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We all know the narrative around being a team selected for Hard Knocks.

“It’s a distraction.”

“Players get too full of themselves and put on a show.”

“It gives the rest of the league an inside look into what a team is doing and planning.”

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter knows them, too. He knows that an added element piled on to a crucial time in the season is potentially just another thing to worry about on a plate that is already full. Koetter even said himself during the announcement press conference, “I love the show, but I wish I wasn’t on it.”

However, this won’t be Koetter’s first rodeo with NFL Films and HBO’s Hard Knocks series. He experienced it as the offensive coordinator in Atlanta two years ago. Members on the rest of his staff knows the drill, too. Buccaneers defensive coordinator, Mike Smith, was on the very first season of the show when he was in Baltimore in 2001, and was the Falcons’ head coach when Koetter was in Atlanta in 2014. Additionally, Bucs defensive line coach, Jay Hayes, was a coach for the Cincinnati Bengals for both of their seasons with the show in 2009 and 2013.

Koetter said to the media after the press conference that he did get the chance to briefly address the team – the ones in Tampa, at least – about being chosen for the show, but his message to them probably wasn’t what you’d think. It wasn’t about Koetter telling them that they represent the league, the team and themselves. It wasn’t a speech on how to behave. It wasn’t about him saying all that could go wrong.

No, instead, Koetter’s message to the team was exactly what you’d want to hear from a head coach: Be yourself.

The message shows that Koetter has trust in his team. Coming from a coach who isn’t the biggest fan of this 2017 all-access and availability kind of league, for him to say that, I think, speaks magnitudes of how mature he believe this team is, even in their youth.

When it came to the narratives of distractions, Koetter said that’s much more media fueled than fact.

Bucs MLB Kwon Alexander – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“Yeah, I don’t buy that,” said Koetter. “Again, we all have a job to do. The players have a job to do, the coaches have a job to do and this is a no-nonsense business. The NFL, there are bright lights. It’s just part of the deal, and I think we’ll be fine. There’s going to be some stuff – it’s a TV show. The real TV shows are on Sunday in the fall; those are the ones I’m worried about.”

Koetter was asked about some of the big personalities on the team: Jameis Winston, Kwon Alexander, Chris Baker, DeSean Jackson, etc., and there was no nervousness, no hesitation in his voice. For all of those guys, from the flashiest players to the ones most camera shy, he just wants the players to be themselves; professional, focused, but fun, too, like they have been for the past two years. In the end, that’s all they can do.

Koetter trusts the men he has in his locker room.

The Buccaneers can handle Hard Knocks.

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About the Author: Trevor Sikkema

Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: trevor@pewterreport.com
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cgmaster27
cgmaster27(@cgmaster27)
4 years ago

I think watching coach will be a little fun as well. He’s definitely a no BS kind of guy and I respect that a ton. I’ll be watching for sure.

MudManVA
MudManVA(@knight)
4 years ago

Poor Koetter. Last thing he needs trying to get this team to the next step.
A selfish indolence for the fans, and a bully requirement by the NFL.

Trust me I’ll be watching, but would gladly give it up if it helped them get to the playoffs.

PS-If they stubble & don’t make the playoffs (likely because they are too young to handle this) I don’t want to hear the fans calling for heads. They got their reality TV show.

RootsCrew
RootsCrew
Reply to  MudManVA
4 years ago

This is such a pessimistic view of the team. Have some faith in them and the maturity of the leaders in the locker room. If the team can’t handle 6 weeks of cameras in training camp, they weren’t making the playoffs anyway. Can’t blame a week 9 loss on a TV show. It’s not like it’s A Season With, like on Showtime. You think the Raiders would fall apart because of Hard Knocks? No way. It’s a good chance to get national exposure for our Bucs & an inside look for us fans.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
4 years ago

The players should be themselves … but they also still need to be very careful about what they say. All it takes is for one comment, even one word, to set off the hounds of hell, not only in the paid media, but these days in social media too (choice vids go viral online in minutes, if not less). There’s been gazillions of careers and personal reputations ruined in recent years just on social media alone. Stick a video cam in the face of a player during an emotional moment, and it’s a potential land mine just waiting to go… Read more »

Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

If you want any proof of what I say, just ask Richard Sherman about what happened when he shot off his mouth about his coaches’ decisions during a game last season that was caught on video … the team has been openly shopping him the past month, despite being a superb all pro cornerback with a Super Bowl ring and multiple playoff appearances. It appears that he wore out his welcome in Seattle with that one little remark.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27(@cgmaster27)
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Well I think the Richard Sherman situation also has to do with the act that he went after coaches on the sidelines multiple times last year, along with threatening a reporter. Sherman is a system guy who’s worn out his welcome. You can only be an asshat for so long before teams want to get rid of you.

cgmaster27
cgmaster27(@cgmaster27)
Reply to  Naplesfan
4 years ago

Yet I agree completely as my fear is that every word Jameis spouts seems to get twisted, fortunately the Bucs will be able to sift through what they don’t want on there.

Naplesfan
Naplesfan(@naplesfan)
Reply to  cgmaster27
4 years ago

Do the Bucs really get to censure and control the final product? I hadn’t heard that, but I’ve never watched the show or paid attention to it.

Iowabucfan
Iowabucfan(@iabucfan)
4 years ago

I like that Coach Koetter and Coach Smith have been through it once before.

Horse
Horse(@horse)
4 years ago

Do you actually believe the producers won’t create drama even if there is none around? I would have made an effort to stay away from Hard Knocks and that’s just my opinion; I don’t mean to offend anyone.

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
4 years ago

The only people who are qualified to conclude that being on Hard Knocks is a distraction or not are the folks who actually experienced it; certainly not us.

MudManVA
MudManVA(@knight)
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Scubog- Just about all the BUC staff have lived through Hard Knocks, which is why they didn’t VOLUNTEER for it. Now they have to make the best of a “possible” bad situation.

Poor Koetter

scubog
scubog(@scubog)
Reply to  MudManVA
4 years ago

They might not want to do it, but they all said “it wasn’t a distraction”. I tend to believe them rather than someone who has no idea.

Dbuc63
Dbuc63(@dbuc63)
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

You may be right scubog, but it’s also possible that they are spinning it because , truthfully, what else would you expect them to say. Ownership desperately wants it for obvious reasons but ask yourself this; if the Bucs were as successful as NE or consistently filled the stadium and in the top 5 in apparel sales would the ownership still want it? I believe this is about being opportunistic more than anything else. It will be fun to watch…

Mb Nfl Double Your First Deposit Football Team Vs Bucs Pewter 728x90 Jpg