Review of Buccaneers' Coaching Staff
Following the NFL's sixteen-week regular season, many NFL franchises contemplated making immediate changes to improve for the upcoming season. One of the major changes NFL franchises typically make is altering their coaching staffs. In fact, this year alone seven out of thirty-two NFL teams decided to fire their current coaches and hire new head coaches. The most criticized move this offseason was the decision to fire Buccaneers head coach, Lovie Smith. Based on the Buccaneers' performance under his coaching, it was bound to happen. Last year the Buccaneers were the most penalized team in the NFL with a record of only six wins compared to ten losses. Following the firing of Coach Smith, the Buccaneers made the controversial decision to promote the offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, to the head coach. I feel as though with Koetter in charge, fans should expect improvement from last year.
Although last season was dismal for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' fans, there were a few reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season. Last year the reason that stood out most was the production offensive side of the ball. They were ranked as one the top five run offenses and pass offenses last year, even with the rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston. The year prior to that they were ranked in the last five overall. Most of the credit should be attributed to Dirk Koetter's success as an offensive coordinator. A coordinator's job is self-explanatory: an offensive coordinator coordinates the offense to work properly and a defensive coordinator does likewise for the defense. Most coordinators call the plays on game day for their side of the ball, but some head coaches reserve that responsibility for themselves. After his success calling the plays last year, Dirk Koetter decided it was in the team's best interest that he retain play-calling duties for the upcoming season. Koetter taking over as head coach will allow him the opportunity work some of his magic on the defense as well.
In an effort to keep the offense operating efficiently, Dirk Koetter kept most of the same individuals working in the same positions as last year. The only difference is that he conjoined the position that he used to hold with the wide receivers coach and hired Todd Monken to hold the position. Todd Monken held the position of wide receivers coach when Dirk Koetter was the offensive coordinator for Jacksonville Jaguars during the 2007-2010 seasons. From that past experience, both coaches have exceptional chemistry and familiarity with one another. For the past three years, Monken worked as a head coach to improve a college football team in Southern Mississippi from a team that never won to a team ranked 19th in overall offense.
The defensive side of the ball was the seventh worse scoring defense in the NFL and was mostly ineffective last year. Koetter appointed Mike Smith, a defensive-minded head coach he worked with in Atlanta, as his defensive coordinator. Although many people questioned the choice to have the same coaches in charge that the Atlanta Falcons fired two years ago, it was a smart decision. Mike Smith's downfall in Atlanta was due to bad luck in his last season where he ended with a similar record as Lovie Smith. Most of the starting offensive linemen were injured and could not play for more than half the year. Given the opportunity at hand these two can be as productive they were in 2011 and 2012 in Atlanta, where they reached the playoffs.
With new incoming talent and a well-renowned coaching staff taking over, there is plenty of reason to be optimistic about the upcoming NFL season of the Buccaneers. The last time this current staff of coaches all worked together in Jacksonville, they had won eleven games compared to only five losses and only lost a playoff game to a team that went to the super bowl. This coaching staff is clearly a cohesive unit that will bring much success to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and optimism for years to come for their fans.