Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter both spoke to the media at yesterday’s combine for about 15 minutes. Although there was nothing real newsworthy that came out of their media sessions, it was interesting to get a real feel from those guys about this Buccaneers team.
Jason Licht spoke first and touched on a variety of topics. One of the things that he said that got my attention was “We are close, very close”. Close to what? The Bucs are a lot closer to the bottom than they are the top right now. The 5-11 record was the fourth worst in the league The Bucs had a better record than the Browns, Giants, Colts, and Texans.
There were a lot of issues that caused the Bucs to go 5-11. Here are some numbers that Koetter talked about yesterday. The Bucs were 3-7 in games decided by seven points or less. The Bucs were 7th in the league in getting into the red zone, but 24th in scoring TD’s when in the red zone. Why was that?
Let’s start with the lack of a good running game and an offensive line that wasn’t physical and couldn’t run block very well. To win games the way Koetter manages the game, you need a solid run game. It was no surprise that Koetter said that RB is an area that will be focused on in the off-season. There was poor play calling, poor clock management, a litany of other issues that caused the Bucs to not be very successful in the red zone.
The Bucs were very good offensively between the 20’s, but then stalled in the red zone.
The shoulder injury to Jameis Winston, the injuries on defense especially the injury to Noah Spence their only true edge rusher were all contributing factors to the poor record.
I think Koetter is the only person in Tampa that really likes the OL the way it is now. He said as much when he said he thought the OL did a good job this last season. The Bucs will have to address the OL either in free agency or the draft. Jim Brown would not be a HOFer had he had to run behind a line like this his whole career.
Licht sounded surprised when he said they were looking at film after the season and realized that the pass rush and getting pressure on the QB was such a problem. Really? Do you not watch the game film every week and see where the issues might be that are an issue with the team?
Licht has said he has looked at a lot of film from defensive lineman in the last 2 months. He knows that this area is a huge area of opportunity for the Bucs and it is an area that I believe will get a major overhaul before the 2018 season.
I still think that edge rusher, DL, DB, RB, and OL are the positions that this team has to improve in to move on from that 5-11 record.
But remember Buc fans, we are close very close.