Ko Kieft Doesn’t Care What Critics Think

July 31st, 2022

Bucs TE Ko Kieft signs a football for a young Bucs fan after training camp practice Saturday.

We all know the story by now. Ko Kieft isn’t supposed to be able to catch the ball. He’s not supposed to be a weapon in the passing game.

That was the word from all the draftniks leading up to the 2022 draft. That rookie Kieft, a tight end from Minnesota, was just a misplaced, one-dimensional fullback. He could block and that was about it.

It sure seems like the draftniks were dead wrong. And Kieft seems to be having the last laugh. Granted, Kieft has yet to put on pads for the Bucs, who drafted him in the sixth round. But so far, Kieft has demonstrated he can catch the damn ball through rookie minicamp, OTAs, mandatory minicamp and the first week of training camp in underwear football conditions.

Kieft spoke with Joe after practice yesterday at One Buc Palace and basically said in a matter-of-fact tone that unless someone with the Bucs offers an opinion about his play or his abilities, he has no use for them. They can shove their smack where the sun doesn’t shine.

“I don’t care if someone else who has no idea who I am, that’s not on this team — if it’s some other coach or another player telling me [what] I have to do, I’ve got no time for that,” the pride of Sioux Center, Iowa said.

“When I was in college at Minnesota, I did what I was asked to do. And that’s what I did.”

And he did it quite well. Kieft was not asked to be Travis Kelce at Minnesota. He was asked to be a bone-crushing blocker from his Gophers coach, former Bucs wide receivers coach P.J. Fleck. Because of this, the draftniks deemed Kieft a one-trick pony.

From what Joe has seen Kieft is much more than that. Oh sure, he’s physical. But Kieft has caught several passes working with both the first-team Bucs offense and the second-team offense. He doesn’t look overmatched or clumsy.

Joe is not saying Kieft is the next Tony Gonzalez; slow down. But he’s a capable pass-catcher.

Of course, being able to catch passes from Tom Brady, well, that guy makes everyone look better. Kieft admits like anyone else, when he first realized he would be playing with Brady it was an OMG moment. That, Kieft said, has quickly subsided.

“It was pretty surreal the first day he was in for minicamp,” Kieft said. “Now, it’s like it doesn’t matter. You have to do your job. Your assignment, your technique and all of that. That’s all I’m worried about.”

Kieft told Joe, as other Bucs have, that Brady is just like anyone else in the locker room. The difference is Brady has very high standards and he demands those standards are met.

“Oh, 100 percent,” Kieft said. “Great leader. Coming into this, you realize why he’s been so successful. It’s every day with him [how everyone must improve]. It’s incredible to see.

“It’s a blessing to be part of this team.”

24 Responses to “Ko Kieft Doesn’t Care What Critics Think”

  1. Leopold Stotch Says:

    Very awesome to hear this. Bone crushing blocker and a good receiver? Steal of the draft if he becomes amazing

  2. Goatfarmer Says:

    Love this moose. Can’t wait for the first time he catches a pass and slaughters some DB or LB running for the 1st down or TD. I expect he’ll also be a special teams ace.

  3. David Says:

    He’s going to be in there for blocking and if he could just go out and be a threat to catch now and then, just pull linebacker away from the middle of the field where the slot receiver is or another TE is… He’s going to end up being a steel

  4. PassingThru Says:

    As I stated earlier, what impresses me was that Kieft catches with his hands. Many blocking TEs are awkward body catchers. And yes, Minnesota had a run-heavy offense which didn’t give Kieft much opportunity to showcase his receiving skills.

    He sounds like a nice weapon for short yardage situations.

  5. Derek Says:

    Joe the latest podcast didn’t show up on Apple podcasts

  6. SOEbuc Says:

    You don’t have to play football Gronk, just come in to the TE meetings and this

  7. Miller5252 Says:

    Let’s hope in 3 years he’s damn close or is an all pro and not just a “f’in solider” like that jackwagon we got from the Browns. Haha

  8. Joe Says:

    Joe the latest podcast didn’t show up on Apple podcasts

    Recorded yesterday. Currently in the production/editing stage. Patience, grasshopper.

  9. SOEbuc Says:

    And he sure is a monster at 6’5” 265 lbs. I have high hopes for Otton as well from what I’ve heard through camps.

  10. Delusional Intelligence Says:

    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you Joe! Been wanting as many nuggets as possible on the Minnesota Mauler. Thank you.

  11. steele Says:

    I still think Kieft has the potential to be the surprise of the season, and maybe even the starting tight end at some point, sharing and then competing with Otton for the job, after Rudolph is done.

    He’s already shown he can block like a muther, and he’s catching most of what is thrown his way. Can’t ask for more.

  12. Kody Says:

    Sounds like between Rudolph, Cade and Ko we’ll be fine as far as TEs go. Wish I had the same sense of security with the rest of the O-line though.

  13. Buczilla Says:

    I can’t wait to see this guy truck dudes!

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    With a name like Ko Kieft he’s gotta be on the field a bunch; it’s almost mandatory. Just keep getting the feeling that every time he gets the ball in his hands at RayJay, the stadium with erupt in chants something like ‘Go Ko, go Ko’. And at 6’5″ & 265 lbs he’ll be a load to bring down. Can’t wait to see how the Bucs use him.

  15. TDTB Says:

    There will be some tough cuts at WR and/or TE. They can’t keep all of them. Jones and Rudolph have complicated the decision making. If they don’t greatly out shine the others they should be the ones cut. The franchise has to get younger and cheaper.

  16. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Kyle, Cade, Cam & Ko…..love our TE room…..sorry, Cody…

    Maybe, if we go with 5 (doubt it) Bug will make it…..

    We have to whittle down some of the positions……CB/S & TE in order to keep most of our WRs.

  17. Chris Tucker@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    My 11 year old Grandson has Red Hair and Blue Eyes, the rarest hair/eyes combination of any Caucasian Person.
    Ko Kieft has instantly become his hero!

    I have the utmost respect for PJ Fleck, and if he says Ko can play at an NFL Level, I will take that to the bank!

  18. SB~LV Says:

    If he can become a better TE than OJ Howard I am good!

  19. D-Rok Says:

    Good. I like it. Neal will be laying wood for the D, and now Kieft will be laying wood for the O. Gotta replace Jensen’s fire.

    From all these reports, it sure seems like this young TE will catch an occasional, must-have 1st down, or maybe even a TD or two. Yet another weapon for the O. We all know he can block well.

  20. Colonel Angus Says:

    Ain’t nobody got time for dat.

  21. Blumis Says:

    Those of us in Minnesota loved Ko. He was a fan favorite AS A BLOCKER! That says a lot. This guy is a tough brute and the Bucs will love him along with the other great Gophers on Tampa.

  22. Rene Says:

    Ko Kieft is such a character, lots of potential. I’m thinking about getting his Jersey but he has to make the team first.

  23. Bojim Says:

    Can never have enough mean.

  24. Wade Landry Says:

    Slow down! Has not played yet in NFL..lots of guys here that can give attitude adjustment….you guys read like you have lumberjack fantasies😂