“Hot Seat”

December 7th, 2017

In ESPN’s crosshairs.

When it’s December, it’s time for national outlets to find out which NFL head coaches could be calling U-Haul.

The four-letter decided to group coaches based on their job status and made a “Hot Seat” category, and ESPN has Dirk Koetter as the final coach on that list.

Jenna Laine, Bucs beat writer for ESPN, details why.

… Having been outscored 81-33 in three NFC South games, things aren’t looking good. What’s worse is that the Bucs have averaged less than 20 points a game in the three years Koetter has been calling plays and have averaged 18.5 points in 2017, despite being loaded with weapons. By comparison, when former Bucs offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford had to take a leave of absence in 2014, first-time coordinator Marcus Arroyo’s offense was averaging 16 points a game. Does some of that fall on quarterback Jameis Winston’s shoulder injury? Sure. But the previous coaching staff didn’t get any rope when their defensive line was decimated by injuries, or when their best player on defense at the time, linebacker Kwon Alexander, was issued a four-game suspension. The Bucs lost all four of those remaining games.

Damning evidence there. The comparison to misguided Marcus Arroyo gave Joe the shivers. That is damn near a condemnation. Getting boatraced in the division is a horrifying item. But another analogy Laine makes Joe thinks is not just unfair, but is actually a compelling argument to keep Koetter.

Laine cites how inept Lovie Smith was given no quarter for losing four games to close the 2015 season when Kwon Alexander was suspended. She implies that since Lovie didn’t get a pass for that, neither should Koetter get a pass because America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, went down with an injury. That’s not a fair point at all.

The Bucs knew Alexander’s suspension was coming months in advance (or should have known) because he blew his whiz quiz prior to the regular season. Lovie had ample time to prepare and adjust and he clearly either didn’t or couldn’t or wouldn’t, or all of the aforementioned.

From whispers Joe had heard, Lovie’s fate was pretty much sealed before Alexander was suspended. Joe had heard stories how Team Glazer was personally outraged at the Tennessee Ready game and was further incensed by the Capitol Collapse.

The fact that Lovie didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t adjust to Alexander’s absence was just icing on the cake.

When Jameis went down this season, backup Ryan Fitzpatrick actually won two games. So Joe doesn’t get the Alexander/Jameis analogy here. If anything, the Bucs not folding their tent without Jameis is a selling point to keep Koetter.

71 Responses to ““Hot Seat””

  1. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I continue to criticize Koetter’s playcalling…..many disagree but our offense is somewhat impotent……it was certainly better 2 years ago…..
    Whatever happened to the Bucs that put up 45 at Philadelphia?

    I like Koetter but I think he is struggling with HC & OC combined duties.

  2. OrlandoJoe Says:


    Koetter deserves to be fired. He’s not a good head coach. End of story. Stop fighting for his job since he can’t fight for it himself and get a win against bad teams all year.

  3. OrlandoJoe Says:

    I agree with Tampabaybucfan

  4. LovieBall Says:


    When the Bucs put up 45 at Philly the headsets went down and Jameis was calling plays that lead to touchdowns.

  5. D-Rome Says:

    From whispers Joe had heard, Lovie’s fate was pretty much sealed before Alexander was suspended.

    I’m sure Irk (No D necessary) Koetter’s fate has already been decided. If he can’t win with the most talented roster the Bucs have had since the Super Bowl then what roster can he win with?

    That said, I hope he stays. I think it would be great to see the Glazers do something completely different, to go against the grain. Still, averaging less than 20 points a game is not why he was hired in the first place. What should make anyone believe it’ll be different next year?

  6. lightningbuc Says:

    Joe, please stop with all the negativity. In the spirit of your favorite Buccaneer, please keep it positive. Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya!

  7. not there yet Says:

    For as long as you’ve been covering the team I’m just scratching my head because you think the glazers are somehow going to wait another 4 games to decide koetter future. Coaching searches probably began a long time ago like when he showed how weak of a coach he was during the saints game. It would be irresponsible to wait until the end of the year especially knowing there are quite a few head coach out there much better than dirk and more experienced. This coach is as stubborn as Lovie

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Glazers: Gruden on line #1

  9. Pablo Says:

    “This coach is as stubborn as Lovie”

    The only difference between Lovie and Dirkis that señor Joe likes Dirk and had a [that’s simply inaccurate. If there was any personal issue between Lovie and Joe, it wasn’t coming from Joe]. Both were and are inept coaches for the Bucs. Stats and results don’t lie. This team is worse tham Lovies teem.

  10. Broodlaw Says:

    If anything the Glazers have demonstrated with Head Coaches they are quick to fire if results aren’t nearly immediate. It really sucks cause I like the attitude that Koetter brings to the table however we cannot argue with results and that is the bottom line at the end of the day. I’d like for him to stay but give the playcalling to Monken or whoever is the Offensive Coordinator, Koetter just needs to focus on the Head Coaching in my opinion.

  11. Lamarcus Says:

    It happens. Sometimes career coordinators just don’t have it to be head coach. See raheem, spagnola, Wade phillips, etc.

    All in all. This is Dirk 1st season with a losing record. That being said. He gets another shot at it

  12. Nate Says:


    the point is koetter’s offense was under 20 points for 3 years!!!!!! hello!!

    when kwon when down where was the offense to win you at least 2 of those games huh???

    that’s the point of the argument not to keep koetter

  13. Nate Says:

    and he is still calling the plays and chose NOT to give it up……NO EXCUSES

  14. ShutTheBucUp Says:

    Joe can you or Ira ask Koetter flat out why exactly he feels the need to keep play calling duties? Honestly I want to know what his logic is.

  15. D-Rome Says:

    when kwon when down where was the offense to win you at least 2 of those games huh???

    You’re exactly right. During that four game skid the Bucs offense averaged 17.75 points per game. Joe loves to point out the “Tennessee ready” game against Lovie, and rightfully so, but let’s not forget Irk’s offense only scored 14 points that game.

    I don’t know why he was hailed as some kind of offensive guru.

  16. AlteredEgo Says:

    There is enough talent on the roster and coaching staff to run the table… does the 53 have the determination and discipline to impose their collective wills upon the opponent ?…….it has always been so….

  17. ShutTheBucUp Says:

    D Rome, Mike Mularkey left Dirk Koetter in a perfect situation in ATL after he won offensive coordinator of the year award and left to be the Jacksonville jaguar coach. Dirk kept most of what Mike had implemented intact.

    Koetter has no imagination, his reputation was built on the backs of other more open-minded men. And his assistants are obviously garbage

  18. derrickbrooksforGM Says:

    uh is it Jamies shoulders fault? Uh NO. We knew in PRESEASON that this team had trouble scoring touchdowns.

  19. Lamarcus Says:

    As much I hate Lovie but his team’s are wwwwaaayyyy better than this year team. Which is sad

  20. Son of Kobe Faker Says:

    “There is a reason why the Glazers have not given a vote of confidence to Klueless and Licht beer”

    “My dad and I was peeking thru the front window of Hooters and we saw…
    Jon Grudog and his kid working out doing squats in the front lobby”

    Son of Kobe Faker

  21. AceofAerospace Says:

    In this day and age with NFL rules dominate in the Offenses favor, 18.5 points per game will and should get you fired. Period. It’s as simple as that. Next coach up.

  22. Do it Says:

    When Winston was drafted, I preferred the ‘Other Guy’. My concern was Winston’s accuracy, turn overs and staying out of trouble. He did show signs of becoming a decent QB and did behave himself. I even plucked down a hundred buck to buy a Winston jersey.

    The Bucs don’t need a great QB just a good one that can make a play or two when needed. The Bucs did win a SB with Brad Johnson who was good not great

    Look at where we are now. Too many bone head plays, poor accuracy and off the field issues. Then there is the other QB, who has his team in first place in their division and no off the field issues.

    Who can fix this mess?

  23. SOEbuc Says:

    Just to let all you guys know that talk about Licht at Press Box and Chucky at Hooters, the extremely successful Lightning coach Jon Cooper is always up at the smokeey little Tiny Tap bar in South Tampa. He’s a really nice and funny guy actually. I would’ve never thought that cus all I ever saw was him chewing that gum with a stern face in the box.

  24. AlteredEgo Says:

    Say it again Do it….#3 his here now and I hope he wins every game…however I am not blind….

  25. JWBUCS Says:

    I 100% concur with Tampabaybuc Fan’s opening comment…. I have no way to be certain, however, I am certainly suspect that Koetter could be struggling with HC & OC combined duties… Therefore, why not try Todd Monken at the play calling duties, which goes hand and hand with being the Offensive coordinator?

  26. Ed Says:

    It’s too late now to make excuses for this offense with good players at all positions except running back. Dirk was hired because the management saw him as the coach to work with and improve Jameis Winston.

    We’ve seen how that has worked.

    0-8 in the division will make it an easy decision to move forward with a coach and staff that can be competitive in the NFC South.

    The only salvage I see is if they beat Atlanta and Carolina those 2 teams are the most heated rivals, win those and Dirk has a chance for 2018.

  27. Lord Cornelius Says:

    This is pretty simple:

    Dirk Koetter is one of the worst red-zone coaches in the league. Terrible play designs. Terrible personnel decisions. Terrible play calls. Period.

    This offense is 13th in total yards – meaning we’re a top 1/3 offense in moving the ball – but are only scoring 20.3 PPG.

    If you look at the the 10-12th ranked, and 14-15th ranked offenses in total yards for comparison (i.e. similar yardage totals); they are averaging 24.54 PPG. That is a HUGE difference.

    Red zone execution is everything. The Ravens have been killing it this year – averaging 23.3 PPG but being 30th in total yards – averaging 60 yards less per game than the Bucs – or an entire scoring drive less than the Bucs per game basically; but have somehow scored 3 PPG more.

  28. Ptwalk Says:

    When the team under performs, the whole coaching staff has to go. We already tried keeping a part of a staff that was not successful and they still look like that last regime. I’ve seen enough.

  29. James Walker Says:

    Gruden only averaged 17 points per game.

  30. HowToSpellRhonde Says:

    Losers are losers. Pubichead coach Dirk Koetter’s apologists are captaining the same ship as Lovie loyalists.

  31. Lord Cornelius Says:

    James Walker Says:
    December 7th, 2017 at 12:03 pm
    Gruden only averaged 17 points per game.

    22.6 his last season. Weird when looking it up – the average scores for NFL teams were about the same in 2008 as they are now.

  32. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    I understand that articles need to be written and comments need to be made… but this is just too premature. There is zero chance Koetter is getting axed before the end of the season. Zero.

    So much can change in 4 weeks. If the Bucs play spoiler and win out… this is a moot point. If they implode and lose all 4, it’s valid. But nothing is set in stone right now.

    Winston is a lot better than most on here think. He is hamstrung by three things:
    1. a weak offensive line an running game
    2. Coupled with an offense that calls for long routes without a lot of short options
    3.A coach who seems to be more focused on having Jameis not turn the ball over rather than push towards what Jameis is exceptional at

    If Koetter keeps doing the exact same thing: starts Martin, runs up the middle on every first down, keeps calling 4 long seam routes on every play… then the Bucs will play as they have been thus far.

    Koetter needs to let go of the reigns and take this team for a real spins, press as hard as he can on the accellerator and see what’s really under the hood -that’s the only way the course of this season can change.

    Start Barber. Go hurry up the entire game. Let Jameis play in his wild, improvised comfort zone and let’s see what we really have.

    The other way just ain’t working.

  33. HowToSpellRhonde Says:

    @ Lord Cornelius

    Gruden had a BJ and lot of has beens or never were’s for a QB’s, too.

    NFL rules also weren’t so easy on offenses. Gruden faced better defenses than today

  34. DBS Says:

    Which once again shows all the fancy stats for yards and personal stats mean squat. W-L is what counts. You can move the ball up and down the field all day and get yards. If you can’t score who gives a rats ass.

  35. William Says:

    Koetter and Smith need to be fired as soon as the season ends. The Glazer’s need to find a way to lure either Harbaugh/Gruden/McDaniels to Tampa. This team has entirely too much talent to be at the bottom of the NFC South. Too many games I have watched in the last 2 seasons that we should have won just skip away at the end. I would be on the phone with Harbaugh’s agent and say “Look here….we know Jim is making 9+ mill right now, but he can’t beat Ohio St. We’ll give him 7-8 mill, making him one of the highest paid coaches in the league with a talented roster, and give him control over it.” Harbaugh should definitely take that offer with Jameis at QB and no state taxes. The Glazer’s need to make a big splash cause fans like me are getting sick of the losses.

  36. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “NFL rules also weren’t so easy on offenses. Gruden faced better defenses than today”

    That’s why I thought it was weird that NFL teams still scored the same points on average in 2008 as they do now. I’d have thought it’d be noticeably different but it wasn’t. You have to go back furthur to like the 90s and early 2000 maybe to see that difference.

    Another weird thing – we are top 5 in passing yards lol. We can move the ball fine but once we get to the red zone it’s like Dirk pulls out a book titled “how to sh1t the bed” and calls plays from it.

  37. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    @The Buc Ostrich

    What’s your excuse for this? You’ve spent all week long defending Mike Smith’s Defense that gags up yardage and is absolutely inept at getting off the field on 3rd downs by going to the scoring is all that matters argument.

    So why, when Koetter has had a top 5 running game in 2015, and a Top 5 passing offense in 2017, is this man struggling to generate 20 points per game?

  38. AlteredEgo Says:

    gessh….who quit first…the players or the fans ?

  39. HowToSpellRhonde Says:

    @ Lord

    That is interesting. My guess is more penalties are being thrown and factoring into the scoring stats. Look at how many flags are thrown for defenseless receivers and encroachment, two penalties you’d never see at that time.

    Also, I think the passing yards are a result of 2nd half defenses keeping the game in front of them. Look at how awful the Bucs offense plays in the the first half compared to the second.

    I’ll also note that I’m not advocating for hiring of Gruden, but more for the firing of Koetter. I think Gruden will want full control of personal and that scares the hell out of me. Gruden was as bad as it gets with personal. Therefore, I’d never want to see him in pewter and red.

  40. AlteredEgo Says:

    stronger fans…greater attendance in the 0-26 run….what a bunch of hand wringing metrosexuals

  41. HowToSpellRhonde Says:

    clarification: the penalties make it even odder that offensive scoring stats are the same

  42. Mike Johnson Says:

    Nope. Kpetters gotta go. I was surprised as hell when the Bucs selected him based on his offensive productipon. Some guys in all disciplines are meant to..Stay In their Lanes. Koetter is one of them. As a one deminsional OC he’s great. But give him the whole enchalatta and he is perhaps average at best. Sure Pressbox Smitty sucks as DC. But he’s Koetters man. Put us and the players out of their misery. go back to the board and start again. What do we have to lose..More games? At least with new hope next yr, the Glazers will put more people in the stands. Because as of right now, its..Brain Salad Surgery watching these Bucs..Painful without a.Plethera of..LIbations!!!

  43. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “Glazers: Gruden on line #1”

    That is dreaming right there. Even if the Glazers fired Koetter, there is little chance Gruden would return, especially when the franchise QB is facing a suspension.

    And we all know Gruden cannot draft worth spit, so what about Licht? Do we let him go? I hope not, because we have not drafted this well in…ever.

    At this point, I could care less about free agency.

    #KeepKoetter #KeepLicht #Fire/TradeSmith

  44. Eric Says:

    I have it on good authority that Gru turned down an offer to coach the bucs when they hired Lovie.

    And, that he is interested in returning to coaching now.

    Leave Lovie alone, he got fired. This is Dirk’s team. Apply the same standard to him and stop with the excuses already.

  45. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Yeah I’m not sure I’d want Gruden either.

    Penalties likely factor for sure – way more it seems than back in the day.

    I’d say some of our passing yards are inflated by a couple blow outs / soft prevents but not many games – i can only think of Minnesota & Arizona really qualifying.

    Jameis’ biggest performances have mostly been in close games:

    GB – 270 passing yards – put the team ahead to win the game at the end

    Buffalo – 384 passing yards – put the team ahead to win the game at the end

    New England – 334 yards – almost won the game on the last play despite the kicker missing 3 FGs in a game we lost by 5.

    Giants – 332 yards – game winning drive.

    Winston was hurt in Arizona and in New Orleans. Tossing those 2 games out – across his other 7 games his 16 game projection would be:

    63% completion (up 3% from last year)
    4700 passing yards
    27 TDs
    14 Ints

    The TD % / red zone efficiency is where this team has sucked 4ss. Other than that Winston’s #’s are up across the board. He’s been robbed of 2 game winning drives already between GB & Buffalo – potentially 3 if you count the Pats game.

    He sucked in the Carolina game. That’s really the only terrible game he’s even had this year – unless you want to count the games he got hurt early and couldn’t finish. Vikings game was bad – but of his 3 Interceptions only 1 was obviously completely on him.1 is debatable (hit ME in hands). 1 definitely not on him (djax interfered with / pushed over)

  46. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Mike Johnson Says
    “Put us and the players out of their misery. go back to the board and start again. What do we have to lose…?”

    That right there is the reason the Bucs have gone nowhere in a decade. Leading into this year, everyone felt we were going to be great. The only thing that has changed about that is one bad year.

    We go back to the board and start again, you’re looking at another three years…and the problem with that is that people with no patience (like you) will want that coach fired in two years.

    See the viscous cycle? It’s like putting a pie in the oven to cook for 60 minutes, then pulling it out after 40 minutes complaining that its not done and tossing it.

  47. BUC MAN Says:


  48. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:


  49. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The reason we don’t score in the red zone is because the defenses step up…just like ours is supposed to.

  50. Jim Says:

    And, uh..fire the Glazers.

  51. firethecannons Says:

    we need a new offensive coordinator Licht needs to find us a new one that is Jameis Winston friendly

    we need to interview the defense individually and find out why they think they suck then get a new defensive coordinator that can motivate and implement a new system

  52. HowToSpellRhonde Says:

    @ Lord

    I agree. Jameis has played well enough to win most games. I don’t think his picks have been too detrimental to the outcomes. His fumbles, on the other hand, have been horrid.
    This team is failing as a collective unit since last December.

  53. D-Rome Says:

    we need a new offensive coordinator Licht needs to find us a new one that is Jameis Winston friendly

    Jason Licht needs a new contract in order to do that.

  54. firethecannons Says:

    yeah Rome–right we honestly need a new GM as Licht is unable to get himself or Gazer to pull the trig on names like Calais Campbell — that expensive high caliber is what is needed, having a player like him motivates the whole team. The owners and Licht are too fearful to part with big money now. To win –a team has to be completely motivated from owners to waterboy.

  55. firethecannons Says:

    As you can see the Jags now are good, they went far–big changes but even they did not go far enough as they stayed with a very bad QB and they will make playoffs but then will fail. Jameis is just good enough but we need to address every other aspect and go all the way each player should be evaluated and replaced as needed, vh3 is an example–cut him if you can get better

  56. Season Is Over Says:

    Whenever you turned on a Buc game coached by Gruden you knew there was a chance to win. When is the last time you had that feeling?

  57. Kansas95Buc Says:

    Tony from LA:

    You sir are spot on!!! I been saying for years since Josh Freeman to run more hurry up offense and let Jameis use his legs, again like Josh Freeman

  58. Conte Piscateli Says:

    I’d read the comment on a different article that the Bucs shouldn’t move on from Jameis without seeing what he can do with a different offense. That makes a lot of sense to me. Jameis is the big decision for the Glazers, not Dirk. I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t move on from Dirk in order to make a note informed decision about Jameis.

    My vote for next Bucs head coach, Mike Riley. I feel like that mullet would look at home in Tampa.

  59. Conte Piscateli Says:

    Crap don’t know how Riley got there, Mike Gundy.

  60. Son of Kobe Faker Says:

    Koetters red zone problems?…Klueless should be fired right now!

    6’6 250lbs quick and 4.5 speed. he is a mismatch to anyone who guards him

    Klueless should be fired for not designing plays for OJ in the red zone because….

    the next HC/OC/playcaller is gladly going to

    sheep here wondering why we cant score in the red zone when we have 6’5 ME and 6’6 OJ and they still want Klueless around next year???

    “You Buc Sheep doesnt deserve to be called Sheep”

    Son of Kobe Faker

  61. JimmyJack Says:

    Conte…….Totally agree that about Winston. I don’t think we will ever know how good Winston truely is, or isn’t, in Dirks offense. It’s been two years and he is not showing any promise that he can excel in this system.

    I just don’t see how Dirk gets another year. The largest reason he is patrolling the sidelines is to get our QB to the next level, a QB who was in the pro bowl before Dirks took charge……..maybe he back peddled into the pro bowl but his play under Dirk has been poor enough that he would never be considered in the last two years.

    At the end of the year Dirk will have to convince the Glazers that Winston is ready to take a step forward and an elite level, or close to it. I don’t see how he can convince them into that with no results in two years……Maybe Winston suddenly gets it and starts to show promise in the last quarter which seems doubtful at best………Thats the only thing I could see saving Dirk at this point.

  62. Mike Johnson Says:

    The bags over the heads will be coming out shortly.

  63. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs need 4 things to be successful next year:

    1 – New GM … He’s the one who built this ??? roster, not Koetter or Smitty.
    2 – New OC … Dirk has shown that he can’t be BOTH HC AND OC (I’m less impressed now with his OC prowess than I am with him being a HC).
    3 – New QB Coach … Jameis isn’t improving under Bajakian (a Lovie holdover). Jameis needs a fresh face to push him harder.
    4 – Some quality improvements on the offensive AND defensive sides of the ball (can think of at least 10 positions on the defensive side of the ball that need significant upgrading, plus at least 5 positions on the offensive side that need the same).

  64. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    AGAIN….people talking about how Koetter couldn’t succeed offensively with the best offense the Bucs have had since….since when!!!!

    OK our receivers and TE’s are very talented. THAT’S IT!!!!

    Does anybody here really argue how “special” our OL is? How about our “gifted” corps of running backs?

    How about our QB. We hope he’ll continue to improve but QB play this year was substandard and there is no way to sugar coat that.

    We all hoped that the OL was solved…obviously it wasn’t!!! Build our trenches on both sides of the ball then get back to me about how “talented” our offense is!!!!

  65. HowToSpellRhonde Says:

    @ St. Pete

    Yeah, because Oben, Jenkins, Christy, Coleman, and Walker were perennial Pro Bowlers

  66. Blave Says:

    Bring in Lane Kiffin

  67. The Anomaly Says:

    @ Lamarcus – Raheem was never a coordinator(2 weeks does not count). Dude went from mail room to head coach in one of the worst head coaching hires ever.

  68. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    B! S!

    You, me, Koetter, everybody and their freakin grandma believed that this was the most talented Bucs team in a while.

    And we were all right. Stop. Making. Excuses.

    Koetter should be averaging AT LEAST 24 points a game with the talent on offense. But he is at a loss for how to actually use it.

  69. Joe Says:

    Joe can you or Ira ask Koetter flat out why exactly he feels the need to keep play calling duties?

    Koetter has answered this question. He said he always looks at ways to improve. If he thought handing over playcalling duties would solve problems, he’d do that.

  70. Reach87 Says:

    9-7 and then 4-whatever. Two seasons. Lets fire the coach and get someone else in? I wouldn’t. Many posers want to win but are unwilling to have the Glazers do what it takes to deliver that…continuity. I hear the one off Jag and Ram comments already….but the fact is, every year someone surprises the league. Show me a team that fires the coach as much as we do and is a consistent winner. Consistent (consistent) winning requires continuity. Tweak the playbook, strengthen the roster, tweak the playcalling…all that should be on the table. Firing the coach after 2 seasons is guaranteed to NOT get Bucs fans what they really want. A consistent winner. I recommend letting him work thru his contract and then making that decision. Go Bucs!

  71. MTM Says:

    The Glazers were pushed to draft Jameis over Mariotta and now they are paying the price. Just imagine what the offense would look like with out all the bone headed mistakes. Mariotta is doing more with less talent. I gave Winston a chance and I’m done watching him make the same mistakes week in and week out. Trade him and get some good draft picks. Can Dirt Cutter, Mike Smith and hire Saban as GM and let him start the coaching search. The Glazers should have no say in the next coach.