Head coach Dirk Koetter is no stranger to the NFL. His time in the league has allowed for relationships to grow and trust built along the way.
Koetter will no longer be able to spend as much time as he once did with the quarterbacks on the roster. It will have to be someone he has faith in and during his introductory press conference, Koetter referenced quarterbacks coach Mike Bajakian — who may be give the title of offensive coordinator. And while Koetter did not speculate on what Bajakian’s title or role will be, general manager Jason Licht did.
“On offense, [Koetter] has great teachers around him,” Licht said following the presser. “He talked about it today with Mike Bajakian being he and Mike share one voice, the same thoughts, Mike can run meeting for an hour then catch up with dirk and within five minutes have him caught up to speed. Dirk still wants his hands all over the offense but he know he has other hats he has to wear.
“He just trusts his assistants and he has some good ones to trust.”
Koetter started the new era of Buccaneers football with the announcement that former Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith has been hired as the team’s defensive coordinator. Smith and Koetter’s relationship dates back to their time in Jacksonville and through Atlanta. The hiring of Smith plays a role in Koetter’s trust factor. If they want any success on the defensive side of the ball without putting much time into, Koetter did the right thing in having Smith joining his staff in Tampa Bay.
It doesn’t end there for Koetter. More moves are expected and they have already started with the dismissal of linebackers coach Hardy Nickerson and defensive line coach Joe Cullen. Both were speculated to have a chance of sticking around, but Koetter has brought on Bengals defensive line coach Jay Hayes and Miami Dolphins linebackers coach Mark Duffner for the same positions. Duffner coached linebackers in Jacksonville under Smith.
Koetter has the right approach, and that is to build a staff with people he trusts. He seems to be heading down that path but the bigger challenge will be to have his players buy into what they are selling.
Team captain Gerald McCoy was on hand for the press conference so that’s a good start to get players build off that trust.