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Ranking Dirk Koetter as an NFL head coach

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired a veteran head coach with a track record of success, to promote offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter to take his place. So you would expect Koetter to be ranked ahead of where the guy they fired ranked, but it seems one person doesn’t agree: NFL.com’s Elliot Harrison has Koetter ranked as the 29th-best head coach in the NFL. Owch.

Koetter ranks slightly ahead of other newcomers in Gase and Pederson. This isn't because he boasts college head-coaching experience, having served as the top dog at Boise State and Arizona State. No, it's because he's already put in work with the team he's taking over. Koetter served as Tampa Bay's offensive coordinator last season and did a fine job with rookie QB Jameis Winston. In fact, the Bucs finished fifth in total offense. As a first-time NFL head coach, Koetter will be learning the ropes of the buck stopping with him, but with the same group of guys he worked with last season.

The Bucs may have finished fifth in total offense, but they also finished 20th in scoring offense, so let’s not overstate his performance last year. It was impressive, especially given the fact that the Bucs were starting a rookie quarterback, but this wasn’t exactly a terrific offense. The team is counting on that improving this year, and there’s good reason to believe that will happen, but if you’re going to place Koetter that high up based on last year’s performance, that might be a little too much.

Still, I would say this ranking vastly underrates Koetter. He already has experience as a head coach, albeit at the college level. He also has a decade of experience as a successful NFL offensive coordinator with three different teams. He knows the ropes, he understands what needs to happen, and he has a track record of success. This blanket rank-all-the-newcomers-at-the-bottom policy really hurts Koetter.

Well, I mean, it hurts him in this specific list. Which is about as relevant to his job performance as the time I woke up this morning.

So here’s a question for you: where would you, realistically, rank Dirk Koetter among all NFL head coaches? I’d probably go with somewhere around number 15 — certainly not one of the worst, but not close to the top either. But I have high hopes for him, and 15 feels about right.