There was a lot of excitement surrounding the offensive play calling in Thursday’s 26-24 victory over the Miami Dolphins to kick off the Buccaneers’ preseason slate. The Bucs were finishing drives, the quarterbacks - yes, all three - were placing balls perfectly, the timing was there. It all seemed to come together.
And it was Todd Monken that was controlling the play calling, not Dirk Koetter.
Many have been calling for Monken to take over as the full-blown offensive coordinator, including being the man who not only creates the weekly game plan, but calls and executes that plan.
Just don’t get too excited quite yet.
Dirk Koetter has always called the plays and it’s far too early to tell if he is willing to give up on that part of his job. Yes, Thursday night was promising and encouraging, but that doesn’t mean that Monken will get the nod all season long.
Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times already pointed out an impressive improvement over last year’s preseason following the game;
Bucs' 23 points tonight is notable, in that Tampa Bay didn't score more than 12 points in any preseason game last season.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 10, 2018
The Bucs would of course tack three more points on to that total, but it was nice to see the Bucs’ offensive improvement - albeit preseason - with Monken at the helm.
On Friday, Koetter spoke about Monken’s performance;
“Well, Monk and I talked about that in the offseason and we agreed that that was going to be something we’d like to try to do for him to get him some experience calling plays and let him do it, so we did. I thought he did a fantastic job. I thought the entire offensive staff, the way they chip in. We always game plan offensively together, so that part didn’t change that much. I thought Monk did a great job and I wanted to look at the game – that’s the first game in I can’t remember how many years - many, many, many, many years that I haven’t called plays in a game and of course it’s more relaxing.”
Koetter basically says it without saying it, but by Koetter telling the media that it was something they decided to do to get Monken some experience, that doesn’t exactly bode well for those hoping this spills over into the regular season.
It’s preseason. Keep reminding yourself of that. It’s only preseason. It’s easy to overreact - one way or another - because we have all been starved for real football for so long, but all signs point to Koetter retaining play calling duties when the season kicks off for real. So temper that excitement for the offense during the next three weeks. It may look very different by time week one comes around.