By HCR Staff | Aug. 13, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter.
The 2018 Bucs are a physically gifted squad. Like any team, they’ve got their holes, but they have a good mixture of established vets (Gerald McCoy, Mike Evans, Lavonte David, Cameron Brate, Brent Grimes, DeSean Jackson, Jason Pierre-Paul, Ryan Jensen) and future stars (Vita Vea, Ronald Jones II, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard). GM Jason Licht has done a very good job assembling a very athletic roster.
Head coach Dirk Koetter, however, may be coaching for his job this season.
We surmise Koetter was given the head coaching job in the hopes he could properly develop QB Jameis Winston. And while Winston has shown flashes, that’s all it has been — there hasn’t been sustained and consistent growth.
We would not characterize Koetter as a program builder at the NFL level. Instead, we view him as a QB coach and coordinator serving as the head coach. As a result, it is hard to discern what the Bucs are trying to achieve gameplan-wise going into games.
Koetter’s approach is not opponent-specific (but then, few head coaches operate this way); he’s simply trying to run his offense and DC Mike Smith’s defense against every opponent with little adjustment, and hope that the Bucs’ athletes win their matchups.
Koetter’s in-game decision-making is inconsistent as well. Timeouts are frequently wasted and, at least on offense, he seems more interested in stubbornly trying to prove a point than adjust to what is happening in real time on the field.
Koetter is giving Todd Monken an opportunity to call the offense, but Monken is largely unproven at the NFL level. Mike Smith is a proven defensive coordinator, so we expect more consistency on that side of the ball.
What we would like to see from this Buccaneers squad is a more disciplined approach to their performance. This has been a team prone to emotional outbursts at times, which detracts from their play. In other words, it’s been an immature team and this is not a good reflection on Koetter.
The athleticism exists for this team to compete for a playoff spot. But can Dirk Koetter show more in-game consistency with his judgment and can the Bucs play with more maturity? Reasonable progress on these fronts will serve the Bucs well.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears