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Bucs’ Dirk Koetter disagrees with Jon Gruden on play call

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The current coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs said that a third-and-run had nothing to do with a lack of confidence in quarterback Jameis Winston, no matter what a former coach of the Bucs says.

The call, which came late in the game as the Bucs beat the Carolina Panthers, 17-14, was part of the Bucs’ conservative game-plan. Coach Dirk Koetter said it had nothing to with Winston, although former coach Jon Gruden disagreed.

“That wasn’t a lack of confidence,” Koetter said. “Again, when analysts say stuff like that, that’s like – when Jon (Gruden) was coaching and someone said that about him, you know what he’d be standing up here saying? ‘That guy doesn’t know what I’m thinking or anything about my team.’

“He gets paid to talk on T.V. I get paid to coach the Bucs. Those guys can say whatever they want. Yeah, we ran it on third-and-nine. You know what? We also ran it on third-and-three and third-and-five and we were two out of three running the ball on third down and we weren’t nearly that successful throwing the ball. It had no reflection at all on my confidence in Winston. There can be no person on this planet, other than his parents, that’s more confident in Winston than me.”

Koetter was pleased a day after the victory, which improved Tampa Bay to 2-3 on the season.

The Bucs won with their third running back (Jacquizz Rodgers) gaining 101 yards and three of the defensive front four not starting.

Koetter point to two plays by Brent Grimes: His end-zone interception, and the play before, when he made a tackle at the one yard line. He was also pleased with the play of the defensive line.

“Our defense in general, holding them to 1-8 on third down conversions,” Koetter said. “Those two free agent rookie D-linemen – the D-line, even though we weren’t able to generate much pressure, those guys fought hard, they competed hard. (DaVonte) Lambert, what a nice play on the scramble that (Carolina quarterback) Derek Anderson had. It looked like he might make the first down and ironically enough, it was Lambert that made the hit and it was Gholston, who was dropping on that coverage, hustling over to get the fumble recovery. So just really proud of those guys and the way they competed.”

The Bucs have a bye week this week. Because of the health of his team, Koetter thought this was a perfect time for it.

“It probably couldn’t be at a better time for us,” Koetter said. “The momentum factor is one thing, but we have a chance to get several key members of our team back. So the players have five days off, starting tomorrow. We’ll work out on Monday, then they’ll have another day off and then a week a week from Wednesday, we’ll zero in on San Francisco game planning. So six of the next seven days off, got a nice opportunity to get healthy.”

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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