Koetter, who has spent 11 years in the NFL as an offensive coordinator and a head coach, said last week that players don’t tend to lose confidence in their own ability but lose confidence in others, including the coaches.
After losing five consecutive games before squeaking past the New York Jets on Sunday, Koetter said that some players may have lost confidence in him, his scheme and maybe their teammates.
“What happens when a team loses is sometimes (the players) are not confident in the coach, or the scheme, or the other side of the ball or their teammates,’’ Koetter said. That’s human nature. That happens in every aspect of life. Do I think there is possibly some of that going on (here)? Yeah, there probably is. The easiest way to fix it is (to) play good team football and get a win.”
I got to know Koetter when he was the offensive coordinator of the Jaguars and was always impressed with his candor, but this may be too much candor for his own good.
Coaches usually don’t even suggest the players may have lost confidence in them.
Just a few months ago, the Bucs seemed to be confident when they were featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.’’
They were expected to be a playoff contender, but the season has gone south.
They are now 3-6 and Mike Evans, who talked about the team playing with a swagger just a few weeks ago, said before the win over the Jets that maybe the Bucs weren’t as good as they thought they were.
And it doesn’t help that quarterback Jameis Winston is out for two weeks with a shoulder injury and has visited noted doctor James Andrews. Koetter has turned to journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick, who got by his old team the Jets but led the NFL in interceptions thrown last season.
Fitzpatrick is playing for his seventh team in his 13-year career, including the last two with the Jets.
The Bucs have a bye and a much-needed victory under their belts, so Koetter will have two weeks to show he can gain the confidence of the players.
Koetter is in the strange position of trying to show he was wrong when he suggested players on losing teams sometimes lose confidence in the coach.
Koetter is just in his second season and probably needs more time, but the Bucs have fired their last two coaches – Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith – after just two years on the job.
Koetter went 9-7 in his first year, and the Bucs were expected to do better this year.
But the team needs stability and firing a third consecutive coach after just two years on the job would be counterproductive.
Koetter needs to show the players still have confidence in him.