Koetter Stands Firm On 2017 Talent Assessment

January 2nd, 2018

You heard it.

Joe heard it.

The national Hard Knocks audience heard it.

Dirk Koetter said many times publicly this past spring and summer that he had the most talented Buccaneers team in his three seasons as a Tampa Bay coach. In his office, Koetter told that to Jameis Winston during a powerful Hard Knocks segment.

What made that all even more intriguing is in the summer of 2016, before the 9-7 campaign, Koetter told local media that the Bucs are more talented than people think they are.

So here we are in the present. The Bucs just finished a disappointing 5-11 campaign. So yesterday Joe asked Koetter whether he “overvalued” that talent before this season.

“No, I don’t think we overvalued it,” Koetter said. “I do a lot of presentations to the guys about talent. One of the quotes I use is, “Talent is cheaper than table salt. Everyone in the NFL is talented. Ok. We talk a lot to the guys about ways to enhance your talent. And all 32 teams have talent. I’ll stand by my comment that it’s the most talent that we’ve had. I’ll stand by that. No problem. I still believe that. But getting that talent to score enough points and rush the passer enough is what we didn’t do. And again, I’m not blaming anybody; I’ll start right there with me.”

Ok. Joe appreciates the straight answer from the head coach; Koetter thinks 5-11 was just a failure of coaching and players. But Joe’s not sure what to make of that. It’s almost a little scary.

Too many key Buccaneers were, for lack of a better word, bad. Chris Baker, Doug Martin, Vernon Hargreaves and T.J. Ward come to mind.

Will Gholston, Robert Ayers, Mike Evans and J.R. Sweezy performed below expectations. Those guys, along with the previous four, are a big chunk of the roster.

Of course, injuries hurt the Bucs, but nearly every team has injuries.

Regardless of what the Bucs think of their talent, Koetter and Jason Licht will be focused on improving every position in the offseason. That’s the good news on the roster front.

The season of hope is here.

62 Responses to “Koetter Stands Firm On 2017 Talent Assessment”

  1. Lamarcus Says:

    Don’t be surprised if only a handful of roster moves are made. Koetter and Licht sticking w their guys says alot. They are probably content w the guys they have. Even dm and Baker

  2. The Buc Realist Says:

    Talent and production are two different things!!!!!! You can have a “talented” rookie, or you could have a “talented” 6th year player that is productive and has pro-bowls and makes his team better!!!!!!

    Throw in the distraction that were very “real” this past season!!!!! And it lead to a disappointing year, Not a start all over year but a disappointing year!!!!!!!

    fix the Trenches and then win some games!!!!!!!

    GO Bucs!!!!!!!!

  3. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    its kind of a tough spot for Koetter to be in by being asked to throw his GM who is responsible for the lack of talent he is bringing in under the bus and then 2) he will be throwing the players under the bus and then ask those same layers to try and do better for a coach who has no faith in them, along with the bucs nation, who can flat out see the pas x amount of years the bucs have ZERO edge rushers…the past 3 years the bucs need an RB, but bucs fans got nada and 5-11

  4. Nate Says:


    that is the problem

    Nate Dubb …..your welcome

  5. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Koetter’s loyalty is to his wife, family, his players, his owners. It is not to the naysayers and second-guessers here. Those who try to analyze what he says, to put two-and-two together, to make some type of meaning or to provide hints or clues to the future, are wasting your time. No one scares him but the owners and maybe Mrs. Koetter? To that, he could have taken this same team and with a ball bounce here, a different call there, one less mistake anywhere else, to a 9-7 record like last year. Raheem took a terrible team to 10-6. Some on here are the same folks who talked yourself into Gruden being all but a done deal…just because of a side look and smile during a ceremony or absence of a late-year announcement. Wait and see.

  6. Lamarcus Says:

    And the family talk disappeared. What’s up w that?

  7. Cover Deuce Says:

    I’d like to have some of whatever Lamarcus is smoking. Both front lines need an overhaul – OL on the interior and DL on the edges. Baker and Martin will be no better than camp meat in another city next year. Book it.

  8. Roy T. Buford Says:

    Koetter will be back talking about this being business and decisions and changes happen..in just a few short weeks. He knows as well as anyone who did and didn’t perform well…including himself. He just doesn’t owe people here anything.

  9. John Ensch Says:

    The Bucs have had way to many off seasons of hope. So far the hope hasen’t been fulfilled.

  10. Pelbuc Says:

    Time for addition by subtraction as in Martin, Baker, Ward, Sweezy, Gholston and Ayers, to start. Move Marpet back to guard and get a center. Trade DJax and get some Dlinemen and a RB.

  11. TheBucsAnthem Says:


    I might as well stock up on some more Crown XO for this fall……cause it’s gonna be another long dreadful seaon again! LOL!

  12. QBKilla Says:

    I believe that most of the underachieving players Joe mentioned will be gone. Swaggy should be the first to go. Dirk usually says the right things but he knows that there will be plenty of new faces around next year.

  13. Waterboy Says:

    In other words there are a lot of key pieces in place but there are still several holes that need to be filled to help turn those last minute losses into wins.

  14. Buccaneer Bill Says:

    I’m reminded of an old saying, “talent rides the bench.” Production is how you extend that talent.

  15. Nate Says:

    ^^^^^^^ yes waterboy

    that is the problem

    Fix those spots and I mean LIGHT FIX EM….your so good with high picks …now every round you have your pick of the good kitty litter

    lets hope its gruden hotty worthy he takes all those picks with and show him….cause we play the raiders I believe…..

    ugghh I hope we beat em if not its gonna get uuuugly lol

  16. QBKilla Says:

    We got “beat” in 4 games this year. We had a chance to win the other 12.

  17. Buc believer Says:

    Do you know what I hear when I hear Welcome back Koetter??? Blah Blah Blah…. we just have to execute better Blah Blah Blah….. I need to do a better job Blah Blah Blah…… THANKS SO MUCH GLAZERS!!! I Am P…SSED!!!

  18. Nate Says:

    close games don’t win spit you have to go out and try to have a beat em down mentality

    anything else is shooting for the sky to hit a skyscraper

  19. Lamarcus Says:

    Cover Duece

    Was agreeing that we need serious talent but knowing Koetter and his mindset about having ” what u see is what u get” trade deadline Licht didn’t bring in no one? So yeah. I think Licht and Koetter bring in no one. Stubborn

  20. Nate Says:

    that mentality HAS to change or we will never win in THIS division

    does any of those teams look like they are falling off anytime soon??

  21. Bradinator Says:

    Everyone missed some things in diagnosing this teams talent level. Everyone! Talent does not always = Skill, desire, or execution. Does Baker have the talent to be a good DT? Sure he does. Unfortunately he doesn’t care enough to do it. Is the talent there? Maybe. What we need are players that are actually good at their jobs, “talent” be damned!

  22. jmarkbuc Says:

    Koetter always says it starts right here with me. Even he is trying to tell us something….

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Joe appreciates the straight answer from the head coach; Koetter thinks 5-11 was just a failure of coaching and players. But Joe’s not sure what to make of that. It’s almost a little scary.” Not a little scary Joe … a LOT scary. Also Koetter espousing that this is very talented team is a LOT of BS.

    The one who paid the price this year for the woeful lack of talent was Scapegoat Smitty & his assistant coaches. This was, without question, the LEAST TALENTED Bucs’ defense I’ve seen in 35 years of being a Bucs’ fan. That Smitty even got them to show up for the games each Sunday was remarkable. That he got them to play as hard as they did in each game was even more remarkable. If this defense isn’t upgraded BIG-TIME, we’re looking at another 5-11 season … or worse. There is no way this defense makes us competitive in the NFC South.

    Anything less than 2 stud DEs who can get to the QB, 1 horse DT who can bring pressure AND stop the run, 2 fleet-footed CBs who can actually cover, and 1 hard-hitting Safety who loves to level people won’t cut it. It’s totally up to Jason Licht to fix this mess and give Koetter something to REALLY brag on.

  24. Phil Says:

    I agree this team has a lot of talent. It just doesn’t seem like they get the most out of it.

  25. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    The Bucs did have a lot of roster instability this year. Only one player started every game this season. One! For all the haters, it was Donovan Smith. Day what you will, he is durable and reliable.

  26. boxster Says:

    Did anyone mention kickers to him?

  27. D-Rome Says:

    But getting that talent to score enough points and rush the passer enough is what we didn’t do. And again, I’m not blaming anybody; I’ll start right there with me.

    Seems like a lot of spin doctoring going on at One Buc. We’ve been hearing this “blame starts with me” stuff for three years when it comes to the offense’s ineptitude. Meanwhile, no one is being held accountable.

  28. ndog Says:

    My biggest worry is the talent evaluation on this team from the GM all the way down to the coaches. Not being negative here but the facts are they drafted Ryan Smith and tried to make him a safety (did not work), they signed Sweezy (average at best), they signed Baker (disaster), they kept and played Doug Martin (neither worked), they signed TJ Ward (did not work), they drafted VH3 (horrible choice, which BTW most of us called when it happened, to slow to short remember), they relied on Spence and Smith to get healthy (did not work), they relied on Evan Smith as a back up guard (did not work), they drafted Aguayo (did not work), they played D-Jax over Godwin for no good reason (did not work), they gave Will Gholdtson a bunch of money (did not work), they played Hump as a punt returner (did not work), they played Quiz Rodgers as a kick returner (did not work) and I could go on but the point is if they same guys are making these decisions going forward why will it change? Again I want this team to win more than anyone but seriously what is going to change? Are they suddenly going to look at players differently? I doubt that after doing this job for 20 plus year, guys don’t normally just change everything they have done over night.

  29. Come on man Says:

    Injuries distractions and media screwed this year up. We the fans griped and complained all year but they don’t give a duck about us. Draft what we need (in my opinion) the most (rb,de) and clean up the rest of the sh!t by cutting idiots that like dry humping trees and corners that can’t get up to the line and knock a receiver off his route or run toe to toe with em’. Go get some pass rushers,crnr’s, via trade or free agents. Spend daddy’s money boys and show America why you kept this staff…

  30. 81bucboi Says:

    well, you heard it from the horses mouth!!!!!…..talent aint the problem!!!!….so for all those screaming “we lack talent” can throw that out the window!!!!!

    bottom line is the coaches failed this year!!!!….simple as that!!!!….don’t blame the players, GM or ownership….it falls directly on the coaches shoulders….

    the question now is, what will he and smitty do to score more points and rush the passer?….adjust?….or will the roll out the same product from this year?…..GO BUCS!!!!

  31. Gambelero Says:

    I don’t think our oline was very talented. Even DSmith’s fans call him an “average” left tackle. Honestly, I’ll take average there. Marpet to Center to make room for Sweezy was a failed experiment, Sweezy’s money over two years gets you 2/3s of the way to Calaise Campbell, and Marpet went from a pro bowler at guard to average at best at center. Pamphile regressed. Biggest problem though is right tackle. We have to draft there top of second round.

    We don’t have talent at running back. If Barber learns ppro, he’ll be okay for what our team needs, but compared to other teams…

    Our dline wasn’t very talented outside of McCoy. I have our safeties playing better than most people here, but to say “we’re talented at safety,” no way. Once we stopped the Hargreaves at 2 nonsense, our cornerbacks played pretty well considering the lack of pass rush.

    We have talent at receiver, including tight ends, quarterback, linebacker and punter. That’s it.

  32. 813bucboi Says:


  33. The Anomaly Says:

    We’re screwed. No way am I paying for another round of this garbage in person. Hell no.

  34. D-Rome Says:

    Again I want this team to win more than anyone but seriously what is going to change? Are they suddenly going to look at players differently? I doubt that after doing this job for 20 plus year, guys don’t normally just change everything they have done over night.

    ndog, this is one of the best posts I have read in a while and I have the same exact concerns. You forgot to mention another decision that they made. The move of Marpet from RG to Center. Marpet was a borderline pro-bowl RG and I think the line took a step backwards with him at center even though he personally had a decent year.

    Everything you said about talent evaluation from the GM to the coaches is correct. They are too arrogant, too stubborn, and too set in their ways to make the kind of changes that need to be made for this team. There is no reason to believe the process will be different *this* time. It’s been over four years during the Jason Licht era. Most good GMs can turn it around in less time.

  35. Rod Munch Says:

    I’ll defense Dirk slightly…

    The Bucs played 9 games against teams that went to the playoffs.

    The Eagles for played only 3 games against teams that went to the playoffs.

    The Titans beat only one team that went to the playoffs.

    The Bucs lost a bunch of close games this year, all when the defense collapsed or the kicker failed the team (against the two SB teams no less).

    Put the Bucs in a creampuff division like the NFC East or the AFC South and they’re at worse an 8-8 team this year, and likely better than that. The Bucs lost games against good teams – and they beat bad teams. However they just didn’t play a lot of bad teams, unlike the Eagles and Titans example. Looking at the schedule for the Eagles for example, they won exactly 1 more game against playoff teams than the Bucs did. The Bucs could have a big turnaround next season… if they moved to a different division.

    Dirk isn’t going anywhere so we might as well try to make the best of it…

  36. cmurda Says:

    Let’s hop Dirk can turn this around next year. It’s going to be awfully painful to see Gruden roaming the Raiders sideline.

  37. cmurda Says:


  38. Tony from Los Angeles Says:

    You guys who are whining that the Bucs will “bring in no one” clearly don’t watch a lot of football.

    Every year EVERY team churns over at least 20% of the roster. That’s a guarantee that the Bucs will have at least 10 new faces on the final 53 next September.

    With one of the highest amounts of available cap space in the league, numerous vets that cn be cut to save money, and a full slate of picks – thew Bucs are a virtual lock to turnover closer to 20 new guys on the team next year than 10.

    The #1 thing the Bucs need to do?
    Fix the trenches and bring in major competition on both lines – at least 8 new faces total to compete with the incumbents to bolster the starters and the depth behind them.

    Fix the trenches, fis the Bucs.

  39. Rod Munch Says:

    Hey ESPN just updated their SOS standings and they say the Bucs had the 2nd hardest schedule in the league, only behind the Bears. However, the Bears SOS is inflated by playing the Eagles, who themselves played the 6th easiest schedule in the league. The Bucs played 9 games versus playoff teams versus the Bears playing 7 games versus playoff teams. I think it’s very very easy to say the Bucs played a harder schedule since the good teams that the Bucs played themselves mostly played hard schedules.

    Also wow, the Mariota creampuff wagon keeps going on and on. The guy has played the easiest schedule in football since getting drafted and this year is no exception, the Titans AGAIN played the easiest schedule in football. Put the Titans in the NFC South and they’re a 3-13 team. The only team the Titans beat this year that made the playoffs was the Jags – who themselves were tied with the Titans for the easiest schedule in the league.

    Speaking of the Jags they won exactly the same number of games versus playoff teams as the Bucs did… 1.

  40. Mike Johnson Says:

    Joe..Man..You killin me!! The season of Hope is here. Package that and sell it bro.
    Everybody here doin the usual.. But they were close games. we played real hard, We scored points.. WE..ALMOST>>>>Kinda reminds one of that Mel Gibson Movie, Apopalypco…that Almost guy. This team will go and stay..right where it is unless majoe Defensive improvements are made. And I do mean Major..starting with Mr. Binoculars..DC Smith.

  41. Destinjohnny Says:

    We have 6-10 talent and won 5 games….
    You can’t win with below average lines
    Sorry don’t shoot the messenger

  42. Lakeland Says:

    They have talent
    The only problem, other teams have more talent

  43. Lakeland Says:

    Carolina, New Orleans, Atlanta have the exact same schedule as the Bucs. Except for 2 games, they had no problem making the playoffs.

  44. Eric Says:

    Obvious to me the Glazer Boys are content to keep the current staff in place through their present contracts. Another three years I think for Dirk.

    And stay fat and happy off the big TV money. Watch a bunch of kick ball and MANU.

    Dirk isn’t going to push for any big free agent money, he’s just happy to have an NFL gig. Nobody else would have given him one.

    They are in a good place.

  45. Lakeland Says:

    Why would the Bucs fans believe that the Bucs can overtake Carolina, New Orleans, Atlanta?

  46. DavidBigBucsFan99 Says:

    813bucboi you have to blame the players too! The coaches didn’t throw all those interceptions or fumble all those balls and sure enough didn’t teach the players too do them either! Those were all on the players. The coaches didn’t teach them to give up 3 return tds on special teams or the blocked punts or to miss all those field goals either. Players are s responsible as the coaches.

  47. firethecannons Says:

    caleb beneenoch and pamphile played below expectations, Ayers was ineffective mostly, d. bond mistake prone(cause of a panther tdown) these are additional losers that were unmentioned

  48. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Draft a good player or two, make a splash in free agency and crank up the hype. Fail to perform and not reach the playoffs…..AGAIN.

    Rinse and repeat….It’s a Bucs life.

  49. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Forgot to mention all the dissecting and debate that will take place here at Joe Bucs Fan

  50. SOEbuc Says:

    This guy sounds like the Trump of the NFL when he speaks. Except for the racism. I read an article in the TBT today where he was totally backing up his O-line saying he thought they were one of the best in the league!!! Continues to back up Donovan Smith saying he comes in every game and he plays hard and he plays hurt and yatayatayata. First of all, the guy’s not talented and second of all he sure as hell shouldn’t be playing when he hurt!!! LT is the most important part of an O-line to protect a QB!!! Is it so crazy that we have a QB that’s had a bad shoulder all year from getting rocked from behind!!! If we don’t get Chubb I want Quenton Nelson from ND playing LG.

  51. darin Says:

    I knew it. Man some people cant admit when theyre wrong. The head coach said it. They had plenty of talent. The same talent you kept saying they didnt have, which was the reason they were bad. I understand youre standing by dirk. Man up like dirk just did and admit it. I dont want dirk here and think he is a bad head coach. Great o coordinator but bad hc. I respect him for not backtracking tho. He is a stand up guy. He said himself he did a bad job coachi g this year. He is right. I hope he learned alot because the same mistames next year and he wont see the end of the season. Im glad dirk manned up, admitting your problem is the first step. Now since he is gona be here next year it appears lets hope he starts drawing up some different plays and routes today. Teams are all talented as he said. Youve gota have an element of surprise in your game in this league or your toast. Gota make adjustments. Gota get the qb off his spot SOMEHOW. Worst coaching job in tampa in a long time, and thats saying something.

  52. BucEmUp Says:

    HARGRAEVES, GHOLDSTON, AYERS, WARD…..ALL wasted by crap coaching on defense. EVERY FRIEKING ONE!!!

    TIRED OF THIS SH!T SHOE. I may be arrested for something if I ever cross paths with a certain someone who coaches our defense who shouldn’t be coaching our defense just to save the team from another crap season.

  53. Rod Munch Says:

    Looking back at the schedule again, the Bucs only lost one game to a team with a losing record, that was Green Bay, and they lost it in OT when the defense collapsed after Winston game the team a 4th quarter lead. There is no other loss to a team with a losing record.

    The Bucs played a very hard schedule this year – the hardest in the league and the most playoff teams and lost nearly every close game.

    If the Glazers can get the Bucs moved out of the NFC South and into the AFC South they could go 13-3 next year (which is about 7-9 in the NFC South).

  54. chickster Says:

    I liked this coach and wanted a playoff year like everyone did but I have no feeling about next year . I just donot think tampa can win in this division as the bucs try to get better so do all the other teams and we do not have the coaching and the guts to compete . I see a 7 win season ahead of the bucs . just have to deal with it

  55. chickster Says:

    and who ever thinks u would rather have dirt instead of chucky have to be completely out of your mind

  56. mark2001 Says:

    Right Dirk… it starts with you. And ask yourself why you did such a lousy job calling plays that resulted in points and Smitty did such a bad job in developing a pass rush. And if you don’t have any answers, why would we think it would be any different next year?

  57. mark2001 Says:

    Rod…you flipped your lid on that one. 13-3 just because we would be in a weaker division? Oh man…. even if we could pretty much sweep the division, you do know you don’t play 16 games in your division, don’t you?

  58. Dom is gone Says:

    Talent? Where ? compare our roster to not the league but just our division … we only have a hand full of guys that would start on other rosters .. and QB aint one of them

  59. NFLNut Says:


    The Bucs have ELITE “talent in the passing game (QB, WRs and TEs)” AND in the LB corps … but the rest of the team is a wreck … the O-Line is not even above average from a “talent” perspective, the RB corps are below average from a talent perspective, the DEs are one of the least talented groups in the entire NFL, the CBs are below average, the safeties are right around average … and the DT’s may be slightly above average as GMC is indeed a talent, but the others are not.

    Anyways, this team has an elite passing game and LB corps but needs help everywhere else, and a lot of it!


  60. Rod Munch Says:

    mark2001 – It was an exaggeration for effect, but seriously, a 7-9 NFC South team would be like a 10-6 or an 11-5 AFC South team this year. Again I point to the fact the Jags beat ONE playoff team this year, the Titans beat ONE playoff team this year (the Jags) and the Bucs beat ONE playoff team this year. The Eagles beat only one more playoff team than the Bucs did. The NFC South is by far the hardest division in football, and it’s not all that close. Things can change from year to year, but it’s really unlikely the NFC South is suddenly awful and a team can make the playoffs from the south beating only one playoff team all year.

  61. FortMyersDave Says:

    Rod Munch: I agree with ya on the Titans, they probably would have been 5-11 or 6-10 if they played the Bucs schedule; they got fat on wins vs the Colts, Texans, Browns, and Bengals as well as soft losses to Miami and Oakland. Jags played same schedule as TN but had San Diego and the Jets instead of Miami and the Raiders. Yeah the Jags had a pass rush though so perhaps that would make them more competitive against the NFC South but they sure would not have got 10 wins and likely would have been an 8-8 4th place team if given the Bucs schedule. Titans definitely a smoke and mirrors 9-7 but they did get a playoff berth.

  62. Buc believer Says:

    Looking a lot like the Bucs 9-7 record last year was smoke and mirrors too. Probably a little more smoke from whatever the Glazer boys have been smoking by bringing this POS staff back.