On Wednesday, Buccaneer head coach Dirk Koetter talked to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole about a wide range of topics, from Koetter’s coaching roots to his relationship with Jameis Winston. As always, Koetter gave insightful, articulate answers, and it was overall a good look inside the brain of the Buccaneer coach. Oddly enough, it was a question related to the Buccaneers offensive quality control coach that stood out to me.
The hire of Andrew Weidinger back in January 2015 flew under the radar, like most offensive quality control coaching hires tend to do. Weidinger was with the Atlanta Falcons for eight seasons before Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter brought him south to Tampa in the same capacity. A year later, Weidinger is set to get the most responsibility of his professional coaching career, as the Bucs have designated him for the role of “game management”.
Koetter elaborated on the decision to Cole.
“There are just so many situations that come up in NFL game, whether it’s clock management or just game-ending situations, to have someone that they’re fully dedicated to that preparation in leading up to the game and on game day made sense. When I was the offensive coordinator, if I was up in the box, we always had a designated coach on the field that if I said, “This situation is up” and the head coach was on the other side of the phones talking to the defensive staff, that coach on the field would go remind the head coach about this or that. There is so much pressure when that clock is ticking, you have to have somebody who is on top of that and looking ahead.”
If you’ve never heard of such a role, don’t worry; neither have I, or Cole for that matter. According to Koetter while it might be a rare idea it isn’t necessarily a new one.
“We had it that way in Jacksonville, and we had a guy to do that in Atlanta. Both Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville and Mike Smith in Atlanta would basically say, “The rest of you guys might as well shut up because I’m listening to this guy.” If anyone mentions anything about a challenge, this is the guy we’re going to listen to.”
Koetter added that Weidinger will handle timeout duty in the two minute drill as well, something that he says Del Rio and Smith didn’t previously do.
Much of the concern surrounding the Dirk Koetter promotion to head coach was related to increased work-load; would Koetter and the Bucs offense be able to progress with so many new jobs and responsibilities on his plate? This move seems like a great idea to alleviate some of those concerns, and make sure that Koetter can focus on coaching and play-calling.
Part of the reason this role is rare around the league might be related to ego. Many coaches are power hungry, and want all of the big time decisions to be their own. It says a lot about Koetter that he’s aware of his limitations, and willing to sacrifice some power for the sake of winning.