Dirk Koetter Promoted by Buccaneers: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2016

Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter walks along the sideline during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Dirk Koetter has been an offensive coordinator in the NFL since 2007 but has never been a head coach at the highest level. As expected, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will give him his first opportunity.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Buccaneers were "closing in on a deal" with Koetter, and the team announced the deal Friday. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported it's a five-year deal.

Buccaneers Co-Chairman Joel Glazer said:

We are excited to announce that Dirk Koetter will lead the Buccaneers as our new head coach. Dirk has established himself as one of the top offensive coaches in our game while enjoying success at every stop during his college and NFL career. His success with our offense last season, along with his familiarity with our players and our organization, makes Dirk the right man to lead our team moving forward.

Merissa Lynn of Fox 13 reported the team will hold a 2 p.m. ET press conference Friday to introduce its new head coach.

Former Bucs general manager and current ESPN analyst Mark Dominik said, "With Lovie Smith fired, I would expect Dirk Koetter to be named head coach within the week. They still will interview a few other candidates."

Ed Werder of ESPN added:

Koetter was the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator from 2007-11. The Jags finished 11-5 in 2007 and beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card Round behind an offense that was sixth in the league in scoring and second in rushing yards.

Koetter then became the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator from 2012-14 after the Jaguars failed to replicate that success from his first year. The Falcons made the NFC Championship Game following the 2012 season but did not make the playoffs the next two years (largely because of a defense that finished 27th in 2013 and dead last in 2014 in yards allowed).

Koetter was the offensive coordinator in Tampa Bay in 2015, and the performances of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston and veteran running back Doug Martin were major bright spots. 

Winston threw for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns, while Martin looked like the explosive back he was in his rookie campaign and finished second in the league with 1,402 rushing yards. Werder highlighted the fact Tampa Bay's offense went from 30th to fifth in yards per game in one season under Koetter, the biggest jump in franchise history.

Jameis Winston and Doug Martin
Jameis Winston and Doug MartinDilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

There is something to be said for maintaining offensive continuity with this move, especially with Winston as the key to the team's future. Another offseason of development in the same system should serve the Florida State product well as the Buccaneers look to catch the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South.

Koetter is known for coaching offense, but safety Bradley McDougald was pleased with the deal nonetheless when he tweeted, "I'm riding with you coach!"

While he has always been an offensive coordinator in the professional ranks, Koetter does have head coaching experience in college.

He coached Boise State from 1998-2000, winning 10 games twice and capturing two Humanitarian Bowl titles. He then coached Arizona State from 2001-06, leading the Sun Devils to victories in the Sun Bowl and Insight Bowl following the 2004 and 2005 seasons. 

Despite some success, Koetter finished his collegiate career with a 66-44 record. However, Pete Prisco of CBS Sports offered one reason why Koetter will be more effective in the NFL:

Koetter's promotion with the Buccaneers shows they hope that is the case as they look toward a potential playoff run in his first season.