Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Getty Images
Before each season begins, NFL.com – among other sites – ranks the current crop of NFL head coaches based on tenure, success, situation and history. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, their head man, Dirk Koetter, came in at No. 22 on the list this year.
In Koetter’s first year as a head coach in 2016, he led the Bucs to a 9-7 record, missing out on the playoffs by one game – or a few tie breakers, if you want to go that far into it.
Here’s what they had to say about Koetter’s first year, and his spot on the list.
Koetter seemingly deserves better than a double deuce, given that he darn near pushed Tampa to the playoffs in 2016. But he has only one year as an NFL head coach under his belt, so it’s difficult to place him higher among the more experienced. Here’s what we do know: Koetter’s influence on Jameis Winston manifested itself even more so in the franchise quarterback’s sophomore season, with the former offensive coordinator in the top job. Koetter has gotten the players to buy in, and with the young defense bound to get better, there is no reason Tampa Bay can’t be playing meaningful football in January.
I’ll say it.
Koetter in the 20’s is wrong.
It’s almost like you can hear that it’s wrong in their own description of him. I’m sure they looked at Koetter’s depth chart during the year when they thought about these rankings. If they did, they’d see a laundry list of players who had been cut or abandoned by previous teams, all banned together to nearly make the playoffs. That alone is pretty impressive.
Not to mention the coaching staff Koetter has assembled down in Tampa Bay with Mike Smith, Todd Monken, Jay Hayes and Jon Hoke, just to name a few. Not to mention the team started a rookie cornerback and a rookie pass rusher for most of the season, and still held teams like the Seahawks, Saints and Panthers to under 15 points at various points of the year. Not to mention the injuries and losses Koetter had to deal with in their staring wide receiver, their starting tight end and their starting running back.
All that, and Koetter still got it done (yes, 9-7, especially in the NFC South, is getting it done for a first-year head coach in those circumstances, even without the playoffs).
Before I explain more, here’s the full list in order.
32) Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
31) Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
30) Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
29) Sean McDermott, Buffalo Bills
28) Todd Bowles, New York Jets
27) Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
26) Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
25) Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
24) Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns
23) Mike Mularkey, Tennessee Titans
22) Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21) Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
20) Ben McAdoo, New York Giants
19) Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions
18) Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans
17) Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
16) Adam Gase, Miami Dolphins
15) Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts
14) Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders
13) Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
12) John Fox, Chicago Bears
11) Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
10) Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
9) Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
8) Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
7) Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals
6) John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
5) Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
4) Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
3) Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
2) Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
1) Bill Belichick, New England Patriots
The “Coaches They Have Over Koetter That Are B.S.” list starts with Washington head coach, Jay Gruden.
If you want to talk about tenure, Gruden has only had one winning season in his three years in Washington, and it was the same record as Koetter’s first year. Speaking of, Gruden was 4-12 his first year. He has a losing record as a coach, and, though he has made the playoffs, was bounced after round one. Longevity, though sub-par, is the only thing Gruden has on Koetter, and, to me, that’s not enough of a reason to put him in front.
The next is Chuck Pagano. Pagano came in as the Colts’ head coach the same year the team drafted quarterback Andrew Luck. In those first three seasons in Indianapolis, Pagano’s Colts made the playoffs (though he didn’t coach it for most of the 2012 season). But, how much of that goes to Pagano, and how much goes to Luck? Consider this, Pagano is a defensive coach. He was a defensive coordinator throughout his career before landing the Colts gig. In his four years as the Colts’ head coach, Pagano has never had a defense ranked above 20th. In fact, in the last two seasons, they’ve been ranked 30th and 26th. So, Pagano’s area of expertise has been one of the worst parts of the team. I love Pagano’s story. I love who he is as a person. But No. 15 just because you have Andrew Luck? I’m not buying it.
Finally, there’s John Fox. Fox made the Super Bowl in 2003 with the Panthers and in 2013 with the Broncos. After 2013, he again lost in the playoffs and was let go to sign with the Bears. In Chicago, he’s been bad. The roster isn’t good, but he hasn’t been, either. His past two seasons are 6-10 and 3-13. I wouldn’t bet on him winning his most games ever in Chicago next year, either. Fox has a nice history as a head coach, but in 2017, coming in at No. 12? No way.
Trevor Sikkema is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat reporter and NFL Draft analyst for PewterReport.com. Sikkema, an alumnus of the University of Florida, has covered both college and professional football for much of his career. As a native of the Sunshine State, when he's not buried in social media, Sikkema can be found out and active, attempting to be the best athlete he never was. Sikkema can be reached at: email@example.com
I stick to my comment on your previous post, Trevor.
Pretty sure Koetter loses no sleep over this. Go Bucs!
So the national media are idiots, Who knew?
Ranking coaches on anything but their W-L record and the quality of players the GM’s give them to play with is just plain dumb.
The only thing that matters is how the Bucs play this year. Coach rankings are as valuable as political commentary .. which is to say, as useless as teats on a boar hog.
Typical…the Bucs never seem to get any credit for anything and this is no different. This is the year that should all change though
I take no issue with this. He’s not a flash in the pan in my opinion so he’ll have the chance to earn respect over time. I’d rather not crown he or this team with any respect until its proven consistently. I know he’s a good coach and believe he’ll be a great. He’s shown promise but it would be awfully millennial minded of me to give him anything he hasn’t earned and I’m sure that’s just the way Koetter likes it.
As a small market team, until we start challenging for the Superbowl on a regular basis we will always be disrespected. The good news is that this is something we can change.
File this under “Who gives a sh!t?”
Like all other rankings, it’s BS. It doesn’t matter. There’s no surprise here. When the Buccaneers franchise steps fully out of the shadows of incompetence and losing that started when Gruden hired his buddy Bruce Allen, the franchise and its coaches, players, and front office will receive fairer treatment. This should be the year… But, again, if they rank him too low or rank him too high, it means absolutely nothing. These are offseason time-fillers. If he was ranked 32nd, I might bother to vehemently question the sanity and neutrality of the people who make up the ranking, but not for 22nd, which is at least arguably fair or close to fair.
Ben Mcadoo looks like a 90’s Publix Manager that had to get his photo taken wearing a suit and a hairnet. He has a 2-time Superbowl winning QB, elite receiver, and a front office that spent heavy on defense. He may be able to run a meaner deli, but not outcoach Koetter.
Trevor – I can see why they put this list like this. Every coach after Koetter has made the playoffs. Every coach after has not as HC. This list should be thrown out because it is garbage. All this will change once we make it to the playoffs, hopefully this year.
It’s just someone’s opinion, which is no doubt based primarily on perception rather than an in-depth study of actual accomplishment.
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