Koetter Says “Defensive Head Coaches” Limited His Aggression

September 10th, 2016


Very candid and interesting admission by Dirk Koetter last night.

The head coach hopped on SiriusXM NFL and talked to hosts Alex Marvez and the legendary “godfather” of modern scouting, Gil Brandt.

Koetter was asked whether his promotion, specifically, will make him more aggressive.

Gil Brandt: Do you take a few more chances when you’re the head coach calling plays than you would when you’re the offensive coordinator and an assistant coach?

Dirk Koetter: Yeah, I think you probably do. Because, you know, I’ve worked mostly for defensive head coaches in my career. And when you do you feel like, I can’t let those guys down. Or maybe they don’t want me to be too aggressive. But when you’re the head coach, it gives you a little bit more of a license to say, ‘Hey, we’re going to take a few more shots. And if we don’t get it, then defense, get out there and let’s try to stop them.’

Joe found this intriguing because it represented Koetter expanding on his mindset of a loosened leash.

When Koetter got the head coaching gig in January, Joe asked the new head coach about the influence of the old head coach on the offense. Koetter was adamant that Lovie Smith was hands-off.

“I want to make sure that’s a clear point that I make … in no way did Lovie Smith tell me as an offensive coordinator, do and don’t do this,” Koetter said. “Lovie Smith was as supportive for me as a head coach could be. Lovie told me what kind of offense he wanted to have, and we tried to emulate that thought.

“I will say that when you’re the head coach and you’re the playcaller, you have a license to be a little more aggressive. You know, that’s how I was when I was a high school coach. That’s how I was when I was a college coach. Now that comes from inside me, because you have the power to decide. You have the power to decide, ‘Are we going for it on 4th-and-1?’ You have the power to decide, ‘Do we need to throw it deep three times in a row, or do we need to give it to Doug Martin three times in a row?’ And you don’t have to worry about the head coach second guessing you. You are the head coach. So you make your game plan, you stick to your game plan. But I’m not making this up in any fashion. Lovie did not hold us back in any way. Lovie was awesome to work for in that respect.”

So the summary here is that while Lovie didn’t tell Koetter what to do, Koetter was a loyal soldier trying to serve his defensive head coach and balance what Koetter wanted versus Lovie’s philosophy.

Man, Lovie was lucky to have a guy like Koetter working for him.

26 Responses to “Koetter Says “Defensive Head Coaches” Limited His Aggression”

  1. Kobe Faker Says:

    Breaking the chains of love (ie)

    Jaboo no huddle wins

  2. cometowin2 Says:

    Couldnt be happier with Koetter. Hope to shake his hand the next two Sundays after the wins.

  3. The Buc Realist Says:

    Couldn’t be happier with the whole offseason!!!! Everything is really falling into place!!!! When we look back in history, this offseason will be the turning point!!!!!

  4. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    What’s intriguing is not that Koetter feels this way. I think everybody assumes that OC’s are hampered by HC’s who come up from the defensive side of the ball.
    What intrigues me is that Koetter is saying stuff that we all know to be true but that 95% of boring football coaches at all levels will never say.

    Of course Koetter felt pressure under Lovie and even under his buddy Mike Smith with the Dixie Chicks. It’s only human when you think about it.

    And of course he was going to do the “professional” thing and help cover Lovie’s behind. And btw I believe Koetter is not lying…I doubt Lovie ever told Koetter any specific plays to run. But when the HC has a conservative mind set it flows down through the entire team and not just the offense and defense…special teams…all facets of the team.

    I agree with my brother Tmax about half the time. But I completely agree with him when he rails against playing not to lose instead of playing to win.


  5. tmaxcon Says:


    Hell Yeah! That’s exacyly whst will make me happy… Especially at the Den of Depression where the bucs need a few throat-stomping beat downs to a) shed the well esrned Den of Depression label b) make teams not want to visit

  6. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Precisely what Realist!!! Said. And Pete that third para is gospel. That last line is how I am feeling. My senses tell me coach K,Mike Smith are feeling the same. They know what’s riding on this. There is a quiet swag about our team, when I listen to them they all seem to have this “we about to show everybody what time it is”when it comes to this next generation of Buccs football. No longer will we be viewed as solely a defensive team. We will be a complete team explosive team. Much like the cowboys of the 90s.

  7. orlbucfan Says:

    Lovie definitely gave Koetter the reins to the O and let him develop it. That’s one of the reasons I gave up on Smith last year. Any educated, long-suffering Bucs fan could see an elite O starting to take shape. But Lovie’s ego stymied the team–period!! I had enough of the ego nonsense with Chucky, and now this? I wasn’t surprised when Lovie was shown the door. Tomorrow will tell–go MIGHTY BUCS!! It’s long past time we had an elite offense down here. 🙂

  8. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Jack Del Rio, Mike Smith, Lovie Smith. All three of those coaches had success in the NFL, before Koetter was their OC. It will be interesting to see how we function as a team with Koetter as the HC. I believe we can win with aggressive play calling, we will score more points and give up less points ( that’s the key ).

  9. Danthebucfan Says:

    Is it true that Vitale is back on the practice squad?

  10. Mike Says:

    I have been saying this all offseason. Koetter is going to be aggressive! Aggressive in the sense of stomping out a opponent. He is going to want to get a lead and build a bigger one and keep scoring. We saw that with Cleveland in presseason. 30 points scored with 6 minutes left in half. Also we will be aggressive on defense, offensive coaches are just more aggressive and we haven’t had one on sidelines since chucky!! Explosion on offense is coming. Long time assistant who becomes coach who is offensive minded and has a straight foward attitude —see Bruce Arians

  11. The Buc Realist Says:

    There is no question that there was influence on Head Coach Koetter last year. He even said in multiple interviews that his job is to apply the philisophy of the head coach!!! That is why the run to pass ratio was almost equal even though that the team was down multiple scores in games. There was a reason why the running game was to shorten the game and we saw a 2 possession drop for both teams ( that is 4 less drives than normal). Some of this was to protect JW3 And most was to protect someone’s defense so it looked better stat wise!!!!!

    It is time to open it up!!! If this team is going down, they will do so swinging!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!

  12. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    Going shopping for my tailgate food today 🙂

  13. The Buc Realist Says:

    @Buc Bonzai

    Are you going to do the “chicken wing sacrifice” for the game???? To put the Voodoo on the dirty birds!!!!!!!

    26hrs and counting!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Bucs4821 Says:

    This reminds me of something I remember hearing or reading, but I can’t remember the quote. Something like Dungy saying he wanted to keep a game close and win it at the end and Gruden saying he wanted to be ahead by 4 touchdowns heading into halftime. It goes back to the phrase – Playing to win instead of playing not to lose. I remember John Madden calling a prime time game when Dungy was still the coach and he said, “When I think Tampa’s offense… I think 9 points.” It made me cringe at the time because I knew he was right. I also remember Collinsworth calling the NFC Championship Game and saying, “Tampa Bay is playing this game to win and Philadelphia is playing not to lose.” We all know how that turned out.

  15. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    If we start winning games in bunches Koetter coil quickly become a media favorite for his off the hip kind of comments. Not much of a filter on this guy.

  16. Kobe Faker Says:

    run, run, pass on 3rd down is going to get Jameis killed

    **we dont have the off line to protect him. Mankins will be missed. We have been Sweezied.

    Run no huddle and call plays on the LOS. Don let the defense huddle to devise the blitzes. Dont have to go superfast just dont let the defense setup.

  17. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Oh yee of little faith Kobe your dispair soon comes to its end 1:00pm eastern tomorrow. After viewing the product it will be visibly harder for many of you to remain critical of this Championship caliber football team.

  18. Doctor Stroud Says:

    I agree with the other fans who indicated that Koetter’s comments were insightful and reflected on ex-Falcons Head Coach Mike Smith as much as ex-Bucs Head Coach Lovie Smith. Depending on our experience with Koetter as Head Coach this year, ownership might seriously consider looking for offensive-oriented rather than defensive-oriented head coaching candidates in the long term. So-called “Buc Ball” (that defensive-oriented coaches Dungy and L. Smith followed) is predicated on building a strong defense and winning field position and turnover battles, but does this philosophy help build a consistently winning franchise in the long term? Then again, what is the “long term” for this ownership?

  19. Kobe Faker Says:


    What do you think about Jameis all around game right now?

    You think he comes out totally different compared to last year?

    totally different player as a whole?

    You think we have jameis philly game part 2

    i still think he is raw. i hope he limits his ints and fumbles. History states 2nd year he will be better but He cant be top 5 QB level yet. If he plays lights out this year, We might have a HOF player in our city

  20. JAB83 Says:

    By the sounds of this logic. if the is super aggressive so to will be the D and ST.

    We saw the super agression in the draft for ST and some fairly aggressive moves in FA signings. The D looked really aggressive in the preseason. So this is gonna be a much different “looking” team.

    My point is simple. This team cant help but look different as far as its playing style is concerned.

    BUT (Behold The underlying Truth) If I know one thing to be true about this team and its history… We event new ways to lose OFTEN…

    Lets wait for the results before we go nuts deep on how sexy coach K and company habe become… You know, wait till the hi waers out and the lights come on…

  21. Brian Says:

    He certainly CAN be top five level this year. There are no absolutes in this game.

  22. Buccfan37 Says:

    Who was that who referred to the pair Gruden and Dungy as Grungy, I like that.

  23. Louis Friend Says:

    Regardless of whatever style they execute, it has to work to win games. Right?

    I don’t think keeping things a little simpler last year was a bad idea. Jameis wasn’t very good with the deep pass, and we still don’t really know if he’s gotten better. I think the difference in style between this year and last comes down to what they actually CAN successfully do. Which is exactly what Koetter will do. Run heavy, pass heavy, or whatever.

  24. RustyRhinos Says:

    Getting my bags packed and heading to Downtown ATL @ 4pm, I’m going to the game in my 55 jersey, be looking for ya Celly at the ATLBUCS fan tailgate. By enterance B of the dome.

    I like the Attitude and enthusiasm Coach Kotter and Coach Smith bring to our team this season.

  25. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Kudos to Koetter for showing respect for Lovie.Too bad he didn’t have final say on the 4 th and one plays.This is an area that Jameis could have used all
    the experience he could get.Failure to take some chances at these times is
    a passive attitude that spreads to the team.

  26. BigStinky Says:

    Can’t wait to see the offense this year. Jameis should be better after having another offseason with Dirk’s offense. At least Atlanta’s defense isn’t THAT good so JW should be able to score often. Let’s just hope we are getting TD’s instead of FG’s when we get inside the 20 yard line. That is the main thing we need to work on if we are going to get that Wildcard spot. Hell, if we do win tomorrow, we will be leading the Division for at least the first week. Pluck those birds – Go BUCS!