FAB 4. Koetter Remains A Well-Liked Players’ Coach

Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter appeared to be on the ropes during a disappointing 5-11 season in 2017 – a year in which expectations were sky high. The Glazers were flirting with former head coach Jon Gruden, but ultimately decided to stick with Koetter for one big reason.

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

The Bucs players genuinely liked Koetter and continued to play hard for him down the stretch. In a four-week span, Tampa Bay lost by six points in an overtime game at Green Bay, followed by three-straight three-point losses to Detroit, Atlanta and Carolina before upsetting NFC South champion New Orleans in the season finale.

Koetter continued to earn the players’ respect by keeping offensive coordinator Todd Monken as the play-caller during the start of the regular season after exceling in that role in the preseason. Then he opened some eyes by soliciting every player for feedback during the Bucs’ bye week.

“In a couple of areas – I’m not going to tell you the areas, but just some areas that I felt like I wanted to see,” Koetter said. “When you’re a college coach and guys aren’t leaving town, you from time-to-time meet with every guy on your team. Well, I didn’t have time with everybody leaving last Tuesday for six days to meet with every guy. I put together just a very short thing that I asked the guys to give me some feedback and they did an awesome job. I really appreciate their honesty because sometimes honesty can be self-defeating – make yourself look bad – but I appreciate their honesty. The communication I think both ways – player-coach, coach-player – was good.”

I asked new Bucs defensive tackle Beau Allen, who has played for two other head coaches in Chip Kelly and Doug Pederson in Philadelphia, if he has ever had a coach ask for that type of input from the entire team.

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy and head coach Dirk Kotter - Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy and head coach Dirk Kotter – Photo by: Mark Lomoglio/PR

“Teams always do a lot of self scouting, self evaluation and stuff like that during the bye week,” Allen said. “I guess from that point of view it’s not new to me, but I think the way he approached it was good. A lot of times coaches will ask senior, veteran players stuff like that for answers but he asked everybody, which I thought was cool. Because you never know what you’re going to get from younger players or what you can learn from anybody really. You never know what’s going to help you out so I think that’s a good thing.

“He’s willing to learn, man, and that’s a good thing. We talked about that in the offseason a lot. I think it’s good to see that from your head coach. I think that sets a good example for us that it doesn’t matter who you are, you can always learn from anybody. That’s a good thing. I like him. I think he’s a good coach. I’ve never had any problem approaching him or having a conversation with him about anything, really, whether it’s football-related or not football-related. I think he does a good job of cutting through the BS and saying what needs to be said and that kind of thing. That’s one thing I appreciate as a player is that’s when coaches are direct with you, and they don’t hide from things, they don’t sweep things under the rug. I think with what we were talking about earlier, him figuring out what we need to do better during the bye week, I think that’s a good example of that.”

Bucs defensive end Will Gholston, who has also played for Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith in Tampa Bay, appreciates Koetter’s approach.

“I think that’s great, and it shows that he really cares what we think,” Gholston said. “Because we are basically a family, and we’ve got to work together. So him coming to us and asking us how we feel, what we feel we can do better, what we feel we need to do more of or less of – I think that helps a lot and that made me feel comfortable.

“From all of the coaches I’ve had, there’s always been a different type of culture atmosphere with him, and I appreciate that. It makes you run through a wall for somebody when you know that they care about what you think.”

Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter
Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter – Photo by: Getty Images

Koetter continued doing the right thing for the team this week by holding off on voting for team captains until a few games have been played. That’s never been done before in Tampa Bay.

Koetter has previously picked game day captains through the first four games of the season, and that practice will continue on Sunday in Atlanta. But Koetter will have his players vote for team captains soon.

“There’s going to come a time where we can’t do that anymore because the league to wear the ‘C’ on your chest, there’s a deadline,” Koetter said. “I definitely want our guys to have that experience. It’s important to them. That deadline’s coming up, so we will – the plan all along – we will have the players vote for season captains.

“I didn’t want this to be a popularity contest. I wanted there to be some games played and ups and some downs in the season to let the players really decide who they think the real leaders are instead of just maybe guys that are perceived as leaders. It still might end up the same way, and I’m fine if it does. It’s their vote. I’m not going to sway that, but that’s why I did it that way.”

Last year’s team captains were quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans on offense, and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and linebackers Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander on defense and former gunner Josh Robinson on special teams.

Will those same captains – except Robinson, who is not on the team anymore – get re-elected? Or will a player like defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who leads the team in sacks and gave an impassioned speech on the sidelines at Chicago unseat a fellow defender – perhaps McCoy?

Bucs DT Gerald McCoy - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DT Gerald McCoy – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

We’ll have to wait and see.

Koetter is very well liked by the players in the locker room, and I think that he has been making a lot of the right moves this season – the latest of which is waiting until the second month of the season to vote on team captains. It will be interesting to see how the voting shakes out.

1
2
3
4
5
Previous articleWhat’s Cooking?: Ryan Smith
Next articleTampa Bay at Atlanta Injury Report: 10-12
Scott Reynolds is in his 24th 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 spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

44 COMMENTS

  1. We are 1-3? 2-2 last time I checked. Lol

    +7
    0
    Rating: +7. From 7 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Overall against Atlanta, not this season I think that sentence is reading.

      +2
      0
      Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
      Please wait...
    • Bucs are 2-2 this season – but 1-3 vs. Atlanta under Dirk Koetter as head coach and with Mike Smith as defensive coordinator.

      +10
      0
      Rating: +10. From 10 votes.
      Please wait...
  2. Don’t mean to sound negative and That’s great about the records with Evans but it would be great if he didn’t have at least one huge easy drop every game too.

    +8
    -2
    Rating: +6. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
  3. Here is the problem with this statistical match up – the Bucs offense is not the same as it was the first four weeks, there is a different QB. No one knows how Winston will do. Most assume he will do the same or better, but there is a chance he will do worse. Namely, throw more INTs which has been something of an issue for him at times. If he does not the odds are we will see the same or better.

    +7
    -10
    Rating: -3. From 17 votes.
    Please wait...
    • We’ve also seen a couple of o-lines, and a couple Fitzpatricks. Can’t put this all on either QB.

      +7
      -1
      Rating: +6. From 8 votes.
      Please wait...
  4. Dirk is just slow to the draw, he’s a day late and a dollar short for everything. Took him a whole season and strong urging from management to turn over play calling despite the mounds of evidence that his offense wasn’t that good and the overall game management was terrible. It’s taken him 3 seasons and he still can’t see that Mike Smith is either awful or has no idea how to assemble a formidable defense in todays NFL. He says in one breath competition is key and that those who earn playing time will play then rolls Brent Grimes out there to get abused on the heels of an awful preseason and Ryan Smith playing better. He inherits LaVonte who somehow got 6 sacks in a season with Schiano yet he hasn’t amassed 6 sacks in his 3 total years on the job on a team that desperately needs it. So as much as its nice that the players like him it’s ultimately irrelevant considering he’s a bad head coach.

    +16
    -2
    Rating: +14. From 18 votes.
    Please wait...
  5. You play the way you prepare. I saw practice photo’s from yesterday, and the Bucs were outdoors, but are playing in a dome Sunday. Why not practice in that expensive indoor facility the Glazer’s bought you? It’s like needing a screw driver for a job, but using a hammer instead. Should we win the opening toss I hope Koetter doesn’t put his garbage defense on the field first cause we’ll be playing from behind the rest of the day. The Saints took the opening kick off against us, and easily scored. We were lucky to keep pace in that game, but deferring the opening kick didn’t turn out to well against the Bears. Nothing fires up a home crowd more, and a teams defense then taking the opening drive down the field for a score. It’s nice to get the ball to open the second half, but not if you’re down by 30. Koetter needs to put his best unit on the field if possible first, and it certainly isn’t the defense. Keep making the simple easily correctable mistakes, and we’ll continue to lose. Let’s hope we can out score the Falcons. It would be easier if we score first.

    +17
    0
    Rating: +17. From 17 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Teams who win the toss defer because if your defense gets them off the field you now have an opportunistic advantage to score first in both halves. It’s always worth it to defer. If you put your offense and they go three and out, now you’ve just gave that opportunity to your opponent, and the momentum.

      As far as the coin toss goes against the Bears, Koetter had no idea they would go into the locker room at the half down by 30. I don’t think anyone did. No one will ever know what the halftime score will be at the start of a game. So you can’t use that as a reason why he shouldn’t have deferred.

      +3
      -2
      Rating: +1. From 5 votes.
      Please wait...
  6. The last reason Dirk is terrible is because of what he’s asked Jameis to do since drafting him. Which is run a vertical passing attack with no running game or defense. No young QB in the league has been asked to do more offensively with less. People look at the WRs and TEs and think that his numbers should be better but that has never been how you help young QBs flourish. Dak flourished in Dallas when they ran the ball and consistently controlled the line of scrimmage, his line hasn’t been the same this season and we see how he’s regressed. Goff had Gurley his rookie year and looked absolutely terrible, he got a better HC, they improved the OL and defense and we see how his play has taken off. Mariotta has had more postseason success than Jameis but that’s bc they have a good defense and running game which take the pressure off of him. He’s not dropping back and throwing the ball 35-50 times a game like we have consistently asked him to do pretty much since day 1. Wentz took off after the got a OC that established the run and even they got the ball out of Wentz hand quickly on a lot of the passing concepts. I could go on but you get the point, I agree Jameis makes errant throws and bad reads but I saw Fitz do the exact same thing under duress bc of the strain this offense puts you under as the QB. We heard rave reviews about Godwin last year yet Dirk the OC/HC couldn’t figure out that moving Desean to the slot would allow Godwin to get on the field and give Jameis a bigger weapon on the outside? Monken takes over playcalling them boom Desean is the slot as if some great discovery was made. Dirk is terrible whether the players like him or not.

    +20
    -1
    Rating: +19. From 21 votes.
    Please wait...
    • I agree 💯 percent

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  7. One of my favorite Mike Evans plays was when he out sprinted Marshon Lattimore for a TD at the beginning of the year. Marshon is a good young DB, but he didn’t respect Evans speed. Looks like Evans offseason workouts paid off and Lattimore lay prone on the carpet wondering how he got past him.

    +16
    0
    Rating: +16. From 16 votes.
    Please wait...
  8. Making game predictions, including predicting the character of a game (offensive shootout, defensive struggle, etc.), is a very good way to look the fool.

    Seriously, how many experts in the media or commenter world predicted that Trubiskey and the Bears would put on an offensive clinic in just the last game we played? Besides nobody in the entire universe.

    I chuckle in thinking about all the times people predicted shootouts, and instead a defensive struggle ensued … and vice versa.

    Our defense has been historically bad all this season .. but nobody can guarantee that they won’t suddenly find their way and completely hogtie the Atlanta offense. Our own offence has been very good to begin but trending downward … does the downward trend continue, or does the offense suddenly go on another tear?

    The point is, nobody knows.

    That’s. Why. We. Play. The. Games.

    +8
    -2
    Rating: +6. From 10 votes.
    Please wait...
    • It’s either going to be a shoot out or a blow out. It will not be a game with offensive ineptitude from both squads. These defenses are too short handed and these offenses are too explosive. It’s pretty straight forward.

      +8
      0
      Rating: +8. From 8 votes.
      Please wait...
    • The opening line in Vegas for this game had it at a 57 o/u -3.5 Atlanta. That my friend is considered a “shootout” by the foremost experts in the world of sports gambling. And it’s because of people thinking like you that Vegas keeps growing taller and brighter.

      But I like your positive thinking, and I also think to myself, “What if the Bucs figured something out on defense over the bye and come into their own?” This is probably why I do not gamble. It’s hard for me to side with my head and bet against my heart. But it’s possible! Even a blind squirrel finds a nut, and sometimes Vegas pays out big time. However, their lines are usually spot on as they are not in the business of losing to often. This is where a lot of so called “experts” get their ammo to make bold predictions then use stats to solidify their points.

      +3
      0
      Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
      Please wait...
      • Just a note about Vegas lines. The point is to have 50% of people bet one way and 50% of people bet the other way. When you lay -110 for the over or under, the house gets the 10%. It has less to do with what happens and more to do with perception of the public to bet equally for both sides.

        +3
        0
        Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
        Please wait...
  9. It will be high scoring. If Bucs can protect we have a chance. O line better play much better Atlanta has decent pass rush even though secondary has issues like ours.

    +2
    0
    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
  10. Think Lovie Smith a few years back on national TV. You’re about to see it again. 56-10 Falcons. This coaching staff has lost this team. It’s over. The season was over before it started. They all need to go!

    +6
    -12
    Rating: -6. From 18 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Slow down there big fella. The team fully supports Koetter. It’s obvious. When players don’t like a coach, they usually are split down the middle and half run their mouth about playing time or play calling or scheme or whatever, while the other half just keep grinding through it.

      Remember Schiano? Toes on the line!! They couldn’t wait to see him gone. Half called him out, half kept quiet. Side note- Personally, I thought Schiano had a chance to get the most out of the defensive core they were building. McCoy and David were never better than they were under Schiano, in my opinion.

      +3
      -1
      Rating: +2. From 4 votes.
      Please wait...
  11. Let me get this sorted in my head a QB with a 114.4 QB rating that in 3.5 Games throw 1356 yards average 387 yards a game with 11 touchdowns is benched for a QB with a lifetime rating of 87%
    and no one on this site other than me questions the total combined intelligence of the management and coaches of this team.
    Will be interested to see how this works out, no defence and QB that average 87% rating that likes to throw ints and likes to fumble when pressured.
    Imagine that !

    +4
    -18
    Rating: -14. From 22 votes.
    Please wait...
    • The correct spelling is “defense” and “offense” (offense misspelled in an earlier post by someone else).

      Man, I’ve said it before, you dudes can’t spell! Even when you probably have a little red squiggly line below a misspelled word pointing out the error for you. I’m not trying to be condescending here, but seriously, it kills the credibility of your post. Whose going to listen to someone who can’t spell elementary grade words?

      +4
      -3
      Rating: +1. From 7 votes.
      Please wait...
      • Just trying to make the world a better place one word at a time. Well, maybe two words in that post!

        +1
        -4
        Rating: -3. From 5 votes.
        Please wait...
      • “Whose” is improperly used in your post about grammar. Proper grammar would be “Who’s” which means “Who is”.

        +10
        0
        Rating: +10. From 10 votes.
        Please wait...
        • Because it is used in the plural form of asking a question to multiple people, ‘whose’ is acceptable grammar and usage here.

          0
          -1
          Rating: -1. From 1 vote.
          Please wait...
      • Dude, you ARE condescending, and you are a liar in claiming that is not your intent to be a condescending dick when you clearly revel in being a condescending douchebag.

        As for spelling, asswipe, comments are comments and not paid publications, and apparently you are too stupid to notice that there are no red squiggly line spell checkers in the comment generator on this website.

        Finally, dickwad, if you are going to post a stupid condescending rant about other commenters not spelling every word correctly, then don’t stupidly make a far dumber grammatical error by using “whose” when you should have written “who’s”, dumbass

        0
        -1
        Rating: -1. From 1 vote.
        Please wait...
        • So your going to result to name calling?

          I used to think that most posters here were adults, but clearly that is not the case. In which, most adults should know how to spell elementary grade words, and then not result to name calling when someone tries to help out with their spelling.

          Just for the record, the red squiggly line comes from your own browser, not the website. Browsers started using them like over 10 years ago.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
    • It’s not that you’re the only one BucAssBob. Its just not logical to leave Fitz in there. Fitz is gone after this year. Jameis may or may not be gone after NEXT year. This is the year they have to figure it out with him. He was drafted #1 overall. He will be the future or they’ll likely all be gone.

      +2
      -1
      Rating: +1. From 3 votes.
      Please wait...
  12. So if I am the Falcons offense I am going to throw short passes until the blitz makes me throw deeper.
    So if I’m the Falcons defense I am respecting Winston’s mobility and pressing the WR’s.

    What do I expect from the Bucs defense; not reacting fast enough to what they are doing in order to change the vanilla scheme.
    What do I expect from Buc’s offense; score 42-45 points so we can win! Go Bucs!

    +4
    -1
    Rating: +3. From 5 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Flawed thinking Horse. Short, quick passes beat the blitz every time. Have you ever noticed how lineman and blitzers are given a free run on a screen pass? Have you heard of hot routes? The way to beat the short dink and dunk game is by NOT BLITZING. Blitzes only work to stop the intermediate and long passing plays, not the short or quick ones.

      +1
      0
      Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
      Please wait...
  13. Dude, when you have the worst defense in the league you should keep them off the field as much as possible. Ever hear the expression, put your best foot forward? When you continually give up a score deferring the kick off putting your offense in a hole to start a game, maybe you should rethink your strategy.

    +3
    0
    Rating: +3. From 3 votes.
    Please wait...
    • Evans all day long. Donald was small for a DT and it wasn’t a sure thing. Mike Evans? He was a sure thing.

      +2
      0
      Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
      Please wait...
  14. Evans is great. However, I like to start a poll with the following question?

    1) Bucs drafting Evans at #7
    2) Rams drafting Aaron Donald at #13

    Which one would you prefer?

    +1
    0
    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...
    • What is your opinion PR?

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
      • That’s really tough because I could see both players in the Hall of Fame. I know Mike and have covered him for five years. It’s hard for me to pick against the guy. I love him. But WRs are easier to find than dominant DTs are. I can’t bring my fingers to type it, though …

        0
        0
        No votes yet.
        Please wait...
    • Odell Beckham at 12th pick same ?

      +1
      -2
      Rating: -1. From 3 votes.
      Please wait...
      • Yes. My opinion you start building from the inside then out not withstanding franchise QB. That means you draft DL, OL. You can WRs later in the draft like Michael Thomas and Chris Godwin in the third round. You typically don’t find the Aaron Donalds of the world outside the first round.

        +1
        -1
        Rating: 0. From 2 votes.
        Please wait...
        • So you support Vita Vea over Derwin James? That’s building inside out.
          Also, you would pass on Julio Jones (#6 overall) to take Nick Fairly(next DT available was taken #13 overall)?

          +1
          -1
          Rating: 0. From 2 votes.
          Please wait...
          • Time will tell. There are exceptions to every rule. Who would you pick over Aaron Donald or Warren Sapp, not withstanding a franchise QB?

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
          • How about Khalil Mack? That is building inside out. Definitely pick him over Derwin James.

            0
            0
            No votes yet.
            Please wait...
        • Name me a great WR: Jones, AB, Evans, even Jerry Rice. I will still pick Sapp, Donald, Mack every day of the week.

          0
          0
          No votes yet.
          Please wait...
  15. Surferdudes, I agree with somewhat but only because we really don’t have a defense. We have 7 guys running into each other in the back end. Dude is right and analytics support his statement.
    Unfortunately, analytics doesn’t factor in our defense.
    I hope they bring Noah Spence out of mothballs this week and use him in some imainative ways. I know, I know, but I can hope. Blitz him as a standup LB from the end, blitz him up the middle. Run some stunts and crosses try a safety or CB blitz for gods sake but please just do something different.
    The Steelers beat the Falcons by putting pressure on Ryan from different parts of the field. Should we do something unusual and try the same thing.

    +2
    0
    Rating: +2. From 2 votes.
    Please wait...
  16. It was only 2 seasons ago that our defense played horribly, then came back after the bye and had turned the corner. We can all only hope this is the case this year. If not…I foresee screaming and celebrating on offense, then trying not to throw the controller at my screen on defense.

    +1
    0
    Rating: +1. From 1 vote.
    Please wait...
    • If you look at both teams defensively, we both have bad secondarys. The key will be the run game as Atlanta is also bad against the run, while we have been pretty stout over the first 4 games. We also look to be getting Beau Allen back in addition to getting Vita back last week, which should make for an even better run defense.

      It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the key for us will be getting our own run game going and keeping their offense off the field. Unfortunately, I’ll be playing Jameis, DJax, and Sanu in fantasy this week so I’ll be torn about running or passing the whole game.

      0
      0
      No votes yet.
      Please wait...
  17. Great comments, guys! Enjoyed reading them – as always!

    0
    0
    No votes yet.
    Please wait...