ORLANDO (FOX 13) - Inside the Ritz-Carlton, the NFL is working on the framework for the 2018 season. At the coaches’ breakfast table, Dirk Koetter sat down, taking time to reflect on fixing their 2017 failures. Koetter believes their 5-11 record isn’t a real indicator of where this team is.
"I think the easiest thing for me to point at is that we were 3-7 in one -score games,” Koetter told FOX 13 Sports. "We had 10 one-score games, which there were a couple of teams with 10 one-score games, but off all teams with 10 one-score games, we had the second-lowest win percentage. We were 3-7 in one-score games and Atlanta was 6-4. They went to the playoffs and we did not."
Next up on the NFL calendar for the Bucs is the start of offseason workouts: Organized Team Activities beginning April 16. Four months will have passed since the last time players and coaches were together, that has given Jason Licht and Dirk Koetter plenty of time for self-evaluations.
What have they learned about themselves?
"One, that I can't make everybody happy,” said Koetter. "Two, I have to do better. I have to do a better job of giving our guys, putting our guys in better position to win those close games. I have to figure out what it is that those 53 guys -- those 46 on game day -- how can I help put them in position to win those close games? We were right there. We just have to win them."
And what has Licht learned in his seasons as the Bucs’ GM?
"You can't please everybody,” laughed Licht.
Koetter admits he’s frustrated with how slow the league’s six-month investigation is on a possible misconduct with Jameis Winston. They have not been updated, but are prepared for whatever ruling comes down.
"To be honest, it is a little frustrating,” offered Koetter. "I really don't think about that a whole lot because, one, we have no control over it, and two, I'm not involved in it. I mean, I really don't know where that's at. I don't have any knowledge of any of that. It's just one of those things we don't have control over so we have to move ahead. I think it was important that we signed Ryan Fitzpatrick back; that's another guy we signed back that we haven't talked about. And we have Ryan Griffin coming back healthy. So, you know, very, very hopeful that we won't miss any time with Jameis but right now we don't have any control of that."
What Koetter has seen with Jameis this offseason impresses him. Winston is putting in, on his own, two-a-day workouts in Tampa.
"I credit you guys because every time you put out those clips of him working, I think that's great for everybody to see,” said Koetter. "To see him doing what he's doing, to see how hard he works in the offseason. I know he's always trying to recruit guys to go with him and to do things with him. I think they have a group working offsite this week and I think that is a positive. Jameis sets a good example, that's for sure."
Re-tooling the roster this offseason got off to a slow start, but Jason Licht has rallied with key additions that have impressed his colleagues at the NFL Meeting.
"Our goal was never to win the offseason,” insisted Licht. "Or we are going to get an 'A' (grade) or 'B' from whatever publication. It's to make really good football decisions to make our team better and we felt we did that."