On Tuesday Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com conducted a sit-down interview with new Buccaneer’s offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. They touched on subjects ranging from play-calling, his prior experience with different quarterbacks, and even a little on the draft. However, the majority of time was focused on is upcoming plans for an offense in need of improvement.
The former Falcon’s offensive coordinator now has the responsibility of turning around last seasons’ 30th ranked unit. And while Koetter didn’t give too much detail regarding his philosophy, he laid out four of his ten key elements to righting the ship.
“There are a group of critical factors that are time proven in winning in the NFL,” Koetter said. “Without boring everybody of what they all are, a couple of them are, number one, don’t turn the ball over. As an offensive team, part of winning game is not losing the game, and the fastest way to lose it is turning it over.
“The second one is creating explosive plays,” he continued. “Your percentage of touchdowns is going to go way up the more explosive plays you have. It’s one thing to say you’re going to beat down a defense, but you can have explosives in your run game and in your passing game. You have to create explosives. Number three, and I’ll stop (listing) out of boredom, but three and four would be sacks… we have to cut down our sacks, and (number 4) we have to be a great team on third down. Third down is your money down. Those are 4-of-10 things that we’re really going to try to hang our hat on.”
These factors are important for any offense to succeed, but they are especially critical for the Buccaneers, given last season’s stats. Tampa Bay ranked second in the league in giveaway’s (33), 25th in third-down percentage (37.4), third in sacks given up with 52, and 22nd in plays of over 25 yards.
While all of that may seem like a lot to overcome in a short period of time, he was optimistic about a quick turnaround. Similar to what Lovie Smith said at the Senior Bowl in January, Koetter also believes that the team is a lot closer than their record would suggest. With eight games in 2014 being decided by less than one score, combined with the talent surrounding the skill position players, Koetter thinks the offense has a solid foundation to build on.
“That’s one thing I’m really excited about,” Koetter said about the offensive talent. “I think we’re a lot closer than maybe the record last year indicated. An easy thing to point to, if you’re a glass half full kind of person, is eight games by less than one score. The Bucs were right there in plenty of games.
“When you look at two 1,000 yard receivers, Louis Murphy having a really good year as a third receiver, and group of three tight ends and running backs… starting with just our skill players, we have some guys who can make those explosive plays. We have to do a great job of putting those guys in position to make plays.”
From a personnel perspective, however, the most important player on offense in 2015 will be the quarterback. Second to him, is the five-man unit up front. And while Koetter spoke with enthusiasm regarding the skill positions, he was honest about their need to improve in both other areas.
“We have to have more consistent play at the quarterback position and across the board on the offensive line,” Koetter said. “And that’s not throwing anybody under the bus, that’s just a fact. We have to do better in those areas.”
Good news for Bucs fans, no matter who is under center next season, Koetter feels that he can get him to play up to his full potential.
“Regardless of who our quarterback is, I’m confident that I can help that guy play as close to his potential as we can possibly get him. That’s all we can ask from any player. Any player is going to be successful if he plays as close to his talent level and potential as we can get him.”