Koetter Shows Needed Open Mind

January 20th, 2015
New Bucs OC Dirk Koetter seems to be of open mind.

New Bucs OC Dirk Koetter seems to have an open mind.

It doesn’t matter what scheme a coach believes in, the absolute biggest pet peeve Joe has about coaches is when they ram players to fit “their system.” It drives Joe bananas.

This type of tunnel vision often blows up organizations.

Joe has seen the good examples of molding offenses to available talent — both in high school and the NFL.

Joe knew a high school coach who despised the wishbone with every fiber of his DNA. Thought it was the biggest socialist infiltration upon American society this side of soccer. But his team had a massive offensive line, no true quarterback and three running backs most teams would die for. So this coach went out and hired wishbone guys to run his offense, and tried not to watch during games. That team won a state title.

Joe also remembers Tuna Parcells taking over the Patriots. Parcells was a ground-and-pound coach if there ever was one. But he had Drew Bledsoe throwing 40 passes a game. Why? He didn’t have the horses to run but he had a strong passer and good receivers.

The worst example of a coach trying to fit a square peg through a round hole in Joe’s eyes was Lou Tepper when he took over Illinois back in the 1980s. Prior to Tepper, Illinois had built a decent B1G program with a passing attack, first with Mike White and then with John Mackovic. Tepper takes over after Mackovic went to Texas and in his introductory press conference, he boasted, “We’re going to run the ball!”

Only problem, dips(p)it, was that you didn’t have the players to run the ball!

The players Tepper inherited were all pass-first talents. The results were predictable and Joe swears that program has yet to recover from Tepper’s bullheadedness.

This brings Joe to new offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune jotted down a quote that warmed Joe’s heart. That Koetter will mold his offense around whatever talent he has on the roster.

“We all have things we believe in as coaches, but at the end of the day, I’m a big believer that your system has to be flexible enough to take into account the various strengths and weaknesses of your players,” Koetter said.

“It’s foolish to take a system and ram it down a player’s throat if it doesn’t play to his strengths. That said, you can’t always make it fit exactly perfect for every single guy. But for the guys that are touching the ball a lot, you need to play to their strengths in my opinion.”

Now that is what Joe is talking about. You build your offense and your scheme around the talents of your player. Don’t ask your players to do things they cannot do.

This should be Coaching 101. Sadly, each season, we see countless examples of coaches who cannot get out of their own way because they are too stubborn and wrongheaded. Koetter doesn’t appear to be either.

38 Responses to “Koetter Shows Needed Open Mind”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    @ Joe

    Was Koetter talking about Lovie???

  2. phreakybucfan Says:

    Excellent Philosophy for offense, but what about defense? How do you play to Casper Johnson’s and Bower’s strengths?

  3. BIFF BARKER Says:

    Dungy lite, err Love Me Not isn’t exactly a creative guy. Hell, he’s still running Monte’s 1990’s defense.

    Like it or not, by design, his defense can’t win unless you have a ball control offense. You have to run it to sustain drives.

    So,we’ll run the ball.

    Dirk will learn this soon.

    Dungy lite prevails!

  4. DallasBuc Says:

    This was Gruden’s downfall

  5. Brandon Says:

    January 20th, 2015 at 12:24 pm
    Dungy lite, err Love Me Not isn’t exactly a creative guy. Hell, he’s still running Monte’s 1990’s defense.
    Actually, it’s Chuck Noll’s defense from the 1970’s. And by the way, if it’s SUCH a monumentally bad defense, how is that 5 teams used it this past season, and 3 of them made the playoffs, and one of them is going back to the Super Bowl?

    The Cowboys, Panthers, and Seahawks all run the T-2 defense. They all not only made the playoffs, but won games in the playoffs. The Jaguars and Bucs were the other two teams. I don’t see anybody’s point when they criticize this defense and say it is “outdated”.

  6. BUCSFAN68 Says:

    phreakybucfan Says:

    January 20th, 2015 at 12:16 pm

    Excellent Philosophy for offense, but what about defense? How do you play to Casper Johnson’s and Bower’s strengths?
    With those 2, you just cut your bait and move on

  7. mark2001 Says:

    U of I? Yikes…I don’t know they could outplay EIU, ISU, or Northern anymore…. I still don’t get how they can field decades of horrible football teams…a proud tradition ground into the dirt.

  8. BIFF BARKER Says:

    Brandon, If you have Seattle’s personnel you can run whatever you defense you want.

    Dallas and Carolina couldn’t score enough points to sustain the T2.

    You can gas a T2 late in the game by just dumping it off over the middle. A tight ends feast.

    BTW, Dungy brought the coverage scheme to Pittsburgh from Minnesota. It was Bud Grant’s.

  9. mark2001 Says:

    Disagree Dallas…Gruden’s problem was that when Richie left, he was given personnel decisions powers, as Lovie has, and he was the kind of guy that never met a football player whose skills he didn’t love, no matter how good those skills really were. I think he really got as much out of the real talent he had as any HC ever has.

  10. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    “the absolute biggest pet peeve Joe has about Joes is when they ram players “

  11. gt40bear Says:

    Sounds good but he also said he works for the head coach. If Lovie will leave him alone, he’ll be fine…as long as they can get him some offensive linemen. Consider me from Missouri though…SHOW ME!

  12. BFFL Says:

    So if they draft Winston then Koetter will have to develop a “tight window” scheme.

  13. Architek Says:

    I think Gruden system just completed its life cycle and needed to be revamped.

    It was innovative in 1998 – 2003 but shortly after it became predictable and the shifts were uneffective.

  14. mark2001 Says:

    Architek…I don’t know about Gruden’s “system” being obsolete, unless you say ALL systems during those years have become because of the rule changes, to various degrees. I think that the Packers are one of the few teams that have actually developed “a system” that takes almost full advantaged to the rules changes. And I found it really interesting what they did to stop Sherman in the playoffs…yes, there aren’t many Matthews guys out there that are fast enough to play the “spy” and still be effective in the the other MLB duties of that position. Kind of reminded me how we stopped Vick during his prime years That might make Seattle’s “system” somewhat obsolete in the next year or two.

  15. Phil Says:

    Joe you must mean like Lovie does with the Tampa 2. Rather than adjust his scheme to fit the best cover corner in the league he cuts him and get nothing for him after we spent a first round pick to get him. I’m sure Revis isn’t complaining. He’s going to the Super Bowl.

  16. Jared Says:

    didn’t “Tuna” Parcells have Curtis Maritn in New England? One of the few men to have run for at least 1,000 yards in the first 10 seasons of his career….bad comparison Joe.

  17. mark2001 Says:

    What Capers did is rely his big D linemen to keep the O linemen off Matthews, and rarely will a RB be able to block him. And when a hole opened in the line, he was on Wilson. I remember how Warren controlled the middle for us and no QB would regularly get past him or even had time to think…as long as the ends kept him inside, and he had to throw the ball, half his game was taken away from him. Now what Warren did coming of a double team, and still do that, was unbelievable.

  18. bucrightoff Says:

    Seattle does not run Tampa 2, so please stop saying they do. You notice how Kam Chancellor is always in the box or close to it? That is not what Tampa 2 is about, where the safety covers his half of the field. Seattle runs man over or Cover 3, but no Tampa 2 whatsoever. And even if they did (which they don’t) they have 10 guys at least who would start on our defense and we have two who would start on theirs. Their talent level is 5 levels above ours, at least.

    Only the Cowboys truly run Tampa 2, and what do you know, without turnovers at an absurd rate this year (something like 1 out of 6 opponent possessions ended in turnovers), they would have been terrible too. Tampa 2 required turnovers or it gets lit up. So if we see the same turnover levels as last year, you can expect another crap defense in 2015.

  19. Ray Rice Says:

    Maybe Lovie should have spoken to Dirk before he fired Revis.

  20. Joe Says:


    Nice try. Curtis Martin was still chasing skirts at Pitt when Tuna took over the Pats.

  21. Jared Says:


    Easy google search reveals Parcells was coaching NE from ’93-’96 and Martin was drafted by NE in ’95……nice try yourself.

    [You really need a refresher course in reading comprehension. Let Joe help you: The focus of this article is that good coaches adjust to the talent they have on their roster. When Tuna took over the Patriots, Curtis Martin was in college. This means he was not on the Patriots roster, therefore Parcells could not give him the ball in New England until the Patriots drafted him years later. Maybe you don’t remember but Joe remembers seeing those games on TV. Since Parcells didn’t have the horses to run the ball like he wanted to, he took advantage of a good passing quarterback and good receivers and threw the ball. A lot. Not sure what point you are trying to make other than to start a p!ssing match and try to make Joe look bad. You failed. Your weak stunt is not kosher in Joe’s eyes. — Joe]

  22. Bill Says:

    As Joe mentions, catering a scheme to the available players seems like it should be coaching 101. I’m glad our new OC is preaching 101 level concepts :/

    You wanna win games? Play matchups. Having a base scheme is great and necessary…but that scheme, whatever it is, won’t be ideal on a weekly basis. It simply won’t. Ask Belicheck, that guy has been reinventing his offense for a decade now with no sense of slowing down. Awesome coach.

  23. OAR Says:

    Even when Curtis Martin ran for 1400 yds, Bledsoe still had 636 pass attempts to 474 rushing attempts in 95. In 96, Bledsoe threw for 628 times to 427 rushing attempts.

  24. OB Says:

    Well if Koetter does what he says, with out receiver and backs and an OL that can block, Mariota would be the choice because he could use them all. If he is somewhat conservative, he will take Winston and do the best he can will all. In either case I believe he will have Glennon starting unless he is beaten out in preseason by the new QB. I do not see McCown on the team.

  25. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    Lovie doesn’t even run the cover-2, err tampa-2 all the time and for the masses the seahawks do run the cover-2 and 3. The Bucs sometimes start off in a 46 look then sprint down to a cover-2. When Lovie was with the bears they also ran the cover-3 as they got better. You guys don’t know your coach that well or how your team likes to play defense. You are a zone based defense that rushes with 4 down lineman seattle does it to but sometimes rushing 3 dropping everyone else in coverage. The only difference is the personnel, seattle has bigger guys and they didn’t master the system over night. They got to a superbowl with a rookie qb at the helm but were a defensive oriented team. The Bears got to a superbowl with rex at the helm but were a defensive oriented team.

  26. bucrightoff Says:

    Seattle is playing NFL football. The Bucs are playing Arena Football. Stop even remotely comparing the teams, the Bucs are 5 years away from being in Seattle’s league. Their second team would be a 10 point favourite over our first team, at least.

  27. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    When the Bucs defense matures in this zone based scheme you’ll see them stop the passing game as well. Those high octane offenses in the NFC south can’t put up 30 points on the Bucs if the Bucs offense is on the field and in the lead. Then making the opposing qb drive the length of the field to score also taking time off the clock. If the Bucs are in the lead then it forces the qb to throw to score the int’s happen and fumbles happen when players try for that extra yard. DO YOU really think Sheman is faster than Peterson or can cover better without grabing than Peterson or revis before knee injury?

  28. Jared Says:


    I agree with you. Bledsoe had alot of attempts in ’95 and ’96, well over 40 a game. They also ran the ball a lot which means they were fairly well balanced. My point was that Joe was a little off on this particular comparison, especially seeing how Bledsoe only had 429 attempts his rookie year in ’93 which was also Parcells first year in NE. Bledsoe was injured and out for two games, but this still doesn’t jive with Parcells arriving and all of a sudden deciding to air it out and not run the ball.

  29. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    Not comparing Bucs personnel to Hawks personnel just explaining that they both have zoned based schemes.

  30. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    Atlanta’s defense will not automatically improve when quinn arrives be cause those players will have to adjust. How many times did you hear the Bears D, Hawks D, and the Bucs D(last year) talk about trusting each other. Lovie has this team going in the right direction and the hire of your offensive coorinator was solid too. Now if the Bucs can get a QB not named rex,mccown or glennon and solid special teams then they should be much improved next season. P.S. gotta get a good punter because that punter the Bucs have now sucks big time.

  31. DHutch Says:

    bucrightoff, the panthers run the T2 as well. Not sure about the Jags. The T2 is predicated on pressure up front, not turnovers.

  32. bucrightoff Says:

    Every team in the NFL runs zone based concepts in their schemes. So yeah, you cvan compare the Bucs to anyone if you’d like. The best comparision is Dallas though because they run pretty much verbatim the same defense. Other teams with zone use it far less frequently than the Bucs or Cowboys.

    And actually it is predicated on turnovers. The Cowboys are likely again in the bottom 5 defensively without turnovers. They don’t really rush the passer that well, but they got a lot of turnovers this year. When those dry up again next year they’ll fall back into the bottom 5. They did get lit up for a lot of yards, but turnovers mitigate that. They only had 300 fewer yards allowed than us; for comparison, Seattle allowed 1,700 (!!!) fewer yards than us.

  33. jared Says:


    No need to be disrespectful to me, was I to you? I thought your article had a valid point but you were off a liitle bit on your Parcells reference. A liitle research reveals that Bledsoe did not have 40 plus pass attempts per game in ’93 which was Parcells first year. However the next few years he did pass a lot, but he also stayed balanced with over 25 rushes a game. I was being nitpicky but my point was that you have to be careful when throwing around information that may or may not be 100 percent accurate.

    I used to be a big fan of you guys, but over the last year i find myself liking you less and less. With this latest exchange and the way your (and only) your website constantly setting off my antivirus alerts, i think i will look elsewhere for my bucs content. I wish you guys well.

  34. DHutch Says:

    bucrightoff…i completely disagree. T2 is designed to get turnovers as 8 players are in zone with their eyes on the QB. However, if the front line does not get pressure the T2 does not work. Dallas did not have a pass rusher. Carolina (who also runs T2) does. Pressure will cause turnovers.

  35. Pickgrin Says:

    So is Koetter in Tampa yet? When he did the intro press conference he kept mentioning “down there” like he hasn’t even been to town yet.

  36. kevin Says:

    Go ahead and fire lovie now and promote this guy. Then offer lovie the dc job and ire frazier…..otherwise lose this guy in after two seasons

  37. buccinfan Says:

    Revis revis revis

  38. ddneast Says:

    Bucrightoff, the Seahawks run a combination if both defenses but make no mistake, in the Cover 2 the safety does or can come down in the box for run support.
    It sounds like you are in love with the Seahawks. Seeing how most of the things you post about the Bucs are derogatory, are you really a Seatlle fan.
    If not, then I am sure your No. 1 team is someone else.
    Seriously and I mean seriously. I have never read anything positive about the Bucs in any of your posts.
    Very odd for someone who professes to be a Bucs fan.