Newly appointed Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter addressed the media this morning from the NFL combine in Indianapolis. He was asked to address a number of different topics surrounding the Bucs as they begin preparations for the 2016 season.
When asked about the kicker situation: Coach Koetter made it clear that there will be an open kicker competition, which will include the return of former kicker Patrick Murray who lost his job to injury. Murray will have the chance to compete for his job back from Connor Barth who is also still on the roster. (Kyle Brindza is not expected to return to the Bucs this coming preseason.)
On Jameis Winston’s mobility: “Jameis is a guy that people don’t see as a mobile quarterback but it shows in games.” That is very true. Not only did Winston finish 2015 with 6 rushing touchdowns, his most memorable run of the season came on a 3rd and 19 in the fourth quarter while trailing Atlanta at home where he picked up 20 yards and a first down that would lead to a Bucs victory. While it is true that Jameis is not the fastest quarterback in the league nor is he the most graceful on his feet, the fact remains that when needed his scrambles proved to be very effective. Dirk Koetter expects to see more of the same from his second-year quarterback this fall.
On Mike Smith’s defensive schemes: According to Koetter, and as previously stated by defensive coordinator Mike Smith during his introductory press conference, the Tampa Bay defense will be flexible and will run multiple schemes. We should expect to see a lot of 4-3 and 3-4 packages. That defensive ideology will require an effective pass rush, especially from the tackle position opposite Gerald McCoy. The indicators from Smith and Koetter have me led to believe that the 9th pick in the draft will most likely be used in addressing the defensive line.
Coach Koetter also mentioned that he is hopeful to reach a deal and sign Doug Martin, an opinion echoed moments ago by Bucs GM Jason Licht. I think the Bucs are doing the right thing in sitting back and allowing Doug Martin to see what his options are. There is no doubt when healthy, Doug Martin is a tremendously effective runner. However, the jury is still out on whether he can sustain performances such as his impressive rookie campaign in 2012 and his runner-up to Adrian Peterson 2015 season.
The combine has arrived and will give us a great opportunity to focus on the players that the Buccaneers could potentially be interested in taking with the number 9 pick. Last season, it was a universally known fact that Jameis Winston was the pick. Outside of watching Marcus Mariota for comparative purposes, many of us fans didn’t pay too much attention to the combine in 2015. But all eyes should be on it this year. We have our leader, our quarterback. It’s time to build the team around him and from now until kickoff in September, each and every decision made by the likes of Koetter/Licht is crucial.