Dirk Koetter may still be the Head Coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. However, after the debacle of the Washington game last Sunday, Koetter’s time in Tampa is heading towards a disappointing end.
Koetter’s Bucs Record
In his third season now as Head Coach, the 59 year old has a record of 17-24. For the second season in a row, his team out of play-off contention by early November. In his first season, the Bucs missed out on a play-off berth on a strength of schedule tiebreak. For the first time in over a decade, optimism was on the horizon after that 9-7 season. Unfortunately since then, the Bucs are a woeful 8-17 and on course for yet another change at Head Coach.
Previous to his spell as Head Coach of the Bucs, Koetter was hired by Tampa to call the shots on Offense in 2015. Despite finishing the 2015 season with a 6-10 record, the Franchise saw enough to promote him to Head Coach as rumours circulated within NFL circles that Tampa’s OC was being touted for a Head Coach gig elsewhere.
One of the main reasons to keep the former Jags and Falcons Offensive Co-ordinator was to coach Winston through his formative years as the Bucs signal caller. Ironically, keeping Koetter in the building but in a new role actually had the opposite affect. Koetter has since admitted that the increase in workload resulted in less time being spent with the players and, in particular, Winston.
The only shining light this season was the fact that the Bucs Passing Offense was one of the top performers of the the NFL. Under the play-calling of Todd Monken the Buccaneers Offense was scoring points with ease. Monken had called the shots in pre-season and retained the role for the regular season. The results were instant which led to Monken calling the plays all year.
Over the first eight games of the season, Tampa were averaging just under 28 points per game on Offense. In 2017 when Dirk Koetter was calling the plays whilst Head Coach, the Bucs were averaging only 21 pints per game on Offense. Granted, due to the pitiful first half performances from the Defense in a number of games, the Bucs had no choice but to air it out in the second half as they had to chase the game. However, they were still scoring the equivalent of one more touchdown per game than they did in 2017.
So what was so final about the Washington Redskins game? The Bucs entered this game at 3-5, had lost five out of their last six, had chopped and changed between Quarterbacks James Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Defense although showing slight signs of improvement after the sacking of Defensive Coordinator, Mike Smith, was still one of the worst units in the league.
In a game which the Bucs had to win what did their Head Coach decide to do? He took back the Offensive play-calling duties from Todd Monken and called the plays himself.
The result of Koetter’s decision? An Offense which racked up 498 yards. Impressive until you realise that the 498 yards of Offense ended in a grand total of three points. Three points for moving the ball almost five full lengths of a football field. A paltry field goal to show for moving the ball with ease against the opposition. The fact that the Bucs scored a field goal should not be over looked as it demonstrated that their former kicker, Chandler Catanzaro, did occasionally know where the posts were. Although it wasn’t the Head Coach who muffed a snap, or missed field goals, or threw interceptions but to not score a touchdown on five trips to the Red Zone, the OC has to take the majority of the blame for the dismal return.
The final result? A 16-3 home defeat against a mediocre Washington Redskins team riddled with injuries.
The End is Nigh
If Tampa’s season wasn’t over before Washington game, it was after it. With Koetter starting the season on the hot seat, there is only one sorry conclusion for a guy who Bucs fans all hoped would be the man to take Tampa back to the play-offs. The Buccaneers owners, the Glazer family, have never fired a Head Coach during the season. So don’t expect Koetter to be sitting at home watching the Bucs on television on Sunday afternoon’s between now and the end of the season. However, it would take a winning run of monumental proportions to keep Dirk on the Bucs payroll come 2019.
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