Koetter: 'Unacceptable' drops were Bucs' big problem
Speaking for the first time since the Bucs' 19-9 loss in Houston on Sunday, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said he the offense had a good game spoiled by bad throws and bad catches in going 1-for-12 on third downs.
"We just didn't throw and catch on third down," Koetter said. "The protection was outstanding. Houston's game plan was to take us out of our run game and see if they could get there with their pass rush on first and second down. We did a really nice job on first and second down, hit our passes, hit a bunch of explosives, protected. We got to third down, still protected good, we just didn't throw and catch."
Bucs QB Jameis Winston was just 2-for-12 on third-down passing, with only the one conversion. On passes to receiver Mike Evans on third down, Winston went 0-for-7 Sunday, including his lone interception for the game.
"We either threw it on target and dropped it, or we had the guy wide-open and missed it," Koetter said. "You look at all those third downs, back to back to back, if we just do what we're supposed to, we could be 9-for-12. ... Unacceptable. We have to pitch and catch. An NFL team has to make those plays."
Drops can be a subjective statistic, and when asked how many drops he had charted Sunday, Koetter was blunt.
"Too many. That's how many I had," Koetter said. "How many's too many? Probably one. Depends on how tough the catch is. I always try to judge: Should the guy have made that catch? ... There were some flat-out drops. You're going to have some over the course of the year."
Koetter said he isn't one to harp on players for dropped passes -- "that's the most obvious coaching in America" -- but said Evans would be the first person to tell you he didn't play well Sunday.
"Mike didn't have his best," Koetter said. "Mike's paid to make those catches. ... You want to be a big-time receiver, you want to be a big-time quarterback, the protection's there, the route's there, we've got to make the plays."
Evans was targeted on 17 passes, catching only seven for 101 yards, while veteran Vincent Jackson had only four passes thrown his way, catching two for 40 yards. Koetter said he'd like to have more balance between the two, who both topped 1,000 yards last season.