Dirk Koetter Addresses Fans & Media Perceptions On Depth

July 23rd, 2017

You want to get deeper into the mind of winning Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter?

Here you go.

For those just emerging from the spring-summer, no-football blues, Coach Koetter sat down for an in-depth chat with the Ira Kaufman Podcast about a month ago. (You can catch up on various segments in the archives or at iTunes. The final cut rolls out this week.)

Asked a question about cornerback depth, Koetter rolled into a very interesting take on fan and media perception of depth in general. Here’s the transcription:

“Teams in the NFL, you can only have so many name players where everybody knows their name. Sometimes, if the fans haven’t heard a name before, or even if the media hasn’t heard a name before, they just assume the guy’s no good, “Koetter said.

“If a guy’s out there on a 90-man roster in the NFL, he’s pretty good. There’s a lot of guys that aren’t. It’s going to get cut down even more. But what I would just say, you know, I read you guys’ website, if a corner’s getting torched, he gets torched [on JoeBucsFan.com] too. So now you’re talking about guys you just don’t know their name. Well, you want us to bring back the guys you’re already mad at? I always laugh about that because your depth is your depth. You can’t just trade these guys out all day.

“Because it’s not like there’s 200 great players sitting out there on the street; someone would sign them. Obviously, there’s salary cap and there’s draft and free agency, but you’ve got to develop your players. We mentioned Javien Elliott. So Javien Elliott was a tryout player last year. He was like Adam Humphries was. And [Elliott] improved every week. He ended up starting a couple of games for us and did fine. And he’s continuing to get better out there.

“Ryan Smith, a guy that played a couple of different position. We wanted to try him at safety; it didn’t work out too well. We’re putting him back at corner, he’s doing better. A lot of times you don’t really know how your depth is going to work out until they get in the fire and have to do it. [Running back] Peyton Barber is another one. He came out of nowhere. Slowly but sure, when we needed him, he did ok.

“You’re never going to have 53 known quantities and your just going to say, ‘Ok. No 46 on your roster goes out there, I know exactly what they’re going to do.’ That’s never going to happen.”

Fantastic take by Koetter (and not because he says he reads JoeBucsFan.com).

Koetter is probably 94 percent on the money here.

Take cornerback, for example. If/when Ryan Smith gets roasted a couple of times this season, then should Bucs fans scream for unemployed Alterraun Verner and Mike “Toast” Jenkins to be re-signed? If the Bucs’ depth at tight end is tested this year because of injuries and Alan Cross drops some passes, should a Brandon Myers bandwagon emerge? There are many other examples.

Teams do have to roll with their depth once the 53-man roster is set. There has to be trust in the evaluation process that got those guys on the team, and teams can’t get all trigger-happy looking for quick fixes on the street.

However, it is the great personnel departments that seem to consistently find those effective guys on the street, or severely limit their depth problems out of the gate.

22 Responses to “Dirk Koetter Addresses Fans & Media Perceptions On Depth”

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s getting more & more difficult to make this team and that’s a good thing. There will be some familiar names gone this year as in the past.

    Revis, Bennett, Penn, Zuttah for example.

  2. BucEmUp Says:

    IT’s all about coaching, motivating and getting the most out of your depth guys that do not have household names. Notice in New England, a team that wins a lot of championships, they get the most out of they’re young ufa,s. It’s rarely the teams with one or two big money names winning superbowls its the team that coaches, drafts and develops well. I trust in Koetter and Licht that they are building something special and know what they are doing. There are a couple different moves I wish they had made but they know the plan and are executing. GO BUCS!

  3. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    “You gotta develop your players”. What a novel idea. One in which many round here Don’t quite understand.

  4. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    It’s like the Bucs draft a guy and he’s expected to play like a All-pro as rookie. S@$! is comical. Like VH3 should come in as rookie and be shuttin down the likes of Julio and Aj Green the minute he steps onto a pro football field. C’mon man. He didn’t garner the nick name “Revis island” until around his third year in the league man. Josh Norman blew up his fifth year after being a no name and primarily a back up on carolina.

  5. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    What Nole said…agree..

  6. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    What’s the kid name in KC,Peters. Yea he has like 8 picks as a rook. Because reid and that coaching staff clearly have him the green light to play overly aggressive. With the amount of attention he was receiving that season it didn’t come as surprise to me that he got his hands on a few footballs. What they don’t talk about is be gave up the most receiving yardage in the entire NFL. Koetter and Smitty weren’t about to allow VH to play that way considering the whole unit was learning a new scheme. Like come on this ish ain’t hard to understand man.

  7. Brian Says:

    Fans always seem to expect all pro at every starting position. Every team is going to have a weakness at some position. Build good quality depth and you are in good shape. Like said above, it’s getting harder and harder just to make the roster here and that’s not something common lately.

  8. LongSeason Says:

    A sign of a team going in the right direction is taking those no-name players and developing them into solid special teamers, reserves and even starters who help you win games. The less turnover we have in roster after the 53 man roster is established (exception for injuries, you know people do break) the better we can expect our team to be. It scares me when there are a ton of roster moves between preseason 4 and regular season 1.

    I want to see our coaches do something they haven’t done in a long time: coach. Yup. Coaches are called coaches for a reason. You coach the bad techniques out of a player. You coach good techniques into the players. You get them to find their own weakness, position weakness or squad weakness.

    Last year, for example, the defense smelled worse the Pepe Le Lew until after the Atlanta Tweety Pie’s Thursday Night Football game. The the defense came to the realization they had a problem.

    “What we have here, is a failure to communicate!”

    After we lost to the Tweeties the defense began to communicate better resulting in better play and a winning streak. How many 5 game winning streaks has Tampa had in their history? The longest winning streak was 6.

    If you look at the best teams year-in and year out, they consistently draft well and also find undrafted rookies. Then they coach those players up. There is no mystery to why the Pats have 5 Super Bowls or why the 49ers were so successful undo Bill Walsh. Coaching, coaching, coaching.

    Our coaches coach then our depth will be fine.

  9. LongSeason Says:

    Anyone wanna see how many hard boiled eggs they can eat?

  10. passthebuc Says:

    if they are are not getting toasted, they are not learning. This is the NFL. Most guys coming out of college are not yet ready for it’s complexities. That does not mean they will not become very good in a few years. If this business were easy, everyone would be doing it.

  11. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    And I mean everyone.

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    The talent level of spots 35>53 on the Bucs roster continues to improve.

    Hump was our 2nd best WR last year. Now he’s our 4th best receiver.

    2 years ago Hey Jude started 7 games. Now he is likely our 5th best CB.

    There are other examples but there’s no doubt our roster talent is improving top to bottom.

  13. Maze Says:

    Yep lots of dumb Buc fans out there unfortunately

  14. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Getting guys off the street is always a crap shoot. As far as long term solutions I do not look to guys off the street after training camp cutdowns.

    However sometimes you can plug a hole temporarily for just a season. For all we might say unflattering about Gosder he was a good dude and for awhile he did help put a finger in the dyke. But he was never going to be a difference maker going forward.

  15. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I must say that I haven’t seen this much depth on our team since the early 2000s. For the past 12-15 years we’ve argued about the starters because we’ve drafted like a front office that has never watched college football. Just remember our 2-14 season. We had maybe 10 quality NFL players. Now we are arguing over the #5 WR; the #3 TE; the #4 corner; the #3 LB; you get my point. We are more concerned now with the backups than the starters. That’s how Patriots, Packers, and Steelers fans think. We are on the right track. It’s all up to Winston and the damn kicker position. If Winston takes the next step and our kicker (Folk) is solid, there is no reason we miss the playoffs. It’s good to be a Bucs fan!!

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete, some of the guys Licht, Koetter & Smitty brought in off-the-street were known quantities … to them. Rodgers, Hawley, Cherilus, McCain for instance. Plus several others they said they’d ‘followed’ for years. But other Bucs’ HCs have done the same thing (Schiano & Lovie for instance). Where I’m convinced our present coaching staff will make the biggest difference is in player development. That’s the primary reason why Bill Belichek has been so successful IMO.

  17. Bucco bruce Says:

    Coach Dirk koetter if you read this come to Scarpas Italian restaurant Lakeland Ford the best dinner you will ever have.yours truly chef Chris. Joe Bucs Fan best site in the world for all your Buccaneer news.tampaàaa

  18. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Agree. Some players were signed as FA’s in the off season for what appears to be a Licht/DK method. Sign a veteran FA where needed who can mentor the new kids that as you correctly point out need to be developed.

    I think Ayers fills in for a few years and helps Noah….Grimes and VHG…and now DJAX and Chris Godwin…I think Licht and DK have clear priorities when signing FA’s….in the off season.

    It’s the last minute patch jobs like Gosder and guys signed after TC starts that seem to me to be truly stop gaps brought about because of lack of depth.

    I think our depth is finally now good enough we won’t see much of that.

  19. Defense Rules Says:

    StPete, agree totally about some guys being signed on during the season as ‘stop gaps’ simply due to injuries. Some of the older FAs like Ayers & Grimes were undoubtedly brought on-board to mentor some of our younger guys,and both of them have certainly done that (while also maintaining a VERY high level of play). Yes our depth is getting there quickly.

  20. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh and StPete, hope that your brief vacation in the hospital wasn’t for anything ultra-serious. Been there, done that (I am a couple yrs older than you youngster) and I don’t need to punch that card anymore.

  21. SB Says:

    “koetter is probably 94% right here”
    LOL. Now Joe is a stat geek with his own equations. I love you Joe but I trust Dirk more than you

  22. German Buc Says:

    Great statement from our coach – and 100 % on the money, Joe. It’s great to see the development of the entire roster. As Eric said: ‘It’s good to be a Bucs fan!’

    Just can’t stop feeling like we are set to break out. My trip to Minnesota in February is booked!