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.
#Bucs HC Dirk Koetter had an informal team meeting before today about Hard Knocks & the one thing he told them: Don't be fake, 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.
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: email@example.com
PewterReport.com prides itself on being the most complete, comprehensive news source covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and delivering inside scoop on the team found nowhere else.