Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
So what’s so hard about coaching in the NFL?
Why, all you do is call the number of the backup running back, and watch him make a dazzling play. Then you call the number of the tight end who had fallen from favor, and watch him make an incredible catch. Then you call the number of the wide receiver, the one who dropped balls all over the league last year, and watch him make a highlight-reel catch.
Throw in a few other plays, and voila. You’re wearing Gatorade as cologne and carrying a game ball under your arm as an accessory.
Yep, one game in, and Dirk Koetter sure has a handle on this coaching thing.
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter and CB Brent Grimes – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
The most popular coach in Bucs history — at least until he loses a game — had quite the afternoon Sunday. It was almost as if all of his weapons were trying to show off for the new teacher in class. Jameis Winston threw four touchdowns in the second and third periods. Gerald McCoy knocked away the final threat. Kwon Alexander had 17 tackles.
And so forth.
Okay, okay. It’s just one game. Most of us will decide how much we like Koetter in the days to come. That’s the sport.
But for one day, Koetter seems like what the Bucs may have been looking for since Jon Gruden left town.
Big plays? Check.
Two-minute offense? Check.
Handling the road? Check.
Low turnovers? Check. (One).
Acceptable penalty yardage? Check. (48 yards).
So how are we to feel about Koetter in the days to come? Hey, Ray Perkins won his first game, too, and he also beat the Falcons. I’ll say this: I think Koetter has a chance. He certainly pushed enough buttons to get a win Sunday.
All over Tampa Bay, you get the feeling that people are pulling for Koetter. Maybe that’s because of the mess we have seen with trifecta of Lovie Smith, Greg Schiano and Raheem Morris, hardly the Three Wise Men of the Bucs. Every regime took turns in burying what was admired about the Bucs even farther.
Koetter seems different. There is an everyman quality to him. He seems like a coach. And isn’t that the best way to describe someone in his profession?
You know the one thing that the best coaches have in common? They encourage their players to make great plays. Every one of them. Whether it’s Bill Walsh with Joe Montana or Vince Lombardi with Bart Starr or Bill Belichick with Tom Brady. There is no such thing as a very good coach without very good players.
One week in, and it would seem that Koetter has his players making terrific plays for him.
Bucs RB Charles Sims – Photo by: Getty Images
How about Charles Sims? Near the end of the first half, I think Sims turned invisible near the Falcons’ goal line. Austin Seferian-Jenkins made an impossible catch. Mike Evans made an improbable one. Winston kept celebrating touchdowns. Kwon Alexander kept knocking down Falcons. Gerald McCoy knocked away the key fourth-quarter pass.
Here’s the best thing. Sunday’s victory didn’t feel like a fluke. Atlanta was a good enough opponent to beat Tampa Bay, but it didn’t.
For the record, Mike Smith had a good first day as a Bucs’ coach, too. Matt Ryan threw for a lot of yards, but he was sacked three times. The Falcons averaged 2.4 yards per run. The explosive Falcons offense didn’t, well, explode.
After the game, Koetter mentioned winning 15 more. That’s a bit of a stretch, of course.
But there do seem to be more to be had.
You know the best part about Koetter? There wasn’t a down when I felt the Bucs were being out-coached. I can’t say the same about the Lovie regime, or Schiano’s, or Morris.’ I thought the Bucs slowed the attack down a bit soon, but hey, Koetter won the game.
Repeat that: The Bucs’ coach won a game.
He’s 1-Oh, that-was-impressive.
No one has won more awards, including two national Associated Press Sports Editors Best Columnist awards and eight top 10 finishes, than the legendary Gary Shelton, former sports columnist of the St. Petersburg Times. Shelton returns to PewterReport.com for his second season of providing post-game commentary on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers like no one else can.
Shelton just received his sixth Sportswriter of the Year award for Florida by the NSSA, and no one has seen more big events, including 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics and 11 Final Fours. Shelton still goes into the locker room to obtain his stories.
And no one has made you angrier, or laugh louder, or think harder about what he has written. Simply put, no one has covered Tampa Bay sports like Shelton has. Now you can read Shelton daily on GarySheltonSports.com and follow him on Twitter at @Gary_Shelton
Bucs fans can enjoy Shelton’s weekly post-game column on the Bucs following every Tampa Bay game exclusively on PewterReport.com, and our readers are encouraged to subscribe to GarySheltonSports.com for all of his expert commentary on the Bucs, Lightning, Rays, USF, Florida, Florida State and all of the sports teams and sports figures in the national spotlight.
Legendary sports columnist Gary Shelton returns to PewterReport.com for his second season of providing post-game commentary on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers like no one else can. No one has won more sports writing awards than Shelton, who has covered Tampa Bay area sports for decades with his unique brand of humor and insight. Bucs fans can Shelton daily on GarySheltonSports.com and follow him on Twitter at @Gary_Shelton
Glad Gary Shelton is posting here. Does he still contribute to the local Rag? I haven’t opened a Tampa paper for so long I don’t know. Any way, good read Gary.
Congrats Koetter and the bucs. Great effort. Fantastic win on the road against a division opponent.
Good column Gary. Congrats Dirk!
I have always enjoyed Gary Shelton’s articles!
Yes, I am glad Mr. Shelton is here. Good job.
“There wasn’t a down when I felt the Bucs were being out-coached. ” Aman.
I’ve always enjoyed Gary as well. I’m really happy that he’s writing for PR. Excellent writer that never pulls a punch.
Time management from a coach! That’s what I was impressed with. On to ‘Zona!
I believe Shelton was or did retire from the Tampa Times and no longer writes for them which is a shame since now one of their lead columnists is Martin Fennelly, who has a terribly smug writing style.
If someone talked to you the way Fennelly writes to you, you would probably punch him in the mouth.
Forever it seems like the Bucs ran a scared offense (don’t lose the game). Yesterday felt like the offense wanted to win the game.
Great article as always Gary!
My favorite article of all time you authored pertained to Ronde Barber’s pick6 to shut the Vet down and send us to San Diego.
Stay thirsty me friend.
Can you post a link to this article?
Gongrats to the Bucs Team. We just accomplished something that hasn’t been done since week 12 of 2012….. We’re above .500!!! Let’s keep that rollin.
Nice win for the Bucs. I think we swept Atlanta last year. What I am most happy about is the play of Winston. I was so down on him when we drafted him two years ago. I was very nervous about his off-the-field activities. But the Bucs handled him right from the beginning making him take down the “crab legs photo” after he was drafted. I think Winston loves to play football and his job is to focus on it year-round now. So his extra-curricular activities are limited. Great job Bucs and great job Winston. Maybe I will make the Winston Jersey plunge.
Your right about the crabs leg photo but I actually think Winston was making fun of himself. Still, it was a bad idea.
I believe Winston really started to mature when Jimbo Fisher discipline him with a one game suspension for using profanity in the student union.
Winston himself said he realized how much he had let his brothers down in the game and didn’t want to ever do that again. That is the same camaraderie the government spends millions on trying to instill in their combat troops.
Well Gary I see you’re sarcastic as ever; could be the reason why we haven’t heard much from you lately.
Good article after a great win. I don’t know much about the author not being a Tampa native , but it was well written. I’d agree all the way, although I do think the Bucs went into protect mode a bit too early, first game jitters, Koterr coached light years better then Lovie ever would have. Lovie would’ve wasted all of our time outs in stupid situations , or not used any of them. Offense was much more aggressive and I loved it.
I have to agree with Gary on many of the things he said. This game def felt different than the games we had played this decade. I dont feel we were out coached on any plays. Atlanta is a decent football team. Winston looked like a top 10 QB. He threw some amazing passes. The Pass to ASJ was perfectly placed to where only he could catch it. He just needs to read the field fully before throwing the ball. He tends to make his mind up where he is going before the ball in snapped sometimes. There was a couple plays were he threw to Evans and didn’t even look VJAX way who was wide open. The 1 INT at the beginning of the game appeared to be a wrong route or miss communication on the WRs end by the way Winston was yelling at him after the play. Alexander is a Beast (17 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack) and we now have the best duo at LB in the league. All in all it was a good win but it was Atlanta and most had picked us to win that game. How we play next week against the heavily favored Cardinals will show how good we really are.
Once again all I can do is agree with everthing said here. What a game. What a win!–
Go Bucs and do it again !!!
First place…sounds right!
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