Dirk Koetter’s “Badass” Formula

May 3rd, 2017


We’re more than four months away from the opener at Miami and this is already shaping up as the most unique season in Bucs history.

A franchise defined by stifling defense during two championship runs decades apart is suddenly poised to become an offensive juggernaut.

Right now, all that firepower remains strictly on paper. Label it “potential.” But Buc fans are drifting off to sleep with thoughts of a wide-open attack, a take-what-we-want approach with Dirk Koetter as the crafty mastermind.

Did you see the smile on Koetter’s mug last week when Jason Licht picked up the phone and informed O.J. Howard he was about to be a Buc? The last time Koetter sported a grin that wide was when the Glazers informed him his dream of being an NFL head coach was about to become a reality.

In 1979, when the Bucs reached the NFC title game in only their fourth season, defense ruled in Tampa, led by Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon.

From 1997-2002, when the Bucs won a Super Bowl and made the playoffs five times in a six-year span, defense again ruled the day, led by Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp.

That was the era when Tampa Bay’s defensive players would walk up to their quarterback and say give us 17 points — we’ll do the rest.

Those days are over.

Good riddance.

Busting 389

The 2017 Bucs look locked and loaded behind Jameis Winston, who just might be throwing to the best set of targets in the league.

Winston’s challenge this year is spreading the ball around to Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Cameron Brate, Adam Humphries, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin.

Talk about weapons.

The offensive line and the backs must do their jobs, of course, to make it all work, but make no mistake … those new video boards at Raymond James Stadium should be well stocked with Buc highlights this fall.

We all realize the offensive bar isn’t set very high around here.

The 2012 Bucs set a franchise record by scoring 389 points in Doug Martin’s stellar rookie season. With Josh Freeman throwing 27 TD passes, that club scored at least 21 points in 12 games and overcame a 1-3 start to stand 6-4 at one stage in Greg Schiano’s inaugural season.

During a stunning six-week span, the Bucs averaged 34 points and 432 yards per game before Freeman and the defense fizzled down the stretch.

Freeman’s main targets that season were Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, Tiquan Underwood, Dallas Clark and Luke Stocker.

Need I say more?

The 2000 Bucs own the franchise mark by ranking sixth in the league in points scored, with Les Steckel serving as offensive coordinator. Shaun King played well under center, throwing to Keyshawn Johnson, Jacquez Green, Reidel Anthony, Dave Moore and Patrick Hape.

Need I say more?

“Badass” Offense

Like any head coach, Koetter craves balance, keeping defenses guessing and minimizing 3rd-and-long situations.

But given the studs now at Winston’s disposal, would any Buc fan be shocked if Koetter comes out 4-wide and challenges defenses to pick their poison?

Koetter says he wants a “badass” football team. I can’t think of anything more “badass” than putting up 40 points when the Saints come marching in.

How about strafing the fat-cat Falcons for 38 and making Luke Kuechly’s head spin around like Linda Blair when the Bucs travel to Charlotte?

Last year’s Super Bowl participants, Atlanta and New England, ranked No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, in passing yards. The Bucs floated in the middle of the pack, but that was before the cavalry came to town.

Brace yourself, people. These are not your father’s Buccaneers.

29 Responses to “Dirk Koetter’s “Badass” Formula”

  1. Magicbuc Says:

    “How about strafing the fat-cat Falcons for 38 and making Luke Kuechly’s head spin around like Linda Blair when the Bucs travel to Charlotte?”…classic IRA!!! LOVE IT!!!

  2. stopthemadness Says:

    Can’t wait for the season to get going. This is gonna be fun!

  3. carrythatmofostick Says:

    damn right, and like some of ya’ll i have seen it all from Mckay to koetter, been a tried and true fan since 76′ and i am stoked at the potential this offense has, now the mantra should be to the defense, keep em below 20, and we will win plenty. hell yes go bucs, go jameis, go licht, and go koetter!!!!!!

  4. JonBuc Says:

    Usher in the Air Ira Era…

  5. MarineBucsFan Says:

    What has me so excited is how young Winston and those weapons are, we are about to go on a journey that ends in Dynasty!!

    I have no doubt this offense will click and guess what, the weak links will be identified and they can be addressed with next years free agents. I know I’m ahead of myself but after drafting Howard and Godwin this year, it’s time we shift our draft focus to defense. In no particular order CB, DE, and DT need to be our top 3 picks in next years draft. A boost on Defense and we could be top 5 offense and top 10 defense for years. That’s something not even the Patriots or Seattle has done.

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    RB in the first round are for rookie QB’s and weak QB’s that cannot read defenses and go thru their progressions!!!!!!

  7. MarineBucsFan Says:

    All of these weapons make Winston a target for my Fantasy Football League!!

  8. Vico Says:

    Offense keeps you in every game, our defense can play to amaze like we saw early in the second half of the season. This team can go the distance.

  9. bucsfaninchina Says:

    Tiquan Underwood!!! Forgot about that mofo

  10. BCoburn Says:

    I gotta be honest. I really miss the days when we have a top 3 defense year in and year out. On the other hand I do understand when you have an extremely promising young QB it only makes sense to shoot for a high powered offense. I just hope we are in a position in future years where we can invest enough in defense to at least make it respectable. Unlike some of the newer age of fans, I generally don’t enjoy seeing teams just trading TDs with the deciding factor being those one or two drives where one team had to settle for a FG.

  11. Ben the Ga Buc Says:

    I fully expect 4 wide sets routinely by the Bucs offense. To not do so would be a waste of the talent we now have on the roster.

  12. rrsrq Says:

    in the words of Bart Scott “Can’t Wait”
    but since I have to, I will just go with visions of a “badass” Bucs team.

  13. Capt.Tim Says:

    Man! Irvs articles fire me up!!
    And love your stuff , too, Ira!!

  14. Capt.Tim Says:

    It will take them an adjustment period, but this looks like the Best Bucs offense ever!
    Exciting times

  15. gambelero Says:

    The people who put their money behind what they say have spoken. Not to throw water on the cool aid drinkers, but Vegas expects the bucs to come in last in the NFC South and put out a win total of 8. By comparison, tHe Titans are 9.5, but that’s already been bet down to 9. Bucs were 7.5 last year and 5.5 the year before, both of which they outperformed.

    Part of this is that the NFC South is the highest ranked division (followed by the NFC East and AFC West) in the league. Seattle, who plays in the worst division, has the highest expectation in the NFC at 10.5 followed by Atlanta and Green Bay at 10. Jets, Jags, Browns, Bears, Rams and Niners are below the Mendoza line of 6 with the Bills right on it. Bills drop also represents biggest deviation from last season’s predictions–an indication that Vegas feels their organization is dysfunctional.

    One book put out lines for every game. Bucs are never more than -3 (never more “near pick” window dogs) through the 11 games before the bye.

  16. Guzzie Says:

    Our most dangerous lineup is 12 formation or 3 wide with Godwin replacing Brate, OJ should never come of the field, he’s a monster, a faster and bigger version of Evans

  17. rayjay1122 Says:

    We better stock up on gun powder for the pirate ship because those cannons are gonna be a blazing!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!


  18. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Don’t forget this D gave up an average of just 17 PPG the final 8 weeks after the bye and after their come to jesus communication moment with Mike Smith.

    We have all the same pieces of that defense back; except for McDougald (worst secondary player we had) and Spence (worst DT we had) who were replaced with Wilcox (better SS with more range) and Baker (now probably the best DT after McCoy); and we added Justin Evans who is more FS and can return kicks.

    So essentially same D that gave up 17 PPG over the 2nd half of the year; upgraded at DT/S. Also likely to see improvements from Noah Spence & VHIII along with a hopeful healthy Jack Smith. And I doubt 75% of the starting D-line rotation is all injured at once like last year. That was insane.

    In those last 8 games the only sh1t offense we played was the Bears. Look at the 7 other games – Chiefs/Hawks/Chargers/SaintsX2/Cowboys/Panthers. Most those teams typically can score.

    17 PPG would have us as like a top 3 defense last year. Like seriously imagine those 8 games but with all the weapons we just added on offense. We probably would have gone undefeated.

    Hoping for a top 10ish D this year. Plus top 5-10 offense. That’ll get us to 11-5.

  19. CanadianBucNut Says:

    Another great article Ira. Been loving your takes on the team this year ( and the Joe’s as well). Love the podcast! Keep up the good work fellas!
    Sincerely: Biggest Bucs fan north of the border!
    Thanks for the love.–Joe

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    “Those days are over.” Every Bucs fan wants to believe that Ira … that our offense will put up so many points that the scoreboard won’t be able to keep up. Undoubtedly in the minority right now, but I’m more optimistic that the defense will rank higher than the offense will. Our D looks to be pretty solid right now, and I don’t think that Jason is through adding pieces yet to improve our depth (DEs maybe?). Bucs offense has added several superb weapons (DJax & OJ especially), but 3 areas still concern me: (1) our OLine; (2) play-calling; and (3) depth. I’m really hoping that our OLine performs great this year, but we say that every year … only time will tell. I thought that our play-calling last year left a lot to be desired at times, but hopefully that was only because Dirk Koetter hadn’t quite figured out how to wear both the HC & OC hats simultaneously yet. Injuries will happen … that’s a given in the NFL because it’s such a violent sport, and depth is an issue every year it seems. But hopefully we’ll be better off in most positions than we were in years past. Lady Luck always seems to play a big role when it comes to our Bucs.

  21. Pickgrin Says:

    Now that’s sports writing folks. You da man Irv.

    #weaponsforwinston = mission accomplished

  22. Tampa Tony Says:

    Weapons for Winston, mission accomplished

  23. Howard Returns Says:

    Winston’s challenge this year is spreading the ball around to Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Cameron Brate, Adam Humphries, O.J. Howard and Chris Godwin.

    The Magnificent Seven

    (c) Howard Returns Inc 2017

  24. BucsFanatic35 Says:

    My God Ira with Every Article you Put out on JoeBucsFan you Get Better and Better at this Unfiltered Journalism. This Article Was Superb, Well Written, Well thought out and with your Pen Broke our your #BMFS and Beat us over the Head with it. Bravo Mr. Irv and Bravo Joes for Bringing in the Legend!!

  25. FartinMartin Says:

    Most of those offenses from past years had an excellent running game that year. I also remember Steckel practiced a disproportionate amount inside the red zone that training camp year.

  26. TampaTown Says:

    Ira you definitely have visions of sugar plums dancing in your head! And your unbridled optimism is starting to scare me. Call me crazy but I really miss our stiflingly defense. Remember Michael Vick saying, “I can’t even set up” before getting flattened by Derrick Brooks? Teams couldn’t drop back, couldn’t run, couldn’t pass. Ahh…the good old days. If we had had just an ounce more of offense we would have won 2, possibly 3 SuperBowls (1999,2000,2002) even being the first team in NFL history to play the SB on their home field (2000). But here we are and about to start strafing..LOVE that… but I would like to see QB’s get sacked every time they dropped back to pass. Oh how we miss you Simeon!!

  27. TampaTown Says:


  28. Brian Ludwick Says:

    Nice article IRA, the problem in comaring us to elite passing offenses is our QB is NOT an accurate passer and turns the ball over.

  29. @SarasotaJay Says:

    So stoked for this season fellow StickCarriers! FollowTheLicht!