“I Kind Of Feel I’ve Let Coach Koetter Down”

December 27th, 2018


One of Tampa Bay’s young core players just made the case for retaining Dirk Koetter as head coach.

Koetter may be approaching his final game, but cornerstone Ali Marpet isn’t going anywhere as the Bucs close out another frustrating season. A 2-0 start raised expectations that this franchise would compete for a playoff berth, but the Bucs need a victory Sunday against Atlanta to avoid the NFC South basement.

Marpet played well in his first season at left guard, yet the offensive line underperformed as a group, despite excellent health.

Poor run blocking is a contributing factor as Koetter faces the prospect of yet another 5-11 season.

“I think Dirk Koetter is a phenomenal football coach,” Marpet said. “Offensively, he puts us in a position to be successful – from planning to practice and all the things people don’t see. He does a good job of allowing guys to get their bodies back and he’s consistent with his messages.

“The man takes extreme ownership in everything he does. After every loss, he says the blame starts with him. You’ve got to respect that. He’s not going to point the finger at other guys. That’s what is so unfortunate about our record. That’s what sucks. It’s frustrating for me as a player because I kind of feel I’ve let Coach Koetter down.”

Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose extraordinary play under center sparked that stunning 2-0 getaway, echoes Marpet’s thoughts about Koetter.

“As a head coach, you look for someone who’s consistent in their message, somebody the guys respect,” Fitzpatrick said. “For me personally, Dirk Koetter has been very consistent in his message since I’ve been here and I have a ton of respect for him.”

Adam Humphries, a crafty slot receiver who could choose to test free agency, also used the word “consistent” to describe Tampa Bay’s third-year coach.

“He’s going to let you know what’s on his mind,” said Humphries. “If something’s bothering Coach Koetter, he’ll let you know.”

Marpet is still trying to understand how this franchise went from newsmaker to troublemaker in the span of two months.

“It’s a year of opportunity lost,” Marpet said. “I think that’s fair to say. We surely had enough opportunities to be successful and the guys in this locker room did not take advantage. Sometimes the defense played well, sometimes the offense played well, but the good teams in this league play complementary football, detailed football, disciplined football … and we didn’t.”

Fitzpatrick, 36, said he’s undecided about his NFL future but added that his body feels fresh. He is still trying to come to terms with Tampa Bay’s plunge from relevance.

“That 2-0 start seems like so long ago,” he said. “We just went through a bad stretch with a lot of turnovers. It didn’t matter who was playing quarterback, whether it was me or Jameis, you’re not going
to win when you’re doing that.”

After signing as a free agent from Philadelphia, Vinny Curry accomplished the full monty — traipsing from the thrill of a Super Bowl victory to NFL purgatory.

“We let it slip away,” Curry said. “It’s crazy.”

It’s a new TAMPA TWO with Bucs legend Derrick Brooks and JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman. They’re not talking playoffs, unfortunately. Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating is the proud presenter of TAMPA TWO, a joint production of The Identity Tampa Bay and JoeBucsFan.

40 Responses to ““I Kind Of Feel I’ve Let Coach Koetter Down””

  1. LakeLand Says:

    Oh well

    Things happens

  2. snookman Says:

    no excuses but they were only outmatched in one game this year that was against the bears. The team played hard all season against probably the most difficult schedule. They played The Saints, Cowboys, Ravens, Panthers, Falcons, Bears, When they were hot and lost. The Defeat to Cincy, NYG, Pittsburg, Washington, and Atlanta was what did them in. Those games were winnable and the difference of Glory and Failure. No excuses…….They showed they are not good enough and beat themselves. They were not a smart team this year. I still believe they are not far off but far enough that changes are necessary

  3. denjoe Says:

    Consistent at losing, not having a running game, not upgrading his assistant coaches, not using his talent, starting guys that shouldn’t be starting, not making adjustments, not being prepared. He is amazingly consistent.

  4. Troy Says:

    When all you hear is a single, poor message, I’d term that as consistent. As far as taking blame, every coach who wants the respect of his players owns his loses. Nice to hear that the players are taking some responsibility for his demise, but ultimately the W-L record is Koetter’s.

  5. snookman Says:

    denjoe…….I agree. Licht missed on curicial needs which cost us.

    You be the Judge:

    I would be disappointed if he is brought back. He has demonstrated that he cannot be trusted with the keys to the franchise.

    Black Monday should start off with Licht and then go from there. Id rather see Koetter ramiain but licht go. Both should go but I wonder if Koetter had a running game and defense we would have won at least 4 more games than we have right now. I blame Licht

  6. Gruden4President Says:

    As much as i hate to say this but I could see the logic in keeping the status quo with some adjustments to the coaching staff. Kaczor, hoke, maxie, and warhop ALL gotta go immediately. Replace those coaches with the best available and keep coach Duff at DC. Give this front office and the remaining coaches along with Winston 1 more draft, 1more season to see what they can do with finally a decent defemse and some quality position coaches at said positions previously stated in my comment. If they fail epically than we will have a premium pick in 2020 year where the draft class for QB’s will be at a premium starting with hebert and Tua. Than our new regime will have a choice of QB’s to lead the rebuild. If we go lets say 8-8 or 9-7 but could’ve gone farther if not for QB play? Than we keep the current regime minus Winston and let Licht pull off a trade in the draft to move up and get Koetters QB. Lets not forget Koetter didnt want Winston he inherited him from Lovie. Anyways thats my 2 cents. Go Bucs

  7. Jean Lafitte Says:

    The Jameis drama torpedoed this season.

    “The Season Jameis Winston Killed coach Koetter”

  8. cmurda Says:

    You are what your record says you are and our record says we suck. We could all psychoanalyze why we stunk, but it really was a collective effort. Offense, defense and special teams were all subpar. You can say the offense was so good. Ranked by passing yards, we were good but scoring is what matters and we were crap at it…. again. I think Koetter is a good dude and he has a solid offensive mind but his offense simply didn’t generate enough points.

  9. Snookman Says:

    We sucked because we could not run the ball and control the game. I blame licht

  10. Onetrickpony Says:

    Jean Lafitte,
    Are you calling….Jameis – coach killer by actions, other than football?
    Another Tim Tebow, excellant in college,not cut out for the NFL?
    4 years is enough,of interceptions and fumbles and disappointment with the same excuses,blaming everybody and everything for short comeings
    I don’t blame Kotter as much as JL and scouting,there was no ballance,in selecting players. Can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh$t.
    Burn it all down

  11. 1sparkybuc Says:

    Upgrade certain position coaches and the obvious players. Keep Licht and Koetter and build on what works. Starting over from scratch is a recipe for failure. It takes too long for a new GM and HC to recognize who deserves to play. The elite franchises don’t sh!tcan their leadership every two or three years. The Bucs have never had an offense that scared anybody. Fix the OL and add a solid RB, and we have a contender. We have talent on both sides of the ball. Fill some holes and change a few position coaches. Don’t blow up the whole franchise.

  12. Captain Grumpy Says:

    1sparkybuc – That’s the definition of insanity. If you want another 5-11 or 6-10 keep Licht, Koetter & Winston. It’s time for house cleaning.

  13. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Jason Licht is in over his head. Too many times he has failed to make quality additions to the team . He has had big misses in the draft and brought in players with injury histories and attitude problems. The defense has very little quality depth
    in the back seven. How do you build for the future when your spending so much time correcting your past mistakes ?
    Agree with Marpet about somebody letting Koetter down but I don’t agree that he is the person to blame. IMO he has been the most consistent player on the O-line. Warhop is in charge and it looks like they need to change several O line
    and Warhop to improve up to NFL norms.

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    @Marpet … “Sometimes the defense played well, sometimes the offense played well, but the good teams in this league play complementary football, detailed football, disciplined football … and we didn’t.”

    Ali nailed it, but the real question is WHY. Why was this team so consistently undisciplined? Why did they NOT come up with the big plays when they were really needed? Like cmurda says … “It really was a collective effort.”

    Part of the REASON is mediocre talent. Bucs have some excellent starters & key rotational players, just not enough of them across the board in all position groups. IMO we lack BALANCE & that’s the kiss of death in today’s NFL. ‘Weak links’ get picked on mercilessly (Julio Jones monster day against Ryan Smith?). When 1 TD or less often means the difference between winning & losing, mismatches are a killer. Koetter had a LOT of that to contend with this year (OLine, RBs, Secondary, LBs, DLine early-on, kickers) and it cost him. Thank you Jason Licht.

    Part of the REASON is coaching. And yes, Koetter & his staff fell short there. Bucs started off the season like I thought they would (offense clicking early-on, defense struggling because of all the new pieces), Play-calling was dynamic quite often, and took advantage of mismatches (Saints & Eagles both struggled to start the season). But once we hit the better offenses & defenses, our own glaring weaknesses became very obvious. Play-calling seemed to go more & more conservative (to minimize poor play?) but that was the kiss of death in far too many games (especially in the Red Zone). That’s on Dirk Koetter as the head honcho.

    Too much water has now flowed under the bridge. Time for yet another new start and a house-cleaning. BUT … it MUST start with bringing in a great ‘football mind’ to set a vision for this team & get everyone on the same page for a change. And dumping the Architect of this mess, Jason Licht, is essential. Other than that, the next HC & his staff will face exactly the same issues next year. And they’ll achieve the same results that Raheem, Schiano, Lovie & Dirk have.

  15. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Letting Koetter go just might be the most merciful thing for him. But after four years I am still looking for our fourth year QB to take the next step and play up
    to expectations. He has put together another inconsistent season with a suspension and benching stalling his and the team’s progression.

  16. I'm a Tandyman Bucs Fan Says:

    You need new blood to give the players a little excitement. You keep Koetter and your going to get what you have had the last 3 years. It’s not Rocket Science. It’s 2 + 2!!

  17. The Buc Realist Says:

    Jw3 antics torpedo the season!!!!!!! Then the thin roster was exposed by injuries once again!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Buds!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. NPRSageBoy Says:

    Time for a total housecleaning. Fire these bums already!

  19. Not there yet Says:

    Technically they are all coach killers so hopefully I don’t have to hear them say that about the next coach. I’d rather this coach not be loyal to a fault while depending on players he shouldn’t. Lapses in judgement like penalties and getting whipped at the los is on the coaches since they can’t improve techniques but it was no excuses all offseason and that 2-0 start proved it’s Koetter more than the players.

    Don’t care what players people like or dislike. I hope the next coach represents the jersey not the number and get rid of any player who isn’t playing up to standard next year. After year 1 of the new regime the bad apples or fake leaders should all be gone

  20. Bucsfanman Says:

    Agreed Tandyman! You have to blow it up and start new, ALL the way around. The record speaks for itself. GM, HC, DC all must go.
    After the front office sweep, bring in players that HATE to lose more than they love to win. The culture MUST change!
    No “gifted” positions, regardless of draft position, no “loafers”, bring in players that are FOOTBALL players and get rid of players that collect checks. NO PLAYER IS OFF LIMITS! NO COACH IS OFF LIMITS!

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Jason Licht isn’t going anywhere. He will get a three year extension very quickly after the season ends. The haters do their best to make him look bad, but in the end, he has done a decent job.

    And, simply put, the Glazers never make quick hires, so they cannot risk losing key free agents while they search.

    So far as the coaching staff, everyone except Buckner has a contract which expires after this season. In order to keep anyone, new contracts would have to be signed. Without a GM, that won’t happen.

    And there are several who should be retained.

    The truth is that the Glazers won’t fire anyone. They won’t have to. All the have to do is refuse extensions.

    Here’s what I personally think we should do:

    Extend all offensive staff except the QB, OL, and RB Coaches. Let the entire defensive staff except Buckner walk. Let Koetter walk.

    Sign a defensive head coach and let him and Licht fill the positions together.

    so far as head coaches, I’m leaning toward Mike McCarthy or Brian Flores.

    McCarthy had only 3 losing seasons in 13 years, 2 were the last 2 years…when his franchise QB was on IR or recovering from injury. Green Bay should have never given up on him. But we can turn that to our gain.

    Brian Flores is a Defensive guy who has worked in most defensive positions, scouting AND as an offensive assist for the Patriots. So far as improving the roster, he would be invaluable. Not sure what defensive scheme he would go with though.

  22. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Koetter has proven he is not a good head coach.
    The decision to go with Smith’s terrible defensive scheme and the consistent lack of running game along with poor judgment of OLine talent and OLine coaching – Koetter has to take responsibility for.
    His game management is suspect as well.
    The players may love him more than they hate losing – that’s a problem.

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Bucsfanman Says
    “You have to blow it up and start new, ALL the way around.”

    No offense, but that would be one of the worst things to do. You are saying blow up the #3 Total Offense in the NFL???

    Blowing it all up would set this team back again. The goal should be keeping the offense, making tweaks, fixing the defense and finding a kicker.

    Heck, kicking alone cost us 4 games this year…that’s the difference between a losing season and a winning season.

    Blowup half the team…that I can agree with.

    Imagine if Jon Gruden had decided to blow up the team when he first got here. We would not have won a superbowl!

  24. Bucsfanman Says:

    Bonzai- Nobody knows what the Glazers will do, you could be right. I can’t let you off the hook on the “decent job” comment regarding Licht though. Please quantify your statement because from where I sit, there are more negatives than positives.
    Unlike others, I’m with you on McCarthy. The guy’s a winner. Not my first choice, maybe, but still, I’ll take him over what we have.

  25. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    The decision to go with Smith’s terrible defensive scheme

    Consistent lack of running game
    ON LICHT WARHOP & RB Coach (Spenser?)

    Poor judgment of OLine talent

    OLine coaching

  26. Bucsfanman Says:

    Bonzai- C’mon man! You know that ranking is superficial. The scheme is flawed. Sure, we can put up numbers, but we don’t flow and we don’t adjust. With the weapons we have we should EXPECT to be a top-ranked offense not be a top-ranked offense despite ourselves.
    You have to look beyond the numbers in this case. Watching the games, do you feel like this is a well-oiled machine for an offense?

  27. Not there yet Says:

    Uh no Marpet did not make a case for keeping Koetter sorry but That means nothing at all no one made a case for keeping anyone. Things are to fluffy are here. There are to few worries about losing their job or getting bench well except for Winston that is the only guy he was willing to bench. Meanwhile the line is getting both quarterbacks killed. Fitz couldn’t handle the rush Winston is running for his life.

    Teams mirror their head coach. Bottom line the team is full of underachievers just like the head coach

  28. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Part of the reason for the offense not being a well oiled machine is critical mistakes. Its starts with the QB who handles the ball the most. The turnover ratio is too high for success Anybody that
    thinks Jameis had a good year isn’t setting the bar high enough. That said
    Quite a few other players on offense contribute poor play or penalties at the worst possible times. We have a team that unravels too quickly when things don’t go well. ANY players signed in the future must not have a history of not putting out their best effort or injuries. This a fail on Licht’s part for signing these type of players repeatedly.

  29. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    Can we agree the job of a GM is: Contract Negotiations, College Talent Evaluations, Free Agent Evaluations, Cap Management, Trades, Roster Improvement, and helping a head coach implement his vision? Did I leave anything out? Let’s take them one at a time.

    Before we start though, I want to remind you that Jason Licht was a rookie GM when he was hired, so there was going to be growing pains. In such a situation, there will be highs and lows, and the things to look for are the improvements over the lows right?

    Contract Negotiations
    I think it is safe to say he has excelled at this. Even if you consider his bad free agent signings, he almost always made sure that if they didn’t work out, there was no cap penalty if he released them after the first year. And the good home-grown talent, he resigned.

    Young Talent Evaluations
    Every GM has successes and failures in this area. Jason seems to be above average in it. Between the draft and young free agents, and waver wire claims, he does a good job. Yes, he had one really bad draft…but every other one has had a decent level of success. This year, I think he did very well, even if the fans are too impatient to allow developmental time.

    Free Agent Evaluations
    This, to me, has been Licht’s biggest weakness. He clearly has held a view of using free agency to fill holes until he can find and develop young talent. That makes it all appear patchwork in the short term, but in the long term it has the potential to pay off. For several years, Jason’s free agent evaluations were bad…but in fairness, for every bust signing, there was also a good signing. The problem was it was usually the bigger names who busted, with a couple exceptions.

    This year, outside of kicker, his free agent signings have not been disasters. Curry was good. Jensen was great (even with his penalties) and resigning Fitz was a good move. So he did show improvement in free agency this year. But, alas, with veterans, injuries are always a risk, and the Bucs always get them.

    Cap Management
    Thus far, his cap management is top-notch because of the way he structures contracts and spaces things out. This coming off season, if he gets an extension, is the first real test. Paying Winston and keeping Kwon, Humphries and maybe Smith without over paying.

    He started off rough, but Jason has mastered the art of the trade. He never seems to give up too much, and almost always gets the right guys or draft picks.

    Roster Improvement
    I am of the belief that it is harder to build an offense than it is a defense through the draft. Offensive players, outside of WRs and RBs, tend to take a little longer to get it. So when we drafted a franchise QB, it necessitated building around him. Right now, outside of RB, we have all we need on the offensive roster. Yes, Dotson and Caleb need replacing, but their replacements are already here in Wester and Cappa.

    Because he had to focus on offense, it meant plugging holes on defense until he could start addressing it with draft picks. What few defensive draft picks he made early on were mostly good ones. Kwon. Beckwith. Even VHIII (slot CB is more important than it used to be).

    This year, he focused primarily on defense in the draft for the first time. Vea and Davis are looking good. He got a good Safety. Stewart is currently undetermined because he needs more development.

    Then you add in guys like JPP and Carl Nassib. There is no denying that he has vastly improved this roster…especially over what it was under Dominick.

    Helping a head coach implement his vision
    This is a tough one. A head coach is hired because the owners believe his vision for a team can succeed, so a GM must walk a tight wire trying to help it happen, while also preventing huge mistakes. Sometimes he might know something is the wrong move, but he has to do it for the coach. Other times, he might talk some sense into the guy.

    And still other times, both agree and still screw to pooch. Lovie Smith’s time here is a perfect example. It started off in Licht’s rookie year, and he agreed to do whatever Lovie wanted…probably with owner’s blessings. Huge mistake. They went crazy with free agents and bombed.

    Since those early years, he’s become better at this part…but remember, he is limited by availability. If the right talent is not there, then he has to settle for a square peg just to plug the round hole until he can find better. A prime example was Chris Baker. Or the long list of kickers.

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    But in the end, necessity will be the driving force behind extending Jason Licht.

  31. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Also, he is probably already talking to some potential replacements of Koetter. Jim Harbaugh and McCarthy are likely on his call list.

    there is the whole Rooney Rule thing though, so things will remain quiet.

  32. 813bucboi Says:


    dirk and smitty torpedoed the season!!!!!!!….winston had nothing to do with smitty and the worse defense in the league!!!!!!!……

    winston had nothing to do with dirk’s inability to make adjustments!!!!!!…..winston had nothing to do with dirk inability to develop rojo or benenoch!!!!!!

    the proof is in the pudding!!!!!!!…..dirk has back to back 5 win season!!!!!!…..he was unqualified to be an HC and was in over his head from day 1!!!!!!!!…..

    dirk has been exposed as an OC that can produce a lot of yards but struggles in the redzone!!!!!……

    dirk will be canned right along with smitty and rightfully so!!!!!!!…..your coaching staff that you claimed to be a breath of fresh air has turned out to be a hot steaming pill of bullsh!t!!!!!!!!!

    KRIS RICHARD 4 HC!!!!!!


  33. Tampa Bay Demon Says:


    Whether you support Dirk Koetter remaining here or moving on… these comments are definitely impressive.

    There is no doubt that Dirk has the love and respect of his players, and that says a lot about the man.

    I sure wish to hell it could have worked out for him here.
    I really do.

  34. 813bucboi Says:


    you cant say the lack of run game is on licht, the rb coach and warhop…..all 3 were here when doug finished the year #2 in rushing yards…..

    warhop had marpet looking like a PBer in 2015…..

    the lack of run game came once dirk took over as HC…..

    hold dirk accountable!!!!!!!


  35. Defense Rules Says:

    @Bonzai … “Jason Licht isn’t going anywhere. He will get a three year extension very quickly after the season ends. The haters do their best to make him look bad, but in the end, he has done a decent job.”

    So let me make sure that I understand the logic here Bonzai. EVERYONE who disagrees with you that Licht has done a good job over 5 years as Bucs GM is a HATER? And THEY do their best to make him look bad, NOT his own mediocre job performance? Got it. Seems like someone we all constantly hear about uses that same ‘You’re either with me or against me’ approach to problem-solving & discussions, as opposed to appreciating that rational people will often disagree on many things. Nothing like pandering to the extremes to make YOUR point. It’s sad what we’ve become IMO.

    But in the final analysis, it really doesn’t make much difference what you & I think or say because the Glazers are the ones with their ‘money on the line’ in this case AND the ones who’ll make the final decisions when it comes to the Bucs. They have yet to call me for advise; how about you? Any calls?

    As businessmen, their investment has certainly grown in value, but probably not nearly to the extent that they’d like. Nor as much probably as winning teams have. (Not that ‘Winning solves everything’ but it sure does seem to help).

    Good assessment on your part of Licht’s skills at contract negotiations, CAP management, etc. although this presumed ‘hater’ disagrees with your assessments. ‘The proof is in the pudding’ as has been said by many people, many times. And that pudding tells me that the Bucs’ 5-year track record since Licht has been here stinks. I see a roster with more holes than a piece of Swiss cheese, very mediocre depth, and some large salaries that’ll limit our ability to FIX THIS MESS going forward. I also see a team with no identity. And no, we do NOT have the #3 offense … YARDS are meaningless; POINTS SCORED is the only thing that counts (has something to do with how they keep score I’ve been told). And in that arena, we’re middle-of-the-pack, and have been for many years. At the same time, we’re now close to the bottom defensively in terms of POINTS ALLOWED (still seems to have something to do with how they keep score I believe). That’s NOT just an unbalanced team; it’s a team that lacks an identity. That lacks VISION.

    But hey, let’s not blame the GENERAL MANAGER for that. Let’s blame the coaches for not being able to develop the inadequate talent that said GM has provided for them to develop. Ya, let’s surely give him 3 more years.

  36. Bob in Valrico Says:

    I was other the impression that Mike Greenberg the team capologist was retained to manage cap and
    help with team rriendly contracts. Bonzai Licht gets credit for retaining him but the brains behind the cap and team friendly contracts very likely goes to Greenberg.

  37. Jmarkbuc Says:

    72 hours to go….

  38. Bucsfanman Says:

    Bonzai- Great breakdown. Isn’t the GM responsible for hiring and firing coaches to a degree?
    Yes, there has been success, albeit limited, in many of the aspects you defined. However, when you look at the BIG picture, this team still has many deficiencies, and that’s just on the roster. I agree that GMs make mistakes all over the place. A basic tenet of football though, is foundational. Without the foundation, all the other pieces are frivolous.
    In 5 years, we are still battling the SAME issues when he started: o-line, d-line, dbs, rb, k, and yes qb.
    In a results-driven sport, results are the only thing that matter.
    I think we see the same things. We just disagree on the solution.

  39. Bob in Valrico Says:

    edit: under the impression.
    Believe his title is listed as director of football operations But he is the team capoogist.

  40. Crack3rK Says:

    Please, please end the misery. No more Koetter. Glad he’s as consistent with his message as he is with his losing. Gotta go.

    Worst D and he kept Smitty. Worst O-Line and he keeps Warhop. We’ve seen this movie and the sequel. What’s going to change?

    Gotta go.