Dirk Koetter on coup chatter: “Total, 100 percent B.S.”


New Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter joined Wednesday’s PFT Live on NBC Sports Radio to discuss his first NFL head-coaching job, which came after more than 20 years at the college level and more than 30 total years in coaching. While the ascension was a long time in the making, it happened fairly suddenly, with coach Lovie Smith surprisingly fired after two years on the job and Koetter elevated from offensive coordinator after only one season with the team.

The situation has sparked plenty of speculation within NFL circles regarding the possibility that a coup was staged, with Koetter parlaying interest in Miami and San Francisco into a promotion at the expense of the guy who hired him. I asked Koetter to respond to the theory that more than a few in the NFL industry have espoused in the last two weeks.

“I would say that’s total, 100 percent B.S.,” Koetter said. “I think that in all 32 buildings around the NFL, I know there’s leaks everywhere but unless you’re on the inside of a building you have no idea whats really going on inside those buildings. Every job I’ve ever had in my life I think you’ve got to be able to look at the man in the mirror and know if you did your job or not. I can promise you 1000 percent that from where I stand and what information I was privy to, there was nothing of the sort.”

He nevertheless admitted that taking the place of the guy who brought him to Tampa wasn’t the most comfortable development.

“It’s awkward in the beginning because I was surprised as anybody when the announcement was made that Coach Smith wasn’t going to be retained,” Koetter said. “I have the utmost respect for Lovie Smith and I’m a firm believer as an assistant coach that loyalty is the number one characteristic that you should have. But that was a decision that wasn’t made by me and at that point. At that point, even though I was under contact with the Bucs there was a couple other teams that reached out to me about being a head coach. So that opportunity was there as a possibility and then when the possibility presented itself to possibly be head coach of the Bucs as well. At that point it becomes more about business and more about, you know, there’s nothing I can do about the first part of it. . . . I didn’t know for a while there was I going to be a head coach in the NFL, was I going to be in the same role with the Bucs or was I going to be coaching my son’s high school team as an assistant coach? I mean you just don’t know.”

Coaches also don’t know when it’s going to end, which gives Koetter no concern about the possibility that, as ownership did with Jon Gruden in 2009 and Smith this month, a decision can be made that the franchise would like to replace the current head coach with a member of his staff.

“I have zero concern about that,” Koetter said, “because I don’t have any control over it. Ownership, they own the team, so I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the Bucs are achieving up to the standards of the talent that we should be able to achieve. Other than that, I don’t have control over any of that. I don’t think there’s anything to history having to repeat itself like that. I think you’re judged on the job that you do and I’m sure I will be judged in that same fashion. Bottom line is every team in the NFL, every team is hiring their coach to win games.”

With Koetter running the offense, the Bucs won three times as many games as they did the prior year, when offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford took medical leave right before the regular season began, and never returned. For Koetter to return on a year-in, year-out basis, he’ll need to quickly get the wins closer to 10, and beyond.

And also to hope, at some level, that no one on his staff catches the eye of ownership.

For the full Koetter interview, check out the podcast of Wednesday’s show.

44 responses to “Dirk Koetter on coup chatter: “Total, 100 percent B.S.”

  1. You know the guys a loser when he starts talking about “buildings” and “rooms” rather than teams and organizations. Guys trying too hard to be cool never are.

  2. Great hire! Anybody that believes that Lovie should have been retained because he won 6 games wasnt paying attention. Those wins were on Koetter’s offense, not Lovie’s defense.

  3. I’m not a fan of him or the Team of Misogyny, but I don’t believe he orchestrated this. If so it was the worst run coup in history.

  4. Some of these comments make me wonder if their authors ever watch games outside of their market.

    This was Lovie’s team to lose, and he did exactly that. After fielding one of the worst defenses in team history, he chose to take over playcalling rather than find a suitable replacement for the incompetent Leslie Frasier.

    His defense was terrible again in 2015 despite having 3 of the best players in the league. He didn’t put them in positions to be successful, he didn’t elevate any pickups, and the team generally looked out of its depth, committing costly errors time and time again.

    That’s all on him. Koetter did his job and earned his shot to bring this team into the future. As a Bucs fan, I remain cautiously optimistic.

  5. Lyndon Johnson didn’t feel “uncomfortable” taking the oath of office with JFK’s widow standing next to him. That’s how you handle “coup”.

  6. He got 3 times more wins than a team the previous year with no OC and with a DIFFERENT QB who was the number one pick. lol That’s like the OC of the Carolina Panthers bragging about a better record after getting Cam Newton! Lovie got stabbed in the back by the GM and OC that he hired. They’ll ride Jameis Winston coatails and get credit for the wins but it seems cowardly to me.

  7. .
    Jameis Winston is the franchise and from all reports has an excellent rapport with Koetter. I think the Bucs were concerned about losing Koetter and having Winston regress under a new offensive system. You always want your QB and OC to have a complimentary relationship, like Brady and Josh McDaniels.

  8. skinnylegspeytonmanning
    Jan 20, 2016, 4:40 PM PST

    You know the guys a loser when he starts talking about “buildings” and “rooms” rather than teams and organizations. Guys trying too hard to be cool never are.

    Was thinking the same thing.

    Though it’s funny how I sometimes catching myself getting caught up in all this. Bottom line: who cares? In my mind it wasn’t a “coup”. I see a coup d’etat as a political act – NFL head coaches exist and operate in the world of business. What Koetter did (if he did it) was standard business practice.

  9. A lot of people are saying its Jameis who got those 6 wins for Tampa Bay…agreed…it’s also Brady who got Bellicheck’s those super bowl rings.

    Lovie got screwed by an OC the 1st yr when Tedford failed to show up…got screwed again the 2nd yr when the DC didn’t show up; oh wait he was the DC!

  10. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure the Bucs are achieving up to the standards of the talent that we should be able to achieve.”

    He doesn’t sound like he’s expecting too much for next season. Talking in circles. Smh

  11. Coaching is not a lifetime appointment. Heck George Seifert got run out of San Francisco after winning two super bowls because they thought their hot assistant coach, Steve Mariucci, was the second coming. If it could happen to Seifert, it can happen to Lovie Smith.

  12. You’re telling me the Bucs were a better situation than any of the teams that called? Sounds to me like you or ownership forced him out. Either way, he was forced out.

  13. A coup is exactly what it was. That’s clear to everyone familiar with what a coup is.

    Dan Campbell is an example of a failed coup. I hope he loses every game and becomes another Schiano.

  14. Have to admit….. It’s a tough spot to be in. Hopefully the 11 on defense get on the bandwagon. Sensing a drop in wins next year…… Bigtime

    Atlanta , Carolina, New Orleans, LA Rams, Chicago,
    Oakland, Seattle,

    Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans, LA Chargers,
    San Francisco, Dallas, Arizona, Kansas City

    Gotta love that schedule though. Great matchups every year… Bucs /Winston at Dallas on Turkey Day would be awesome…

  15. Penalties at a comic level, personally bringing in free agents who have no business on a field, stripping away duties from your defensive coordinator last minute then fielding a borderline-inept defense, losing your last four games when the playoffs were on the line and barely being competitive. THAT is a dumpster fire, not the Buccaneers organization, per se.

  16. Deja Vu all over again. Look, here is how it works in this organization: They bring in a good coach (Smith, Gruden) and when they lose a few, they let un underling coach gossip and backbite the head coach to management, ala Raheem Morris, and the stupid ownership gets convinced that these complainers must know how to fix things, and the backbiters get hired. Then it all turns to dooky.

  17. Total nonsense. Koetter doesn’t strike me as a backstabbing kind of guy. I don’t think there was any “coup,” though I don’t have any doubt that the Glazers and Jason Licht had Koetter in mind when they canned Lovie.

  18. Ok. We waited to hear your side of the story. Having heard your side of the story, I’m unchanged in my initial opinion:

    You totally greased the skids to get this job.

  19. Lovie asked the owners if he could bring in a defensive consultant to help fix the offense. Plus he stopped his players from cursing during a pregame speech, before the Saints game, in the locker room. That suppossibly took the fire out of the team before they took the field to contend for a playoff spot. The team lost 4 straight games after that.

  20. People who aren’t Tampa fans dont know. Lovie was brought in to bring back the glory days of Tampa where we had a feared defense. Facts are facts. He didn’t do his job. In fact, his defense was arguably worst then Schiano’s!!! All he has to do was get a successful DE to reck havoc on the o line and qb, add a corner or two and that’s it!!!!! He couldn’t even do that.

  21. Don’t feel bad for Lovie at this point. Has anyone approached him for ANY other position since being fired?
    Leslie Frazier has gone from Head Coach, to DC, now a secondary coach. Not a great career trajectory.

    I don’t think Koetter did anything to shove Lovie out of the door. His poor performance took care of that.

  22. A lot of people are saying its Jameis who got those 6 wins for Tampa Bay…agreed…it’s also Brady who got Bellicheck’s those super bowl rings.

    Lovie got screwed by an OC the 1st yr when Tedford failed to show up…got screwed again the 2nd yr when the DC didn’t show up; oh wait he was the DC!


    What you dont know is Lovie Smith WAS the coordinator this year. TBH, no one even knew what Leslie Frazier did this year. Last years defense was better and it was coordinated BY Leslie Fraizer!! Lovie took all responsibilities away from Fraizer this year and the defense took a step backwards. Talk was that at the end of the year the owners held a meeting with Lovie to see what his thoughts were to improve the defense. Rumors say he planned on bringing in a “special advisor” for the defnese (most likely Tony Dungy) showing he had no clue what he was doing. Why do you need an advisor for something that’s supposed to be your bread and butter?? Nothing against the man, he’s great, but he’s not a good coach.

  23. FoozieGrooler says:
    When you have to resort to saying “I can promise you 1000 percent..”, that usually sounds like you’re lying.

    And when he said the talk of him working a coup was 100% BS…. So there’s 900% he’s now not promising.


    Wanna know the real percentage:

    Dirk Koetter was 1000000% a failure in the development of Blaine Gabbert. Jags sucked for sure, but Gabbert was an all time bust til he went to 9ers and became something decent. A big jump from the hideous Koetter coaching.

    Jameis Winston doesn’t need any QB coach retained… He’s gonna be fine regardless. But Tampa is the poorest run organization in the NFL… So this all makes 10000000% sense now.

  24. paulnoga says:
    Jan 20, 2016 7:46 PM

    Koetter was terrible as an O Coord at ATL. He will be terrible as a head coach where ever he goes.


    Do you watch football “paulnoga”? I’m not sure what type of head coach he’ll be, but he’s a pretty good OC.

  25. It’s pretty telling when you look at the Likes and Dislikes of these comments. Dirk has done nothing but prove himself in Tampa. It would have hurt the team more to lose him than to lose Lovie. That is just the reality of it all.

    I’m looking forward to see what Mike Smith can do as the DC now that he has several key components to his Defense that they were always missing in ATL. Playoffs within the next two years for sure!

    Go Bucs!

  26. Dirk Koetter was 1000000% a failure in the development of Blaine Gabbert. Jags sucked for sure, but Gabbert was an all time bust til he went to 9ers and became something decent. A big jump from the hideous Koetter coaching.

    Dude, it was the Jags, what do you expect? Lol

  27. How has Atlanta been doing since he left? Don’t lie and say he is a terrible OC, people.

    This was all about Winston. The worse thing for a young franchise QB is a lack of continuity. Koetter was being courted by other teams, and the Glazers panicked.

    The man interviewed for HC jobs every year for the past few years. It was going to happen sooner or later.

    Being a Bucs fan, I liked Lovie and felt he deserved another year. The only exception would have been if firing him was the only way to keep Koetter, because the development on Winston was more important.

    As to whether Lovie actually deserved firing…Jason Licht (GM) heads up the scouting department. It was his scouting that failed. The plan was use the first year to address offense with the draft, and the second year to address defense with the draft.

    But then Tedford pulled his junk and it resulted in getting Winston, and from that point on, Lovie was stuck with washed up, injury prone, aging free agents to fill out his defense.

    He never got the chance to develop a defense at all.

    However, building around Winston was the right call. Lovie should have had more time, but not at the expense of losing Koetter.

  28. I too don’t think it was a coup but I think it was a terrible decision for a number of reasons.

    Let me preface my comments by saying that I am a big Lovie Smith fan… so those who are skeptical have an out. I don’t like the decision but I get the decision to move on from Lovie. Ultimately, you’re judged by W/Ls and what you put on the field and Lovie didn’t put together a good product on the field, which he admitted a few times…I tend to think he was building a better version of the Bears under a younger defense but that’s moot.

    What I don’t get is this love affair with Dirk. I like Dirk, I think he’s been a great addition to the team… and I think that Lovie proved his willingness to learn from past mistakes by landing Dirk. But I simply am at a complete lost with fan’s obsession with Dirk as the solution. I’m not ready to crown him the savior (or failure) but if history is the best indicator of the future, then I don’t think we’re in for a great, bright future. Why you ask?

    Dirk has been in the league since 2007. Since 2007, Dirk offenses have cracked top 10 in scoring exactly twice. That means in 9 years, he’s had a top 10 scoring offense. Given the final 4 teams remaining in the playoffs, it’s safe to assume that being in the top 10 is a good way to get into the playoffs. On the topic of playoffs, in 9 NFL seasons, Dirk-coordinated offenses have made the playoffs exactly twice. It probably has more to do with his inability to coordinate a top 10 offense but this is incredibly telling if you’re sold on this notion that Dirk will take us to the next level. At the collegiate level, Dirk went exactly 2-14 against ranked teams. In NFL terms, this doesn’t bode well for my Bucs considering our 2016 opponents are NFC and AFC West in addition to a difficult NFC South.

    On the topic of Lovie’s poor defense, which I’ll admit was painful to watch at times. It is true our defense allowed a lot of points this season… a whooping 417, which surprisingly still wasn’t the league lead. But that number is misleading. The Bucs allowed 31 FGs – or 93 points and had at least 2 pick6s. In case you’re wondering, the NFL average for allowed FGs is 84%. That’s 107 points that are unfairly counted against the defense. What should be taken into account for the remaining 310 points, our offense – which was completely in Dirk’s control (and wheel house).

    Under Dirk, the Bucs offense ranked 26th in TOP or if you prefer smaller number, had the 6th ranked TOP with 28:33 minutes. That’s 2:82 longer than Philly’s high tempo, no-huddle offense. Yet, I watched all 16 games and don’t recall us going to no huddle nearly as often as Philly. There’s a direct correlation with defense and offense TOP. Our defense’s average time on the field was 31:67 minutes. That’s an extremely difficult and unreasonable expectation to have on a defense that relies heavily upon aggressive and instinctive play. But no one is talking about this when criticizing the defense.

    The last point that I’ll make is that of the 143 penalties the Bucs committed, 60% of those belonged to the offense. Which once again, Dirk was in control.

    Make no mistake, I am happy that Lovie brought Dirk in and am delighted that amid a HC change, there will be some resemblance of continuity on the team, which I think is invaluable. But those who are carrying the fire Lovie, replace em with Dirk banner should do a little more research than looking at passing yards, rushing yards or fewest 3 and outs when justifying why Dirk is the better HC. It’s hard to justify replacing a HC with a SB win and SB appearance with a guy without this star-studded success. At the start of 2015, there were only 11 active HCs with SB teams, now there are 8 remaining.

    Be careful what you wish for. Go Bucs!

  29. Lets see… Greg Schiano goes 11-21, with Josh Freeman and Mike Glennon and gets fired… no one cares.

    Lovie Smith goes 8- 24 with his qb (Josh McClown) and Jameis Winston and it’s a big deal. Now throw in the fact that the Bucs where among the most penalized teams in both of the Lovie years. He brings in Josh McClown and gets rid of Darrell Revis. Good Job Coach!

    There’s no coop, Lovie Smith earned his walking papers.

  30. Hey @sykul

    No one is complaining or even crying about. The Bucs fired one of the more successful (on paper) HCs in this franchise history — one that was well loved and very well respected both inside and outside the locker room. What many, myself included, have an issue with is this rapid turnover and this PR salesman ship that the Glaz do when they bring in the next great thing.

    Two years simply isn’t enough time. I had heartburn about letting Schiano go when it happened… but the fans were impatient… took out billboard ads begging for the Glaz to fire him, it happened and I for one, picked up and continued supporting this team.

    Lovie got rid of a $16M a year salary cap for a corner that has had 9 INTs in the past 3 years… I’m sorry but that’s not worth anyone’s cap space, particularly when you have so many glaring holes. Everyone points to “the talent” on the team that Lovie inherited but other than Chicago in Lovie’s case, Denver in John Fox’s case and the 49ers in Jimmy’s case, there aren’t many teams willing to part with a winning HC. It’s usually a combination of good talent, poor coaching or great coaching, bad talent. It’s rare to have the combination of good coaching, good talent and the HC gets fired. If the Bucs were talented, they sure didn’t reflect when everyone was calling for Radio Raheem and Greg’s heads. The reality is that every HC brings in guys he believes best fits his system… it doesn’t always work but it happens often.

    Lastly, in 2 seasons, Pete Carroll went 14-18 in what was a terrible division, that’s 6 fewer games won / lost in 2 seasons. In CAR, Rivera went 13-19 in 2 seasons. Neither of these examples reflect the teams NFL franchises either are hoping to emulate or avoid in a playoff. Yet this is where they are. And to your point on the Bucs being the most penalized, I recommend you read the final piece of my posting… 60% if that 143 falls on Dirk, he was given autonomy for the offense. Also, you should do a little more research… Y1 under Lovie, the Bucs committed fewer penalties than Seattle (who led NFL), NE (who won the SB) and Indy (who played in AFC championship) and a few others. In the last 3 HCs, the Bucs have committed on avg 120 penalties — that’s bigger than a Lovie Smith problem. Y2 under Lovie, we had 29 offensive holding and 19 false starts and 6 delay of game penalties. Those are numbers that should drive you insane. So if you dislike Lovie, do so… but don’t make excuses for not blaming the entire team for the failures.

  31. Stevie Wonder can SEE why my Nucs are always pulling up the rear. They never give a coach time to rebuild. They are searching for that..Flash in the Pan guy. Always have. Lovie improved the ream from last yr and was building. A few more pieces on Defense and he was on his way. Koetter
    may not have performed a coup. But the media in Tampa and the fickle fans sure did. Just watch Jameis Winstons Pre and post game interviews and the questions the media fed him from the start and you will get your answer. And my poor fellow Buc fans? They are just desperate. Be careful what you wish for. My Bucs have their..Golden boy in Koetter. Heaping praises on him left and right. He has no NFL HC experience and he was real..so so as a college coach. So I’m not singing his praises yet. If prior history means anything..he has 2 yrs. And if he does not deliver? He will be joining Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith down on the St Pete Bridge for fishing stories and Libations…while getting paid.

  32. The Bucs will end this next season last in their division again because they aren’t built to play at the level most of those teams do that they will play against this season….

    I’m expecting them to take a step backward from this past season because the level of competition is increasing…. Meanwhile the Bucs continue more of the same!

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