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The future of Dirk Koetter

By Tom Jones
Published: December 18, 2017 Updated: December 18, 2017 at 05:25 PM
LOREN ELLIOTT | Times Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter is seen during the second half of an NFL game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017.

Three games. That's how many the Bucs have left. Can the same be said for Dirk Koetter's head coaching career?

The answer to that question might be determined by what happens in those three games.

If the Bucs lose the rest – and that is more likely than not – they would finish 4-12 on the season. That's ugly. Probably way too ugly for Koetter to survive.

If the Bucs win their last three – very unlikely at this point – they would finish 7-9. Not great. But decent enough that Koetter might survive that, especially if you want to throw in the idea that quarterback Jameis Winston was banged up for part of the season.

Here's the thing, however: won't Dirk Koetter be the exact same coach in three weeks as he is today regardless of how the Bucs finish? And isn't he the same guy who led the Bucs to a 9-7 record a year ago? The point being that the Glazers probably already have their minds made up about Koetter's future.

If they think he can't coach, he should be fired even if they win their last three. And if they believe he is the man for the job then the final three games, even if they are all lost, shouldn't change that belief.

My gut tells me that Koetter isn't going to come back because that same gut tells me that Tampa Bay will lose the final three games and 4-12 is awful no matter how you slice it.

It's not a great look to fire your coach every two years, but I get the sense that the Glazers don't care about those appearances. They care more about the appearances of losing records, missed postseasons and the idea that another coach other that can turn this thing around, give the franchise hope and sell tickets (not necessarily in that order).

Koetter is a good man and a good coach. I think the Bucs lack talent, especially on the both lines and especially on defense. They're losing games because of that, not bad coaching.

Nevertheless, Koetter is a long-shot to stay. But his odds might get slightly better if the Bucs figure out a way to beat Atlanta tonight.