On the eve of Sunday’s game at New Orleans, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter stood in front of his team with one request.

“Somehow, someway,” he said, “We need to get more points than the Saints.”

“I said it could be 55-54 or it could be 7-6,” Koetter told reporters on Monday. “In my mind, right then, I was thinking it would be closer to 55-54, but we’ll take it any way we can get it. You should never apologize.”

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Getty Images

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Getty Images

Sunday’s 16-11 win was a display of complimentary football, best illustrated by a defensive stand that began at the 50-yard line before halftime. After a botched kick return, subsequent safety and shanked punt, the defense stood tall and prevented the NFL’s No. 1 offense from claiming momentum. The Bucs held New Orleans to a field goal, capping off the stand with a sack by Robert Ayers.

And just when it seemed the Saints would take the lead in the fourth quarter, special teams and more defense came through for Tampa Bay. Punts inside the 5-yard line and two interceptions sealed the fifth straight victory.

“Well, I think in the last two games, San Diego and New Orleans, resiliency has been a key word and complimentary football has been something that we’re building on,” Koetter said.

The Bucs leader, an offensive coach by trade, added that he’d like to see the offense get “more involved in the compliments,” and that it starts with him. Tampa Bay totaled 288 yards Sunday, struggling to punch the ball in the end zone early and put the game away late. The Bucs have scored nine offensive touchdowns during the five-game streak. 

Though some would pin the inconsistency on injuries, Koetter was adamant that personnel wasn’t the issue. “The guys who are out there are good enough to be here and good enough to be playing,” he said, instead attributing the offensive setbacks to “a variety of things.”

“There’s something different on every one of them,” he said, first pointing out the missed touchdown to Russell Shepard in the fourth quarter. “Sometimes it might be a play call, might be execution, might be a penalty or a combination of all those things. Trust me, we’re working hard on it over on that side of the building as we speak.”

There’s another way to look at the disparity between offense and defense, though. The former is not playing to its full potential, yet the rest of the team is picking up the slack and finding ways to win. Imagine if the Bucs can get all three phases in sync.

“It’s very concerning, but at the same time, I know how these guys can play on offense,” Koetter said. “And I know when we get there – at least these last two games – they didn’t need to be this close if we’re playing better on offense. But we didn’t, and we still won.

“We can’t forget, the object of the game is to win.”

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About the Author: Zach Shapiro

Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders. Contact him at: [email protected]
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bigbuc
bigbuc
5 years ago

COMPLEMENTARY.
Unless the units are thriving on mutual praise (compliments).
Gerald, I love your tie. Aw thanks, dog. Your cologne is the bomb.

blackehart
blackehart
Reply to  bigbuc
5 years ago

Agreed, Bigbuc. I know it’s a football site and not the NY Times, but Pewter Report has long needed a proofreader. Spellcheck isn’t the answer.

Horse
Horse
5 years ago

Maybe next Season the Coach turns the play calling over to his Offensive Coordinator?

fredster
fredster
5 years ago

Why would he do that Horse? Play calling is an issue? He’s doing great job with what he has to work with. A real second WR, TE and maybe little better O-Line might help. Gruden called plays and worked out ok. Yea Koetter has had some first year issues with clock but to be expected I think. Long as he has Smith on defense I’d keep whatever is working.

XpfcWintergreen
XpfcWintergreen
5 years ago

Interesting. Horse, I think I will repeat myself a bit. I think that Koetter is still learning how to be an NFL coach. He may well decide next year to turn over play calling duties completely to his Offensive Coordinator, Todd Monken. Then, again he might not. I don’t have an opinion on that yet. ___ I am going to copy a related comment I made a little while ago at the other article posted today about “Complimentary Football”. ___ I did like what Coach Koetterr had to say about the offense and his own play calling in his recent… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  XpfcWintergreen
5 years ago

First, I think Coach Koetter is a good offensive coordinator and he is trying to be a good Head Coach. Second, he has made some errors on time management, but I think many of us have given him a pass because this is his rookie season. I think he might seriously decide on his own to make his life a little easier. Trying to do both jobs has to be tough? Third, I love his honesty and being able to say he needs to improve. For me that shows strong character. I support him because it is what this team… Read more »

bucballer
bucballer
5 years ago

Hey “X”! Could be. Believe Coach will figure it out. I think there’s a rhythm to the game that most certainly affect most coaches calls. Although I do remember a couple coaches scripted the first 2 series or so before game started. not sure I like that. Who has the hot hand? When Mike starts catching balls, he seems to get better. Muscle Hamster as well! ( He should embrace that moniker… I can see Muscle Hamster Stuffies sold all over town!) I just don’t want us to be predictable. Like always run on first down. They seemed to mix… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  bucballer
5 years ago

I think just the opposite. They have a good front seven; they’re weak in the sceondary.

bucballer
bucballer
5 years ago

Oh yea, I still think we may get some explosive plays from the speed that WR Josh Huff has! Maybe first game jitters! He is fast!
If he gets behind the DBs its a sling it up from Jamesis and let the kid run under it! I hope anyways! Go Bucs! Merry Christmas to All!

jme0151
jme0151
5 years ago

I am happy with a win when our offense is just ok. I put more into not turning the ball over which is what Bucs are doing. Win the turnover battle and the offense will give us enough to be the victors. 500 yard offensive days usually means your playing from behind and scrambling to try and score to get back in the game. I like where the team is and if we win 3 -0 so be it!! Please beat Dallas and shut Jones up!!!!!

Derek
Derek
5 years ago

I have not played football but I have played professional golf. So I look at the struggles like a golf tournament, on Thursday and Friday it is much easier to go low because you do not feel the pressure as much until you get to Sunday. You play lose and take risks that you would not take in the final round. Now it’s Sunday your in contention and you are playing not to make mistakes due to the pressure you are feeling. You start to struggle under the pressure. I think the Bucs offense is starting to feel the pressure… Read more »