Aggressive Mentality

September 11th, 2018

Thumbprint on playcalls, says one Buccaneer.

Was the Bucs’ offensive explosion Sunday in the Big Easy the result of hard work in the offseason or as simplistic as a different guy calling plays?

Many Bucs fans would have you believe it was the result of Bucs offensive coordinator Todd Monken at the helm of the offense. Bucs coaches, including Monken, downplay that (though Dirk Koetter raved about the job Monken did Sunday).

Joe spoke with Bucs tight end O.J. Howard after the game. He seemed to suggest Monken’s personality was all over what we all witnessed Sunday afternoon.

“It shows how much [work] we put in in the offseason,” Howard said of the effort. “It is all about what Coach Monken and Coach Koetter said: little things. We capitalized.

“Coach Monken, aw man, he’s amazing. He is such a competitor, you can tell.”

When Joe asked Howard if Monken was “aggressive” as a playcaller, Howard didn’t disagree.

“I love it,” Howard said. “Coach coaches us so hard he takes that same mentality to gamedays. It is amazing to see.”

Joe really didn’t think Koetter was that awful of a playcaller. Sure, there is a play here or there Joe might have quibbled with but that’s nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn’t like Koetter openly didn’t want to score points late in a first half like his predecessor did. It wasn’t like Koetter called for the same play over and over and over again, though his affinity towards an over-the-hill Doug Martin baffled Joe to no end.

And yes, it is only the first game. And the Saints’ defense may have played a huge role into why Monken was so aggressive. Receivers were wide open all afternoon.

But the overall philosophy Joe agrees with. The Bucs may have the deepest group of dangerous receivers in the NFL (along with a still-porous pass defense) so why not open it up and use those weapons?

31 Responses to “Aggressive Mentality”

  1. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Sadly we seem to live in a zero sum society. So if Fitz or JW are really good it must mean the other is not…there is only so much goodness in a Zero sum society.

    Reality however tells us that both Fitz and JW could be good QB’s. The same is true for Koetter and Monk as playcallers. BOTH could be good.

    It’s very possible that Koetter is a very good playcaller but Monken is a great playcaller. Same for JW and Fitz. It’s possible that with the right cast around him Fitz is a very good QB but JW could be a great QB.

    One person’s success does not necessarily diminish the others unless we believe there’s only enough success for one.

  2. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    There was one play that signifies the difference in Koetter & Monken…

    I’m not sure of timing…..late 3rd or early 4th…..we had a 3rd & 1…..instead of running it to move the chains and eat clock…..Monken called a deep pass down the right sideline….the defender slipped and the ball was overthrown so we had to punt….
    I don’t think there is any way Koetter calls that play. Initially, I thought it was a bad call because we didn’t execute…..but after thinking about it….it was a great call…..New Orleans…..and the entire world weren’t expecting that.

  3. BucsBandit Says:

    I haven’t seen much written about how Dirk seems to have a big EGO and seems ‘hurt’ that so many want to give credit to Monken.

    In his post-game press conference, and asked about Monken, Koetter was a bit of a jerk and refused to say how called the plays when he was asked.

    Then at this day-after conference back in Tampa, Koetter made the strong comment that “The Buccaneers executed the plays” and that it wasn’t just the play-calling, almost to take some of the spotlight away from Monken.

    Did anyone else notice those things? Joe?

  4. unbelievable Says:

    It wasn’t like Koetter called for the same play over and over and over again…

    I would suggest rewatching games from last season. Run up the gut on 1st and 2nd down was so predictable is became nauseating.

    I am all for establishing the run, but you have to keep defenses on their heels. Koetter was a better playcaller when he was an OC. I for one am happy to see this responsibility given to Monken, and hope it continues to provide great results for us!

  5. BucsBandit Says:


    It seemed like a great ‘surprise play call’ but I think those bomb plays on 3rd and short are always DUMB.

    It’s just bad math. Your mathematical odds of completing the play are very low and it will give the other team back the ball. On 3rd and short it makes no sense to ever do anything but put math in your favor and just pickup the 1st down. Gruden used to pull that deep pass on 3rd and short at times a lot.

    I always hated anything but ‘using the math’ to pickup a 1st down on 3rd and short.

  6. unbelievable Says:

    @BucsBandit I saw that in his post game presser too. It was weird.

    I think it comes down to pride. Dirk has a lot of it (as he should) and he has called plays his entire career, so he’s probably adjusting to someone else getting the accolades for doing a great job at something he used to do himself.

    It’s not all just play calling though, the players were definitely executing at a very high level. Koetter and Monken both said in various ways that the offense chose to suck last year. So far it looks like they have really bought in, and I believe the harder training camp is part of that.

  7. go for the face30 Says:

    Just be the GD Golden State Warriors of the NFL and go bombs away. If getting in to a shootout is what they have to do every week then embrace the crap out of it. Shotgun, up tempo, no huddle, 4 – 5 wide. Was winning or losing games 12-3 back in the year 2000 REALLY all of that fun? When have the Bucs ever ( i mean EVER) had an explosive offense? Colts won A LOT of games with all offense and little D. Let’s just have some fun getting in to some shoot outs and winning games 38-34.

  8. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Offensive Coordinator Monken is going to be on the top of the list as Head Coach next year…Remember what happened last time”

    “Whats that gnashing noise? Sounds like someone is sharpening a knife”

    Klueless Koetter

    “Watch your back!”

    Lovie Dovie

  9. GhostofSchiano Says:

    This game reminded me of the Bucs-Rams shootout with Shaun King versus Kurt Warner. The last thing I expected when tuning into that game was an offensive shootout. GO BUCS




  10. Defense Rules Says:

    TBBF … I remember that play well (except for who it was that got wide open). But that had TD written all over it. Thought at first that Fitz had just overthrown it, but looking a 2nd time showed that when the receiver got tangled up a little about the time Fitz released the ball. Personally loved the call though .

  11. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ BucsBandit

    You are probably right about the math…..but it took such balls….I loved it….I’ve seen us fail so many times on 3rd and short.
    Perhaps 2nd and short would be a better shot…..

    If you recall last year…..Jameis would constantly throw 15 or 20 yard passes when he only needed 4 or 5 on 3rd down…..that would infuriate me.

    Or even worse……throw a 6 yard pass on 3rd & 8…..

  12. Says:

    TBBF- agreed with your point – great play call.

    But with regards to Fitz overthrowing Godwin down the right sideline, I think if you look at the play, when the defender falls, he actually trips up Godwin and makes him miss a step. The ball was already in the air when it happened… meaning the pass was actually probably right on the money. I don’t have DVR, so can’t say definitively, but certainly looked like it in the slow-mo replay they only showed once of the coverage. Curious if anyone can corroborate.

  13. BucsBandit Says:

    Defense Rules – I am 90% sure it was Godwin when the guy fell down and then Fitz overthrew him a bit.

  14. Says:

    Just saw Defense Rules’ post. We were writing the same thing at the same time. It was Godwin. If he hadn’t been tripped up, tack on another 7 and erase the only punt! What planet is this??

  15. Pickgrin Says:

    “why not open it up and use those weapons?”

    If the the OLine can maintain the level they played at on Sunday and the running game is “working” – then those are the keys to opening up the offense.

    We didn’t have either of those things last year.

    Let’s not anoint Monken as the next Norv Turner just yet…. Fitzy played the game of his life and the Saints defense was hardly formidable.

  16. Cobraboy Says:

    Fans should not get too pumped.

    Fact is the NO defense may be very bad this season, like the Bucs D was good in ’16 and sucked in ’17. We just don’t know.

    Philly will expose a lot about this team.

  17. Pickgrin Says:

    Bandit and unbelieveable – IMO that “weirdness” over the play calling question that Koetter displayed after the game Sunday had little to do with the question and everything to do with the person who asked the question… Namely – Buc hater and d!ck extraordinaire Tom Jones!

  18. SOEbuc Says:

    I believe it was Monken. Koetter has been garbage at HC calling the offense the past two years. Those routes and plays made at the correct time were spectacular on Sunday.

  19. SOEbuc Says:

    No one’s talking about Smitty’s defense so the negative Nancys don’t show up again. Fine by me.

  20. unbelievable Says:

    @pickgrin that’s a great point about Jones! I don’t think anyone likes that guy lol.

  21. BucEmUp Says:

    I have always been of the belief that the best coaches can work with or see talent. We obviously have a very deep stable of pass catchers but last year they struggled in the red zone. Fitz recognized what the defense was giving and Monken went to a pass first offense because he is smart and knew.he had to yo.even sniff a chance of winning….he was right.

  22. Svenson Says:

    Monken comes from the college game and has never called plays in the NFL. Frankly, I think NFL coaches get more conservative over time. As a result, Monken’s aggressiveness is a real asset, especially with so many weapons on offense. That is no slight against Dirk, who is clearly a quality play caller–he has made a career in the NFL doing it–and despite the win/loss record, during his tenure, we have seen some of the best offenses in terms of production in Bucs’ history under him. That being said, letting Monken call the plays also frees Dirk up to manage the rest of the game, which is a good thing.

    Finally, I will say that I sincerely doubt Dirk doesn’t have any influence or doesn’t contribute in some of the play calling. He was looking at the play sheet on the sideline when cameras flashed to him on Sunday, so I am sure it is more of a collaborative effort than anyone wants to acknowledge.

    Lastly, I hope Mike Smith takes a cue from Monken. He needs to be more aggressive. We are already giving up big chunks of yards and big plays on conservative zone calls. Might as well try something more aggressive. Bucs can be effective with a bend but don’t break defense that is opportunistic with turnovers so long as the offensive continues to fire on all cylinders.

  23. Trench War Says:

    I don’t understand how fans see this as Koetter being jealous of Monken. That’s BS. It’s a strategy that forces opposing defensive coordinators to study both Koetter and Monken tendencies. Maybe Koetter should go one step further and let Bajakian call a game. A 3-headed monster that would put a lot of pressure on DC’s game planning efforts.

  24. PSLBob Says:

    TBBF “There was one play that signifies the difference in Koetter & Monken…”

    Totally agree! I disagree with Joe on this. I think Koeter is somewhat predictable. It seems in years past, I’ve been able to call the next play on numerous occasions. However, what makes this year different is the now experienced and deep hands players on offense. We already knew what Desean, Mike, Cam, and Adam could do. Then you throw in the second year talents of OJ and Chris. How does an opponent game plan for that? As Joe said, with this firepower the BUCs offense is reminiscent of Air Coryell. If we can just get a consistent run game going it will hark back to the days of “The Greatest Show on Turf” that the Rams put together back at the turn of the century. However, I recognize that the season is just one game in, and I might feel pretty silly if we go belly up next week. But the potential for a potent offense is certainly there, particularly with Monken calling the plays.

  25. Rod Munch Says:

    Stay aggressive, don’t fall for lie that you need to establish the run, if you establish the pass the running lanes will be there and it will be enough to keep the other teams off balance. With so many offensive weapons – use them, use them by mixing things up and not doing what Dirk did which is to come out each game and run it up the gut to show that you can do it, in particular when you can’t do it. I mostly love the play calling, I loved the aggressive play of pushing it downfield, and I even loved Fitz NOT taking the easy first down and throwing to Godwin downfield even though he missed. Others here whined about that play, saying take the easy 1st down, NO, play to win the game and put the other team away by going for 7. I love love loved it.

    Right up until about 8 mins to go when it appeared to me Dirk started calling the plays and decided that they’d stop doing what worked all day and run it up the gut. Thanks to a great play by D-Jax on 3rd down the team was bailed out, but as soon as the Bucs went back to the Dirk 2016-2017 offense, they almost gave the game away.

    So don’t do that, push it downfield, don’t let off the pedal until the game is over. Yes, it will backfire at some point, tough tatas, if it does, it does, in the meantime you’ll be winning a lot of games. Oh and when it does backfire, brush it off and go back to being aggressive again.

  26. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Its all black and white and indisputable…

    Last year 3 games with Fitz under Koetter making him a checkdown chalie and punting the ball vs…

    Fitz going star wars under Monks playcalling”

    **all the revievers were running wide open space away from safeties &congestion

    ****Brate will have the least production with Fritz as QB. Brate doesnt create much separation and his run route is the seam pattern that takes precise timing, accuracy, and confidence. Monk wont call those plays with Fitz as QB

    Sean Peyton and the Saints defence was waiting for 2017 3 game tape of Fitz under Klueless…

    “Checkdown Charlie turned into Superman”

    Kobe Faker

  27. gilhealy Says:

    I said, “If Fitzie spreads the ball around, and Barber does his thing, we’ll kick their ass.” I same the same thing this week. Monken believes in the talent, and they know it. He’ll call great plays throughout the game. The “little things” OJ speaks of are route running. If they all hit their steps, someone will be open every down. Pick your poison. And we didn’t even see Watson. That kid is gonna kill it.

    And I believe it was 3rd and 1 when Fitz hit Desaun with the pass he got concussed on. When the running game opened up, the Saints were done. They didn’t know what hit ’em. Payton was stunned.

    I also believe, M.J. and Davis learned a heck of a lot Sunday. Foles ain’t Brees. But he can get hot. But not Brees hot. That’s gotta help. Those two are ballers. Wouldn’t mind seeing Whitehead a little more this week.

  28. Nole4JabooANDdBucs Says:

    Perfectly put…I can’t believe how people go all in so easily!

  29. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Thanks Nole4Jaboo.

    Svenson that was an excellent well thought out post.

  30. Matthew Says:

    The latter!!!!! Simplistic as a new man calling the plays and of course Ryan Jensen signing and the moving of Marpet to G his natural position. I think we have the potential to drop 30 points on any team we play. Even if it was the La rams and that badass defense they paid for. This offense is going places . It’s beyond just what we did to the saints . Even with Koetter we were bad ass and on the rise we just couldn’t get the offense to that next level with him running plays anymore. So Todd took over. Todd isn’t gonna quit either with results like that. May see the top scoring offense in the league right over there in Tampa bay.

  31. Resurrection of Fitz Says:

    Accuracy of Fitz and Barber starting with 23 and 12 yard runs kept the Saints defense on their heals. Add the outstanding work of the o-line and you allow the firework show to explode.

    Koetter didn’t have any of that available last year. With that said, let’s still keep things as they are and ride the way.

    Go Bucs!!!