Dirk Koetter’s two-year stint as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ head coach has been mediocre at best. But he’ll remain as the Bucs’ head coach, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
Koetter was the Buccaneers’ offensive coordinator in 2015. After the franchise fired Lovie Smith, Koetter took over as head coach, but he failed to lead the Buccaneers back to the postseason (they haven’t qualified since 2007). After going 6-10 in 2015, Tampa Bay improved to 9-7 in 2016 and had high expectations heading into 2017. But the Buccaneers regressed and are 4-11 heading into the last game of the season.
Why did Tampa Bay keep Koetter?
Tampa Bay hired Koetter to further develop then-sophomore Jameis Winston, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft. During Koetter’s debut season as the Buccaneers’ head coach, Tampa Bay just missed the playoffs as Winston threw for a career-high 28 touchdowns.
However, the 2017 season is a year Tampa Bay wants to forget. Winston missed three games because of a shoulder injury. When healthy, Winston had too many up-and-down performances and turnovers continued to be his biggest issue. Many thought he would take a huge leap in his third season.
Defensively, the Buccaneers couldn’t generate a pass rush, accumulating a league-worst 20 sacks heading into Week 17. This unit did force 25 turnovers in 15 games, which is encouraging.
But Winston’s durability problems were the recipe for disaster in Tampa Bay this season. And ultimately, the shoulder injury that slowed down and then sidelined Winston is the reason Koetter will get another opportunity. Since Winston returned from injury, he’s leading the league in passer rating with an average of 114.5 over that span.
What’s next for Tampa Bay?
They have to address the many holes on this roster, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Tampa Bay has tons of talent on offense, including receivers Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. But Winston also needs to be more consistent. And if he’s not, Koetter may find himself right back on the hot seat next year.