Dirk Koetter Lashes Out At O.J. Howard Critics

May 6th, 2017

They’re tough to find, but there are those who aren’t overly impressed by the Buccaneers’ first-round pick, tight end O.J. Howard.

Howard was a surprise to have slipped in the first round last week, and Dirk Koetter responded to a common knock on his new toy.

USA Today NFL writer Tom Pelissero interviewed Koetter on SiriusXM NFL Radio recently and explained that he sniffed around to find out why Howard fell.

Pelissero told Koetter what he found and Koetter fired back at the critics.

Tom Pelissero: When you look at O.J., and nothing about his background when I asked people around him how he got to No. 19, there were no big red flags about anything at Alabama. The one thing that did get brought up was, ‘How competitive is the guy?’ When you evaluate his tape and talk to the kid, which I’m sure you did through the process, Dirk, what did you find out in that regard?

Dirk Koetter: (Laughs) I’ll just say anybody that said that, let’s see that person line up against him. Let’s see how that works out. When I hear people say that, that just makes me laugh. I mean, how competitive? This guy played at Alabama. This guy played his best in the biggest games. He played in the SEC every week, played in national championship games. First off, you can beat up every player in this draft for something. You know, as soon as a team picks a guy, it doesn’t have to be our team, the second a team picks a guy a certain percentage of the people out there are going to love the pick and a certain percentage are going to start beatin’ him him up. That one’s a funny one to me. O.J. is one of the cleanest players in the draft.

Classic Koetter answer right there. The Stick Carriers, the legions who know live their lives based on their head coach’s mantra, will love that one.

Koetter added that Howard “was way, way, way up our board as far as offensive players go.”

As a rare dual-threat tight end, a guy who blocks like a beast and can stretch a defense, it’s hard to believe Howard somehow is lacking competitive fire. Still, he, like every rookie, has to prove what he has with the big boys of the NFL.

48 Responses to “Dirk Koetter Lashes Out At O.J. Howard Critics”

  1. BuccaneerByBirth Says:

    He slipped that far because he’s a TE and there was an early run on receivers that pushed the best DB’s into the 10-18 range. The big dude slipped right into our lap. Critics of OJ are laughable at best

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    “was way, way, way up our board as far as offensive players go.”

    I thought so too!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    August 2nd, 2016 at 9:28 am
    Fans will say that WR then TE will be the biggest “need” for the 2017 draft!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!

  3. Kobe Faker Says:


    “Whatsup with all the quotations?”

    Kobe Faker marriage counselor

  4. Trubucfan22 Says:

    No player is perfect. OJ isnt that diva, ball hog, that most WRs and otherplayers are. Maybe that can bring into question his passion/competitive or competitive drive, but not every player is like Chad OchoCinco or T.O.

    If you look hard enough you can find flaws in any player. Even if it isnt an actual flaw.

  5. SB Says:

    The kid went back for his senior year to perfect his blocking craft. THAT is a guy who wants to be the best.

  6. Supersam Says:

    Yea ok, he played in the senior bowl when he didn’t have to, but yet we’re questioning his “competitiveness”? Get outta here already.

  7. The Buc Realist Says:

    Why “kobe liar” is kobe liar!!!!!!!!!

    Kobe Faker Says:
    November 20th, 2016 at 10:42 am

    Yes, i will sacrifice myself in behalf the the tampa bay bucs.

    If tampa wins “i will not post here ever again”

  8. Fritz50 Says:

    “Kobe liar”, “Kobe faker”, whatever…I don’t see that feuds between posters does anything but waste space. You don’t like what a guy says just move on, simple as that. I come on here for Bucs news, not two guys bitching at each other.

  9. BradentuckeyBuc Says:

    Uh oh, Gerald McCoy 2.0!

    Solid guy who does his job ON the field without talking trash or dancing after every play…and does his job well!

    Joe, better warn OJ not to help any competitors up off the turf!

  10. Owlykat Says:

    I like Howard and feel he will be a valuable addition. My criticism is Licht fails to distinguish between wants and necessities in every draft. Running between the tackles in the NFL puts a brutal beating over a season for any running back but it stands to common sense that a little back will have more injuries and fumbles than a big burly RB, and a faster running back who can take it to the house is much more valuable than a slower one. He should have learned that from Muscle Hampster but what does Licht do but draft Muscle Hamster’s clone. Now he needs to keep both of them which will cost more than taking the breakaway big back that he could have had. Rediculous!!!

  11. Broy34 Says:

    Realist? You done yet. Nobody cares you can point out the obvious. Man that week off from the comment section was fantastic

  12. Broy34 Says:

    Fritz thankyou! People that think they’re celebrities. One talks third person the other quotes himself every. Single. Article.

  13. Guzzie Says:

    Owlykat….everyone wants a workhorse 3 down running back, but look around the league, there are less than 5 successful 3 down backs. Also, everyone buried Demarco Murray, no reason Martin can’t come back this year, and think about the receiving corps we had last year!

  14. SB Says:

    A dynamic pass game opens the run game.
    One legit target in the pass game kills the run game.

    Simple as that

  15. rayjay1122 Says:

    As for all the Bucs fans who are critical of the pick and I know it is not the majority. Don’t dare scream and cheer when he is balling. The analysts need to stick to their guns as well. Don’t jump on the O.J bandwagon later. As for me, I get to gleefully cheer for him when he destroys defenses as a receiver and as a run blocker. Absolutely loved the pick.

    Go Bucs!!!

  16. Tackleblockwin Says:

    What Truebucfan22 said. Seems like the kid has his emotions under control. He does his job and doesn’t get over hyped up. The kid is gonna be great as a Buc.

  17. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Saban wouldn’t have him playing if he wasn’t fiercely competitive.

  18. darin Says:

    You beat me to it. Wish there was a way to block certain peoples posts. Turning into feuds and look at me look at me crap now. We come here for bucs news and bucs info kids. Nobody cares if u predicted something that happened in the draft. Weve all been right and all been wrong, get over yourselves. Back to the news at hand….they can dig up what they want but the reason he dropped is pretty obvious. QB trade ups and team needs in other areas. Only 10 tight ends drafted in the first round in last 10 years i think i read. With his talent and attitude he should be a pro bowler very soon. Go bucs

  19. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    This is not intended to bash Joe because I love this site but it is that time of the year.

    Seriously! Buc fans unhappy with the OJ pick? I haven’t really seen them. Yeah there was a Dalvin contingent…I would have been happy with Dalvin…but I’m just as happy with OJ. Two different exceptional talents at different positions both of whom in IMHO would have helped the Bucs offense. LIke most I think OJ has a much longer career ahead of him simply because of his position.

    I just keep reading and hearing wonderful things about the Bucs and the draft in particular OJ. This is just a total nothingburger.

    I love the work the Joe’s do for us at things like the current rookie camp. But during some parts of the year when there is NO football…waaaahh…nothingburgers like this bubble up.
    Look, Koetter was asked on national radio about this particular criticism and gave a powerful response. Of course Joe was going to share. –Joe

  20. TheMaineBucsFan Says:

    OJ Howard is going to do work on the whole NFC South and the rest of the league! Let’s go Bucs!

  21. meh Says:

    Garrett was the only guy in the draft that was clearly better than Howard. You can make an argument for a few other guys to be better, but not many, and it’s an argument not a slam dunk. Howard was a top 5 talent, and we got him at 19.

    We got the steal of the draft.

  22. The Buc Realist Says:


    The unhappy ones are just the sheep that were feed daily and when the dinner bell rang, it was not what they were told!!!!!

    But the signs and information was out there!!!! One just needs to know where to look!!!!! Another great The Buc Realist prophecy!!!!!!

    The Buc Realist Says:
    November 6th, 2016 at 12:33 pm
    While DS76 had a very rough 2 games. I think that this can be fixed by drafting a very good TE that can both catch and block so he stays on the field thru most snaps!!! If We had such a TE it will help the O-tackles by chip blocking and funneling the speed rushers right to DS76 or DD69!!!! The TE can then still run a pass route or block in the second level!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!

  23. rayjay1122 Says:

    @ owlykat

    I respect your opinion however the flip side of your take is that these days the NFL is a passing league. Also, our rushing attack will be better just by virtue of Howard being a dual threat so teams won’t be tipped off as easily as to us having a pass or run play called.

    Also I think our interior OL will be much improved by moving Marpet to center and Sweezy & Pamphile at guards. I am not thrilled with our OT position though. Our current RB’s should find it much easier this season. We do not need a big bruiser at RB. Times have changed.

  24. Birdman Says:

    We were gifted OJ by the draft board gods. 3 QBs went way higher than they should have due to their position, 3 WRs went earlier than expected, and due to a combination of the teams before us all having feature TEs, TEs not generally getting drafted top 10-15, and teams drafting for need, OJ was the guy teams we’re ok to pass on in favor of other premier position talent players.
    Boy, does Licht know how to work a draft or what fellas?

  25. Allabout3 Says:

    The Manimal is going to be a pro bowler. Winston loves his TE’s and he will get a lot of opportunity

  26. Kobe Faker Says:

    Rayjay is correct

    Peeps dont realise what a extra man in the box does to the run game and now how we will blow peopleup with no extra defender…when a safety has to be 20 yards away from the LOS, its easy to get 5 yard carries per attempt

    we have huge mismatches all over the field.

    I think we will have a nice jump in our record beginning of the year because defensive coaches would not know how to defend us till the end of the year…if there is a way to stop us


    Jameis with time to throw?

    Slice and Dice

  27. LakeLandBuc Says:

    O.J.Howard wasn’t the only Crimson Tide player to slip. Johnathan Allen, Reuben Foster, Cam Robinson slipped further than he did. Marlon Humphrey was drafted before any of them.

  28. LakeLandBuc Says:

    I know Johnathan Allen was drafted at 17, but he was projected as a Top-5 pick.

  29. JameisDungy Says:

    “He showed acceleration, good feet, good vision, a lot of the same things we saw on tape,” coach Mike Zimmer said after practice regarding Cook, via Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “[He’s] a good kid; seems smart in the blitz pickup drill they had down there.”

    I still wish we gave up the back end picks to move up and get Cook in the 2nd round.

    Jameis, Cook, Evans, OJ Howard, Godwin

    Just totally set for the future. I like the guy we drafted at RB, but man I got a feeling Cook is going to be really good day one.

  30. Eric Says:

    I think he will be great, but still a bit confused as to why Saban did not get him more involved in the offense.

    I am aware of the 200 plus yards in the first Clemson Championship game. Fabulous performance.

    But otherwise the stats did not often match the hype.

  31. Blake_bucsfan Says:


    Yo Eric, that’s part of what makes O.J. such a special player, is that he didn’t even need to have the ball in his hands to make an enormous impact on a game.

    This game against TX A&M is a perfect example. He had a mere 8 catches for 69 yards and 1 TD, but he worked his tail off all game long. Making great blocks in space, sealing guys off to create creases for his running backs, Stonewalling Myles Garrett on multiple occasions, and just flat out imposing his will as a blocker.

    O.J. is going to improve every single aspect of our offense. As our departed friend NosBos would say, Just wait on it.

  32. Eric Says:

    Good point Blake, although I would feel better if that wasn’t our second round draft pick he was sealing off several times.

  33. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    What you speak of is true.

    I’ve made note of Justin Evans struggles in pursuit a few times now. He is prone to taking poor angles, and I thought he got blocked off of plays he could have made too easily and too frequently.

    However, Justin Evans is very good in coverage, and showcases that for a few plays on that tape. Plus he is an agile, speedy athlete with great movement and range.

    The more I look in to the kid, and the more I look at our Defensive Coaching staff, the more I like the pick. Brett Maxie is one heck of a coach. Anybody who could make Verner into a probowl player is one savvy individual. I also don’t think for a minute that he would have been the pick if Mike Smith didnt want him.

    So if this kid takes to the coach, and dedicates himself to become a student of the game, and a sound tackler, we could have another Grand Slam from Licht with another draft that yeilds 4+ Starters.

    I’m so pumped for Training camp and beyond. Go Bucs!

    And The

  34. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    takes to the *coaching*

  35. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Disregard that “and the”

    forgot to erase dat. LOL.

  36. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    If I was part of the brain trust.
    I would give serious consideration – to bringing TE Gary Barnidge on board.
    Not only is he a pillar of the community, and highly respected by his peers.
    But he’ll give Young Jameis yet another – capable offensive weapon at the position – just in case Howard struggles to adjust. Or someone gets injured.

    Sounds like a WIN – WIN…right?

    Released by Cleveland (CLE), clearing $2.1875 million in cap

    So what is the damage – 3 years for $13M?

    For A tight-end group of ….
    • Cameron Brate | Alan Cross
    • O.J Howard | Gary Barnidge

    C’mon now I group like that – will have no peers in the NFC South.
    An will give us one of the most complete receiving (WR/TE) units in the NFL.

    Can you imagine a rezone offense with…

    Mike Evans (WR) 23 (6-5) 231

    ==> Gary Barnidge (Y) 31 (6-6) 242

    ==> O.J. Howard (Y) 22 (6-6) 247

    Cameron Brate (F) 25 (6-5) 235

    Talk about LOB CITY…geesh

  37. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    C’mon now *a group like that – will have no peers in the NFC South.

  38. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Even though we currently have over $23M in cap space.
    If you wanted to be frugal.

    Here’s the extra $4M – needed to Sign (Y) Gary Barnidge
    • George Johnson DE ($2,250,000 Savings)
    • Luke Stocker TE ($1,700,000 Savings)

    Done deal.

  39. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Seriously think about this for just a sec.

    Essentially we would have TWO capable receiving groups

    Group A.
    • Mike Evans (23) | Riley Cooper (29)
    • DeSean Jackson (29) | Chris Godwin (21)
    • Adam Humphries (23) | Josh Huff (25)

    Group B
    • Cameron Brate (25) | *Antony Auclair (24)
    • O.J Howard (22) | Gary Barnidge (31)

    * Antony Auclair – For sh!ts and giggles

    Koetter would have LIMITLESS formations at his disposal

  40. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    *DeSean Jackson (30)

  41. Pit Says:

    You guys just talk to much. I will be there on the first game against the Dolphins. Can’t wait. Go Bucs!!!!!!!

  42. Locked In Says:

    The Bucs Narcissist

  43. The Buc Realist Says:

    Jamies Winston says: Mr. Buc Realist, why do you anger them so?

    The Buc Realist says: The sheep change their names so often, it is easier to keep track of them when I make them come to me!!!!!!!!

  44. Capt.Tim Says:

    Anyone who disparages the OJ pick, hasnt looked at our team make up.
    The thing that Jameis does best- better than any other!, is seam and post routes. He is incredible at hitting routes across the middle.
    His favorite Target at FSU was his TE. He often ran 2 TE sets, and was very sucessful from that formation.

    Dirk Kotter made his name on Tony Gonzales back. Loves TEs. Has stated here on several occasions, that he wants to run 2 TE sets.

    Evans, Desean, Brate, Howard.


    Jameis will do real damage with those 4.
    Playoff damage.

  45. BucinPA Says:

    OJ will give defensive coordinators nightmares. Will he run block? Will he dump out into the seam? He is the best addition to our O-line this season.

  46. RustyRhinos Says:

    Hey Owlykat, please show me as I am from Missouri. How our GM took a less than calculated chance on RB Jeremy McNichols. You said “a faster running back who can take it to the house is much more valuable than a slower one.”

    D. Martin 2012 draft 40 time was 4.55

    RB 17 draft 40 times.
    J. Conner – 4.65
    L. Fournette – 4.51
    D. Cook – 4.49
    J. McNichols – 4.49
    C. McCaffrey – 4.48
    J. Williams – 4.41
    S. Perine – 4.65
    B. Hill – 4.54

    Out of these times where is there not speed? We got a RB who is 0.06 seconds faster than D. Martin, as fast or faster than several on this list, not all. It looks to me like J. McNichols is as fast or faster than most all of those RB this draft we read about possibly drafting. I do not see a lack of speed. I agree with you on the Bigger backs ability to absorb and inflict punishment not being as effective with a smaller back. I am 6’4″ 228 and slower @51. I see our new RB is 5’9″ 214 and is 4.49 fast, has great hands, can block, scores TD’s. What is not to like? When did we draft him?
    Not Bellyaching at ya Owlykat just want to know where your coming from.
    GO BUCS!

  47. Rod Munch Says:

    There was OJ critics? Do they know this isn’t OJ Simpson – they’re talking about this OJ? Huh?

  48. FutureBucsGM Says:

    Not many tight ends are met with much fanfare, it isn’t the sexy pick.

    I just remember how much fun Jaboo was having with Delanie Walker at the Pro Bowl.

    Buccaneers are a very dangerous team.