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Bucs’ coach Dirk Koetter thinks the Bucs can make a big turnaround

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He said it.

Dirk Koetter, professional coach and the man who knows the Tampa Bay Bucs better than anyone, said the phrase “16-0” on Tuesday. Yes, he was talking about his Bucs.


Koetter was asked about the Bucs, and the possibility of the team going from 6-10 to 10-0. And suddenly, he was talking about being undefeated.

“I hope this team goes from 6-10 to 16-0, myself,” Koetter said. “But I think the most important thing in any team that has a turnaround one way or another is still injuries. When you’ve got 53 guys, every team is fighting health once Week One starts. And for the most part, teams that do well in this league stay pretty healthy, they stay with consistent lineups.

“There’s a few exceptions to that, but I think health is the most important thing. After that, I just think leadership within your locker room and talent. And I think we’ve improved in both those areas. I think we’ve got pretty good leaders in our locker room, we had good guys to build around on defense already. (Quarterback) Jameis (Winston) going into his second year is an excellent guy in that role on offense and then the talent that we’ve added from last year to this year. We’ve added as many as possibly six new starters. Like ‘Smitty’ (Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith) always says, we have 16 starters on defense, when you talk about sub-defense, we’ve added maybe six new guys on that side of the ball. And we return everybody except (retired guard) Logan (Mankins) on the offensive side of the ball.”

Koetter said he was glad the preseason was at an end.

“You get to a certain point of diminishing returns where the guys are kind of tired of it, the coaches are kind of tired of it,” Koetter said. “And then the hype. After playing a home game in the stadium the other night — and we played well — you can feel it; it’s getting close to being here. And then of course everybody’s talking about cuts and the final 53, the season’s getting close, the players got a couple days off and the regular season’s here. The job is not finished because there’s things that have to take place tomorrow in the game to wrap this up, but on the other side our sights are set on the Falcons.”

One place the Bucs will keep an extra player evidently will be quarterback. In a perfect situation, Koetter might not.

“I feel great about that room,” Koetter said. “I think we have good depth. Again, if it was a perfect world, we are getting to the point where it would be better for our football team if we could keep two quarterbacks because we’re going to have to let some guys go that we don’t want to let go. And I think the perfect set-up with the way the NFL is structured right now, is two quarterbacks and one on practice squad.

“But if you have a good one and you try to put him on practice squad, the league is so short of quarterbacks, he’ll get scooped up like that. We had two guys we were waiting on last year and Ryan Griffin was one of them. We had two guys that we had our eye on, only one of them came open (and) we snapped him up. And like I was saying yesterday, we invested a year and it just so happens that Mike (Glennon’s) deal’s up (after the season). If we didn’t have that situation with Mike, then maybe things would be different.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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