News broke early Thursday evening that the Buccaneers were close to completing a deal that would make offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter their next head coach. The news became official Friday morning.
The process dragged on a little longer than it should have. For whatever reason, it just did. But along with the head coaching search comes building a staff and although the team has retained several assistants already we don’t know exactly how Koetter’s staff will look like.
Continuity on offense appears to have been the deciding factor in hiring Koetter. Keeping the main order of business on offense for quarterback Jameis Winston proves how important the young signal caller is to the organization. That brings us to quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian and what his role could be now under Koetter. It would be easy to assume Bajakian’s role can remain the same along with giving him the title of offensive coordinator, also keeping his relationship with Winston in place.
As for the rest of the staff, we learned earlier this week that Koetter was assembling his staff. Whether or not that was pertaining to the offensive side of the ball is unclear. The offensive line (with two rookies) did well under Koetter’s offensive philosophy so how much of that was on line coach George Warhop is debatable — given how the line performed the previous season under him. Tight ends coach Jon Embree seems to have a good rapport with his players and the same can be said with wide receivers coach Andrew Hayes-Stoker.
For the moment, defensive line coach Joe Cullen and linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson are still on the staff. There was immediate firings upon Lovie Smith’s dismissal last week but Cullen and Nickerson survived the cuts and rightfully so. We don’t know exactly what defensive coordinator or type of coach Koetter will look for in his coordinator.
Many have speculated and have tied former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith to the team for his history with Koetter. Former Buffalo Bills coordinator Jim Schwartz has also been linked to Tampa Bay but Schwartz’s desire to get back into coaching is unknown as he turned downed coordinator offers in 2015 to remain a consultant for NFL officials.
Cullen could and perhaps should receive a look as well.
Koetter may very well announce he is close or has already completed his staff. it’ll be interesting to see the direction the team goes, especially on the defensive side of the ball.