TAMPA – Those who want to see Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter give up the offensive play calling and replace Mike Smith as his defensive coordinator aren’t going to like this bit of news.
Koetter was asked about both possibilities at his post-mortem press conference at One Buc Place on Monday and let it be known that as far as he’s concerned, no changes are on the offing.
“Yeah, that’s not going to happen,’’ Koetter said when he was asked about calling plays. “I probably never should have said (I was considering it) last year. I’m going to be the play caller.’’
Koetter was almost as emphatic about bringing Smith back. He admitted that it’s never “safe to assume anything’’ but that is clearly his intention.
Koetter said the Glazers, who let it be known on Friday that he will be retrained for another year, have given him the authority to bring back his staff and give him a chance to correct what went wrong this year.
“I am very appreciative of the Glazer family giving me and my staff the opportunity to come back and fix the things we didn’t do well enough this year,’’ Koetter said. “I really appreciate that.’’
Again, it’s a controversial move by the Glazers for sure, and Koetter’s decision to continue to call plays and keep Smith around will be controversial as well. But maybe they shouldn’t be.
The Bucs finished the year with the ninth-ranked offense in the league, making this the second time in three years of calling plays for the Bucs that he’s produced a top 10 offense.
The first of those, of course, was in 2015, when Koetter designed the most prolific offensive attack in franchise history, a unit that ranked fifth overall in the league.
Now, neither one of those offenses scored enough points. The 2015 team ranked 20th in the league in points and this year’s team ranked 18th, averaging 20.9 points per game.
That needs to change, but it probably will if the Bucs can develop a better running game and therefore, some offensive balance. As for the defense, it’s obvious what’s needed there, and it’s not necessarily a new coordinator.
Smith was working with a handicap from the very beginning, when all he had for defensive ends was a rebuilt Jac Smith and Noah Spence. When both went down with injuries, the Bucs lost their pass rush and any chance they might have had to be dominant on defense went with it.
So before anyone judges Smith, whom everyone was so fearful of losing a year ago at this time, it would only be right to see what he can do with a defense that has a few pass rushers.
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