The Buccaneers had a busy offseason in 2015 to say the least. From the seven-man draft class that started with their hopeful franchise quarterback, to the addition of a veteran player at every position on defense, plenty of help is hopefully on the way to Tampa.
However, draft and free agency aside, general manager Jason Licht believes the most significant piece was added in January.
“If we wouldn’t have signed or drafted any player, we still think we are a better team than we were last year,” Licht said during an interview Tuesday on 620 WDAE. during the annual town hall style function “(And that’s) because of the addition of Dirk Koetter.”
While Licht also mentioned quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian and assistant offensive line coach Butch Barry as reasons for improvement, the general manager says Koetter affects every aspect of the offense while providing experience and leadership to help Lovie Smith.
“Lovie can’t oversee everything at all times, and he’s focused on defense,” Licht said. “No coach that I know of can watch and keep tabs on everything, so just the discipline there. And we had a lot of penalties on offense last year, so hopefully (having an experienced OC) is going to correct that.”
“But just the game plan, the knowledge and experience he has, and being able to adjust (will help the team).”
Koetter is known for running a fast pace, pass-heavy offense from his time in Jacksonville and Atlanta. And while success in the system is generally measured by the performance of skill position players, Licht believes the tempo and structure will facilitate the offensive line’s play as well.
“Even the offensive line play is affected by the offensive coordinator,” Licht said. “Does he want to get it out quickly? Does he want three, five or seven-step drops? What is the philosophy there? If you go back and watch Dirk, the past he’s had as a coordinator, he does like to get the ball out quickly. That will affect how we protect the quarterback and we’re excited about that.”