Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter addressed the media to recap the 2017 season and look ahead to 2018, which will be a critical year for the embattled Koetter, who is coming off a disappointing 5-11 campaign in his second year at the helm in Tampa Bay. PewterReport.com’s Bucs beat writers were on hand to cover the press conference and ask questions.

Now it’s time to dissect Dirk, breaking down exactly what Koetter said in his press conference and ultimately went he meant when addressing the future of the Bucs as series of PR Analysis continues.

Koetter on DeSean Jackson’s first year with the Bucs:
“His track record shows that and if you just had an ISO camera on DeSean Jackson when he was on the field this year, DeSean Jackson wins most of the time,” Koetter said on January 1. “When he is trying to get behind the defense, he can get behind the defense. We did not do a good job of getting him the ball in positions that he is used to getting it, which is over the top. … I guess the point that I am trying to make on that is I think DeSean did his part. I see it out there in practice. I see it on the game tape.”

PewterReport.com analysis:
Koetter saying that Jackson did his job by going deep and getting past the defense, but not making the big plays he envisioned when Tampa Bay signed the blazing fast receiver with a career 17.4 yards per catch average is an indictment on Jameis Winston, and that’s true. Winston struggled with his deep ball accuracy this year – and not just hitting Jackson downfield, but also Mike Evans – and that could be attributed to his injured throwing shoulder.

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Still, Winston is not the most accurate deep ball thrower, even when healthy, and he and Jackson didn’t connect as often in training camp as the team was hoping for. Jackson wound up catching 50 passes for 668 yards and three touchdowns, but his 13.4 average was underwhelming, especially considering the fact that rookie Chris Godwin averaged 15.4 yards per catch on 34 receptions for 525 yards with one touchdown.

Godwin also had the longest play on offense, a 70-yarder, at Carolina, and will figure more prominently into Tampa Bay’s offensive plans next year. However, Jackson likely won’t be going anywhere. He’s set to make $11 million again in 2018 and if the Bucs release him the team would face $7.5 million in dead cap salary money. Therefore the cap savings would only be $3.5 million, which is inconsequential because Tampa Bay already has in excess of $60 million in cap room in 2018 and can release other players that performed far worse to create more cap room.

But unless Winston can improve when it comes to downfield accuracy, Jackson will have to be used more effectively on underneath on slants and intermediate crossing routes by Koetter to take advantage of his speed and produce more yards after catch. Jackson’s longest play of the year was a 41-yard reception, and that came on a crossing route.

Koetter shouldn’t completely abandon the deep ball, but shouldn’t force it into the game plans and make it a staple either, unless Winston shows that he can hit it with greater accuracy. Instead, Jackson should continued to be used as an occasional deep threat decoy, but should be integrated into the passing game as a yards-after-catch threat on intermediate and shorter routes.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 27th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive coordinator/defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
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Naplesfan
Naplesfan
4 years ago

I thnk there are some things that would help improve our long ball game, which will naturally involve DSJ: 1) Improve the offensive line a LOT. Giving Jameis more time in the pocket unharassed by converging sackers will let him get his feet set and throw DSJ open,and not just lob it up inaccurately as he did all too often last season. 2) Doing no. 1 also will entail improving our running game a lot, along with some new talent at RB. Opening up the running game will naturally draw safeties down to the LOS, giving more single coverage on… Read more »

Pick6
Pick6
4 years ago

desean may have been winning his matchups, but what was happening with the pass protection while DJax was open 45 yards down the field? there were definitely missed connections, but but a weak run game and inconsistent pass protection made deep attempts a chance for the defense to light up the QB or at least apply serious pressure.

Darin
Darin
4 years ago

Draft and/or sign Oline. Run the ball. Run the ball out of 3 and 4 wide sets. Run draw plays. Throw more screen passes. Throw more slants, crosses. Need many more shorter routes that allow guys to make plays. Run the ball some more. Then all the sudden the safeties are closer to the line and the linebackers are biting on play action. Thats when you get em deep dirk. I know he knows this but some reason he refuses to do it. He fell in love with the deep ball in “camp”. Of course he did, it was hitting… Read more »

rsgibson
rsgibson
Reply to  Darin
4 years ago

Reminds me of an old episode of “Coach” where Hayden and Luther were baffled how they just got blown out in a game after a good week of practice. Then Luther realizes, “OMG. We looked good because we were playing ourselves !”, LOL !

Bucsfan1983
Bucsfan1983
4 years ago

Dirk didn’t take advantage of Jackson’s speed. We saw few screens, bubble screens, reverse’s. He also didn’t get Jackson the ball enough.

pinkstob
pinkstob
4 years ago

I thought that was a pretty good assessment.

bEubanks11
bEubanks11
4 years ago

Definitely a good assessment based on my recollection. So many times Jackson was behind the defense only to have to slow up while the defense and the ball caught up simultaneously.

Buc76
Buc76
4 years ago

Below quote is on NFL.com. This is the problem with Desean jackson. He says “their” guy. He’s not on board. He’s not a Buc. Its not working out. This is another Licht mistake. Just because Jameis wants a player doesn’t mean you get him the player like buying him a toy. Chris Godwin should be the number 2. He needs to develop. Desean jackson just stunted the offense’s progress last year. “I think he needs to continue to be what he was that made him be Jameis Winston,” Jackson said during an appearance on ESPN’s First Take, per the Tampa… Read more »

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
Reply to  Buc76
4 years ago

I am NOT A FAN OF D JAX!!

cgmaster27
cgmaster27
4 years ago

Agreed 100%. Mesean was here for the nice payday and the no state tax. While the connection between him and Jameis being off is not his fault as Jamies missed him alot, I did see him towards the later half of the season half ass a lot of throws his way. That and it’s clear as day this offense played better without Desean. Godwin should no doubt be our number 2 going into next year.

Honey Bear
Honey Bear
4 years ago

I think it’s time to cash out on Desean Jackson. It’s not that I don’t think he’s a good player or a potential game changer. I just think that we can get more value in a trade than we will get on the field. We have Evans, Godwin, Hump, Brate, and Howard, and we already can’t get all those guys on the field at once. We are better off unloading DJ’s $10 million, and getting a couple picks, maybe even a 2nd rounder. Then we have draft capital, and can trade up or build in the trenches. This team needs… Read more »

rsgibson
rsgibson
4 years ago

He’s becoming a cancer – Got a court case and is now running his mouth. I don’t care what jackson wants, A team player wants wins, not stats.

Cut or trade him.

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
Reply to  rsgibson
4 years ago

rsgibson IMO the only team that may want D Jax is Washington and would not give much for him. Just My Opinion.