As the third phase of the NFL’s off season training schedule wound down on Sunday, OTA’s have officially concluded for the Buccaneers. Most fans and pundits would agree that so far, so good at One Buc Place. With all cylinders firing, Head Coach Dirk Koetter and staff, hold the keys to a youthful, hungry, and talented product.
Koetter, the 57 year-old first time professional head coach, proved his mettle last season guiding rookie quarterback sensation, Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers’ offense to a record setting season. Now that we’ve seen the aggressive play calling style and management of Koetter work again here in Tampa, can he be as successful while leading a full man roster? Fair or not, Koetter will be under pressure to win, and win quickly.
Bringing in Former Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith to coach the defense for the Koetter regime was obviously a key element to lighten the load for Dirk, and just an overall great hire. Either way, this is Koetter’s team, in which he will ultimately be accountable.
Just this past week, Koetter already showed his no-nonsense side while holding tight end, Austin Seferian-Jenkins accountable for his lack of preparation. With this episode being the first public personnel situation, Koetter downplayed it at the post practice presser in hopes of keeping it in-house. Unfortunately, ASJ disappointed us all again with a Twitter embarrassment lasting hours after being removed from field. Antics such as these from ASJ cannot be overlooked by Koetter, and I don’t believe they were. It would not be surprising if #87 was not a part of the organization’s 53-man roster.
During this season’s NHL Playoffs, with all of the fanfare focused on the Lightning, Koetter expressed some light-hearted jealousy of what Tampa’s hockey team was receiving. He was the first to say that he was definitely caught up in the Lightning hoopla, and understands that only a winning product will bring fans back on the Buc’s train. As the city of Tampa, and all of its sports fans can see, the key to continued success of the Lightning involves a solid combination of ownership, general managing, coaching, and execution of the team. Yes, huge screens and visual upgrades to Ray Jay are nice, but that alone will not bring the average fans back to the seats, much less Lombardi back to Tampa.
With some truly key off season acquisitions made so far by Buc’s GM Jason Light, along with two seemingly solid drafts, Koetter has the toughness and talent we haven’t seen in a long time. Now, with a new defensive philosophy from Coach Mike Smith, the Bucs should only improve in the win column. Tampa will always be the football town it became over 40 years ago. Let’s just hope Koetter can make Tampa the football team it was 14 years ago.
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