TAMPA, FLA (WFLA)- With the 2016 season barely in the rear view mirror, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach, Dirk Koetter, is already thinking of ways to make 2017 more successful.
Not that this season was a failure. At 9-7, the Bucs completed their first winning campaign since a 10-6 finish in 2010.
Just like that team coached by Raheem Morris, the Bucs were eliminated from playoff contention on the season’s final day. If last year’s coaching change, followed by changes to the defensive scheme, are the first step to a Super Bowl future, then the coming months will play a critical role.
In the final exclusive “Koetter’s Korner” interview of the season, Koetter explained that he hopes to correct his own mistakes from 2016 first, then evaluate the entire team. The theme on “locker cleanout day” was: mission not accomplished.
But, the direction is better than it was one year ago.
Koetter was quick to point out that changes are inevitable for NFL teams. For the the Bucs, that begins with a big piece of the team’s turnaround, Defenisve Coordinator, Mike Smith.
Smith will reportedly interview for the Jacksonville Jaguars Head Coach vacancy and will certainly be linked to other openings around the NFL.
“When you have a successful year,” Koetter said, “it happens.”
Koetter backs Smith’s potential jump and states that he is confident the Bucs would be able to assemble a defensive staff in 2017 that would continue the growth shown last year.
While practicing a personal policy of not making decisions when emotions are still raw, Koetter did declare one position battle for the upcoming offseason.
Kicker Roberto Aguayo will no longer be the only kicker on the Bucs roster.
Competition will be in play, during training camp, and Koetter is not afraid to move past a second round draft selection, if he is out-performed.
Koetter is also contemplating a lesser role in calling plays, a staple of his days with the Atlanta Falcons, then the Bucs as the offensive coordinator in 2015.
As the Head Coach, Koetter admitted that he was forced to spend less time with his quarterback and carried multiple responsibilities during weekly game planning.