The Tampa Bay Buccaneers released a statement at 7:24 p.m. on Sunday night indicating that Dirk Koetter would be relieved of his head coaching duties. The message from team Owner/Co-Chairman Joel Glazer also stated that General Manager Jason Licht would be conducting the search for Koetter's replacement.
Shortly thereafter, Licht's cell phone began to light up.
The Buccaneers are in search mode for a head coach because they just concluded their second straight season with a 5-11 record and a fourth-place finish in the NFC South. Except for the occasional retirement, NFL head coaching jobs generally do not open up on teams that are coming off successful campaigns. The next Buccaneers head coach will be asked to turn the ship around and steer it back to the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, which will be no easy task.
However, there are only 32 of these jobs available, and they are all coveted to some degree. Licht believes that there is quite a bit about the opportunity in Tampa that will attract potential candidates, including supportive owners, a state of the art facility and a young core of talent that includes an established quarterback.
"First, I think you start with ownership, who is letting us, collectively, do our jobs," said Licht. "You can start also with the facilities. I think we have a young, core group of talented players that, combined with – Dirk did some fantastic things offensively, a historical season in some regards in a lot of categories. And just, as Dirk said last night in his press conference, we have a great locker room. So you've got a young quarterback, there's a lot of things to like. Like I said, based on texts and people reaching out to me that are interested in the job, I can see why. I can tell you that it is an attractive job."
Licht also guided the process that led to the hiring of Koetter three years ago. That one came after the dismissal of Lovie Smith and covered nine days, eventually turning back inward to Koetter, who had been Smith's offensive coordinator. Despite the internal promotion, that search was extensive and detailed, and the current one will be too. It will end differentl