Game-Planning Grades Need Improvement

July 11th, 2017

Dirk Koetter explains

Winning Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter is always willing to put a high-powered microscope on himself.

It’s one reason his players love him, and media and fans love that he shares his finding.

Koetter joined today’s Ira Kaufman Podcast (scroll down and listen) and talked about the Bucs’ offensive failures early in games. Tampa Bay has too often been impotent early.

The head coach seemed to say the problems are one part America’s Quarterback, Jameis Winston, and two parts playcalling and game-planning.

“If you look at Jameis’ career, when Jameis gets off to a fast start [in a game] we usually play pretty well. When he gets off to a slower start, not as well. So that’s one of the things that I think falls a lot of the offensive coaching staff to have the right game plan early in games — that we don’t have to tinker around to find it, that we know what we want to do,” Koetter said.

“That’s usually a little bit easier later in the season when you’ve seen teams. Those early games … nobody does in the preseason exactly what they’re going to do in the season. You don’t have tendencies. They might not even be showing what they’re really going to do, what their real strength is. … There’s a lot of reasons behind that. But the fundamentals of how you win and lose, the turnovers, explosive plays, third-down conversions, sacks, scoring touchdowns in the red zone, those things never change.”

Pretty cool that Koetter is dropping a lot of blame/accountability on his offensive staff. As Ira notes, only five on Jameis’ 50 career touchdown passes came in the first quarter. That’s some head-shaking math right there.

Looking for specifics on ways the Bucs can improve? Look no further than first-quarter execution.

17 Responses to “Game-Planning Grades Need Improvement”

  1. Bucsfanman Says:

    Undeniably, there were aspects of play-calling that need to be improved. Perhaps with a bit more talent, Koetter can open up a bit.

  2. K2 Says:

    Look for Winston to at least double his first quarter touch downs this year. I think he will throw at least 10 (1st Quarter) TD’s this year.

  3. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Everyone here knows exactly what the problem is…

    Run, run, pass….punt
    Run, run, pass….punt

    Trying to “establish” the running game…..we usually find out after a quarter that isn’t working so we let Jameis loose.

    I’d like to see us start games in the two minute drill…..can’t hurt.

  4. BucTooth Says:

    Thank you Tampabaybucfan for seeing what i been seeing. First two plays are running plays straight up the middle for one yard maybe two then throw the ball on third down and hope for a first down. Why not throw on first down make their defense have to think will they run will they pass. Football season can’t quick enough for me fire the cannon’s baby. My prediction 10 wins 6 loss’s and God please a playoff game.

  5. Etzel Says:


    And at the start of the game, if the run is actually working and we’re getting first downs it becomes:

    Run, run, run, run run, run, pass (3rd and 11), punt

  6. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I’d like to see more passes on 1st down as well but it’s not as crazy as you may think.

    I charted drive logs for a few games and it was pretty balanced in terms of Run/Pass ratio on 1st and 2nd downs. But most teams in the NFL pass more than run so balanced looks like a lot of running in today’s game.

    We still need to run the ball better than last year regardless. Too many 2nd and 10+ yard situations. And on the other end of it; we need to stop the run better with too many 2nd and 6 or 2nd and 5 downs for the other team

  7. Dave Says:

    Cool. Get out quick, score a lot, unleash a pass rush
    The problem I saw was the offense stalling in the second and all through the third

  8. Defense Rules Says:

    Tampabaybucfan ‘run-run-pass-punt’ is an oversimplification, and from what I found on (game recaps) was rarely the case, last year at least. Koetter actually does a pretty good job of mixing it up, although admittedly he does seem to prefer ‘leading’ with the run after a punt, TD, etc (when we get the ball back). Go through several of the first games from 2016 and I think what you’ll see is a tendency towards ‘run-pass-pass’ more frequently than any other combo. Looked to me like passing on 2nd down usually resulted from not getting much on the 1st down run (obvious why I guess).

    One thing Koetter didn’t seem to call as much in most games last year (as in 2015) was short passes to the backs, except for Sims when he was healthy. Maybe it was just that we used so many RBs last season Coach Koetter took awhile to get to know what each could do.

  9. 1Gr8Buc Says:

    You all complaining about the play calling clearly do not really understand play calling according to what the defense is showing you. Teams had 0, ZERO respect for our run game and we had 1 maaaaybe 2 weapons in the passing game. When a defense is showing they are playing the pass and daring you to run the ball you do exactly that RUN the ball. I think our line will be better equipped to pound the ball and with Doug Martin RETURNING in game 4 teams will be forced to play a little more honest.

    There is so much more into calling plays than looking at one on the sheet and saying “OOOOH THAT LOOKS GOOD.” It’s all about match ups, tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. Point is, it’s easy to say we need to pass the ball more but when your one true weapon is manned up with a zone coverage behind him (double teamed) and no one else can get open you have to take what the defense is giving you.

  10. Kobe Faker Says:

    Everyone here knows kobe is hard on koetter, but…

    Licht didnt give koetter the players/talent to suceed higher

    Licht now has given koetter all the different talented pieces to suceed

    Kobe withes koetter had someone with experienced playcalling/design and viewpoint to share the load

    2016 koetter as hc and oc was overloaded

    Koetter playcalling was much better on 2015

    Bruce arians is viewed in the league as a top oc playcaller/qb wisperer but he still brought in tom moore (peyton manning indy) even though he already has a oc goodwin

    “2017, bucs season will depend on koetters playcalling and VH3”
    Kobe faker

  11. BucEmUp Says:

    I want to see Koetter call plays like he did in Atlanta. Running 4 and 5wr sets airing it out. Tired of the run first mentality. Drop the hammer and give em hell for 60 minutes dammit!

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    Dirk aimed to fix our redzone play last year and that went well so I’m confident we can do netter in the 1st half this year. Hopefully pur redzone play continues to get better as well.

    This weakness in 1st halves shouldn’t be to tough to fix. Most scoring in the NFL is done on the 2nd half and the 1st half usually sets the tone. Only a handful of the games turn into shootouts and I think we have better personnel to handle those games this year.

    The biggest factor is Winston himself(as Dirk was quoted on). He puts himself behind the eightball at times with awful 1st half play. Granted, he has amazing ability to shake it off and play his way back into the game but we won’t find longterm success with goofy tosses and fumbles from our QB. I believe Winston looks more calm and collected this year in the first halves.

  13. Lamarcus Says:

    Defense can help also. Last year those high powered offense raped our defense earles on which in turn creates more of uphill battle to starting fast.

  14. JimmyJack Says:

    I disagree with some of you on the running game. Just because you don’t get many yards on a certain play doesn’t mean your not impacting a game. From last year both Martin and Rodgers are on the small side of the scale but that doesn’t mean they don’t run with a bruising style. The two of them inflict a lot of hits on opposing defenses. When you keep running and laying big hits onto the defense it makes a difference as the game wears on. Not toention many of our run calls allow for players like Marpet, Smith and yes even Hawley to off the line and punish the second and third levels of the defense…….Watching our lineman get down field is one of the most beautiful things to watch on this current era of Bucs football IMO.

    Another factor to consider is how good pur passing game is on third and short. I have no idea what the stats say but we are damm automatic on third and 3. This is when Winston and his teammates hard work pays off. He knows exactally where guys like Brate and Hump will be and locates these passes perfectly. When things break down Winston and Evans show awesome chemistry and make a lot of plays on the fly. Winston can also run the ball. There are just too many options for us not to be good on third and short.

    We had nine wins last year and our most dominate efforts were games like Seattle where we owned them with our running game. If we can get better at the run and win 2 or 3 more game with it we will cruise to a division title.

  15. tnew Says:

    Last season, one of the biggest issues with the running game was the personnel packages and the tendencies based on those packages. It was nearly as simple as, Stocker’s in.. Run, Brate’s in … Pass. When Martin was hurt in game 2, it really killed the early season game plan.

    This season with the additions of OJ Howard and hopefully Auclair too, with Brate and Stocker, there will be less tells based on personnel.

    Also, I believe McNichols offers more of a run threat than Sims ever did and he looks to be at least equally adept catching the ball, but I project that better too.

    Add in a tougher interior line and a WR or two that scares the back end of the defense and this will be a much different season.

  16. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    The only problem with running the ball on first down is that we do it so much, especially on the first play of our drives. When we run playaction on 1st downs, just from my memory, we have to be at an 80% completion rate or better. I get that an incomplete pass would but us behind on 2nd down, but I’d rather be aggressive and have 2nd and 10 than be passive all of the time and have 2nd and 8. Unleash our Franchise and make defenses react than dictate. We have the passing weapons to put defenses on thier heels. More hurry-up and unpredictablity will greatly imorove our offense. We have the offense to use the pass to set up the run, not the other way around.

  17. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Several things set the tone for the more conservative play calling.The first
    was Jameis ‘s turnovers against the Cardinals,Rams and Bronco’s.Vjax’s
    inability to come back from injury..Doug martin’s injury and ineffectiveness.
    Lack of other complementing receivers.
    Agree 100% with above comments that Brate telegraphed a pass and Stocker
    a run.Also hate to see a run on first down all the time,because if it is ineffective,
    it is often followed by another run call.
    Believe nobody wants to open up the offense more than Koetter,but in order for h
    im to do that Jameis will have to limit INT’s and fumbles early in games.
    Still think the running game will be critical to Jameis’s success.One of best games I ever watched was Steve Deberg’s play action passing passing against
    Atlanta when we scored 51 points.