Bucs HC Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
When you take over one of the worst offenses in the NFL, start three rookies, including one at quarterback, and finish the season with the No. 5 offense in the NFL, all while losing two of your three starting wide receivers and a tight end to injury, other teams will take notice.
In the case of Bucs offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, he has already been linked to the Philadelphia Eagles as a potential replacement for the fired Chip Kelly, and expect his name to be bantered about even more over the next few days as teams begin lining up interviews to fill their head coaching voids.
With the season over, and time to look back and reflect at what the Bucs offense was able to accomplish, it really is quite remarkable. The Marcus Arroyo-led 2014 Bucs offense was one of the worst in team history and was a big part of the team’s 2-14 finish that year. The Bucs finished 2014 ranked 30th in the league, just ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Oakland Raiders. The Bucs offensive line also struggled to protect quarterbacks Josh McCown and Mike Glennon, who between them were sacked 52 times, second most in the NFL.
Fast forward a year later, and Tampa Bay’s offense made the biggest jump in the team’s 40-year history (30th to fifth). Under Koetter’s guidance, the Bucs averaged 376 yards per game, doing it with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, rookie starting guard Ali Marpet and rookie left tackle Donovan Smith. Through the course of the season, the Bucs lost wide receiver Louis Murphy and also starter Vincent Jackson for several games. Tampa Bay was also with starting tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a majority of the year. At times this season you had a rookie quarterback throwing to two undrafted wide receivers in Adam Humphries and Donteea Dye and also a free agent tight end in Cameron Brate. Certainly not how the team drew it up during training camp.
As mentioned earlier, Koetter’s name is being floated about in Philadelphia and now in Miami. Another team that could be interested in Koetter is the Tennessee Titans who selected Marcus Mariota one pick after Winston last spring. It is widely believed Kelly could resurface in Tennessee, but if not, expect Koetter to get a look, especially with his success with Winston in 2015. Other teams with head coaching openings are the Giants, Dolphins, Browns and 49ers.
While the Bucs would love to keep Koetter around to see the development of Winston continue, head coach Lovie Smith acknowledged on Monday that may not be possible.
“In an ideal world, Dirk would be here to continue that growth that we had, but that’s just a base part of it,” Smith said. “If I’m a football team out there looking for a good football coach, I would look at Dirk Koetter too. That’s just a part of people seeing you having success.”
QB coach Mike Bajakian – Photo: Pewter Report
While there is no guarantee the Koetter will be hired for one of the six head coaching vacancies, if he is, the question becomes, what do the Bucs do next? Quarterback coach Mike Bajakian could be in line to take over play calling duties, or the Bucs could take a look at the assistants who were fired over the last few days. That is where they found Koetter who had been let go by the Falcons after owner Arthur Blank relieved Mike Smith and his staff of their duties following the 2014 season.
Guaranteeing Koetter stay in Tampa Bay may be impossible, unless as PewterReport.com publisher Scott Reynolds mentioned a few weeks back, the Glazers decide to go the same route they went after the 2008 season. Following a 9-7 season in 2008, it was thought Jon Gruden was safe to return, especially with four years left on his contract. But then recently promoted defensive coordinator Raheem Morris became somewhat a hot commodity, interviewing with the Broncos, and getting looks from other teams. In order to not lose who they hoped would be the next Mike Tomlin, the Glazers decided to promote Morris to head coach and fired Gruden. While that scenario is unlikely this year, it is something that could cross their minds if Koetter starts lining up interviews.
In the end Koetter could also just decide to stick to being the NFL’s highest paid offensive coordinator and attempt to guide the Bucs back to the playoffs for the first time since 2007. But as he approaches another birthday in February (he will be 57), this could be his last shot to reach the pinnacle of the NFL coaching mountain. Whether this year or next, the prospects of keeping Koetter as the long term offensive coordinator for the Bucs isn’t looking great, but Bucs fans and many in the organization are crossing their fingers.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
What do your sources indicate AND what does your but tell you?
*GUT (not but – LOL)
Lol, well my gut and butt say he gets a gig somewhere else. Sources say they wouldn’t be surprised but he isn’t actively our pursuing.
Lose him Mark, and we might as well start all over….but just like the Bucs since Daddy turned over the keys to the boys…no problem…lose the only coach that has proven he is worth a darn.
Being a first time NFL HC this late in his career, he probably can’t command much more than he would make as one of the league’s top paid assistants, and he has a fraction of the headaches as a coordinator. hopefully he places more value on quality of life (great city, great QB, none of the head coach headaches) than on a chance to be the main guy at a franchise in turmoil. if he keeps the offense performing next year while lovie flounders, his head coaching break could come right here
Agree. He’s stated on different occasions that he doesn’t want the headaches of being a head coach. Not to say he wouldn’t change his mind, but I hope he doesn’t for at least another year. The development/chemistry he and Jameis have formed this year is great and will be important next season. If he leaves, I’d be good with promoting Bajakian to keep continuity for Jameis.
That is what I’m hoping is the case.
If Koetter get a HC job, I will congratulate him and wish him the best. That’s the way the game is played. You do a good job, you get a promotion.
Next man up and I will welcome Mike Bajakian – another good coach working his way up.
I will lose no sleep over Winston’s progress – he’s well on his way and there’s no stopping his progression if we keep the same playbook. Every man is different, who knows, maybe we get better play calling.
So change is inevitable. It how you manage it that matters. Go Bucs!
Excuse my typing errors. Weather changed and it’s a 2 Motrin day for my Arthritis.
You wouldn’t lose any sleep about losing Koetter and a installing a new O coordinator…the only side of the ball that hasn’t been nearly a total failure this year? Winston is only in the first leg of his career…any change in his coaching is critical at this point. Who do you think calls the plays for Winston? Man…what primo you guys must be smoking.
I stand by my opinion. Change is going to happen and all of us wishing that nothing changes has no effect. Koetter will leave or he will stay. And If he leaves and Bajakian is named OC and we keep the same playbook, I am not worried about Winston’s progression. Koetter did not create Winston. He installed the playbook and Winston has mastered it. And he will do the same with the next OC! Koetter is good, but Winston is special!
I hope he stays both because I think he’s doing a good job and because it will be the best thing for Winston’s growth…but if he goes, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. I know he’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I personally would look at Frank Reich as a replacement or Ken Wisenhunt – both of whom ran pretty potent Charger offenses (and developed a great QB) despite facing a huge amount of injuries…
Newsflash…you think you are going to get a good OC when Lovie likely won’t be here after next year? No way…same thing happened to Tony Dungy his last couple years….when people know you are on a short leash, anyone with a darn isn’t going to tie their future to your regime.
Mark, you should read your own newsflashes. Lovie hired Koetter – hand picked him for Winston. Koetter has done a fine job with Winston, but good coaches get promotions and good players enter free agency. It’s not the end of the world, it’s just the way it is. And I hope you know that Koetter only has a 2 year contract with an option for a third. Get over it, things change, and time goes on! It’s as simple as that! lol.
Koetter did a great job this year and it was a smart move to make him the highest paid OC in the league last year. Hopefully that’s enough to get him to stay at least one more year.
I stated this under a different story so I might as well state it here. I don’t believe Coach Koetter is going anywhere. Winston has more upside than the qb situation on teams looking for a new head coach. Plus, he gets Winston in his first off season. Go Bucs!! PR, your thoughts?
Hate to break the news to you, but Winston won’t keep Koetter in Tampa….he would jump at a good HC opportunity in a heartbeat. Koetter will get and develop a good QB, here or elsewhere.
I don’t see it happening this year. Better chance next year. Go Bucs!
You talking about our play on the field and record for 2016 if we keep Lovie? Agree.
What’s the harm in offering a bit of a raise and offering Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Head Coach. Let Jason Licht be a GM. Let Dirk Koetter do what he does and make this offensive even more dangerous. A full offseason and the fire that Winston brings can make the difference for a bunch of talented players that have yet to be held accountable for being winners
Everyone who is hoping the Koetter stays because of JW, forget that argument. Cotter made Girard look like a pro bowler. Dirk will do what is inches own best interests. IMO this and other sites over estimate the JW effect. Dirk will NOT stay because of him and unlike PR, I seriously doubt any free agate will sign with us because of the JW leadership effect. The average NFL player is in the league 3.5 years. IT’s all about the money baby, forget who well JW can talk.
Finally,…the voice of reason.
If we lose the only coach that has proven he can really coach, play call, and manage one side of the ball, and it will set this team and Winston back two years…at least.
I thought the boys were idiots when they hired Lovie…and now we are talking about letting him stay one year too long while the best coach we have goes elsewhere? Man…all I can say is typical.
Until just yesterday, Koetter’s name hadn’t even popped up on the head coaching radar.
Sorry Mark, but other than your “gut” you don’t offer much more empirical evidence he might leave. I don’t trust anyone’s gut because only two things are dispelled from the gut. Neither are nice.
Well first of all I don’t write these type stories with talking to sources in the building. So let’s just say it is more than a gut feeling. Will it happen? no one knows for sure. He could interview and not be offered a position. But I can assure you he has head coach aspirations. He isn’t out actively pursuing, but if the right situation came along, he would take it. How is that?
Mark, What team would be the right situation for him? I’m serious about this question because I would wish Dirk the best if it was the right team. I think he has a much better chance of getting his choice of teams next year based on another successful Offensive year with Wins attached to his Resume.
Good article Mark. Been following you some time and if you have a gut feeling I’d say good chance he leaves. I’d offer Dirk the head coach job, fire Lovie, get a new aggressive defensive coordinator and we might really have something. Lol.
Thanks Fred! No way to know, and as DRD says, gut feelings tend to be guesses. My main point was for those thinking he doesn’t want to be a HC in the right situation, they are wrong. That is a fact. Whether it happens? No way to say yet.
I concur with fredster, good article Mark. However I think that Koetter knows he would be smart to stay another year. Coming from a Gator Alum I believe Winston is special and Koetter would be well served to stay another yr. Maybe that is wishful thinking from a fan since ’76 tho.
He won’t get a head coaching job. We weren’t good enough for anything like that. Calling us the #5 offense is crazy (sometimes stats do lie—look at scoring offense). We did OK this year, but we aren’t fantastic. He isn’t going anywhere, but if he leaves, hopefully we get more of a passing OC.
As usual macabee speaks the voice of reason and experience that change is inevitable. Yes, we all admire what Dirk Koetter was able to do here in a short time; but who is to say that whoever would take the baton wouldn’t take the offense even further? When coaches depart there is always one to take his place. Only time will tell if things decline or improve. I for one am not going to fret over the possibility. As my dad always said, “Most of what you worry about never happens.” Notice Mark said, Dirk would consider leaving for the “right” situation. Maybe none of the available opportunities look attractive to him, and maybe he sees that if he bides his time some job in Tampa Bay might pop up.
Just stay where you are Dirk. Chances are good you’ll be the Bucs head coach next year after the bye week, when the Glazers fire Lovie.
Mark, Lovie gets another year, but what will change next year? Some coaching changes? How about power structure? I wouldn’t let Smith have final roster say. I don’t want cover 2 defensive players, I want the best players. Wouldn’t want to pass on the best corner, because Lovie believes he’s not a “fit”. Also the guy picked a lot of ex Bears because of scheme fit, not because they were the best players available. You build a team with good players, not good scheme fits.
surferdudes; I so agree. Good Coaches adapt and adjust; they don’t have my way or the highway attitude. We have seen so many types of those coaches in the past with the Bucs.
Right on Surfer…..Adapt to your roster….Lovie will be gone by the bye week because this defense will give it up until we make a change on the defensive side of the ball.
Much better. I also like the interaction you are having with your readers.
I never trust “gut” feelings myself.
We had a President who acted on his “gut feelings” and he decided to kick over an ant hill so he could stand in it.
Unfortunately, we are still standing in it because we can’t seem to find a way to walk away from it.
As for the right situation, do you mean if Bruce Arians or Bill Belichek decide to retire he would leave if he got a phone call from the teams.
Cleveland Browns: High TO of coaches due to owner meddling around in the front office. I an sure he wouldn’t leave for Cleveland (baseball analytical type brought into advise?) cause we know how Koetter feels about analyticals.
San Francisco: With a GM’s wife who gets involved in personnel and team management. What a recipe for disaster. Go get me a beer, honey. No QB.
New York Giants: New York. New York media and fans.
Philadelphia: Brother can you spare a QB. Philadelphia, Philadelphia media and fans.
Miami: Ryan Tannehill, Front office a mess and owner who continues to meddle almost as much as Jerry Jones. To many oooks spoil the broth.
Tennessee: Good QB and a strong fast tall receiver developing. Defense is sound of not spectacular. Need parts like the Bucs.
Fortunately, either Hue Jackson and Josh McDaniels are being looked at for the job.
Because there has been so much “Oh my gawd, what will we do if Koetter leaves”, I have been following the play-by-play interview process at the Eagles.
Here are the facts:
The Eagles are interviewing Adam Gase/Bears OC, Ben McAdoo/Giants OC, Pat Shurmur/Eagles interim coach, Teryl Austin/Lions DC, Doug Marrone/Jags Asst. coach, and our own Dirk Koetter.
So far as has been reported, this is the only scheduled interview for Koetter.
Here is what’s being reported:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet 14m14 minutes ago
Sounds like Adam Gase impressed in Philly. I’m told the #Eagles plan to bring him back for a second interview this weekend.
You may start to relax now or you may continue to fret over a process that has several iterations to go! Go Bucs no matter what happens!
surferdude, you talk like the Bucs have a lot of All Pros sitting around in lounge chairs just waiting to be put in the right defense.
Was Mark Barrons one of those. He was moved to OLB in St. Louis because he couldn’t cover here and couldn’t cover there.
Dashon Goldson could only be an effective safety if he could try and cripple someone coming over the middle.
And the idea that great coaches adapt their schemes to fir their players is a lot of bull.
What about the coaches that come in and change defensive schemes from 4-3’s to 3-4’s like John Fox.
That idiot has only been to the SB twice and was a field goal away from beating the Patriots with some “backup QB’ named Delhome.
I could go on and on about coaches who changed schemes when they come in. offensive and defensively and then get players who can perform in it.
Ever heard of Bill Walsh.
Please stop mimicking some talking head you hear on an NFl game and back up your comments with some empirical proof.
The fact of the matter is the Bus don’t have even a lot of good players on the defensive side of the ball. Let alone great.
They couldn’t play in Schiano’s scheme, whatever that was, and now they can’t play in Lovies.
Hell, are first string LB for the last four years was waived by the Bears and the picked up by the “Skins due to injuries and was sitting on the bench until even more injuries happened and he was put into the lineup.
That should tell you something, don’t you think?
Sorry if I confused with some facts.
Ok DRd, I agree with some of your points, but are you ever going to blame lovie for anything? Seriously, even if we did have 6 all pros on the defensive side you would say nothing is lovies fault. This guy has brought in at least 6 defensive players as free agents and you mean to tell us that because they all suck it’s just them and not lovie? These guys were playing just fine till they came and played for us. Just about every free agent we’ve taken has been on the defensive side of the ball and they were all lovie’s choices because they could run his scheme, and you expect rookies to come in next year and succeed? Hell guys that have been in lovies system for years apparently can’t play this defense. At some point you have to give lovie some flack and not slack.
drdneast; my goodness aren’t you the debater. Anybody can spend any thing any way. By the way nothing wrong with “gut feelings”. I trust that at times based on my own past experiences. It’s okay to differ; sometimes we agree and sometimes we don’t. Nothing wrong with having different opinions.
Thanks for the update macabee.
Mark Barron kicked our ass when we played them, Goldsons team is in the playoffs.
Surferdude, he made one tackle behind the line. If that is kicking someone’s rear, then remind me not to go out on a blind date with some girl you consider to be a KO.
You still missed the point, surferdue, which is not surprising, he did it from the OLB position, not as a safety. He was drafted to be a safety and that’s the reason the Rams traded for him. Cowabunga dude. Is Spicoli your idea of Einstein.
Horxe, if you want your gut to do your thinking for you it’s fine by me but God gave you a brain which is a lot more useful than your gut.
Michael Johnson went back to Cincy and had four sacks I believe. Anthony Collins is out of the league. We let go of an LB last year who went to the Patriots and them the Giants putting up unimpressive numbers.
Every time Legarret Blount hangs over a 100 yards on the Colts our fans want to vote him into the Hall of Fame and cry we let another All Pro get away when he isn’t one.
These are examples of players we picked up as FA’s the year before or ones we let go.
We aren’t the only team to pickup FA’s who get fat and lazy when they start to get fat paychecks either. Despite what many of you ma think, this happens to a lot of teams.
I don’t mind people chopping away on Lovie for the right reasons like PR does who makes very relevant sense and I can’t and didn’t argue with.
But the fact of the matter is I’m listening to a journalist on the radio right now who is no fan of Lovie’s talking about how after the Saints game he went into the locker room and four defensive starters were ho humming the loss.
What does that tell you.
Well Horse and the other true fans that follow the nfl. I like to mention OC Frank Reich would be the perfect choice.He is a veteransand everyplace he goes he does very well. Maybe he could be ask to come down for a visit in Tampa.Its weather like the west coast.Go Bucs
My “gut” feelings have served me well over the years and are usually right. Cgmaster27 well said. The list of free agents that couldn’t do dick here and are starting and playing elsewhere is long. Michael Johnson may have been injured here but look at him still starting and making plays for Bengals. Tired of all the excuses being thrown around as to why the defense has been a joke and not improved for two years.
Mark Barron played a great game against us drd, he played with more passion that day, then some Bucs. His defense was better then ours. Remember getting lit up by another nobody? Goldson got an easy 15yd penalty against us that day, you forget? His defense locked down the Bucs in the second half while ours gave the Skins a record comeback. We couldn’t keep, Lovies D couldn’t keep I should say a 24 point lead, remember? Goldson’s team with second year coach is still playing. Don’t give a rats ass we gave these guys up, but frinnin admit they ain’t exactly out of the league. If you think Conte, and Major Wright are better, you are Lovies agent.
Four sacks, Fredster. That is how many he had here and everyone wanted to run him out on an rail. If you think 4 sacks in a year is outstanding play, then you can probably get hired as the next GM of the Browns.
I never said some of those FA’s weren’t busts, I simply said a number of teams get soaked by FA’s when the player signs fat contracts.
However, I do think they did better last year when they went to shore up the depth of the team.
Surferdudes, I specifically said they were both still in the league, just playing at n average or below average level.
You also still don’t get it guy. He is playing OLB. We didn’t draft him as an OLB and the Rams traded for him to be a safety. Both teams wanted him at the safety position but he couldn’t cut it there. Geeesh.
Yes, I do think Conte is better. He commits far less personal fouls than Goldson did when he was here and had twice as many INT’s in one year. Didn’t see him waving bye bye to the receivers as they ran by him either.
You see surferdudes, guys who hate tend not to see, read or here those things when they are consumed with irrational hate.
I do agree with you that yes, we have some players on defense who don’t play with much passion, given time, they will be gone. Lovie knows who they are. I wrote about that in an earlier post.
You seem to have a particular disdain for what you feel is the Tampa 2 defense which Derrick Brooks says the Bucs aren’t currently playing in over half the time.
So put on your coaches cap and tell me what kind of defense the Bucs should play.
The floor is yours.
drdneast; well since the Glazer’s are also now on the “hater’s lisr” what do you say now. I’m glad the Glazer’s did it because Lovie’s defensive scheme, his arrogance with the press spokes volumes, and he had no clue how to adapt and adjust; I go that poor leadership and I and others called it out. Go Bucs!
Well the Glazers saw what we saw Horse. I guess they’re blinded with hate,lol,like us. Or maybe like us, S.R., and others they we’re hating, just stating facts, the team was going no where under Lovie.
Drdneast I’m not going to argue or tell you how I’d run the defense. Done arguing with you. Add Glazers to the list of us dumb hater fans that you are so much smarter than and who think Lovie didn’t do good job. You are clueless! Oh and before you criticize the writer here about his gut feeling being non sense you may want shut up and listen to someone who knows more than you and is in the locker room. His “gut” feeling looks about right and Koetter is the leading candidate! imagine that!
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