Is Dirk Koetter ready to rejoin Matt Ryan and “the Dirty Birds?” It looks that way.
Falcons beat writer Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Koetter, who interviewed with head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff this weekend, is their top choice:
— D. Orlando Ledbetter (@DOrlandoAJC) January 8, 2019
Ledbetter almost immediately identified Koetter, who was the play caller for the Falcons from 2012-14, as the top person to come back to Atlanta and be with Ryan after he was fired by Tampa Bay. He would replace Steve Sarkisian, who’s been the offensive coordinator the last two years for Quinn.
Koetter was hired by the Bucs, when the Falcons fired Mike Smith as head coach in 2014. He joined Lovie Smith’s staff the following year, which was Jameis Winston’s rookie season with Tampa Bay.
Winston, the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, became the youngest quarterback in NFL history to throw for 4,000 yards in a season that first year with Koetter’s new scheme and play calls. Then, when Lovie Smith was fired after the Bucs fell apart losing their last four games and finished 6 – 10, Koetter was elevated to head coach.
Koetter had initial success in his first year in charge going 9-7, but the Bucs regressed in both 2017 and 2018 finishing 5-11 both seasons.
2018 was marred by quarterback controversy from the beginning of the season, as Winston was suspended for three games by the NFL. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick played brilliantly in the first two games, but then faltered losing the next two starts. Koetter went to Winston who lost 2 of the next three games. Then, he went back to Fitzpatrick who failed to win any of his net three starts dropping the team to 3-7 before turning back a second time to Winston.
The Bucs won twice with Winston back starting again, to get to 5-7. However, they dropped their last four games with the offense faltering in the second half of all of them to finish 5-11, again.
Koetter reportedly had one year remaining on his Tampa Bay coaching contract, and it would be an interesting twist, if he would elect to back to being a play-caller immediately after having been a head coach for the last three years.
He also apparently talked this weekend with the Vikings about their vacant offensive coordinator job with coach Mike Zimmer, but the familiarity with Ryan and the division, etc. would be more appealing.
Koetter was also previously the offensive coordinator for Jack Del Rio with the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007-11, where he coordinated highly successful offenses led by quarterback David Gerrard and running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Bucs Evans got respect from LeBron James Saturday night
The new present day cliche’ for respect among athletes/opponents in sports is: “Game Recognizes Game.” And, there was a neat example of that Saturday night, as the Houston Rockets of the NBA hosted the L.A. Lakers. That’s when iconic NBA star LeBron James of the Lakers came over to acknowledge Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans in the seats behind him.
Always a pleasure watching the 🐐 https://t.co/79bRp1hoxp
— Mike Evans (@MikeEvans13_) January 19, 2020
As you probably know, James is arguably the most recognizable and successful NBA hoops player worldwide in the last 10+ years. He’s a 15 time All Star, a four time MVP, and helped the Miami Heat win two World Championships. And, then came back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, who originally drafted him out of high school, and led them to the city’s epic first professional title in any sport in over 50 years back in 2016.
And, LeBron has the Lakers rolling at 34-8 with another win in Houston last night.
As for Evans, he is a Tampa Bay Buccaneers biggest offensive weapon and was having a tremendous 2019 season statistically until it was cut short with a hamstring injury in the Bucs early December win over the Indianapolis Colts.
That’s when Evans suffered a severe hamstring injury on a 61 yard touchdown catch from Jameis Winston and did not play another down in 2019. Still, he joined teammate Chris Godwin, as they both went over 1,000 yards for the season, which was the first time in Tampa Bay history that that happened.
Evans is also only the second player in league history, besides Randy Moss, to have 1,000 or more yards receiving in a season in his first six years in the NFL.
Further, it’s also well-known that Evan is a huge fan of the NBA and he’s originally from Galveston, Texas and play in college at Texas A&M. So, it’s only fitting that he would be courtside during the off-season and the Rockets game against the Lakers.
Evans has made mention earlier in his career that he had met and talked to LeBron James on previous occasions. One reason that Evans brought that up during the season, was his touchdown celebration dance when Tampa Bay outgunned the L.A. Rams in late September.
In that 48 – 40 win Evans caught this clinching fourth-quarter bomb touchdown from Winston and then, celebrated with LeBron James’s signature dance move
The @Buccaneers offense is putting the smack down on this Rams D…
It’s now 45-27 after this touchdown pass to Mike Evans.
(Via – @NFLonFOX)
🗣 Comment if you played any Bucs today! pic.twitter.com/pt2QJVWbcP
— FantasyDraft (@FantasyDraft) September 29, 2019
James has previously and frequently used that on the court after a big moment, a big win or a championship.
Again “Game recognizes Game,” and clearly James wanted to give some recognition to the Bucs star whiteout Saturday night courtside at his own game.
Several Bucs and Jaguars make PFWA All Rookie Team
The Pro Football Writers Association unveiled their 2019 All-Rookie team Tuesday, and there were four state NFL players on the list.
The 2019 PFWA All-Rookie Team and rookie honors: pic.twitter.com/mmHVHWWQFx
— Pro Football Writers (@PFWAwriters) January 14, 2020
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, two of their defenders made the 11-person defensive list. First round pick outside linebacker, Devin White, who was named the Rookie of the month by the NFL for both November and December is there. White came on strong in the second half of the season, including scoring two defensive touchdowns on fumble returns down the stretch.
Also on the list was Buccaneers rookie defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting, who’s play improved as the season went on. Murphy-Bunting also recorded a game-clinching interception return for a touchdown against Detroit in December.
For the Jaguars, their first-round pick Josh Allen is also part of the all-defensive unit. Allen recorded 10.5 sacks and had another 11 tackles for loss in his inaugural season in Jacksonville. The PFWAA also placed Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor on their all rookie offensive team. Taylor was solid as a starter on the right side of the Jags line.
Although it’s not surprising is that the writers selected former number one overall pick Kyler Murray of Arizona, as their top rookie quarterback, there was an argument to be made for Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew at that position.
Minshew won six games as a starter, including leading the Jaguars to three different last-minute victories, which was one more than what Murray had this season despite him having better stats and more starts.
PFWA did not place a Dolphin on any of their all-rookie teams. Dolphins defensive tackle Christian Wilkins, whom they took in the first round, could have received some consideration as he played solidly this season.
The writers selected defensive end Nick Bosa of the 49ers, not only at their Defensive player of the year, but their overall Rookie of the Year for 2019. They did choose Oakland running back Josh Jacobs, as their offensive Rookie of the Year.
The NFL will announce its own all-rookie teams and Rookies of the year prior to the playing of Super Bowl 54 in Miami next month.
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