Did Kickers Get Koetter Fired?

June 26th, 2019

Doomed by kickers?

Joe has long made the case that Mike Smith and his merry band of incompetents in the secondary got former Bucs coach Dirk Koetter fired this past winter.

Another writer seems to believe it was neither the horrific defense nor inept defensive coaches that sunk Koetter’s days with the Bucs; it was kickers.

Colin J. Liotta of USA Today news services wrote about the woeful kicking and noted that if the Bucs just had a decent kicker with a leg for long kicks, they would have finished 2018 with a winning record.

Last season, Tampa Bay missed five field goal attempts from 40 to 49 yards, the second most misses in the league behind the Minnesota Vikings, who had six. The Bucs actually were decent in other areas, going 11-for-12 from 30 to 39 yards and 1-for-1 on attempts of 50-yards or more.

The Buccaneers lost four games last year by three points or less. Had those games resulted in wins, Tampa Bay would’ve had a 9-7 record, and possibly would’ve been a playoff team.

Well, with, say, just an awful defense, not the worst that humans have ever laid eyes on, it is possible the Bucs could have won those close games.

Yeah, it’s a lot of woulda-shoulda-coulda. Still, the kicking stats were interesting to Joe and probably answer why the Bucs just drafted a booming-leg kicker in the fifth round.

And would Koetter have still been fired without a losing season? That doesn’t happen too often. Then again, Chucky was run after consecutive 9-7 seasons and the Bucs have yet to recover from that move over 10 years ago.

41 Responses to “Did Kickers Get Koetter Fired?”

  1. K2 Says:

    I don’t think the kicker was their biggest problem. However, your article highlights how very small changes could have resulted in a much different record. That is one reason that I, from time to time, get sarcastic about all the negatives. I agree with the coaches that the Bucs have enough talent to win. If the offense continues to shine, and defense and special teams improve to average…the Bucs will be a good team. This offense has the talent to average 35 points a game…if they just fix half their mental errors.

  2. D-Rome Says:

    Inept Dirk Koetter got Dirk Koetter fired.

  3. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Good coaches win close games without the guarantee of made FGs, because as we know, there is no such thing as a guaranteed FG.

  4. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    The kicking game had torpedoes more games than the numbers really tell. Several of those misses occurred when a made kick would have extended a lead to two scores, and after the misses this weak minded team piss asked it on and accepted the inevitable loss. Many of those misses completely swung momentum in those games.

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    Dirk was not a bad coach. HE was just stubborn. Smitty was his achilles heel.
    He figured he owed the guy everything. I think he knew he should have fired Smitty long ago. But he stuck with him. His DC was his downfall. Now they can both fish together during the offseason. All he had to do was make a few adjustemnts to his staff. He did not. Then there is and was..Benedict Licht.

  6. Couch Fan Says:

    The only thing that this team did well under Koeter was passing the ball between the 20s. Everything else was terrible. Koeter was a terrible coach. You could literally point at anything and say thats what got Koeter fired. At the end of the day D-Rome is right, Koeter got Koeter fired.

  7. First Down Tampa Bay Says:

    How lucky were we to go from Dirk Koetter to Bruce Arians?

  8. WestChap Says:

    @Mike Johnson, agreed. Stubborn! He had help with some horrible luck on the injury and drafting fronts but he was too stubborn to change the things he could control like personnel: never should have brought Smitty back. And maybe he could have urged Licht to upgrade roster with a midseason trade or two… although Licht is another whole discussion. Ugh.

  9. Buc4evr Says:

    Gump and Smitty killed Koetter. He had no chance with a bad draft, poor free agent signings and a defense from the 90’s. Koetter didn’t have the head coach mentality to kick both these losers to the curb.

  10. Race to 10 Says:

    Bad coaching decisions got koetter fired like hiring his buddy Mike smith.

  11. zzbuc Says:

    There are several reasons why Koetter was fired…Bad defense, bad kickers, no running game, and I really desagree with the argument we have/had a talented roster……I think that´s the main reason why we are in the situation we are, lack of talent, and VERY bad decisions from our different GM¨s……. We have a few talented players, but is not enough to be a contender in such a difficult division……..I have huge respect for Koetter, but the record speaks for itself…..Hope I am wrong and Arians can turn this franchise around…..

  12. BucEmUp Says:

    Mike smith got koetter fired. I typed those words on here the day he was hired as being the reason koetter would fail. Thats why he doesnt have a job in the nfl and never will again

  13. wausa Says:

    I’m glad some are starting to see what the Bucs real problems have been. The Bucs have had one of the worst defenses in NFL history over the past three seasons, along with a below average running game and terrible special teams. If the Bucs can bring special teams, the defense and the running game to average the Bucs will easily be a playoff team.

  14. The Buc Realist Says:

    It was licht weights stubbornness to build around gmc with has-been and backup fodder, and to force the scheme to keep she-mc happy!!!!!!!!!! Why do the the sheep think the bucs gave she-mc the cold shoulder in Jan???? Than and team glazer backed coach-killing fold like a lawn chair who lied to the Organization over the head coach!!!!!!!!!! That is why there are coaches here to “fix jw3”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And what happened to all the “no excuses” and “hold them accountable”??????? The supposed bad coaches that held everyone back are gone, The supposed team wrecking free-agents that licht weight brought in are gone!!!! And yet the sheep and local media keep lowering the bar of standards around here!!!!!! that all jw3 has to do to stick aroudn and get almost 30 million is fumble a little less???????? That ole coach stale biscuit just needs 6 wins?????????????? Get ready for the excuses to start coming out fast and furious as this year reveals itself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2019 will reveal answers to the sheep, that the “real” fans already know!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

  15. Don_RyJo(e) Says:

    Football is all about momentum, right? Players are such head cases that its not unreasonable to suggest that missed kick after missed kick sapped the players of their confidence and stalled their momentum.

  16. SCBucsFan Says:

    Well they didn’t get him not not fired

  17. ben Says:

    Why does no one blame the bucs gm for the losses year after year ??.. A bad record and no cash to sign needed players is a joke !!

  18. Marine Buc Says:

    A below average GM, a rookie immature QB, a bad defensive coordinator are to blame but the kickers sucked balls too…

  19. jmarkbuc Says:

    Mike Johnson

    “Dirk was not a bad coach”

    I think he was the definition of a bad coach

    Soft practices
    No Discipline
    Couldn’t handle Djax
    We didn’t even have team captains
    Allegiance to Smitty
    Paid 0 attention to defense
    “We don’t really game plan”
    QB carousel
    Played people out of position on both sides of the ball

    Head coaches have to be able to run things, oversee all things.

    Dirk is a good OC, terrible HC

  20. mike Says:

    The Dirk’s friendship with Mike Smith got him fired. Kids, be careful who you hang around.

  21. Magadude Says:

    Koetter didn’t win games. He got fired.

    He didn’t have control of his team. Starting with Winston, ending with the K of the day. And everyone in between.

    It was a team effort.

  22. Nick2 Says:

    No urgency for a running game = NFL Walking Papers Please lets not blame it on bad kicking it was much simpler than that.

  23. Destinjohnny Says:

    Jason Licht

  24. Tom S. Says:

    At a minimum Jason Licht deserves to be in a top 10 list of all time worst evaluators of a specific position group in NFL history. I’ve never witnessed or heard of a personnel guy who so badly and frequently missed on a position as Licht has missed on kickers. It’s actually sort of impressive in a way.

  25. TBUC North Carolina Says:

    Tom S
    Top 2 or 3 evaluators of all positions period of all time!! I was hopeful when he was hired but stopped drinking his CoolAid VERY quickly!! He has ROBBED the Glazer idiots and us too!!! Seems like a nice/fun guy though!

  26. tnew Says:

    What got Koetter fired was the manner he handled the team. From slobbering all over DJax to trying to set up Fitz as the solution last season at QB. Flopping back and forth between play calling. Playing FOR field goals. Keeping Mike Smith as DC.

    Head Coaches are paid for making decisions. Koetter’s have constantly been poor. Please take the pic down Joe… I had a near visceral reaction.

  27. westernbuc Says:

    Koetter got fired because Licht needed a fall guy and the Glazers weren’t ever going to keep him long after falling in love with Gruden. Idk if Ariana can fix that

  28. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Sticking with Mike Smith didn’t help Koetter. He was also a bit overwhelmed at times.
    Eventhough the kicking game didn’t help him . Part of Koetter’s problem,was
    he didn’t trust his quarterback after some of his more costly turnovers. IMO he called
    a more conservative game plan trying to rely on mediocre run game and inefficient kicking game all too often.

    That said, Koetter’s benching of Jameis might be a turning point for Jameis.
    No better way to say your turnovers are hurting the team and get him to really think about it on the bench for three games including a third game some thought was excessive, But to me its reminiscent of the old song ” I just gotta get a message to you” .

  29. #1bucsfan Says:

    I agree with jmark. He deff is not HC material but he is a good OC some people just don’t have what it takes to be the main guy

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    Defense, kicking and lack of running ability is what torpedoed this team for the last 2 years…

    If under BA’s (and Bowles) leadership – this year’s team can show moderate improvement, and rank 20th or better in those 3 categories (points allowed, field goal %, rushing yards per game) – then the 2019 Buccaneers will be a 10 or 11 win team.

  31. Hodad Says:

    If kickers got Dirk fired, why didn’t the idiot who moved up in the 2nd round for a kicker who sucked not get fired?

  32. wausa Says:

    Pickgrin Says:
    June 26th, 2019 at 3:39 pm
    Defense, kicking and lack of running ability is what torpedoed this team for the last 2 years…
    If under BA’s (and Bowles) leadership – this year’s team can show moderate improvement, and rank 20th or better in those 3 categories (points allowed, field goal %, rushing yards per game) – then the 2019 Buccaneers will be a 10 or 11 win team.


    You are absolutely right @Pickgrin

  33. Allbuccedup Says:

    Tell Jason Licht Ricky Arqauo Roberto brother is going to be available in the 2020, so he can start making plans.

  34. Ed Kerber Says:

    I don’t fault Jason Licht, yet. The plan when Koetter was hired was to have a flexible 3-4/4-3 defense. Jason drafted according to that plan. It never happened. I have always said that Dirk’s staff stunk. Chucks and Dungy had control over the team. Dirk was controlled by the team. GMC showed his true colors when he complained about losing his number.

  35. Clw JB Says:


    Ridiculous take by an obviously uniformed media type

    did he even watch the shat show of a D and special teams, even once?

    Highly doubtful after such a moronic take….

  36. SB Says:

    Well, with, say, just an awful defense, not the worst that humans have ever laid eyes on, it is possible the Bucs could have won those close games.

    To be fair Joe since you CONSTANTLY blame the Defense how would those games have gone if we weren’t the Third worst in Red Zone Offense?
    Not saying the Defense wasn’t abysmal because it was at times but credence is due where it is due on both sides.

  37. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Defense got us to our first NFC Chip game in 79, and 99, and 02.

    Despite the offense happy NFL, Defenses will figure it out again (unless the NFL outlaws playing Defense altogether)

    And Defense will lead the Bucs back to prominence…it always has.

  38. Tattoodonny Says:

    Not only did piss-poor kicking & a hideous defense cost Dirk his job, it’s put extreme pressure on Jameis. Many times before he got on the field he was already down points, but in the 4th were Jameis does pretty well, he’d take them to the leading touchdown or FG only to watch that so-called “defense” allow the other team to do the same instead of shutting them down! On a side note, we all heard GMC proclaim being one of the greatest Bucs in their history, he was pretty good, but not “great”. Unlike a Fletcher Cox or Aaron Donald who can just DESTROY a offense, he was “quick off the snap” (heard that a lot) but not much else, he didn’t shut down the other offense, giving up what should have been a win. Maybe this year we can get NFL calibur kicking and defense? I’m completley sure about one thing, IT CAN’T HURT! Go Bucs!

  39. FortMyersDave Says:

    If the kicker made those 40 to 49 yard kicks the defense would have merely given up another FG or touchdown and the record would not be different. Retaining Smittie after the 2017 train wreck was what doomed Koetter, the bad kicking game was bad but nothing in comparison to that putrid product Smith put on the field, especially at Chicago (which should have got the sieve fired at halftime at Soldier Field) and at the chicken roost in the ATL which finally forced team Glazer to make Dirk and or Licht can that loaf of a DC….. The garbage we saw Smitty peddle was even worse than the inept trash that Leeman Bennett fielded after McKay retired…….. Smitty hanging around so long was a sign that the Glazer’s hands off approach is definitely full of flaws when you place so much trust in a GM and coaching staff coming off a horrific 5 dash 11 season….

  40. Buddy Says:

    #KLUELESSKOETTER got himself fired for being a idiot. Don’t try to blame anyone else by the guy himself. He did himself in because he continued to listen to his snitch of a equipment manager who told on the players to him just like he is trying to do with Granpa Bucco Bruce. The entire problem in that building is the support staff that the players do not trust.

  41. Sadistic Buc Says:

    Licht has a good scout team that did everything his head coach asked him to do. Whether it was Lovie or Koetter and with the exception of some kickers and horrible free agents, found some gems. Ali and Hump weren’t big names. But neither coaches played to the strength of their players or possessed good game management skills. I believe in the BA/Licht combo. Go bucs!!!