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How much better will the Buccaneers offense be next year?

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted Florida State phenom quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft.  While landing a potential franchise quarterback often dictates a joyous occasion, the flip side of the coin is that the Bucs had to be owners of the most pathetic record in all of the league. The team needed an infusion of talent.

Tampa did so with yet another huge offensive haul in the 2015 draft, the organization went all offensive in 2014 NFL draft. A quarterback in the first, two offensive linemen in the second round, a wide receiver in the fifth, a kick return/punt return/wide receiver in the sixth, and a fullback in the seventh round.With so many offensive talented additions to the team, none of them can compare to the talent that head coach Lovie Smith brought to the team in the form of offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

Although Winston will be the leader of the offense, he will not be the captain of the offensive ship - that title belongs to Koetter. Winston will implement what Koetter designs. The offensive line will execute how Koetter designs the plays. The WRs will run routes that Koetter gives unto them. The master plan is berth from the master mind, in Koetter we set sail.

The devil lies within the details.

2014 Season
TB Offense vs Atl Offense
Year Team Total Yards Yds/G Rank Pass/G Rank Rush/G Rank Pts/G Rank
2014 TB 4,672 292.0 30th 206.1 25th 85.9 29th 17.3 29th
2014 Atl 6,051 378 8th 284.6 5th 93.6 24th 23.8 12th

From the aforementioned chart, the offense that Koetter produced in Atlanta fared much better than Tampa.  Although having a franchise QB in Matt Ryan helps, Koetter had to make do with a weak run game on offense. He will have a similar situation here as the Bucs struggled to also have a competent run game. This segues into run blocking stats, provided by Football Outsiders.

2014 Football Outsiders Stats
Run Blocking: TB vs Atl
Year Team Adj Line Yards RB Yds Power Success Rank Stuffed Rank 2nd Level Yds Rank
2014 TB 3.21 3.73 69% 7th 23% 32nd 0.99 25th
NFL Avg 4.14 65% 19% 1.02
2014 Atl 3.96 3.93 67% 13th 21% 20th 1.02 24th
Adj Line Yards: Football Outsider's regression analysis stat.
Power Success: % of runs on 3rd and 4th down, 2 yds or less, to achieve 1st down or TD.
Stuffed:  % of runs where RB is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage.  (Least is better.)

Despite being competent in Power Success stats, both teams are in the bottom half of creating push or holes for their respective running backs at the line of scrimmage. Both teams' running backs were producing below the average.  Those RB productions predict that that both teams would probably be one-dimensional type offenses. In the rushing yards per game stat, both teams are similar in production and rank. This would allude to how the offense handles being a passing team as well as pass protection.

2014 Football Outsider's Stats
Pass Protection: TB vs Atl
Year Team Rank Sacks Adj Sack Rate
2014 TB 29th 52 9.4%
NFL Avg 38 6.6%
2014 Atl 11th 31 5.1%

Stark differences here in the passing offense and protection.  This information reveals just how inept the passing game was under interim OC Marcus Arroyo and the hype that Koetter may bring to the passing aspect of the game.

Lovie said in a post game presser after the St. Louis loss that the team needed to find one extra play, to produce points. Koetter's offense, he was producing nearly seven points a game. Football Outsiders has a drive analysis page for all 32 teams, we will focus on Tampa Bay and Atlanta.

2014 Football Outsider Stats
Drive Analysis (Pt 1): TB vs Atl
Team Drives Yds/Dr Rank Pts/Dr Rank Plays/Dr Rank TOP/Dr Rank DSR Rank
TB 180 24.91 30th 1.42 29th 5.34 29th 2:26 min 27th 0.634 28th
NFL Avg 179 31.01 1.89 5.85 2:40 min 0.694
Atl 172 33.83 9th 2.09 11th 6.18 7th 2:44 min 13th 0.713 11th
TOP/Dr : Top of Possession per Drive
DSR : Drive Success Rate (% of series results in first down or TD)

It is an odd situation where a team has less drives, but executing on the opposite spectrum of the Bucs. Per drive, the Koetter guided offense had one extra play per drive as well as consumed 18 more seconds per drive than Tampa had. That extra play also added about nine yards per drive. And yet Koetter's offense can bring much more than one extra play, nine more yards, and 18 seconds.

2014 Football Outsider Stats
Drive Analysis (Pt 2): TB vs Atl
Team TDs/Dr Rank 3 outs/Dr Rank Pts/RZ Rank TDs/RZ Rank Avg Lead Rank
TB 0.156 26h 0.261 27th 4.38 27th 0.538 16th -6.61 29th
NFL Avg 0.208 0.218 4.74 0.538 -1.29
Atl 0.227 12th 0.215 17th 5.25 4th 0.614 5th -1.37 20th
3 outs/Dr : three-and-outs per drive (three plays and a punt)
Avg. Lead : the average lead at the beginning of the drive

Koetter brings scoring to the offense and a very efficient red zone offense!  At almost every metric, Koetter surpasses the league average. Tampa Bay Buc fans do not realize the offensive influx they have on offense by acquiring Koetter's services.  Many fans will probably query at the previous statement because Koetter was no longer employed by Atlanta. There has to be a plausible reason to be leery of Koetter if he was fired.

2014 NFL Standings
NFC South
Team Win Loss Tie Division PF PA Diff
Win Loss
Carolina 7 8 1 4 2 339 374 -35
New Orleans 7 9 0 3 3 401 424 -23
Atlanta 6 10 0 5 1 381 417 -36
Tampa Bay 2 14 0 0 6 277 410 -133

Presented is the record for the 2014 NFC South. Note how many points Atlanta's defense gave up. They gave up more points than the Tampa defense. Also note the divisional record. With a defense that allowed more points than our Bucs' team, the Koetter offense helped the team achieve a 5 - 1 record for the division.

The caveat to all this is that Atlanta has Matt Ryan at its helm. Koetter is not such a talent that can work in a system where it is forced to become one-dimensional, passing offense. Here is an article I wrote about Winston before the Rose Bowl, when 90% of the country had Marcus Mariota going first overall in many mock drafts:  Building a Case for Jameis Winston. I cannot re-emphasize the parallels to the Bucs as well as Koetter's last year in Atlanta with Winston.

Tampa Bay, the three story lines of the 2014 seasons for Winston, the Bucs, and Koetter align to be kismet.  Something great is brewing in Tampa, but it has been very quiet, very unassuming. There will be an explosion of scoring to be had this upcoming season. Little nuances that appear to be exclusive, independent items may be veiling the dominoes of events already cast.

Brett Kollmann has denoted such a nuances, but is often those nuances are buried beneath the deluge of reports of weight concerns, throwing mechanics, and being a turnover machine. Tampa Bay, Kollman has dissected Winston's last game in college and this is what Koetter will be given.