Koetter True To His Word

March 16th, 2017

Truth teller.

The one thing about winning Bucs coach Dirk Koetter that Joe enjoys — aside from inadvertently creating the greatest rallying cry for Bucs fans since “Pound That Rock” — is Koetter being a straight shooter.

Legions of Bucs fans and Doug Martin fanboys were terribly quick to throw rocks at the offensive line last season, blaming it for Martin’s woes as they became personally if not morally affronted with the mere suggestion Martin was the cause of his woeful lack of production, among the worst in the NFL.

Refreshingly, most of this hysteria died when Martin admitted he was struggling with a dependence issue and responsibly checked himself in to a treatment facility (allegedly) to get his life right.

Koetter — more than once — publicly defended the front line of the Bucs offense, even as recently as the NFL Combine in Indianapolis two weeks ago.

And yesterday, Koetter (and Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht) put actions behind words when the team re-signed free agent center Joe Hawley.

If the offensive line was as much of a sieve as many fans seem to think it was, then a complete reclamation project would be in order. Instead, there is consistency. As Joe is typing this post in the wee hours of Thursday morning, the lone change in the offensive line thus far is the apparent retirement of swinging saloon doors backup tackle Gosder Cherilus.

Through the first week of free agency, the Bucs haven’t even brought in one offensive lineman from another squad to interview. Not one.

Remember, the Bucs have mounds of information, more than what Joe and fans have available. They know exactly what every guys’ assignment was on the front line on each and every play, and have tape of every snap of practice from underwear football to the end of the season. They know the timing of the blocking/running.

And no, the Bucs don’t give a damn what the numberscrunchers think. They value the offensive line grades of the PFF tribe about as much as Joe valued the nonsense that regularly flowed out of Dan Sileo’s mouth.

If Koetter and Licht — a former offensive lineman himself for Tom Osborne at Nebraska — are truly this off-base on the offensive line, then both will have to face the music before Team Glazer after the 2017 season.

43 Responses to “Koetter True To His Word”

  1. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “both will have to face the music before Team Glazer.” Good bottom line Joe, and that’s exactly what will happen IF they don’t upgrade at least the Center position (and that assumes Sweezy makes it back as a starter). Haven’t seen huge numbers of fans blaming the OLine for Martin’s lack of production last season … he stunk, plain & simple. He let the team down. I hope he gets the help he needs and turns it around, but … on another team. Bucs need to upgrade the RB position, and Martin’s not that upgrade. Joe Hawley is a great dude & a great influence on our young OLinemen, but you know what: doesn’t mean diddly if he can’t block. Bucs were terrible last yr running between the tackles. A Center should be the one doing the manhandling, not be the one getting manhandled, and that’s what I saw happen to Hawley way too often last yr. Several potential starting Centers in the draft. Licht needs to spend one of our higher picks to grab one.

  2. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, this line has pieces but needs reformation, Licht is a former lineman…was he any good, did he get drafted, was he invited to any teams camp… Was he tuff in the trenches or soft as cottonelle tissue. If we place the same O-Line on the field again this season, no running back on the roster will gain 600 yards..continue to build a wall but not in Mexico Dumb a$$!

  3. 941BUC Says:

    Just because they didn’t bring anyone in during FA doesn’t mean they won’t draft a linemen or several.personally I think they went a good route with consistency on both sides of the ball.

  4. Tampa Tony Says:

    No matter what the Joes or the front office says this line is weak at center and RT. Licht still hasn’t learned his lesson hoping that injured players will come back and play well. It didn’t work with Jackson and Murphy and it likely won’t work with Swezzy. Leaving them to scramble to protect Jameis so next offseason won’t be weapons for winston it will be buildawallforwinston as he won’t have time to throw.

    Thus we still won’t know after 3 seasons just how good he is as the line is seriously over estimated by the Joes and th front office

  5. tdtb2015 Says:

    8 men in the box is a thing of the past for this offense. DJax will bring help to this o-line. People still holding on to the “old” picture. This offense changed in many ways thanks to DJax.

    Defenses will have to stay honest or Winston will be the next MVP.

    Watch what happens when you have TE David Njokuin (from UM @ #19 on the draft) a double tight ends set with Brate. Defenses will have to stay honest or get burnt.

    Atlanta’s offense has nothing on us!

    Go Bucs!!!

  6. Bob in valrico Says:

    The average runs between Hawley and Pamphile were around 5.0 yards a carry.On the Marpet ,Hawley gap they dropped to around 3.4 yards a carry. Have to wonder if Hawley’s knee injuries affected his ability to push off to that side when blocking.That said ,will these nagging injuries will continue as they
    seemed to for VJAX.

  7. Mord Says:

    I agree with Tampa Tony.

    Forgetting Martin’s woes, I think a big part of the reason we got to see what a good scrambler and improviser we have in Jameis is because of the often poor protection he gets from this line.

    I’d like to have seen Mangold added. I’d like to see them pick up some depth at RT. Imagine this offense with Jameis able to work more methodically from the pocket!

    Is this move a sign that they want to draft a C and other OL depth? Bring in some understudy-types? Does this draft-class have good late-round depth in those positions?

  8. Not there yet Says:

    It’s called player development. Only the bad teams go out and address every single position of need in free agency. No doubt there will be rookies brought in on the o line and that’s all that’s needed.

  9. Chyno Says:

    Donovan Smith is not a starting LT, or a starting tackle in general. Joe Hawley has great attitude and guts, but attitude and guts hasn’t stopped him from being one of the worst centers in football. Signing DJax doesn’t mean much if the guy in charge of throwing him the football is on his back every other down. Instead of getting him more weapons they should’ve protected him first. With at least two spots on the OL that needs addressing, it could be another year or 2 til Winston really blossoms into an elite QB. U can’t throw from your back Joe. Maybe u should tell that to Koetter and the former lineman.

  10. tdtb2015 Says:

    Remember people when Jameis rolls out of the pocket DJax will get open and Evans will not be double teamed.

    Can you hear the cannons?

    Sims will have his longest runs of his career this year against an honest defense.

    Sims screens will be fun to watch again.

    Go Bucs!!!

  11. Bird Says:

    Yah. Still scratching my head here. Hopefully they get best five guys on line whether that means moving someone to center cause that is on GM and coach if there are issues with it this year. I would think run game should be better with desean outside. Teams won’t be able to stack the box anymore and double Evans over the top. Need another offensive weapon or two in the draft so again time will tell.

  12. Tampabayucfan Says:

    I look at this a bit differently…..It seems to me to be a very positive situation to where Licht & Koetter would rather go with developing players in the pipeline like Benenoch & Wester than to go with another FA. It also likely means that Sweezy is good to go.
    My move would be to put Sweezy at LG and move Pamphile to RT.

  13. Phil Says:

    The offensive line is young with Donavan, & Ali and they should get better but it would be nice to see them bring in Nick Mangold.

  14. Rrsrq Says:

    Kinda of hard to get started as a running back when d-linemen or your center has been pushed into the backfield. When Chris Baker exposes the centers in camp, they will make a move. I think they will go after Mangold, but not till camp starts if he is still available

  15. Eric Says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong Winston was one of he most hit QB in the league

  16. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Eric, you’re 100 percent right. Joe blames that on Jameis, just like he blames the lack of a running game solely on the Rb.

  17. Tampa Tony Says:

    Blake- you just destroyed the Joes as football evaluators. Thank you!!!

  18. DallasBuc Says:

    Joes keep carrying water for bff & biz partner Licht

  19. Joe Says:

    Bob, good stuff there.

  20. gotbbucs Says:

    Last week they needed to trade a 3RD ROUND PICK to the Eagles for Jason Kelce so he could fix the center position, this week it’s “see, I told you they were fine at center” as soon as they re-sign Hawley. The 20/20 hindsight of the Joe’s is perfect.

    I really hope Hawley was more injured than we all think last year, because I don’t need to see the actual blocking assignments to know that getting rag dolled in pass pro isn’t how it’s supposed to look.

  21. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    This is the same HC/MGR tandem who was cool with our receiver group last year and grabbed nobody. What was the result of that decision? A good portion of Fameis’ 4000 yards yards passing came from his scrambling ability since the line couldn’t hold their blocks. The run game goes nowhere when guys are in the backfield one second after the snap. Martin had his problems but the weak line compounded it immensely. Joe you need to put down the szzuurp because you’re babblin on and to the break of dawn with line hogwash you’re spewin!

  22. gotbbucs Says:

    Also, we might want to see some contract numbers before we run off claiming they love the guy.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with the sentiment that the lack of run production was largely due to Doug’s “issues”. Barry Sanders wouldn’t have made it out of the backfield on a lot of plays that I saw. When you have D-lineman wrapped around the RBs ankle before he hits the LOS, how is that the RBs fault? Yes Doug struggled, but he is not the only reason for our poor rushing attack last year.
    The O-line struggled. Anyone who disputes that had their head in the sand for most of last season.

  24. Bucsfanman Says:

    I like Hawley a lot. With the new additions and good health, we can turn this thing around.

  25. pabucsfan Says:

    Joe where would you honestly rank our olline in the nfl? Theres no way it is top 15. Im sure the Patriots thought their wrs and cbs were fine after winning the super bowl but did they just sit back and accept what they had? No they went out and tried to upgrade. Thats what good teams do. Theres no way you can tell me that bringing back Hawley was the best option at center.

  26. JP4 Says:

    JBF is a fansite, he’s a fan, it’s his site, and it’s his prerogative to post his opinion on the OL being solid all the way through.

    But, it can’t hurt if this opinion is controversial. Hey, if people are posting to refute that argument, they’re coming to the website. Site visits mean $$$, so it’s an investment, too…Hey, Joe, what are you doing here?…Hey, no…put that big stick down…what are y………….[end of comment, connection lost]

  27. D-Rome Says:

    Trust the process. What else can I really say? I think the lack of a running game led to Jameis being (once again) one of the most hit QBs in the NFL. I hope that changes this year.

  28. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Here I thought Jason Licht was in charge of resigning players…

  29. DallasBuc Says:

    It’s virtually unanimous that the oline underperformed and it was not solely due to the play at center or RT yet the GM wants us to believe it was just fine and nothing to see here. Obvious once again that his pride is what stands between improving as a football team and protecting his fragile ego. Good thing the GM has friends and business partnerships with certain media outlets because this is what being a media mouthpiece for the GM looks like.

  30. jameisaintnopunk Says:

    sit down, grab a cold one, relax, lt’s getting better all the time, 9-7 last season, remember when it was 3-13, we hav e competent people at the helm, i for one am excited, and can’t wait to see what unfolds this season, go bucs

  31. briandorry55 Says:

    I love Koetter…but I had one concern when we hired him as offensive coordinator…

    Did they ever have a decent offensive line in Atlanta? Nope.

    You don’t have to be Bill Parcells to know that interior lineman aren’t supposed to get blown off the ball left and right when run blocking.

  32. SOEbuc Says:

    I don’t know why people are hating so much on Joe Hawley. He’s not extremely terrible. The thing that had me grinding my teeth to the gum last year was that doggy poop bag Demar Dotson. I would love to see the young monstrous Benenoch come in and become a pro bowler.

  33. TeddyTB Says:

    When evaluating Licht and (to a lesser degree) Dirk you have to factor in Winston’s net improvement to the team. Meaning how much of our Improvement is credited to just having a better QB vs Licht putting together a better overall roster. The line with Sweezy might be good enough to get to the playoffs or the whole unit may naturally improve but why take the chance. The fans have eyes and we weren’t impressed with our oline. That SHOULD actually matter Licht.

  34. Lord Cornelius Says:

    1 – I agree with Joe in that I was never thinking we’d go O-line with a premium FA or draft pick based on Koetter’s & Light’s comments all off season. It’s the same reason I am confident we’re taking a TE /RB and likely another WR or 2 in the draft. That all lines up with their messages. The surprise picks will be the ones that aren’t a TE/RB/WR… with least surprising being S. Realist pretty much nailed this whole thing a while ago

    2 – I don’t think the line is nearly in as bad a shape as people make it out to be and Doug Martin was definitely to blame a bit.

    Jaquis Rodgers averaged 3.6 YPC in his career before we signed him (319 carries). He ended up averaging 4.3 YPC on 129 carries last year. If our line was so abysmal how does that make any sense at all?

    If this line was so bad; how we were a top 5 rush offense the year before with 80% of the same starters?

    In general I am much more optimistic than most…

    LT – D Smith – never have been down on him like some; year 3 should show more improvement – solid starter imo
    LG – ? – Pamphile – with more experience should be better / Sweezy was highly rated – either way solid starter imo
    C – Hawley/EDS = capable starters, Hawley was better when 100% in 2015; and Godschalk is a young guy already grooming in the wing
    RG – Ali Marpet – stud
    RT – Demar Dotson – weakest link; but Caleb Benecoch is behind him and Pamphile could even play there

    Between Smith/Pamphile/Marpet/Benecoch/Goddschalk I expect improvement in general because they’re so damn young

    I think the team is thinking they have those 5 young guys and 4 capable vets to configure a pretty decent line this year; and they want to see more playing time & development especially out of guys like Goddschalk & Benecoch before they assume we need to upgrade the positions that they are working at filling. What if Benecoch takes over at RT and is a bad4ss? Same with Godshalk who did pretty well last year when he played..

    If none of those players develop like they want and the vets dissapoint then they will likely look to supplement the talent in a year when there is more available talent to do so. Everything about it makes sense to me.

  35. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Lord C.- I agree with everything you said. However, I still contend that ALL the “problems” with our rushing attack were not SOLELY because of Doug.
    If Sweezy is able to play, at all as a reserve or starter, we are not in terrible shape. I would look for the Bucs to eye depth in the draft or maybe with some young FAs. I would not expect a big name like Mangold or Kelce at this point.

  36. Pickgrin Says:

    “The O-line struggled. Anyone who disputes that had their head in the sand for most of last season.”

    Perfect and concise summation of 2016 Bucsfanman.

    Lord C made good points as well.

    Bottom line is the GM and coach expect better play from the talent already in house in 2017. They expect that young starters Smith, Pamphile and Marpet will all improve and they also expect that their young depth players in Benenoch, Gottschalk and Wester will also improve and perhaps 1 or more will improve enough to push for starting jobs at RT and Center.

    I understand the plan – just not sure I agree with it. Time will tell. They better be right on this one. If Winston gets hurt due to poor line play – then there will be hell to pay in the court of public opinion….

  37. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “I still contend that ALL the “problems” with our rushing attack were not SOLELY because of Doug.”

    Agree. We still were the worst team in the league when it came to RBs getting hit before the LOS. That’s on the line as much as the RB imo.

    The line needs to play better than they did in 2016 for sure. I just look at 2017 as a building / trial year for the line. I think we have enough bodies to put in a good line up and enough youth for there to be a chance that some guys step up big time.

    I can understand taking the risk there vs other positions where there is no youth or depth or potential… primarily WR and play makers in general for example. The D-line depth was much worse and much older than O-line going into the offseason so I’d rather they go that route which is exactly what they’re doing…

    Bottom line for me was this:
    -depth/potential/youth at WR/D-line/TE/S was in much worse shape; and those are positions that are deep and available in both FA/the draft
    -O-line was not a good position of value this year for FA; as guys like Matt Kalil who are underperformers got paid like studs; and even the top O-lineman in this draft have question marks and are no sure things

    Because of that overall picture above; i’m guessing they said lets just stand pat; see how these guys develop; and if they don’t work out we will attack it when the market makes more sense for the value you will get on your return

  38. Kevinthepainterimagine Says:

    I agree to an extent that martin was running bad last season and look for him to regain focus and come back strong, but as I posted yesterday I think the playcalling had a negative effect on the oline performance and I think if asked koetter woukd agree that was the case. I still think we need to add some pieces unless we have some youger guys ready to take a step to the next level.

  39. Pickgrin Says:

    Kevin says:
    “the playcalling had a negative effect on the oline performance”

    Its the other way around Kevin. The Oline’s performance (as well as lack of legit receiving and RB talent) had a negative effect on the playcalling. Koetter didn’t forget after 20 years how to call effective plays – he was forced to compensate for an underperforming Oline with the playcalling most of the year. Hard to effectively run a 4 verticals offense when your RBs are dodging guys in the backfield regularly and your QB gets pressured within 2 seconds more often than not.

  40. bucs_365 Says:

    If Sweezy is back, I could see him at LG, with Pamphile competing with Dotson at RT, with Pamphile winning the job and Dotson becoming the back up swing tackle. Plus, they still could draft a center. I doubt Hawley got any guaranteed money, so they could still part ways. If Hawley doesn’t start he doesn’t stay because he has no backup versatility…

  41. unbelievable Says:

    Lord Corn speaking some truth again!

    Guess we’re really counting on Sweezy this year.

    I’m having these strange nightmarish flashbacks of Carl Nicks. Anyone else?

  42. bucs_365 Says:

    ^^ The main difference is that we had noone to play guard and were depending on Nicks back then. This time around, we’re fine with or without Sweezy. I think Koetter’s statements about Sweezy have always been “wait and see”. He’s not ready to gift him a starting job. He’s gotta beat someone out.

  43. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Other than an over the hill C (mangold) what prize o lineman have really been available? Bucs did nothing because there was nothing available, Hawley is a serviceable center, but can anyone sit here and say this line is the best it can be? Is there not a single o lineman in the draft that could make us better?