Candid Koetter Talk On Kick Return Value

March 30th, 2017

Koetter gets analytical in Phoenix

The Bucs had the worst kick return average in the history of the NFL last year.

So Joe asked Dirk Koetter about that at the NFC Coaches’ breakfast yesterday. Koetter answered in great detail as Joe mowed down the world’s finest kiwi, papaya, pineapple and blackberries at the swanky Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.

(For those wondering, Joe wasn’t trying to set a new toilet record. But who can pass up peeled, juicy kiwi? Joe has no patience to peel those things.)

On the kicking game, Koetter said the need for a game-breaking returner might be overblown. Would you say kick returner is a priority for this team right now?

Dirk Koetter: You know what, I know everyone is worried about the kick return thing. Just a stat that we got here [in Phoenix] this week, I think it was like 39 percent of kickoffs were returned [in 2016]; so you’ve got all those [other] balls going to the 25 [yard line]. Of the balls that came out, the average starting position was the 22-point-something yard line. You’re just not seeing a lot of kickoffs get past the 25 yard line on kickoff return. So for something, depending on who you’re playing, that might not happen the whole game, you know, if a team is kicking it to the end zone, I don’t think it’s quite as high a priority. I think we have some guys that would be fine doing it, maybe they weren’t healthy last year or we couldn’t use them. But there’s a bunch of guys in this draft that can do it, but you’re not going to draft a guy primarily because of that in the first round.

Quick Koetter translation: “Charles Sims can run back kicks. We’ll pick a few spots with DeSean Jackson. Adam Humphries is there, if necessary. And maybe we’ll draft a guy with that skill set.”

Joe gets Koetter’s logic of the kick return skill being of limited value. But that’s the kind of thing teams without a good returner say.

Seven players, each with 13 or more kick returns last year, averaged more than 27 yards per kick return last year. And they totaled five touchdowns on those returns.

The Bucs would be a better team, perhaps significantly, with that kind of kick return production.

40 Responses to “Candid Koetter Talk On Kick Return Value”

  1. pick6 Says:

    punt returns are a different story – still an important weapon to set up your offense. and there wasn’t exactly a highlight reel to be made from our punt returns either. just a team that lacked explosive ball carriers at every skill position last year

  2. Kalind Says:

    Meh. I’m with Koetter on this one. I don’t care. As long as they don’t fumble it out of bounds at the 2. (I still can’t get over that crap..)

    But otherwise..the return game is a giant, ‘meh’. Rather get a monster WR or safety.

  3. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Kalind nailed it. Kickoffs are almost obsolete, and punters today can get +4 on hang time. Just catch the ball and don’t let Josh Huff anywhere on returns.

  4. d-roca Says:

    Smoke screen. You guys are crazy if u think he meant it. Huge part of the game. Go bucs

  5. Buc1987 Says:

    If the ball gets placed at the 25 every time it goes into the zone. I would instruct my return guy to NEVER take it out. EVER.

  6. Nole&aBuc Says:

    Here’s a link on how to peel a Kiwi with a spoon.

  7. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “Buc1987 Says:
    March 30th, 2017 at 5:29 pm
    If the ball gets placed at the 25 every time it goes into the zone. I would instruct my return guy to NEVER take it out. EVER.”

    Yeah honestly even with mortar kicks they are likely to roll through the end zone anyway even if they drop on the 5/10 – or roll out of bounds which means you get it at the 40.

    KR is probably as low in terms of value-added benefits that it’s ever been in the NFL… but somehow Joe’s take is that it’d be a significant addition lol and should be a priority over a bad4ss 2nd TE.

    Tyreek Hill had 3 kick returns over 30 yards last year; 1 for a TD. He had 2 punt return TDs as well. That was the BEST of the entire league. Even if we had a top 10 KR vs worst KR it really wouldn’t probably move the needle that much.

    ALl that said I’d love a guy who could be great at KR/PR lol because it’s exciting when you get that 1 or 2 TDs a year

  8. macabee Says:

    Brisley Estime/Syracuse UDFA

  9. Jonzey Says:

    Cook in 1st, Wr in 2nd , 3rd safety, 4th OLB, 5th RS TJ Logan,6th TE

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I think that’s a smokescreen.

    Can’t convince me that if a certain CB named Jackson is available in 2 or 3, Koetter would pass.

  11. Dave Says:

    I think he is spot on.
    It’s almost irrelevant in today’s NFL.
    Having a good punt return or definitely helps.
    I also think focusing on a return guy is a luxury for team that does not have many holes. The Bucs on the other hand, probably need to draft a DB, a wide receiver, and a running back, so any of them can also be considered a return guy

  12. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Just thinking man so Robert Ayers was the bridge and mentor for Spawn. Brent Grimes the bridge and mentor for VH3. I get it now Adrian Peterson gone be the bridge and mentor for….

  13. Lord Cornelius Says:

    If we get Dalvin I don’t want Peterson taking his carries lol

  14. Bill Says:

    I think I disagree with all of you so far (except for Joe, which is refreshing). The stats Koetter references are league-wide averages. However the situation is split into two groups, teams with good kick returns are the teams that get those TB’s (25 yardline). The teams with bad kick returners are the teams that get the pooch kicks and bring that number down from 25 to ~22 something. So a good kick returner means about 5 yards, on average, in starting field position. That might sound petty, but I assure you it’s not.

    Add to that the value that a returner can also have on punt returns (they often do both), and you have a very valuable weapon. Despite all of Koetters strengths, his old school way of thinking is often a detriment. Koetter seems to think that 5 yards of field position won’t matter as long as his OL blocks well……but it does.

  15. Kevinthepainterimagine Says:

    Gotta say I agree….its the other 75 yards that count. Yeah it woukd be awesome to have a good return guy…cough cough McCafferey, but even if they dont, you have a free shot at starting on the 25 most times, lets figure out how to sustain drives and get first downs, that might be a better place to start!!!

  16. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Normally I would agree 100% with Coach Koetter. But I sense a change in the wind when it comes to the kickoff game.

    Now instead of simply ripping every kick some teams are having their kickers stroke high floating kicks in the hope of pinning the return team back inside their ten. More and more kickers are developing this quality, it was “supposed” to be a strength of Ohnono’s.

    And so while I agree there may not be a lot of loose yards laying around on kickoff returns…there is bad field position for teams that trot out inexperienced KR’s and watch them bobbling those high short kicks….then the fun really begins.

    I don’t care if we have a threat to take it to the house on every kickoff…but I do want to make sure the guy fielding the kicks is competent and understands the game!

  17. theodore Says:

    Watching Tim Brown call fair catches, I didn’t know that would be out last good punt returner.

  18. unbelievable Says:

    Yea I agree with Koetter as well.

    Punt Returner much more important anyways

  19. SB Says:

    What Lord C said.

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

    Me I don’t see Dalvin as a 25 carry a game back. I see him around 17 to 20 carries a game the way Jimbo used him. Just finish reading a piece on yahoo about him. The writer pointed out difference between he an Fourntte. I agree with what he wrote wasn’t bashing but he also wasn’t totally singing his praises either. It was a Good fair write up if you ask me.

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    Punt returns are much more important these days. Hump was reliable fielding the ball but certainly not a returner opposing teams were scared of.

    If we wind up drafting McCaffrey which I’m starting to think is a decent possibility – this entire return “problem” goes away instantly.

  22. Gambelero Says:

    You guys think you have to peel your own Kiwi at the resort the owners are staying at. Pleaseeee

  23. Tampabayucfan Says:

    Speaking for Pablo

    “Pablo has an hombre….has outrun dozens of border patrol agents…..rattlesnakes and Texas longhorns…..he is not only fast but is very “shifty” and “greasy”…..hard to bring down…fitting all stereotypes. As long as Hason doesn’t ask for his SS#….he’ll be OK”

  24. Cobraboy Says:

    In the WFL we kicked off from the 30.

    That would eliminate many touchbacks.

    A kick returner should be way down the list. Now a punt returner? Different story.

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

    Greg Cosell wrote it. Check it out.

  26. Fsuking Says:

    The Bucs have been preparing for the phasing out of kickoffs since 1976. Just a few more years and all of our hard work and dedication will have paid off.

  27. TarzanTheBucsFan Says:

    Why nos cuz hes gonna blow out a shoulder.

  28. Jim Says:

    Joe is wrong on this one, and that’s why Koetter is the coach and Joe is the blogger.

  29. SB Says:

    Jim, we all have our professions and we usually do pretty good at them. When we go outside of them and pretend to be something we’re not, well then…

  30. unbelievable Says:

    LOL fusking!

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

    No not really jane. Just doesn’t make sense to is all. To be honest like Cosell wrote in that piece Both Dalvin and McCaffery are system RBs. He stated “you do not build offenses around them instead add them as pieces to offense that are already somewhat established”. I agree. This why I don’t think anyone in the top ten really are seeking to add either Dalvin or McCaffery. Lets look at a few. Jets,Jags and panthers. What do they all have in common… Subpar QB play. Why add a slasher/darter style runner when you are attempting to alleviate pressure from your QB. Bruisers make more sense if you intend to give him the rock 20 to 25 a game. You don’t ask Dalvin or McCaffery to do that, neither in all honesty is built for that. The falcons don’t use Freeman that way nor should we use Dalvin inn that manner.

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

    Clear it up for you any jane.

  33. DB55 Says:

    But who can pass up peeled, juicy kiwi?
    Best part of the cruise! Go Joe!

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

    And oh btw Chris Ivory just inked a deal in jax last season. That’s alot money going to RBs if you take one in the first. Brandon gone and do the jets even have a QB??? And after the fall of his defense him being a defensive coach I can see Rivera adding to that side before taking a RB. Which to me he’ll do in the second with Perrine who’s measurables are exactly the same as Johnathan Stewart.

  35. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    So you’re saying we should draft Dalvin in the 4th round like Devonta?

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

    How was work today Blake???

  37. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Not bad, put together helped the plumber i’m working with install a natural gas line, comprised of black iron screw pipe, to feed an industrial kitchen stove.

    How was work for you.

  38. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    oh and I also helped tie an a temporary connection to the domestic water main, so that we can flush/ test our system.

    All in all it was a pretty light day.

  39. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    tie *in* a

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

    That’s good bro. Job well done.