Koetter Now Embraces Analytics

January 25th, 2016
Is Dirk Koetter now a stat geek? (Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.)

Is Dirk Koetter now a stat geek? (Photo courtesy of Buccaneers.com.)

When Dirk Koetter was hired as the 11th Bucs head coach, one thing Joe was happy about was Koetter would make for great stories and refreshing honesty because he is not one to bite his tongue.

Well, hours later while sitting in the media room talking to the local pen and mic club, Koetter confessed that as a head coach, he’s going to have to be more careful about what he says, and he won’t be as candid as he was as an offensive coordinator.

Joe’s immediate thought? “Bbbboooo!”

Well, it seems the corporate Koetter is coming alive. Koetter, who famously blasted analytics in answering a question from Joe back in early November, saying, “I don’t need a freakin’ piece of paper with a bunch of numbers on there to tell me something that my eyes can see,” now claims he’s a numbers guy, via a chat with Yogi Berra-worshipingurinal picture-takingvideo game-playingTaylor Swift-listeningpickpocket-thwartingBucs-uniform-frowningAllie-LaForce-smittenBig-Ten-Network-hatingpedestrian-bumpingolive oil-lappingpopcorn-munchingcoffee-slurpingfried-chicken-eatingoatmeal-lovingcircle-jerkingbeer-chuggingcricket-watchingscone-loathingcollege football-naïvebaseball-box-score-readingNPR-honkfilthy-hotel-stayingfight-instigatingbarista-training Peter King, of Sports Illustrated and NBC Sports fame.

Peter King: You brought up analytics. How useful a tool will it be for you?

Dirk Koetter: Oh, that whole analytics thing got so blown out of proportion this year. [In November, Koetter called the emphasis on analytics and advanced numbers “a freaking joke.”]
It’s so much a part of the NFL. Your guy Andy Benoit [The MMQB’s tape-studier and game-reviewer] is a perfect example. There’s so much out there to know. Pro Football Focus has added a lot. It’s such a broad topic. But absolutely we’ll use it. The very first day after I was hired, when I saw our head of analytics, I gave him a 25-page list of what I wanted. Actually, I am very fired up about it. I am a huge believer in it. As an assistant, I never had the power to say, “This is what I want.” Now I do, and I’m really going to work with it. For instance, this season we were the most penalized team in the league. Every coach can say to plays, “Don’t jump offside!” I need to find a way to educate our players. Now I need to tell them, “This is the way it affects us winning and losing games.” So I want to know the numbers on that.

Joe wonders who got to Koetter?

Was it Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht, who is a numbers guy (not the kind you subscribe to on the internet, though)? Was it Team Glazer? Or was it one of the team’s media relations staff?

Koetter’s November outburst wasn’t the first time Koetter mocked the spreadsheeters. So Joe has to wonder who told Koetter to embrace the geekery, or pretend to be a kindred spirit?

It’s an awfully strange about-face in just a few weeks.

20 Responses to “Koetter Now Embraces Analytics”

  1. Dean Says:

    If he uses analytics to simply make a stronger point to the team, i.e. if you do this then percentages show you get this, that is one thing.

    But if he is actually able to get a better breakdown of opposing offenses and defenses and what works best in certain situations, then that is a leg up that could mean a lot toward winning or losing games.

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    I is a big difference if they are handing you sheets of data and you are just an OC and just concerned over the offense that you know what it looks like the past 11 years!!!

    Totally different when you are now in charge of everything with parts of the team that you are very unfamiliar with!!! and then you are trying to find trends quickly!!!

  3. Defense Rules Says:

    I’m not sure that it’s so much an about-face Joe as it is being forced (out of necessity) to look at analytics from a different perspective. I would think that HCs need to have a handle on a lot more ‘stuff’ than OCs do … thus the necessity. Not the least of which is what to practice, how to practice, etc to get their team as well-prepared as they can for each game.

    I would also think that being very analytical in terms of what other teams’ tendencies and capabilities are (and what your own team’s are) should help a HC focus the relatively short practice time that they have available each week.

  4. Bob in Valrico Says:

    somethings are so obvious that you can see them with the naked eye.others aren’t,thats when stats are useful. I didn’t think henry melton and danny lansannah had good years with naked eye and when their name was called on the field, but their stats proved it.Now when it comes to yanking a pitcher in the sixth inning when he is pitching well, I’ll take visual instincts over stats any day.
    I love the fact that Koetter is open minded and the wheels are already turning to make this team better.The staff he is building shows that he values innovative thinking,not just his opinion,like Lovie.

  5. DallasBuc Says:

    There is no need to dump on analytics before seeing how they are used. It would be foolish to dismiss out of hand a tool that help the coaches do their job better and help the the players improve.
    I don’t give two shts what tools he uses to do his job as long as we are scoring touchdowns and winning meaningful football games.

  6. Maybenot Says:

    I think its because Lovie was asking for certain analytic’s that didn’t make any sense. Now we can pull the stats that he feels are most important. I beat the stats Lovie pulled were “A joke”…..

  7. Joehelldeloxley Says:

    Look at the statistic of some of our players, they are not bad at all but are they efficient ?

    Without speaking of a pick 6, all interception doesn’t have the same weight. If I intercept the ball while my team loosing by 17 pts with 30 seconds to play it’s almost useless, If I intercept the ball on the opponent last drive whil my team is leading by 3 pts, it’s a game play.

    Statics can also tell you when a team is vulnerable, before halftime, start of the second quarter, … and others indications like that.

    And, we, frenc people, are used to say “only dumbass don’t change their minds !”

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    “The very first day after I was hired, when I saw our head of analytics, I gave him a 25-page list of what I wanted. Actually, I am very fired up about it. I am a huge believer in it.”


  9. Mike Johnson Says:

    Say Joe..Koetter’s going to be forced to look at a lot of things differently once the losing starts. You are gonna notice that nice carefree smile dissipate into more gray hairs and worry. He’d better be worried about fielding a 75% better Defense. The honeymoon continues ..until the 1st regular season game. Then, the real anal-litics start.

  10. DallasBuc Says:

    ^^^you still bitter that your incompetent uncle Lovie got shtcanned?
    Stop crying

  11. Johnny "America's Commenter" Dejay Says:

    “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” – Benjamin Disraeli via Mark Twain.

  12. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    You’re coming across like an awhole dude. Read what the heck you post

    Are you one of Lovie’s sons. NO Buc fan should be posting…”once the losing starts”. That’s not only not how a fan should feel right now it’s illogical.

    The Bucs can either win or lose or go 8-8. There is NO reason to believe they can’t win. Of course the “could” lose. But talk about negativity. That’s a miserable way to lead your life.

    I can only assume that your either one of Spiro’s famous nattering nabobs of negativity…or you’re just so butt hurt over Lovie’s firing that you can’t get over it.

    Lovie DESERVED to be fired. Your constant refrain of “continuity” is just getting silly. All things being equal, (which they rarely are) continuity is a good thing. But it’s not the preeminent ingredient that goes into success!!!

    Again…one of the Super Bowl Coaches in just in his 2nd year. The other would have been fired just like Lovie except his team went on a run at the end of the season indicating IMPROVEMENT. Lovie’s team not only lost their final four games…they did so to three losing teams..two of them at home. Lovie’s team showed REGRESSION!!!

    Far more important than continuity…#1 if you just observe the teams in the playoffs every year…is a franchise QB!!! We all believe we have that now!!!
    And we have a great QB coach as our HC.

    Get on board…or perhaps you’d like a little cheese with the whine?

  13. godzilla13 Says:

    As the head coach Koetter has to answer questions from the media all the time. Responding with politically correct answers is just part of the job. If he was to keep his stance on not being an analytics guy, people would question how someone in a lead role would not use statistical information to his advantage? The statistics that matter are points given up and points scored. If a team has statistical tendencies, you can use those to your advantage. Koetter had some issues with the media at ASU and I am sure he has lessons learned from his time as HC there.

  14. DB55 Says:

    I like that he’s flexible and willing to try new things especially since he seemed so passionately against analytics just 2 months ago.

  15. Pick6 Says:

    i think he and other hardcore football guys like gruden object to the idea that the power of advanced statistics to predict outcomes or analyze individual effectiveness is not as great in football as baseball, where it is like sorcery compared to traditional evaluation. everything in football is intertwined and context is so varied and so significant.whereas in baseball there is only one play and 2 players and a million repetitions until the hitter makes contact.

    in football, it’s not as useful in individual player analysis, but there are lots of ways for it to guide decisions or identify strengths and weaknesses on a more collective level

  16. BigHogHaynes Says:

    STPBfan you I said you wanted LOVIE naw wait the BUCS to lose just to run LOVIE out of town, all MJ is saying is keep that rope ready to HANG EM HIGH when will we learn that coach GREG S screwed this team over and set it back 5 years!

  17. LargoBuc Says:

    Every coach uses analytics. Its damn near a requirement in todays game. But I think Koetter was emphasising that while he does use numbers, its not going to be the end all be all in terms of coaching decisions. He’s not above using them, but he wont live and die by numbers like, say, Joe Maddon. I know its two different sports but Joema would rely on stats and sabremetrics almost to a fault. Football on the other hand, you cant rely 100% on stats. You have to have some guts. I think thats where Koetter stands, based on the above story and the “freaking piece of paper”.

  18. salish_seamonster Says:

    It is possible to embrace analytics while keeping them in perspective. I see know reason to believe that Koetter has done some flip-flop on the issue. And coaches say certain things in the middle of press conferences that they may not totally mean, especially after the emotions of a loss or annoying questions from media types… This is another classic JBF mountain/molehill post.

  19. Mike Johnson Says:

    I shall give Koetter no credit for doing a job he was paid to do. He has no NFL HC coaching experience and must prove he is worthy. The smile gets nothing. WIN and my opinion will change. Until then..he’s just an unproven HC. And Just..tus for all.

  20. K2 Says:

    I don’t think it’s a big turn. In the press conference I think he kind of jumped on a guy telling him that he should have game planned differently based on the analytics. He was defending his plan based on what he saw on tape. So, the message was don’t tell me how to do my job based on a stats sheet. He wasn’t saying that analytics had no value.