Koetter Answers Question About “Soft” Defense

November 4th, 2017

Joe would love to see media news conferences with Dirk Koetter at One Buc Palace abolished in favor of lining up 10 hardcore fans to ask one question each every week.

First, it would be far more entertaining, and second, the questions would be much better.

What a win-win it could be. Team Glazer really needs to start thinking out of the box on this kind of stuff. Innovation shouldn’t all fall in Joe’s lap.

On that note, here’s a Coach-fan verbatim exchange on the Buccaneers Radio Network yesterday. Fan “Howie” wants to know why he’s seen Bucs cornerbacks play softer than Jell-O.

Howie: I was curious. Last week I noticed it was better, but previous weeks it seemed is if our defense was playing kind of soft. It would be 3rd-and-3, 3rd-and-4 and they’re seven, eight yards off the receiver on the end. Is there going to be adjustments on that? Or is there a reason, you know, something that causes that?

Dirk Koetter: No. We definitely need to be, one of the things Coach Smith and the defensive coaches have been preaching is awareness of the sticks on third down, awareness of where the chains are and knowing what we have to defend. That’s one of things we’ve been trying to work on. As you know, a lot of these same guys, we were the No. 1 team in the league on third down last year. But we just haven’t been able to quite hit our stride yet this year.

It makes Joe queasy to hear Koetter say the Bucs are trying to work on “awareness of the sticks.” That should be second nature for all defensive players long before they leave college.

Like Koetter said, the Bucs had third-down defense mastered last season. Now they stink at it.

Even last Sunday against Carolina, the Panthers were a whopping 8-of-17 on third-down conversions. Overall, the Bucs are last in the NFL at third-down defense, allowing opposing offenses to convert 49 percent of the time.

52 Responses to “Koetter Answers Question About “Soft” Defense”

  1. dooshlarue Says:

    Yeah, that is scary to think about.
    You can say it’s coaching, and yeah, that’s true but how can professional football players not already know this?


  2. Andrew Says:

    I know it isn’t true, but sometimes it really feels like people outside the organization are more aware of the issues than the folks running the organization. Just a bizarre season.

  3. Wewantgruden Says:

    Sign me up

  4. The Buc Realist Says:

    It was better last week because Kwon is back and calling the audibles and the playbook opens more than whent he rookie is in!!!!!!!!

    Some will say that the defense is soft until they try to jam our undersize corners on the line of scrimmage and that we should blitz every play, of course they would be down by 36 in the first quarter!!!!! But they would be happy because the “play-calling” is aggressive!!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Destinjohnny Says:

    Not having the talent to stop the run or rush the passer isn’t a good formula
    Now down in Nola they have been drafting drafting drafting defense and it shows.

  6. JimmyJack Says:

    what infuriates me is how this defense gives up the booty more often then any other team on 3rd and long…….I’m I’m not just talking 3rd and 7+. We constantly give up 3rd and 15+ which is some of the easiest defense to play.

    Not to mention how pathetic we are at 3rd and 1. Dirk Koettef wants a bad ads football team why doesn’t he start there(on either side of the ball). My guess he does know how to coach a bad ads football team.

  7. JimmyJack Says:

    ii meant to type ass.

  8. Ndog Says:

    Realist you’re reaching brother.

  9. AlteredEgo Says:

    It appears these guys only play for Tuesday’s direct deposit…this is not a team….53 individuals with no indentity

  10. Clw JB Says:

    The soft I see is a lack of aggression play in play out – where is beast Ayers from last year? Why the heck isn’t LVd blitzing more? Have we ever run a corner blitz in two years? Get out of the box DC and get downstairs and slap some juice into this d to go kick some tails!!! It’s about aggression on d – look at the best – they own the line of scrimmage- attack underneath, ruin the timing of plays – they apply pressure –

    They don’t sit CB ten yards deep to then bail ten steps at the snap, rush 4 with both nickel LB bailing 10 yds and no flat coverage – most basic zone d almost 3/4 of the time

    So frustrating to watch

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    That third down success against the Panthers would be much worse if Cam Newton tried to move the chains instead of throwing downfield….he missed on at least 6 passes.
    Even the announcers were commenting that he had McCaffery open in the flat.

  12. JimmyJack Says:

    Every week in this league it becomes more obvious this team is as soft as they come. First it’s getting blown out by the Vikings only to later watch the Browns give them more of a fight.

    Then it’s the winless Giants giving us a fight for our life in our own house. Then the Patriots come here play a bad game and still beat us. The Cards look unstoppable vs us only to get shutout next week. Buffalo can’t put up points on anybody til we come to town…….Then Dorks sorry soft ass team comes back home to try and rectify a losing streak to its fans and doesn’t even bother showing up while we have to watch our squad get physically beaten down by our most hated team in our own home.

    We are all fools for expect in Thai team to be a playoff contender when they have played like a bunch of pansies for well over a decade.

  13. orlbucfan Says:

    The Bucs are not a 2-5 team. They should be 4-3 or 5-2 if not better. The problem is the coaches especially Dirk Koetter. In 3 seasons here, Koetter has put together the best Bucs offense in their history. They are ready to explode but he’s got to call the plays. He did a real good job last year when he was a rookie HC. He’s got more weapons now on offense. So, like, what is his problem? Educated, long-suffering Buc fans like me would like to know. He better get his act together Sunday. If he does it, Aints won’t know what hit them. GO BUCS!!

  14. 3-4 SILVABAC Says:

    Clw…I agree, Smitty needs to be on the field with his players. Look them in their eyes and show them you believe in your plays and them. Damn… Please coach!!! Do something different

  15. Ed Says:

    The Player’s have lost faith in this coaching staff. This coaching staff use designed defenses and offenses from 2003. The opposing players recognized these same old plays. That is the reason the offense can not compete and score points in the first half.Opposing coaches just pull up film from the Atl Falcons team from 2003 and you have the Buc’s Defense and Offense. Hire a new G.M. that has won a super bowl or at lease have been to the playoff. This G.M. represent loosing,ask him what he has won since he became G.M.

  16. Rob Says:

    7 sacks in 7 games. It’s not rocket science people. We suck as pass non rushers like no ones business. Wait to see Brees, future HOF, makes America’s turnover machine, Jameis Winston, look pedestrian. Going to be an absolute slaughter Sunday. Hope I’m wrong. Go Bucs!

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Andrew Says
    “I know it isn’t true, but sometimes it really feels like people outside the organization are more aware of the issues than the folks running the organization.”

    That’s because the coaches and GM can’t actually voice the real issues, because doing so would alienate the locker room against them.

    We all know the issues are mostly with the players not executing, but Koetter can’t say that. As the coach, he takes the hit for his players.

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    @The Buc Realist

    Dang it. I agree with you.

    What ever happened to the days when we were in constant conflict???

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Although it would be nice to see Mike Smith on the sideline, it really isn’t necessary.

    Here’s an idea…tell the players that they have to earn to right to practice indoors. If they have a bad practice, the following day they are outdoors. If they have a good practice, the next one is indoors.

    And if they grade badly in games? Then they practice outdoors for the week…or practice with the backups. DJax has too many drops? Treat him like a backup and have him practice with Fitz.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    Sorry, but you are wrong. Both Smith and Koetter each said during press conferences that they are constantly trying new things to find their grove and see what works. New. Things.

    Also…if you had actually watched the 2003 Falcons offense, you would no that it was mostly no-huddle and fast-paced.

    I WISH this offense were like that.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    orlbucfan Says
    “He better get his act together Sunday.”

    If you think the Bucs will win tomorrow, than I hate to break it to you, but it ‘Ain’t happening. Don’t set yourself up for another big disappointment. Go into it knowing we will lose. This is our division leader.

    And if they happen to win? Awesome. It’ll feel much better. I’ll be more than happy to be wrong, but at least when we lose I won’t be whining on this website all week.

  22. The Buc Realist Says:

    Buc Bonzai hit the nail on the head!!!!!!! Its because these two groups have different goals!!!!! The Coaches are protecting and building up the players!!!!! And Angry fans are trying to rip apart players and most everthing else!!!!!!!

    Its like Joe that still complain about “playcalling” from one play on the goal line!!!!!!!! I have asked repeatedly for a video of a gaping hole that running it up the gut would had made that the correct call!!!!!! And he will never bring up that in the 4th quarter in the Arizona game They ran Jacquizz Rodgers up the gut on the goal line and what happened???? Stuffed!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. darin Says:

    Answers like that are what convince me its time to move on from these coaches. Wtf are they doing during the week and game? Its week 9!! As soon as that happened the first time in week 2 Id be running down from the coaches box and telling my corners to tighten up. Its week 9 and we are talking about stick awareness. Thats effing unbelievable. Can these clowns.

  24. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    Whats training camp for? What were they doing last season? Why did they all forget simple things like down and distance. Does anyone like these players? They all seem pretty dim witted.

  25. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    I would cut everyone and just keep McCoy, Jameis, Marpet, Kwon, Conte both kickers and Hardgraves.

  26. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    Oh yea and Mike ofcorse

  27. JMarkBuc Says:

    When I played Pop Warner football, defense was “aware of the sticks”. Just one more sign that this coaching staff is in way over it’s head. DK says more dumb and disturbing things every week.. Reminds me of ” Puerto Rico is an island , surrounded by big water”. Smh.

    As far as last years defense being so good on third down, maybe it’s because most of the time opponents didn’t need three downs to get a first down. Never have understood why people think last years five game stretch of decent defense transformed us into the 2002 Bucs. Ridiculous. They weren’t all that last year and are much much worse this year.

    Did I mention the uniforms are ugly?

  28. Joeypoppems Says:

    @Buc Realist

    The defense was better because the Panthers offense is mediocre at best.

  29. jwash Says:

    I was hoping this question was about the soft ass run defense resulting from the soft ass training camp that featured NO live tackling drills whatsoever

  30. JimmyJack Says:

    yeah Realist. we got stuffed for that 1 yard. We haven’t been able to get that yard for years now and that’s a huge part of the problem. That one yard often times is the difference between winning and losing. That one yard is one that championship caliber teams get…..or stop on defrnse. Years ago when we made our run to the Super Bowl you can rd call that our new coach taught us how to fight for that yard. This coach don’t get it. When we need that yard we have no fight and it is demoralizing for our players…………The better teams in this league fight hard for that yard and take pride in it.

    Rewind back to Sunday Night…….Lions(perinial loser) needed 1 yard……..Steelers(perinial contenders) not only stuffed them, they had three defenders slamming down o the bavkfield and left a Lion injured on the play while they won the fight.

    Fans can sit in awe about OUr offensive ranking and the piles of yards we get and explosive plays……….but when all the chips are on the table you can see just how strong your team really is when it all boils down to one yard.

    The verdict is out on this Bucs team and we are a bunch of fight less losers. This coach we have is changing very little with this team outside of the stat sheets.

  31. BucTooth Says:

    Buc Bonzai i couldn’t agree with you more with what you said of Rodger’s getting stuffed at the line of scrimmage. I been saying all year our first played called when we get the ball for the first time is hand the ball to RB Martin who runs right up the gut for one yard or a loss of one or two yards. Watch and see when we play the Saints this coming Sunday. Even when the defense moves up with eight guys in the box Jamis should audible out of the run play and maybe throw a short pass say for five yards or so to some one oh heck what the hell do i know.

  32. Lamarcus Says:

    It’s 34 built defense playing 43. What do we expect

  33. JimmyJack Says:

    And last week when the Panthers got into a goalline situation what happened?

    They had 3 plays to get 3 yards and they crammed the ball right in our ******* faces. Three downs and they won three fights in a row. They had no respect for us and provoked they wanted it more. On that 1st TD they exposed us for the pansies we truly are. The Panthers wanted it more and they took what they wanted.

    And Dirk wants a badass team hahaha…….I have no faith he really knows what that means.

  34. orlbucfan Says:

    Buccaneer Bonzai Says:
    November 4th, 2017 at 9:54 am
    orlbucfan Says
    “He better get his act together Sunday.”

    If you think the Bucs will win tomorrow, than I hate to break it to you, but it ‘Ain’t happening. Don’t set yourself up for another big disappointment. Go into it knowing we will lose. This is our division leader.
    I hear you, fellow Buc fan. It’s the simple truth. If Koetter gets his act together and calls the right plays for the offense, they will blow the Aints out of the water. The only weak link is Fitzpatrick. I’ve been a BucBud for 38 years, so believe me, I’m always ready for us to lose. Go Bucs!!

  35. JMarkBuc Says:

    Agreed Jimmy Jack, DK saying he wants a bad ass team is like someone saying they want a bad ass bat mobile to go with their action figures..

  36. JimmyJack Says:

    The fact is if we had a real coach running this team installing the mythical culture you always hear about we would be able to stop the Panthers on 3rd and 1……let alone 3rd and 16………and guess what? And yes, it’s not fair to just assume outcomes but if we stop those 2 third downs the Panthers are held out of the end zone and Winston gets his final drive with the game being a one score contest………..But the fact is we are just a soft team led by a soft coach that doesn’t know how to win in this league.

    As bad as our QB does play at times our losing mentality that consistently losses the fight for 3rd and 1 kills as many drives as Winstons arm. And that’s a fact Jack!

  37. nate123456 Says:

    This is team is full of unfulfilled promises…

  38. Defense Rules Says:

    Seeing tons of comments recently saying essentially ‘We’re really much better than our record.” Horsepuckey … we’re 2-5 right now. That’s exactly how good we are in relation to 31 other NFL teams. All this ‘Gee, if we could only get 1 yard’ or ‘If we could only have stopped them on 3rd down we would’ve won.’ Horsepuckey. This team doesn’t have 1 problem that coaches and fix then Voila … we become a 7-0 team. It has a myriad of problems, and they become more & more obvious every week. Mediocre play-calling? Check. Inaccurate throwing? Check. Soft summer camp instead of a training camp? Check. Defense not tackling well or getting off blocks well? Check. CBs not covering good enough? Check. The list goes on and on. Check.

    Face it Bucs fans. This Bucs team won’t turn the corner until these players and coaches say ‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’. Right now they’re not playing like a T-E-A-M … totally inconsistent week after week. They need to start playing some smash-mouth football instead of this pansy-ass crappola. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

  39. AlteredEgo Says:

    They deserve to kneel…..

  40. Not there yet Says:

    It’s amazing 7 games in the coach is talking about correcting simple things that are addressed during training camp. Dirk sucks and you can be candid for the media that’s great but who the hell cares if you can’t win games.

  41. Supersam Says:

    I’m sorry coach but you and your players are in The National Football League and you have to be reminded what down and distance it is!?!? This infuriates me like no other, except for maybe Mike Smith saying that giving up yards is empty calories as long you you keep them out of the end zone. Are you freaking kidding me!? This coaching staff needs to go. Sorry.

  42. JimmyJack Says:

    hahahaha Supersam, good post. I fully agree.

    I am so freaking sick and tired of the best entertainment quality this team shows is an ability to have It’s fans laugh at them…….or Jeer them with Gruden chats.

    I see no chance for Dirk to ever figure this out.Well see tomorrow if he will. But the only feeling I’m getting on Gamedays with this soft team is the only chance we have for victory is if the other team comes out less prepared then we are. Ie….NY Giants game…..and that win does not represent success in this league.

  43. BucEmUp Says:

    No excuse this is elementary crap. Common sense. Thats an excuse for his bff mike smith. I thought the defensive staff was “proven” dirk? Yeah so was lovie at one point. This defense is a cancer to the locker room. I called this the offseason before last. Pathetic. The entire team has been infected with a lack of desire now that they all realise how bad the scheme sets the entire team back every sunday.

  44. BucEmUp Says:

    @joeypoppem ….your right. A bad offense with 25 mph winds.

    Tomorrow get ready for the most embarrassing display of defense possibly EVER seen by this team! Its sad but Im actually excited in hoping in causes a defensive coaching change before next season

  45. big daddy 58 Says:

    The defensive backs have to play soft because theres no pressure up front .PERIOD

  46. Destinjohnny Says:

    Talent talent talent.
    We don’t have it and there is nothing a coach can do to make players do things they aren’t capable of doing

  47. unbelievable Says:

    Makes me queasy too, Joe.

    You have to remind your defensive backs about down and distance???? In the NFL??? That is high school level sh!t….

  48. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    How did the defense go from being pretty good the last part of last season to this defense we been watching this season which is very bad. You want me to tell you because I coached him and know how he’s wired. For some reason Smith and Koetter have quit playing Keith Tandy for Conte, Evans and Ward. Last year Keith was the guy that the communication thing they talk about was the guy doing all the communicating that put people in position to make plays. I guarantee you he is the most prepared guy on the Bucs Team. He knows where everyone is supposed to be and knows what the offense is going to do from all the film he study’s and communicated that to the defense to make plays. If the dumb ass Coaching staff puts him back in the line up it will happen again. If not they will continue to lose. It is just that damn simple. Remember how last years game against the Saints ended? If not I will remind you. #37 intercepted Brees and the game was over. Sure hope Tandy is not standing on the sideline tomorrow when the game is over. If so I can promise you the Bucs will have had their ass handed to them again. Can’t believe the Coaching staff has disrespected Tandy after what he did for the organization last year!!! Just saying…..

  49. Alan Says:

    All I can say is I’m tired of watching bad Buccaneers defenses for the last 15 years and I’m tired of seeing the white jerseys! What are we the cowboys? Wear red! Sack a quarteback! Intercept passes make plays! I don’t know what happened after Dungy and Gruden left but enoughs enough.

  50. Alan Says:

    If they draft an offensive player before the 5th round of the draft next year I’m finding another team to root for!

  51. Season Is Over Says:

    Why would Joe like to see the fans ask those questions when you actually do have the chance to ask them?

  52. Ptwalk Says:

    @Realist put the mic down brother you’re begging to sound pitiful. Mike Smith has never coached a solid defense, that J ville def was Jack Del Rio’s not Smiths.