For the thousands that listen to "The Commish Online Podcast" each week, this story should come as no surprise. For those that don't listen, what kind of Bucs fans are you?!?!?
I have said on podcasts before the season ended and since Lovie Smith's firing that new Bucs coach Dirk Koetter compares in a strong way to Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. While it may seem like lofty expectations to place on a first time NFL head coach, Arians was in this exact situation just 3 years ago.
In 2013, the Arizona Cardinals were on the search for a new head coach. Bruce Arians, 60 at the time, was coming off a season where he was interim head coach for Chuck Pagano, and likely nearing his final chances of ever becoming a full time head coach. The Cardinals bucked the trend of going after the hot, young coordinators in the NFL, and went after the experienced Arians to lead their team.
Since 2013, Arians has a 34-13 record, and made the post season with an 11-5 record after both Carson Palmer and backup Drew Stanton were gone with season ending injuries. Now, Arians has the Cardinals in the NFC Championship game just 3 years after taking over head coaching duties.
Much like Arians, new Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter has never been an NFL head coach after 9 seasons as a successful offensive coordinator and 2 decades of coaching in the collegiate ranks. Koetter, now age 56, brings plenty of experience to a key leadership position in the same way Arians did 3 years ago to the Cardinals, and like what the Cardinals did, the Bucs bypassed younger coordinator candidates like Adam Gase (37), Sean McDermott (41), and Josh McDaniels (39), to go with Koetter.
"I guess I can just put it like this: I looked to my wife and I said, ‘We got the right guy.’ There’s an ease, a comfort level," Bucs GM Jason Licht said (via JoeBucsFan). "It’s very similar to the comfort level that I was around when we decided, Mr. Bidwell and Steve Keim, in Arizona that Bruce Arians was the right guy. That’s the best way I can describe it.”
It's the best comparison that can be made for Koetter right now. Arians had much to prove when he took over in Arizona, and Koetter will have much to prove as well. If Koetter has a similar aggressive nature on game day as Arians has shown the last 3 seasons, Koetter might end up having similar success as well.