Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Koetter: Bucs need to recapture homefield advantage at RJS

TAMPA

Facing a critical three-game home stand, coach Dirk Koetter indicated Thursday that the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium don't have the same homefield advantage as other NFL teams.

He also said Tampa Bay's 3-15 home record since the start of 2014 is largely responsible for it.

"Every place is different. Every place you play on the road is different as far as how hard it is to play there and how hard it is to hear there," Koetter said Thursday. "We're not fooling anybody that some teams travel a lot better than others.

"And, you know, players notice. Coaches notice. That's the truth. And I'm 1,000 percent aware that the more you win, the better it gets. But with that said, do we have a homefield advantage? That's our job to create it."

After the Bucs' 34-17 win at San Francisco on Sunday, Koetter pleaded for Bucs fans to fill the lower bowl of RJS against the Raiders, a team that has a national following similar to the Denver Broncos. In fact, Broncos fans outnumbered Tampa Bay fans by the end of the Bucs' 27-7 loss at RJS on Oct. 2.

"Go take a picture of any of them," Koetter said. "Denver, Chicago, Giants. Take a picture. See what you get.

"We've got to take care of the stuff on the field, but some places are harder than others."

To that point, Koetter said it's hard for the visiting team to communicate on the road due to crowd noise. But that same hurdle has existed at times for the Bucs — even when they are playing at home.

"When you can't hear, it's rough," Koetter said. "When you have to do everything silent cadence, everything hand signals, when you can't hear yourself think, compared to when you've got to go silent cadence in your own stadium."

In fact, Koetter said the loudest RJS has been this season was after the weather delay in the fourth quarter against the Rams, when less than 5,000 fans remained for the Bucs' final drive that fell short in a 37-32 loss.

"That was the loudest it was the whole game, just from noticing it," Koetter said. "Now again, the rest of the game was played on one little part of the field."

The Bucs begin a stretch Sunday of three home games in 15 days. After playing the Raiders, they host the Falcons four days later on Thursday night before welcoming the Bears on Nov. 13.

But Koetter says his team cannot afford to focus on anyone except the Raiders.

"We can't think of it that way," Koetter said. "I can see why it looks like that. We can't for one second try to think that way. That's crazy if we do that."

The Bucs are ranked 30th in home attendance, with an announced average of 57,692. Only San Diego and Oakland, teams that are attempting to relocate, have drawn fewer fans.

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, while acknowledging there is often a large contingent of fans from the opposing team at RJS, says nothing beats playing, and winning, at home.

"I'm not about to downplay it. Winning on the road is great," McCoy said. "It's cool, it's not okay, it's great. Going into somebody else's house and leaving with a W, there's no better feeling than that.

"However, to win at home and go home and put my feet up on the couch within an hour instead of having to sit on a plane all night, then probably get home and put my feet up … the fans are telling you, that guy who says his day is better, his workday is better on Monday because the Bucs won and know you had something to do with that, it's a great feeling, man."

Koetter: Bucs need to recapture homefield advantage at RJS 10/27/16 [Last modified: Thursday, October 27, 2016 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Want elite college football athletes? Recruit Tampa Bay

    Blogs

    Now that college football watch list season is over (I think), here's one takeaway you probably already knew: Tampa Bay produces a lot of great athletes.

    Robinson High produuct Byron Pringle has gone from this performance in a high school all-star game to all-Big 12 at Kansas State.
  2. 'Ready to win, and win big:' Dick Vitale sees Bucs going 10-6

    Blogs

    ESPN's Dick Vitale, whose love and optimism for Tampa Bay sports teams goes far beyond basketball, has high hopes for the Bucs in 2017.

    ESPN's Dick Vitale, shown at One Buc Place last year when he announced a Bucs draft pick, has high hopes for Tampa Bay this fall, predicting a 10-6 record for the Bucs.
  3. Rays beat Orioles, but tough stretch looms that could change their plans (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tuesday was a step back in the right direction for the Rays, who halted a season-high five-game losing streak by hanging on — and we mean that pretty much literally — for a 5-4 win over the Orioles.

    The Rays’ Tim Beckham celebrates with Mallex Smith after hitting a three-run homer in the second inning for a 5-0 lead.
  4. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    Rookie RHP Jake Faria had his lucky rubber duck — OG, the original one he has had since high school — with him, and the Rays had nothing to worry about as he put his rocky Wednesday outing well behind him, working into the eighth while scattering seven hits.