Any doubt about whether the Glazer family, who own the Buccaneers, would waste any time firing Dirk Koetter was erased on Sunday evening. That’s when they removed their coach after his second consecutive 10- loss season ended with Sunday’s 34-32 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons.
That loss concluded the year at 5 – 11 and was Tampa Bay’s fourth consecutive loss. Koetter (shown above leaving the field Sunday) finished 10-22 in the last two seasons and it had become obvious the Glazers were going to make a change.
Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter relieved of duties.https://t.co/r7TkXOZ0Zc
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) December 31, 2018
Koetter had been promoted to head coach in 2016 after a successful 2015 season as offensive coordinator with rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. In his initial season as head coach, the Bucs finished in 9 – 7 and narrowly missed the playoffs.
However, they regressed in 2017 and again in 2018, which ultimately cost Koetter his job.
This season the Bucs dealt with Winston being suspended at the beginning of the year for three games for violation of the NFL personal conduct policy.
Yet, veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick was tremendous in the two opening wins over New Orleans and Philadelphia, where he was named the NFC offensive player of the week for both weeks. But, the “2-0 euphoria” did not last long, as Fitzpatrick lost the next two starts with Pittsburgh and Chicago.
Koetter turned to Winston, who proceeded to lose two of the three starts he had and go back to the bench with the team 3-4.
The Buccaneers season never really recovered and finished with their ninth losing year in the last 11 years.
This is the fourth head coach the Glazers have fired in the last eight seasons dating back to their dismissal of Raheem Morris in 2011, followed by Greg Schiano after 2013 and Lovie Smith in 2015.
Only the Cleveland Browns have a longer playoff drought currently, than the Buccaneers, who’ve not seen the postseason since 2007, when Jon Gruden was their coach.
As the statement revealed, general manager Jason Licht will be kept on by the Glazer family and will lead the coaching search.
There had been questions as to whether Licht might also be fired, too. He was hired at the same time as Lovie Smith in 2014 and has had only one winning season as a general manager.
As we wrote earlier, the strong belief is the Buccaneers have to go to a proven NFL head coach with their next hire, as three of the last four coaches had never had any NFL experience/success or in the case of Morris, he’d never been a head coach at any level.
Ironically, Morris was on the sidelines in Tampa Sunday, as an Atlanta offensive assistant, when the Falcons came back in the final minute behind Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to kick the winning field goal with no time left.
A defeat that ended Koetter’s tenure in Tampa Bay.
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