Bucs OC Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The Buccaneers fired Lovie Smith on Wednesday because of his 8-24 record as head coach in Tampa Bay the past two years. Part of the reason why the Bucs finished 2015 with a 6-10 record was sub-par play by the defense, which surrendered an average of 26.1 points per game, including 29.75 points per game over the last four games of the season.
It was a different story on the offensive side of the ball as Tampa Bay’s offense finished fifth in the league in total yards. As a result, PewterReport.com’s 2015 Buccaneers Assistant Coach of the Year is offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who is also a strong candidate to replace Smith as Tampa Bay’s head coach this offseason.
2015 BUCCANEERS ASSISTANT COACH OF THE YEAR
Offensive Coordinator Dirk Koetter
The Bucs enjoyed a huge turnaround on the offensive side of the ball with Koetter’s arrival. Tampa Bay had the league’s fifth-ranked offense in 2015, averaging 375.9 yards per game last year, but need to improve in the area of scoring offense, were Tampa Bay was ranked 20th, averaging just 21.4 points per game.
The Bucs offense produced a 4,000-yard passer in rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, who is a leading candidate for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Under Koetter’s watch, Winston threw for the third-most yards for a rookie in NFL history.
Bucs OC Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
“Dirk means well and he’s so dedicated,” Bucs receiver Donteea Dye said. “He’s got a game plan and he’s going to go with it and attack it. He attacks everything with a passion. He’s got a great scheme and he gets the ball out fast to our playmakers. It’s a great offense to be in and Dirk is a great guy. He just makes it fun around here.”
Koetter was instrumental in keeping offensive line coach George Warhop and running back Doug Martin upon arriving in Tampa Bay last January. The offensive line came around and developed into a team strength despite starting eight different players at one time or another with four new regular starters, including rookie left tackle Donovan Smith and rookie right guard Ali Marpet.
The offensive line helped pave the way for Martin to have a resurgent season, rushing for 1,402 yards and six touchdowns and making the Pro Bowl and All-Pro teams. Martin was the second-leading rusher in the NFL behind only Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson.
Koetter’s offense also helped Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans get his second straight 1,000-yard season.
“It’s easy to play for a guy like Dirk,” Evans said. “He’s a fun guy to be around. When he demands something we’re going to do it because he’s a good guy. He calls great plays and he believes in us. He’s easy to play for. It’s fun talking with him and listening to him. As a coach he’s not boring. He’s fun. I guess that helps. He makes football fun.”
Tampa Bay has upgraded the talent on the offensive side of the ball this past year, but Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon said that Koetter’s scheme and play-calling also plays a huge factor.
“You could tell from the moment we brought him in the kind of impact he was going to have on our team,” Glennon said. “You’re seeing the results right now. We’re playing really well. The coaches coach and the players play, but there is something to be said about the job he’s done. He’s done a great job of calling up the plays at the right time and the right situations. As an offense we’re executing better, but a lot of it is him.”
2014 LBs Hardy Nickerson
2013 STs Dave Wannstedt
2012 WRs P.J. Fleck
2011 STs Dwayne Stukes
2010 OC Greg Olson
2009 STs Rich Bisaccia
2008 STs Rich Bisaccia
2007 DBs Raheem Morris
2006 STs Rich Bisaccia
2005 QBs Paul Hackett
2004 WRs Richard Mann and DL Rod Marinelli
2003 DBs Mike Tomlin
2002 DC Monte Kiffin
2001 DC Monte Kiffin
2000 DL Rod Marinelli
1999 DC Monte Kiffin
1998 DBs Herm Edwards and DC Monte Kiffin
1997 DL Rod Marinelli
1996* STs Joe Marciano
• Indicates the first year that the award was given by PewterReport.com (formerly known as Buccaneer Magazine and BucMag.com in the 1990s)
Stay tuned to PewterReport.com for its initial 2016 Bucs’ 7-Round Mock Draft on Monday.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd 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 enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nobody likes receiving posthumous awards for obvious reasons. But I vote Lovie Smith (competition not withstanding), Buccaneers Coach of the Year for (1) He hired Dirk Koetter, and (2) He drafted Jameis Winston. Two things that we may forever be indebted!
Well the owners decided to do something the Glazers have not done before fire the coach .Go after the coach that will change the bucsdirection. I think that going after tom Cougchland the giants coach would show excellanceand great decisions. I think that Tampa may head into a great future.GO Bucs
Hope your right macabee. Although I like Winston, I think it’s still a little early to call him our “franchise QB.”
As bad as the defense played in the final four games, our offense was hardly a juggernaut either.
Hopefully we can attribute that to a number of rookies hitting the “rookie wall” and Vjax sitting on the bench.
I know this team looked a lot better when he was on the field than when he was off of it.
As much as we chastised offensive line coach George Warhop last season; I think he deserves some recognition for the stellar job he did this year.
This is george hicks again look at 2016 and what the bucs accomplished this year. The 2016 draft is fast approaching. I hope who ever the new Head coach is I hope they bring in players that would make the most Impact for the bucs.
I give the credit to Lovie Smith. Koetter is just a mediocre coach. He was just as responsible for the bad parts of the offense, as the good.
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