Koetter seems to have coaching figured out

by Gary Shelton on September 12, 2016 · 1 comment

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Koetteer celebrates after a Bucs' touchdown./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Koetteer celebrates after a Bucs' touchdown./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Monday, 4 a.m.

So what's so hard about coaching in the NFL?

Why, all you do is call the number of the backup running back, and watch him making a dazzling play, a jump-down, turn-around twisting touchdown.

Then you call the number of the tight end who had fallen from favor, and watch him make an incredible catch. It was a rebound of a catch, a star's moment.

Then you call the number of the wide receiver, the one who dropped balls all over the league last year, and watch him make a highlight-reel catch.

Throw in a few other plays, and voila. You're wearing Gatorade as cologne and carrying a game ball under your arm.

Yep, Dirk Koetter sure has a handle on this coaching thing.

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Sims made the most impressive play since he's been a Buc.

Sims made the most impressive play since he's been a Buc.

The most popular coach in Bucs history — at least until he loses a game — had quite the afternoon Saturday. It was almost as if all of his weapons were trying to show off for the new teacher in class. Jameis Winston threw four touchdowns in the second and third periods. Gerald McCoy knocked away the final threat. Kwon Alexander had 17 tackles.

And so forth.

Okay, okay. It's just one game. Most of us will decide how much we like Koetter in the days to come. That's the game.

But for one day, Koetter seems like what the Bucs may have been looking for since Jon Gruden left town.

Winston threw for four touchdowns in the middle two quarters to lead Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Winston threw for four touchdowns in the middle two quarters to lead Bucs./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Big plays? Check.

Two-minute offense? Check.

Handling the road? Check.

Low turnovers? Check. (One).

Acceptable penalty yardage? Check. (48 yards).

Closing out the win? Check.

So how are we to feel about Koetter in the days to come? Hey, Ray Perkins won his first game, too, and he also beat the Falcons. I'll say this: I think Koetter has a chance. He certainly pushed enough buttons to get a win Sunday.

All over Tampa Bay, you get the feeling that people are pulling for Koetter. Maybe that's because of the mess we have seen with the

Adam Humphries hangs onto ball after catch./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

Adam Humphries hangs onto ball after catch./TRAVIS PENDERGRASS

trifecta of Lovie Smith, Greg Schiano and Raheem Morris, the Moe, Larry and Curly of Bucs coaches.  Every regime took turns in burying what was admired about the Bucs even farther.

Koetter seems different. There is an everyman quality to him. He waited until he was 57 to get a shot, and haven't all of us waited too long for our break?

Koetter isn't a name, or a brand, or a celebrity. He's a coach. And isn't that the best way to describe someone in his profession?

You know the one thing that the best coaches have in common? They get great plays from their players. Every one of them. Whether it's Walsh with Montana or Lombardi with Bart Starr or Belichick with Tom Brady. There is no such thing as a very good coach without very good players.

One week in, and it would seem that Koetter has his players making terrific plays for him.

How about Charles Sims? Near the end of the first half, I think Sims turned invisible near the Falcons' goalline. Austin Seferian-Jenkins made an impossible catch. Mike Evans made an improbably one. Winston kept celebrating touchdowns. Kwon Alexander had 17 tackles. Gerald McCoy knocked away the key fourth-quarter pass. The offensive line didn't give up a sack.

Any questions?

Here's the best thing. Sunday's victory didn't feel like a fluke. It was a solid victory. Atlanta was a good enough opponent to beat Tampa Bay, but it didn't.

For the record, Mike Smith had a good first day as a Bucs' coach, too. Matt Ryan threw for a lot of yards, but he was sacked three times. The Falcons averaged 2.4 yards per run. The explosive Falcons offense didn't, well, explode.

After the game, Koetter mentioned winning 15 more. That's a bit of a stretch, of course.

But there do seem to be more to be had.

You know the best part about Koetter? There wasn't a down when I felt the Bucs were being outcoached. I can't say the same about the Lovie regine, or Shiano's, or Morris'. I thought the Bucs slowed the attack down a bit soon, but hey, Koetter won the game.

Repeat that: The Bucs' coach won a game.

He's 1-Oh, that-was-impressive.

Kwon Alexander had 17 tackles to lead Bucs./TEDDY PENDERGRASS

Kwon Alexander had 17 tackles to lead Bucs./TEDDY PENDERGRASS

 

 

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bill Myers September 12, 2016 at 9:58 pm

At last HOPE has come around! GO BUCS!

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