The annual NFL Owners Meeting was held this week in Boca Raton, Florida and PewterReport.com was on hand all four days. On Wednesday morning the NFC coaches met with the media for breakfast and Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter spoke to a number of local and national media regarding his team and the upcoming 2016 season. Here is the second report from the breakfast.
Members of the media can already tell a big difference between new Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and former coach Lovie Smith who was fired this past January. Koetter frankness is a welcome relief to the cat-and-mouse vague answers Smith gave during his press conferences during his time as head coach.
A perfect example of Koetter’s straightforwardness was when on Wednesday morning during the NFC coaches breakfast, Koetter revealed the starting right tackle job would be Demar Dotson’s to lose.
“We’re going to come in with Demar Dotson as the starter at right tackle and Gosder Cherilus is going to come in as the backup and swing tackle,” Koetter said. “That was our plan last year, was to have Dot at right tackle, but due to injury it didn’t work out that way. So at the end of the season, when Dot was back playing healthy at right tackle, he’s a dominant run blocker. So Dot back at full strength, adding J.R. Sweezy at left guard, another good run blocker, I think we have a good run blocking unit. We still have some things we need to work on, but Gos came in and was well worth what we spent to get him last year, a veteran and excellent in the locker room and he played well when we needed him to play.”
Koetter was also asked what he liked about third-year lineman Kevin Pamphile.
“Kevin’s versatility is what his main asset is,” Koetter said. “He can really play any spot across the line. When we actually get on the field for OTAs in Phase III, we’ll kind of see where the health of our guys are and Kevin can fit in at a lot of positions and based on where we are healthwise at that time we’ll get Kevin plugged into a spot. And what we told Kevin is, even though we signed J.R. we still want Kevin to come in and compete. We’re going to try to figure out a way to get the best five linemen on the field come September. But it’s a long way to September.”
Recent highly-touted high draft picked offensive linemen have struggled somewhat over the last few years and Koetter thinks he knows why.
“One of the things on that is, so many guys come out of spread systems, and that’s not a knock on the spread,” Koetter said. “It’s just, quarterback under center where you’re running the ball right behind him. Most of these spread teams when you watch them, they only have like three running plays for their O-linmen. Now, they do a lot of really cool stuff. I’m not knocking the spread at all. I don’t understand all of it, I don’t know how to coach a lot of it, but for the line play, they just don’t do as much. There’s not as much scheme involved. Everybody’s running zone scheme, everyone’s running one-back power, and the read stuff, but there’s just not that much.
“And these O-line coaches in the NFL come in and just overwhelm them with all the nuance because we see so many defenses, especially on third down. I think they’re a little bit behind technique wise. They don’t have the defense spread out as much. All of a sudden, when you’ve got some guys across from you that are exceptional players, and then you’ve got all these different blocking schems, all these different line calls, I think it’s a bit overwhelming.”