The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to establish a winning culture. How do they go about that?
Establishing a winning culture is key to being successful as an organization. Surrounding yourself with people who inspire other people is the beginning of a winning culture. Having motivation, high expectations and always having a positive attitude, it’s about everyone putting it all on the line to win.
When Jameis Winston came to Tampa, he once said “This team needs to expect to win every week and not hope to win”.
In the 2015 season finale, the Bucs were 6-6, lost 4 straight games to finish 6-10, Winston said “ It seems like the coaches want to win more than the players”.
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The Patriots and Steelers are examples of consistent winners. How is it that the Bucs have been the 2nd worst team in the NFL for a decade? How can losing linger for so long? Successful franchises have clear expectations. They inhale success, winning is everything to these organizations. If you don’t do it the “Patriot way” or the “Steelers way”, you’re not going to be there long, plain and simple. I don’t get that same feeling when players walk into the Buccaneers organization. It seems as if it has the opposite affect, they get caught up in continued losing and it remains status quo.
The ones who want to win, are always outnumbered by those who are just content with getting a paycheck. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to find new ways to lose week in and week out. This organization knows how to lose more than they know how to win.
Losing is like the plague, when one is infected, all are infected. The issue in Tampa seems to be that many are just accustomed to losing. The Bucs need a culture change and they need it now.
It’s An Uphill Battle
Changing the culture of a football team isn’t easy. The team has to have the right people and the right message. The culture doesn’t change with a simple snap of the fingers. Just because you have it one year, doesn’t mean it will carry over the next year. A comment made by head coach Dirk Koetter really struck me. Last year, when Koetter was asked about building a winning culture, his response was “I didn’t think we needed to work on it this year because we had that established last year”.
The NFL has a high turnover rate. Coaches need to be concerned with establishing a winning mentality from OTA’s. As we saw last year, it only takes one player to infect the culture in a locker room.
One of many reasons why Dirk Koetter will be fired was his failure to change the culture in his three years as a head coach in Tampa Bay.
Was Dirk Koetter Head Coach Material
Koetter doesn’t have the personality of an NFL head coach. Teams generally take on the personality of their head coach. A head coach doesn’t repeatedly tell the media, fans and his players, that he has no answers for why they continue to lose. His infamous saying is “ if I knew how to fix it I’d snap my fingers right now and fix it”. As a leader, when things don’t go the way you expected, you need to have a different approach. Whether that’s the way you practice, watch film, come up with game plans, etc…
Another thing I notice about Koetter is he always looks dejected after a game. It’s like he’s 8 years old and he just found out his dog just died. Losing gets the better of our emotions, but as a leader, how you deal with those emotions is important. You should use those emotions to rally your team. Koetter allows his emotions to get the best of him. You see it have a negative effect on the team.
Yet, another extremely important thing for a leader to do to change the culture is to listen to the feedback of those around him. Earlier this season, before the bye week, Koetter asked his players to give feedback on areas they can improve as an organization. That’s a positive and I will say all coaches should follow suit. The problem comes when you don’t act on the feedback received. Now we don’t know what feedback was received, however, I can almost guarantee Mike Smith’s name had to be the topic of discussion. This defense wasn’t buying what Smith was selling. Smith wanted players to fit his scheme rather than fit the scheme to the strengths of the players. Ultimately, about 2 weeks after the feedback, he fired Smith, but by that time Koetter was a day late and a dollar short.
What does it look like?
A perfect example of culture change, would be what Duffner has done with this defense. During the last 8 weeks that’s he has been in charge, the defense has improved. The defense went from being the worst in almost every category, to being one of the best over that time span.
Koetter is a good offensive coordinator, but is not fit to be a head coach. Maybe the time he spent in Tampa will help him to become a more well rounded head coach. His failure to act during the defensive struggles helped lead to his demise. As a head coach, you are responsible for the entire team (offense, special teams and defense), not just what you know best (offense).
So how do the Bucs change the culture? One thing is for sure, finding the right guy will go a long way. We all expect Koetter to be fired after the season finale against the Atlanta Falcons. Whomever is heading the organization has to bring the right message that’s going to inspire, motivate and show the Bucs what it takes to win in the NFL.
So who is that guy? The Bucs finding a way to lure John Harbaugh to Tampa would be a dream come true. The Baltimore Ravens head coach has been there for nearly a decade. His traits are the exact opposite of Dirk Koetter and that might be exactly what this organization needs. I know it was rumored Harbaugh and the Ravens are working on a contact extension, but until that happens (which I don’t think it will) I expect Harbaugh to be on the market. Hopefully he is the Glazers number one candidate. He can help steer the ship in the right direction The Bucs need a leader who will purge the losing culture from this organization.