Playing against a different team was supposed to make the Tampa Bay Bucs energized Wednesday.
It had the opposite effect.
The Bucs were sluggish, according to head coach Dirk Koetter, in their first practice against the Jacksonville Jags. The teams practice against each other again today before playing in Saturday night’s exhibition game.
“I thought offensively, we were a little bit sluggish,” Koetter said. “But maybe that’s due to Jacksonville playing good on defense. I’ll know when I watch the tape. I just didn’t think we had much juice today on offense. It happens.”
Koetter wouldn’t guess as to a reason.
“Well, anything I say on that would be like we’re making excuses,” Koetter said. “The bottom line is, I just didn’t think we were as crisp on offense as we have been in our own practices. But, again, it’s a different environment, so it was a good experience for us.”
It was in Jacksonville, in 2007, that Koetter first met coach Mike Smith.
“We had quite a year that year in 2007,” Koetter said. “I was in the press box with Mike that year, and I saw the best defensive coordinator that I’d seen. Now, it was my first year in the NFL, so all I had seen was college guys. But I saw a defensive coordinator who was a great teacher and an extremely hard worker and always had his guys ready to play.”
Koetter said the goals for the Bucs’ defense to get better are easy.
“We’ve got to create more turnovers,” he said. “We’ve got to get off the field on third down, and we’ve got to cut our penalties.”