TAMPA, Fla. -- Those looking for major changes following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 5-11 season in 2017 may wind up being disappointed. Head coach Dirk Koetter said Monday that he won't be giving up playcalling duties, despite contemplating it last year.
“Yeah, that’s probably not going to happen. I should’ve never said that last year," Koetter said with a laugh.
Koetter, now 14-18 in two years at the Bucs' helm, said at the end of last season that he was considering giving it up to devote more time to being a head coach, including meeting with players one-on-one, finding the best ways to motivate them and preparing to address them as a team.
One area Koetter feels the team needs to improve on -- and the numbers certainly back it up -- is in the red zone. The Bucs averaged 363.5 yards of total offense, ninth in the league. But they averaged just 19.19 offensive points scored per game, 20th in the league. They were also 15th in red zone points scored,
"The biggest thing, just without doing too much thinking about it right off the top, is we’ve got to score touchdowns in the red zone," Koetter said.
“We need to score more points. We moved the ball up and down the field. We didn’t score enough touchdowns in the red zone. We missed too many field goals. Points win games," Koetter said. "We have to do better and that is easy for me to stand up here and say, ‘We have to do better’ -- everyone knows that. How are we going to do it better? That is a lot harder. We’ve got to figure that out.”
Koetter also said that as of right now, he doesn't foresee changes to his coaching staff. He expects Mike Smith will return as the defensive coordinator and Todd Monken as the offensive coordinator. But there are no definitives.
“Well yeah, as I stand here now, but again remember a lot of stuff has happened since Friday at 3 o’clock," Koetter said. "Our main thing was to finish out the season, finish last night and we will just have to see what happens here. Things are going to be moving fast these next few days -- I’m talking about in the league. Any time there [are] major things happening in the league, it can have implications to the other teams in the league.”
Like Koetter's playcalling, Smith's defense has come under criticism, too. The Bucs' 378 yards allowed per game in 2017 were the most given up in the league. They also went from having the league's top third-down defense in the league in 2016 to the worst in 2017, going from a 34.4 percent conversion rate allowed to 48.1 percent.