Del Rio proud to see Jaguars reunion on Bucs staff
When Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio comes to Tampa this fall to play the Bucs, it'll be very much be a reunion of his 2007 Jaguars team, which won 11 games and reached the second round of the NFL playoffs.
"Dirk's getting the band back together," Del Rio said of all the familiar faces on first-year Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter's coaching staff. "We had a good staff. Guys who were there, I think, over time kind of recognized we had a very strong staff and some of those guys who worked with Dirk were timed up were he was able to get some of those guys. I'm happy for him to get this opportunity, and he's got a great group of guys."
Mike Smith, who was in his last year as a defensive coordinator in Jacksonville before becoming the Falcons' head coach, was the Jags' defensive coordinator, the same role he now has for the Bucs. Mark Duffner and Todd Monken, the linebackers and receivers coach on that staff, have the same jobs for Koetter. Even Bucs special teams coordinator Nate Kaczor spent four years as the Jaguars' assistant special teams coach from 2008-11.
The Jaguars haven't been able to match their 2007 success in eight seasons since -- after going 11-5 that year, they haven't won more than eight games in any season since, and that playoff win remains Jacksonville's only one since 1999.
Del Rio was the coach who gave Koetter his first NFL job -- he was a Ravens assistant with Marvin Lewis, who's known Koetter since they played together at Idaho State, and they visited Koetter when he was head coach at Arizona State.
"I was around him, interacted with him then, got to know him then and followed him from that point. Arizona State made the decision to move on and we saw an opportunity," Del Rio said. "Dirk is super-organized. He's very bright. He's got a really good system that's friendly for the quarterback. He's a good teacher. He's a football junkie, grew up in football. It was easy to see he would be a good fit for us, that he was going to be a really good coach. Having been around him previously, I had a good sense for the type of man he was. I loved having him on staff then and I'm happy for him right now. He's getting an opportunity that's well-deserved."