Dirk Koetter, Man Of Faith With Brass Balls

October 2nd, 2017

Ira Kaufman is the most beloved, revered and esteemed Buccaneers columnist in town. He has hung his hat at JoeBucsFan.com world headquarters since July 2016. Tampa Bay’s only Pro Football Hall of Fame voter, Ira busts out columns here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and his award winning podcasts fire Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can also see Ira every football Sunday at 10:30 a.m. on FOX-13, Scott Smith’s Tailgate Sunday.


There’s plenty of time remaining this week to break down Thursday night’s matchup with the Patriots, so let’s return to the biggest takeaway from the Giants game.

Dirk Koetter has brass balls.

How many men in this league with only 18 previous games of experience as a head coach have the cojones to put the game in the hands and feet of a kicker enduring a miserable day?

In the biggest decision of his fledgling career at the top of the Buc food chain, Koetter just proved that he really does believe in this group.

“Coach just said we are going to win or lose with this guy,” said Luke Stocker. “What coach was saying was that we trust Nick Folk to bounce back. You’re supposed to have players you believe in. You’ve got to love a coach like that.”

Let’s put this one in perspective.

Every week in the NFL, it’s not unusual to see teams trailing by a point late in the game decide to let the clock run down once they are in sure field-goal range. And you certainly don’t want to give a stud like Eli Manning the ball with enough time left to mount a final drive.

But think about what just happened.

There weren’t many in the crowd or the press box who had a lot of faith in Folk after two missed field goals and an errant extra point. When the Bucs got a first down at the Giants 13, even New York fans were probably happy that Koetter ordered two kneel downs instead of pointing Jameis Winston toward the end zone.

“That’s when you know you’ve got a coach who is behind you, that’s rooting for you,” said Clinton McDonald. “Sure we could have thrown the ball down there, but coach didn’t do that.”

Job On The Line

When Koetter checked his cheat sheet, he saw Folk had made 79-of-87 kicks from 30-39 yards out during his distinguished career. a 91 percent success rate.

To say that Folk split the uprights with the game on the line would be fake news. He tucked his kick just inside the left post, touching off a raucous celebration on the sidelines for a team that has now won six consecutive home games.

“He’s a proven kicker,” said Mike Evans. “Guys miss kicks, but Nick has proven to be clutch. I wasn’t nervous. It was Nick Folk and a chip-shot.”

Can you imagine the conversation among Buc fans today if the kick had been missed or blocked? Koetter’s confidence in Winston would be debated and Folk might have been out of a job before the Brady Bunch arrived in town.

True Believer

Koetter often talks about how the cavalry isn’t coming to One Buc Place to solve any remaining roster issues. He says these are his 53 guys and he trusts they will get the job done.

Then he went out and proved those are not just hollow words.

That kind of unwavering belief will pay major dividends down the road for a franchise that will be hitting the road for six of the following eight weeks after the New England matchup.

The Bucs just proved they can win a game without Kwon Alexander. The Bucs just proved they can win a close game by rallying past a desperate club. The Bucs just proved they can hit the quarter-pole without being stuck in the mud.

But most of all, the Bucs just proved they are led by a man of faith.

17 Responses to “Dirk Koetter, Man Of Faith With Brass Balls”

  1. Ga. Buc fan 41years Says:


  2. Pat Says:

    Ira, you, my friend, are a very good writer.

  3. C eh N eh D eh Says:

    Grimes was and is the MVP…THE most important player on this team right now…can’t get it done without him…

  4. Pickgrin Says:

    “That kind of unwavering belief will pay major dividends down the road”

    A good premise Ira – and true.

    Football is literally a game of inches – about 8″ off the left goal post in this case…

    Good teams find a way to win close games more often than not.

    Hopefully the Bucs are finally that “good team” most of us believe them to be – injuries and all.

    If not – we’re getting there it seems.

  5. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    I think it takes bigger balls to middagate your kickers ineffectiveness by going for a TD instead of what happened. This is not a knock on the head coach, just don’t say it took balls. If the kicker misses then you have a pro kicker that gets paid to make that kick. If James throws a pick trying to win the game then that’s on the coach.

  6. Pickgrin Says:

    And btw – the Buccaneers have waived Alan Cross to make room for Dougie Fresh. Or is it Fresh Dougie in this case?

  7. pick6 Says:

    to not try for any more yards at all was just mind boggling to me. my thoughts were the opposite – that this was as mired in coaching orthodoxy as you could get. i am not advocating shots at the end zone and all the potentially bad things that could come of that, but why not give peyton barber 2 tries to inch you closer before showing the same confidence in your kicker? you’re backing up a yard with each kneel down anyhow

  8. darin Says:

    Dirk has the highest winning percentage in team history. He is on his way. Was a hell of a gutsy move. Dam thing barely squeeked in. If he had missed it and they got another down because of the offsides I wonder if dirk calls a pass lol. Whew. N that field looked beat up. Think usf needs to get their own field soon. Cmon Buccos beat down those defenseless patsies! Go Bucs

  9. DB55 Says:

    I would have ran the ball.


    That’s just crazy, and Stocker is still on the roster? More proof licht is lost.

  10. JonBuc Says:

    It was literally an extra point. Sure he missed one earlier ( and 2 on the year ) but he had to make the kick to literally keep his career alive. Risking an INT or a stripped away fumble was more risky in my opinion. He tried to miss it…but snuck it in. I believe Colllins was offsides so he would have had a mulligan anyways. Between the toss sweep from the inch before half and refusal to challenge the potential late fumble by the Giants…Dirk was certainly a four letter word from my arm chair . 🙂

  11. Buc2015 Says:

    Good stuff Ira … I know Jameis’ slow starts to games were a big topic of discussion heading into the season. His first quarter numbers through three games: 17-for-23 (73.9%), 220 yards, 3 TD, 0 Int, 143.1 rating

  12. Doctor Stroud Says:

    Coach Koetter is a breath of fresh air, like a cool breeze coming off the lake during the summer with all of the doors and windows open.

  13. '74 Bucs Fan Says:

    Pick6 – you want to hand off to Barber to get closer? if Barber fumbled, how would you feel then? I understand you point, but…

  14. Rod Munch Says:

    I had little doubt he’d make that kick – however in my opinion Dirk should have had him try that 52 yard kick, just a gut feeling but I think he makes that one. We’ll never know obviously.

    Also if I was Dirk after watching Folk and Roberto shank those PATs I would no longer let them kick from an angle. I don’t care if they like it at an angle or not I’d make them kick from the middle of the field. It seems like more kickers miss from kicking from an angle on the PATs than those that kick straight on. They must have some internal stats that would back that up or disprove it.

  15. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    @Doctor Stroud

    I completely agree.

  16. Bob Higginbotham Says:

    One of your usual excellent articles Ira. Your fan, Bob Higginbotham.

  17. BucEmUp Says:

    Reading this gave me goose bumps and got me fired up lol. Dirk Koetter is the man.