Of course, division games are never easy, but with Atlanta desperately needing a win to keep their season alive, it will be even more difficult for Tampa Bay to ge a win on the road this week.
In most cases, divisional matchups usually come down to the fourth quarter, so Tampa Bay will need to play 60 minutes of football. Not 45, not 30, not 25, but a full 60 minute game if they want to improve to 3-2, and more importantly, 2-0 in the division.
It sort of feels like the bye week came at the perfect time for the Buccaneers. After the loss to Chicago, many fans were jumping off the ledge, but the early bye week gave them an opportunity to review what went wrong and hopefully fix it, or at least adjust in some capacity.
Head Coach Dirk Koetter spoke to the media today following practice and commented on what he did during the bye week to improve this football team.
“As a coaching staff, when you look at everything, you’re going to look at until you think you’ve got it figured out – whether you do or you don’t. You’re going to try to. We’ll try to implement some things that we did,” Koetter said. “I’m not going to really come out and say what they are, but we’ll try to implement some things and get them ready for this week in Atlanta.”
They not only needed to figure out what went wrong, but they need to implement new things this week. We won’t know what that is until Sunday, but something had to be done, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
Koetter implemented an interesting tactic this past week that will only benefit this team moving forward. Before the players went on their mini-vacation, he asked each guy to give some feedback on the first four games of the season and how they can improve in certain aspects. This is an excellent idea by a coach who is realistically coaching for his job this season.
“In a couple of areas. I’m not going to tell you the areas, but just some areas that I felt like I wanted to see. When you’re a college coach and guys aren’t leaving town, you from time-to-time meet with every guy on your team. Well, I didn’t have time with everybody leaving last Tuesday for six days to meet with every guy,” Koetter said. “I put together just a very short thing that I asked the guys to give me some feedback and they did an awesome job. I really appreciate their honesty because sometimes honesty can be self-defeating – make yourself look bad – but I appreciate their honesty. The communication I think both ways – player-coach, coach-player – was good.”
I don’t recall ever hearing this strategy from Koetter and his staff, but it should help. With that being said, it once again comes down to coaches adjusting to the recommendations and playing to their players strengths. If the same sort of defense is called against Atlanta, expect similar results that we’ve seen through the first four games of the season.
We’ve seen it time and time again on defense and their failure to adjust, but I’m sure the comment cards were long and detailed for defensive coordinator Mike Smith. Let’s see if Koetter and company will respond to the comment cards so the Buccaneers can get their 2018 season back on track.