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Bucs Have Fired Head Coach Dirk Koetter

The Bucs have parted ways with their embattled head coach, Dirk Koetter, in a move everyone in the NFL world expected. It remains to be seen what happens with GM Jason Licht, but according to the Bucs official statement, it appears he will be retained.

The Bucs official statement is as follows, “Statement from Buccaneers Owner/Co-Chairman Joel Glazer:

“We sincerely appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by Dirk over the past several years. Working with Dirk has been a pleasure and we wish him and his family all the best in the future. Our search for a new head coach will begin immediately and will be conducted by General Manager Jason Licht.”

For Koetter, it’s a very disappointing outcome of his tenure in Tampa Bay. His offenses have been some of the best ever seen here with the Buccaneers, but every week his defense struggled. Jameis Winston’s plateaued, been suspended and benched under Koetter’s watch, and Dirk’s main job – the reason he was hired in the first place – was to make sure Jameis ascends to the top. Jameis had his worst year as a professional this season, that’s on Dirk as much as it is on Winston.

Since starting his head coaching career at 8-5, he’s gone 11-24. Back-to-back double-digit losing seasons after the Bucs first winning season in 6 years. It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

In 2017, the Bucs were supposed to make that next leap. They didn’t. It’s hard to put a finger on why they didn’t, perhaps the 2016 season was fool’s gold, who knows? Maybe they weren’t as good as they thought they were and the effort to get to the next level just wasn’t there.

Maybe Licht and Koetter didn’t evaluate the roster properly. Whatever it is, the 2017 season was a gut punch. Then 2018 started with Winston’s suspension, seemingly a deathknell for this franchise, but again, the Bucs found a way to get through it. 2-1 with their back up quarterback facing a gauntlet to start the season was better than anyone could have hoped for.

When Jameis returned, it was supposed to continue the rise…but again, it just didn’t happen. Blame Jameis if you want, but it was Dirk Koetter’s decision to retain defensive coordinator Mike Smith that doomed the 2018 season.

The frustrating thing about the 2018 Bucs is the tantalizing “almost” parts of the team. How many games have the Bucs been in position to win this season, only to see a critical mistake – a blown coverage, a turnover, a penalty – end their opportunity.

The Bucs invented ways to lose games under Koetter. Have the league’s best offense? Don’t score in the red zone. Finally got your defense playing better? Average 19 points a game on offense.

Koetter’s teams were soft, undisciplined and underachieved. It’s why he’s no longer head coach.

J.C. De La Torre

Want to give JC a piece of your mind? E-mail him at JC De La Torre is formerly a columnist/blogger for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blog site where in 2016, he was nominated as best sportswriter in Tampa Bay by Creative Loafing. Previously, he served as a featured columnist for Bleacher Report on Tampa Bay sports, an editor and featured columnist for SB Nation Tampa Bay covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Gators, wrote for’s Blog Blitz and contributed to Pewter Report, one of the top magazines on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. JC is also a filmmaker, comic writer and rabid Whovian.

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