decade long drought. That said don’t expect it. It would be wise to not expect the Arians hire to translate to wins in 2019. As it may not be that simple, and they may be a sub .500 team for at least another season.
If the key to answering the Bucs losing ways was to simply switch head coaches, then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would have been back to their winning a while ago, and maybe they would have even brought another Lombardi back to Tampa Bay. It hasn’t though, and the coaching decisions have turned out to be down right terrible. Going just 55-105 from 2009-2018. In fact, every head coach fired after Jon Gruden has not been given another crack at a head coaching gig in the NFL once they were dismissed by the Bucs. Let’s take a look at where these previous head coaches are at now:
-Raheem Morris: A young coach who was promoted too quickly in 2009, is now a the WR coach in Atlanta with the courtesy “assistant head coach” title attached.
-Greg Schiano: The authoritarian coach who brought discipline to Tampa Bay in 2012, has spent the last few seasons as the DC for Ohio State. Currently, he is sniffing around for an assistant coaching job in the NFL.
-Lovie Smith: A coach that was brought in to maybe squeeze out any leftover Tony Dungy magic when he was on his coaching staff in Tampa, came up empty-handed. After his dismissal, he became the HC in the NCAA at Illinois. Smith has won 9 games in three years there.
-Dirk Koetter: Promoted to secure the development of QB Jameis Winston, is now the OC for the Atlanta Falcons. Note he was not given any HC interviews with clubs that had vacancies.
After 10 years of bad head coaching decisions, have come a slew of issues that will take time to move on from. After bad GM decisions in free agency for so many years, bad personnel, even worse coaching staffs (i.e. DC Mike Smith), and a cemented losing culture will take time to reverse. Yes even with Bruce Arians at the helm.
The good news is that the Bucs front office made a good decision in hiring Arians, and have a competent coaching staff that should be able to get the most out of their players. Even more good news, you will have Arians in GM Jason Licht’s ear throughout free agency and the draft. The biggest blockade to winning though is the culture, and that will take time to change. The front office will have to let Arians change the culture at every level of the organization. From the field, to the executive offices, to the lunch room, and even the receptionist desk. Without a doubt there are quality people who work for the Buccaneers organization, but they are accustomed to a losing culture. That culture is starting to be shaken to its core.
That said it will take time. So temper the expectations, and slow down on the “p” word. As it is very probable that the Bucs will be bottom dwellers in the league again this year. Hopefully that is not the case for this Tampa Bay squad, and they have their first winning season that cultivates a playoff berth for a first in a long time. As this organization is far overdue, and the city has waited patiently for it. Building a winning unit takes time though, and will take a season, two, or three. For now though the brand new Bruce Arians regime has brought optimism that better days are ahead for the Bucs. Let’s see if that translates to wins once the regular season starts.