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Know your enemy, Buccaneers: One on one with The Pewter Plank

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Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; A Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan (right) sits next to a New Orleans Saints fan during the second half of an NFL football game at Raymond James Stadium. The New Orleans Saints won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; A Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan (right) sits next to a New Orleans Saints fan during the second half of an NFL football game at Raymond James Stadium. The New Orleans Saints won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 4, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter looks on prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter looks on prior to the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /

In a similar vein, what are some of the biggest differences in your team from last season? Is it more of the same, with better execution? Or has your team made any systemic changes?

There have certainly been changes on this team. Yes, it’s a lot of the same players, but adding guys like Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers in free agency as well as Vernon Hargreaves and Noah Spence in the draft has added another level of talent that wasn’t here in 2015. Lovie Smith, for all he’s done and accomplished, was in way over his head. He refused to adapt to today’s NFL, refused to maximize the talent he did have, and was dead set on it being his way or the highway. He supplemented the team with former Bears that “knew his scheme”, but would force players out of their comfort zone to follow his scheme, rendering their strengths useless. As an avid University of Illinois fan, I’m personally having to deal with that again from a fan perspective.

The best thing GM Jason Licht could have done was exactly what he did and that was hire Dirk Koetter as head coach. Koetter brings a level of fun and enjoyment to the locker room for this team. They love to play for him. He does what he can to put his players in positions to succeed rather than telling them they have to do something that either doesn’t make sense or that ignores what his players do well. The addition of Mike Smith as defensive coordinator was a brilliant move and as we’ve seen over the last few weeks, Smith has no issues tweaking his system to adapt to the game. That’s why a team that was giving up tons of points and unable to get to the quarterback is all of sudden leading the NFL in points allowed over the last four weeks and has the most takeaways in the NFL since week five.

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