Double Your Pleasure

May 17th, 2017

Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira Kaufman, the most beloved and esteemed columnist in town, has hung his hat at world headquarters since July 2016. His columns pop here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Dirk Koetter is already diving deep into his think tank, dreaming up formations that will help Jameis Winston thrive in his third pro season.

The plan won’t be unveiled until the Sept. 10 season opener at Miami, but I’m ready to suggest a nickname for what should be a dynamic attack.

Double Trouble.

Tampa Bay opponents will face a challenging dilemma when Cameron Brate and rookie O.J. Howard line up in a double tight end set commonly known as “12 personnel.”

With Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson split out wide and two tight ends creating mismatches in the middle of the field, Winston’s efficiency should improve markedly. His sack numbers should drop because he now has a group of targets that can quickly create separation.

The stunning addition of Howard has Koetter’s mind working overtime. In 2015, Koetter’s first season as Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator, the Bucs set a franchise record for total yards — despite meager production at tight end.

“I’m the first to admit that I like tight ends,” says Koetter, who had the privilege of designing plays for Tony Gonzalez in Atlanta.

Gonzalez made the Pro Bowl twice with Koetter’s help and, in 2010, Jacksonville tight end Marcedes Lewis made the Pro Bowl after posting 10 touchdown catches in Koetter’s offense.

Over the years, we’ve seen what Tom Brady can do with talented tight ends. And while Winston isn’t Brady and Brate isn’t Rob Gronkowski, you get the picture.

A savvy coordinator like Koetter can drive defenses nuts when he has talent and depth at the position.

“It’s a matchup nightmare,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano says of the double tight end alignment. “It is across the league. You can see it more and more every year. You can choose to put a defensive back on them, and they will be undersized, they will get outmuscled and they will get ‘big-boyed’ for the ball.

“Then you can put a safety or a linebacker on them and they can’t run with them. It is a matchup nightmare for any defense.”

Howard hasn’t caught a single pass as a pro, but his versatile skills jumped out on tape at Alabama. Koetter made no bones about telling Jason Licht that Howard was one of his favorite players in the draft.

Spreading The Defense

And if you’re wondering why Howard didn’t put up bigger numbers for the Tide, remember that Julio Jones caught only 15 scoring passes for Alabama during his 40-game career, registering a mere eight 100-yard games.

Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez presented all kinds of problems for New England opponents, who had to decide between sticking with a base defense or going nickel — which weakened the ability to stop the run.

“If you have the right people,” says NFL Network analyst Brian Billick, “what this does is it takes the defense and spreads it much wider than they want to be spread. If you have the right personnel in your two-tight-end offense, you can create a real problem … you can dictate the tempo.”

Brate will never be a burner, but this Harvard man is a student of the game. He catches almost everything thrown his way, as proven by his superb 72 percent ratio of receptions to targets during his young career.

In case you’re wondering, Greg Olsen’s career ratio is 62 percent.

Yes, double trouble is on the way. For Buc fans, it means double your pleasure. For Jameis Winston, it should mean a big, big season.

13 Responses to “Double Your Pleasure”

  1. Pickgrin Says:

    Double your pleasure – double your FUN. Explosives and TDs for EVERYONE.

    Weapon’s for Winston? Check PLUS!

    Next years draft should net DL, CB and OL at the top picks and then this team will be in VERY good shape moving forward. We already are but 1 more good draft will seal the deal as far as Dynasty aspirations go…

  2. Bucsfanman Says:

    This will be a LOT of fun to watch. This dynamic should open the door for other aspects as well like Joe alluded to.
    Stay healthy guys!

  3. BoJim Says:

    We never got to use ‘The Dunkineers’. 🙁

  4. GhostofTedford Says:

    “Double Trouble” I LIKE IT

    But what shall the defense be called?

    The Pewter People Eaters? The Sackbuckling Bucs? The Legion of Doom?

    They need a name too.

  5. GhostofTedford Says:

    The Sackineers

    The Bay Bullies

  6. '74 Bucs fan Says:

    Triple Trouble:


    Pick your poison!

  7. Joehelldeloxley Says:

    Add to this, one or two RBs good catchers like Sims and apparently Mc Nicholls on TDs should drop on Bucs opponents defense !

  8. '74 Bucs fan Says:

    What excites me most about this year is the Swagger we should have. Jameis year 3, Deshaun, Swaggy, Kwon, Big Mike Evans, Hargraves – SWAGGER!

  9. RayJameisStadium Says:







  10. Bob Higginbotham Says:

    Ira, it is a joy to feast on your wisdom 3 times a week in your columns and twice a week on your podcasts! Please keep up the quality work!

  11. Destinjohnny Says:

    It’s been 12 years since we have had something that I couldn’t wait to watch.

  12. DavidBigBucsfan99 Says:

    This is the reason I wanted OJ more than even Mixon. I knew OJ would add another dimension to the offense back a just couldn’t do. No more stacking the box and now defensed have to double Deshaun meaning more single coverage. Even on passing plays OJ can stay in and block and McNichols can run a wheel route out of the backfield. Possibilities are astounding what this offense can do but it all starts with the line both offense and defense. We will go by how good or bad they perform.

    Destinjohnny don’t forget that 2012 team. When the light finally came on for Martin that team was pretty exciting. Especially that game against the Raiders.

  13. Cover Deuce Says:

    Good lawd that’s a gaudy catch rate. Never knew that, and it kinda just blew my mind.