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Dirk Koetter is great, but Jameis Winston won't be the measure of his coaching

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a very good offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter. Someone who will have the privilege of working with a first overall pick, a quarterback at that, someone around whom he'll get to mold his entire offense and at the same time, someone he'll get to mold his offense to. Over at, Bucky Brooks names him the seventh-best offensive coordinator in the NFL, arguing that he'll do very well with Jameis WInston.

Offensive coordinators who can develop young quarterbacks always earn solid reviews from the scouting community, and Koetter is one of the best in the business at helping young passers perform at a high level from the pocket. From his masterful work with David Garrard in Jacksonville (in 2007, Koetter's first year with the team, Garrard led the Jaguars to a playoff berth after compiling an 18:3 touchdown-to-interception ratio) and Matt Ryan in Atlanta (under Koetter's direction in 2012, Ryan set single-season franchise records in passing yards, completion percentage and passing touchdowns) to his impressive collegiate résumé, it's easy to see Koetter excels at creating a quarterback-friendly offense that allows young playmakers to thrive. With Koetter also adept at cultivating potent rushing attacks (the Jaguars averaged 132.0 rushing yards per game during his tenure, from 2007 to 2011 -- the third-best mark in the NFL during that span), the Buccaneers' new offensive coordinator is unquestionably one of the best in the business.

Koetter does have a pretty good history of developing young quarterbacks, helping David Garrard and Matt Ryan reach new heights. I'm fairly confident we can't blame Blaine Gabbert on Koetter -- that mostly seems to be Gabbert's fault. This ranking makes for a pretty big contrast with Cian Fahey giving Koetter a 5/10, but Koetter is widely respected as one of the best offensive coordinators in the business.

Koetter's biggest challenge isn't going to be developing Jameis Winston, nor is it to construct a passing game given the Bucs' receiving corps, though. Winston's development as a quarterback will, to a large extent, be the result of his own work ethic and ability to read defenses. There are some things the Bucs can do to make it easier for him, but most indications are that they'll give  him the full playbook and call plays the way they would for any quarterback. So while Koetter is a good coordinator to have in that situation, this is closer to Andrew Luck's situation than Robert Griffin III's.

Instead, the area where his coaching will show most obviously will be the running game. Can he cobble together some production out of one of the worst groups of running backs in the NFL and at least one rookie starting lineman? Can he incorporate all of the more marginal players into a coherent offensive vision?

After all, even the coordinator-less 2014 Bucs got two 1,000-yard seasons out of Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. While it's not strictly true that anyone can coach good players, seeing what a coordinator gets out of their best players is never a good measure of a player's quality. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have helped launch a dozen head coaching careers by the work they did under coordinators, but those coordinators somehow never managed to replicate Brady or Manning in new places. While Winston isn't Brady or Manning, not yet at least,  he's certainly one of the better players on the offense.

No, we shouldn't look to Winston to evaluate Koetter. We should look to every other aspect of the offense, and we should look especially to the least gifted players on offense. We should look to the production he'll get out of a lackluster group of tight ends, the way he'll use each running back in a specific role, the way he'll compensate for the inevitable offensive line problems, and the way he turns all of those deficiencies into a cohesive whole. That's the measure of a real coach.