For OCs, experience matters

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The Tampa Bay Bay Buccaneers hired Dirk Koetter as their offensive coordinator this off-season. This was a terrific hire. He’s one of the best in the business.

He replaced Marcus Arroyo.

“Arroyo did a good job for us last year but it is hard to replace experience,” Tampa Bay guard Logan Mankins said. “Dirk has been around a long time. He has coached a lot of games in this league and knows how to read the defenses. He is bringing a lot of experience.”

Arroyo is just 35. He was thrust into the job last year after Jeff Tedford had heart surgery last summer and had to take a leave of absence.

Koetter is a really good offensive coordinator who has been calling offensive plays for a long time.

• San Francisco State (OC) (1985)
• UTEP (OC) (1986–1988)
• Missouri (OC) (1989–1993)
• Boston College (OC) (1994–1995)
• Oregon (OC) (1996–1997)
• Jacksonville Jaguars (OC) (2007–2011)
• Jacksonville Jaguars (OC/QB) (2011)
• Atlanta Falcons (OC) (2012–2014)
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers (OC) (2015-present)

That is a lot of play-calling. Play-calling isn’t as easy as it might seem. It’s like chess, you have to make the next call, with the next few calls in mind. So the more experience, the better, just like in chess.

The reason I’m bringing up Koetter, and what Mankins said about him vis-à-vis Arroyo, is that it’s somewhat analogous to the Jets, what they had in their offensive coordinator spot, and what they have now.

You can make the argument Chan Gailey isn’t the best head coach around, but nobody can argue that he’s skillful offensive coordinator, and he’s been calling plays for ions.

1989–1990 Denver Broncos (OC/WR)
1996–1997 Pittsburgh Steelers (OC)
2000–2001 Miami Dolphins (OC)
2008 Kansas City Chiefs (OC)

So the Jets are his fifth NFL offensive coordinator gig. There isn’t much he hasn’t seen.

And let’s not forget, in his myriad head coaching gigs, Troy State, Samford, Georgia Tech, the Dallas Cowboys and Buffalo Bills, he generally called the plays. I can’t confirm ever single game of his head coaching career in terms of him calling every play, but I know he liked to handle that role, even as head coach.

So Gailey, like Koetter, is a master chess player, with a long history of calling play, a long history of reading defenses. The man is really good at the job.

And has logged a lot more miles calling plays than the Jets’ last few offensive coordinators. Brian Schottenheimer didn’t call plays before landing the OC job with the Jets. Tony Sparano had very little experience doing it. Very little. And while Marty Mornhinweg did have some experience, while he had the offensive coordinator title in Philadelphia, where he spent 10 years, Andy Reid was the chief play-caller there.

I think Gailey was a heck of a hire by Bowles. True the two didn’t get off to the best start when they weren’t on the same page about the quarterback competition, but that was an early hiccup between a pair of men who never worked together.

Not only is Gailey a skillful, seasoned play-caller, but he will give Bowles, a rookie head coach, a terrific bench coach, he can lean on.

June 23, 2015

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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