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Koetter says he’s not playing mind games with players (but with more colorful language)


With Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter in recent days unexpectedly installing Adam Humphries as the team’s No. 3 receiver and declaring that tight end Cameron Brate is ahead of Austin Seferian-Jenkins (pictured) on the depth chart, some wonder whether the first-year head coach is trying to provide motivation to specific players on his team. Koetter says that’s not the case. With colorful terms.

“Trust me,” Koetter said, via “I’m not playing any mind games with anybody. . . . [Y]ou guys always think I’m playing these games to motivate guys. I’m telling them the truth. OK? I’m telling them. And I’m never bullsh-tting these guys. That the fastest way to lose credibility with your team. So they’re never getting bullsh-tted by me. I promise you that.”

In fairness, coaches do plenty of bullsh-tting from time to time, for strategic reasons. In the case of Humphries and Brate/Seferian-Jenkins, Koetter swears he’s not bullsh-tting his players. Unless, of course, he’s bullsh-tting the media.

Here, it can be both bullsh-t and bull-true, especially as it relates to the tight end position. Brate has established a lead, and perhaps that will get Seferian-Jenkins to embrace the game the way some think he hasn’t to date. The skills are undeniable, but the question is whether he truly loves football enough to do everything that needs to be done to reach his potential, and to truly want to do those things.

“Every team I’ve always been on, the best players played,” Koetter added, via comments distributed by the team. “We haven’t played a game yet, so we don’t know who’s going out there against Atlanta. If I had my way, we’d close practice then I wouldn’t have to answer questions like this every day, no one would know, we’d just be getting our team ready to play. But, we have practice open it’s open for the fans, it’s also obviously open to you folks. We want to get the word out, but we’ve got a lot of good football players and our number one mantra is to compete and that’s what we’re doing. When you’re competing, you’re going to have guys ahead of other guys at different times. Right now Cam is playing better than Austin -- end of story as far as I’m concerned. What does Austin have to do? Play better. Wouldn’t you want that at every position, to elevate the whole team? That’s what competition does. Where a guy was picked, how much money a guy makes -- I could care less about that. Now, I might get a call from the big bosses and they might care and say ’Hey do this,’ but I haven’t got that call yet. So right now -- it’s still a rep chart because we haven’t played a game so until we go out there and play a game and at some point you guys will get a depth chart that we have to turn in by league rules for the Philly game so it’ll have them listed in an order and you make what you want out of it.”

So, yes, Brate is No. 1. And, yes, it can motivate Seferian-Jenkins to hear that. If it doesn’t motivate Seferian-Jenkins, then that will be even more evidence that Brate is the better option from the perspective of a coach who hopes to build a team of guys who will work hard together to win as many games as possible.