By: Azarr Johnson
Okay, so not that it is confirmed that Jameis Winston is suspended for the first three games of the season, but what is shocking to me is that out of all the criticism, the Buccaneers are seeming to be looked upon as the victims of this whole situation. When in fact they are part of the problem and it is more deeper than them with Winston. Now I’m not excusing Winston for his behavior, but maybe if they would have kept effective leadership, i.e. Lovie Smith, this may not have happened. When he was around, you never heard of this type of behavior being displayed by Winston, even though he was known for it coming out of college. Now with ineffective leadership clearly, Winston’s past behavior is rearing its ugly head again.
This is not the first time they have an effective leader as a coach and the controversial situation around them because of the leadership they chose to go with. I could go as far back as when they fired Tony Dungy because because he could only get them so far in the playoffs and hired John Gruden to get them over the hump and take credit for winning the Superbowl with Dungy’s team; something he never achieved in Oakland. At first Gruden’s hiring seemed like the right move, but as the team went on and fast, as in just one season, we saw leadership be ineffective, which regardless what you want to say about Dungy, we never saw that. You saw some players come back not as focused, the qb situation became a carousel like when he was in Philly, destroying Randall Cunningham’s career and not to mention the lack of respect, like when Keyshawn blew up at him on the sidelines and had to be suspended from the team for the rest of the season. Once Tampa finally realized that the Gruden train was going nowhere, they replaced him with a college coach, by the name of Greg Schiano. Once again a promising coach that had much success in college and seemed like a good fit and had a franchise quarter back by the name of Josh Freeman, who was going to be the face of the franchise for many years, sound like a familiar story. Exactly, Freeman and Schiano did not pan out at all, he ended benching Freeman and reportedly lost the team. Now with no franchise quarter back and a coach that has once again set the franchise back by not only benching the starter, but also losing the team.
So what do the Bucs do? They go back to the coaching roots, that helped them turned their graveyard franchise around, they hire former Dungy assistant and former Bears coach who led them to a Superbowl, Lovie Smith. This hiring seemed like the Buccaneers finally realized that they needed to go back to what got them to where they use to be. Only this time, Smith, unlike the previous coaches, did not have a franchise type of quarterback, to run his team and it showed in their record, as he finished 2-14. So the Bucs, learning from their lesson, or so we thought, drafted a franchise quarter back in Jameis Winston. The turnaround was imminent and they improved to 6-10. Things were looking up. They were starting to look like the young and upcoming team, when Dungy was coaching. For whatever reason, like a cheating girlfriend or boyfriend that gets taken back. The Buccaneers organization seems to not learn their lesson form the previous mistakes in choices that they make.
With the great job that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter did with the development of Winston, he was catching a lot of attention from other teams and was being sought after for coaching vacancies. So what do the Buccaneers organization do? They panic and fire Lovie Smith. And replace him with the up and coming sought after coordinator in Dirk Koetter. Sound familiar yet? Uh huh. The Bucs don’t stop there though. Once again it looks like a great move, as they finish the season 9-7. Then reality hit them again and it not only hit them hard, but like most of their coaching decisions, it made there organization look ineffective. After being chosen as one of the teams on the rise with playoff aspirations (and not to mention all the work they put into the off season building this team for success), they once again backslid to 5-11, and at the bottom of there division I might add.
Now once again the Bucs organization is going to have to figure out what to do with their franchise quarterback, who is clearly going have to check himself at the door when he returns to the team. And figure out if Koetter is the right coach that they think he is for the job, regardless if Winston is the future or not. Only time will tell. Stay tuned!