Dirk Koetter has been hired as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offensive coordinator, the team announced. Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times is reporting Koetter's deal is for two years, with an option for a third.
The Bucs are poaching him from the Altanta Falcons, where he spent the past three years helping Matt Ryan improve his game. He was previously the offensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2007 through 2011, and had a prolific college coaching career prior to his entering the NFL.
Tampa Bay was forced to look for a new offensive coordinator after spending all of last season without one. Jeff Tedford was supposed to lead the new offense, but had to undergo heart surgery during the preseason. He wasn't able to resume his full duties for several months, forcing the Bucs to turn to inexperienced quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo as their coordinator. When Tedford was to return to work late in the season, he and the Bucs instead agreed to part ways.
Koetter has a long college history, which includes time spent with Oregon Ducks head coach Mark Helfrich. He's best known for leading the Falcons offense over the past three years, helping Matt Ryan take the next step. Before that he coached for the Jaguars, where managed to get some pretty decent seasons out of David Garrard before being torpedoed by Blaine Gabbert.
With the Falcons, his offenses ranked 12th, 14th and 11th, per Football Outsiders' efficiency ratings. The main reason those rankings weren't higher is an inability to get the running game going. The Falcons were hampered by a lack of talent on the offensive line and at running back, as well as serious injury issues at both positions throughout his tenure.
The Jaguars offense came in third, 14th, 17th, 14th and 31st -- that collapse coming courtesy of the wonder that is Blaine Gabbert. Those offensive rankings were quite impressive given the Jaguars' persistent lack of talent at wide receiver. One could easily argue he got as much out of David Garrard as anyone could have.
Koetter has been a versatile offensive coordinator, who has generally tried to base his offense on the running game, supplemented by a vertical passing game out of spread looks. That style of play fits more with Jameis Winston than Marcus Mariota -- but at the same time, Koetter isn't afraid to innovate and adjust to the tools he's given and has ties to Mariota's college coach. The always excellent Arif Hasan wrote about Koetter's offense here, for those looking for a better overview.
Koetter's first order of business will be evaluating his offensive coaching staff and personnel, and replacing those coaches he thinks need replacing. One coach who the Bucs may look at is Falcons offensive line coach Mike Tice to replace George Warhop, who led arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL this year. Tice has previously worked with Lovie Smith and has a good reputation, but it's not clear whether the Falcons would let him out of his contract, or whether the Bucs are willing to move on from Warhop.
The Bucs are also likely to ask Koetter to weigh on their top draft pick, though he certainly won't have a deciding voice. The Bucs had one of the worst offenses in the NFL last year, and selecting either Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota with the first overall pick could help that offense pick up significant steam. And it needs to, because Kotter has the unenviable task of turning it around quickly.