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Bucs hire Dirk Koetter to fill offensive coordinator void

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went all season long without their hand-picked offensive coordinator. That won't be the case in 2015.

The team on Thursday announced that former Falcons play-caller Dirk Koetter has been hired to lead Lovie Smith's offense. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that Koetter agreed to a two-year deal with a team option for a third. A source informed of the situation told Rapoport that Koetter was Tampa's top choice.

It's an intriguing hire for the Bucs, who land Koetter after he spent the past two seasons in Atlanta following five years as a play-caller for the Jaguars. The Bucs desperately needed to find a leader on offense after losing former coordinator Jeff Tedford, who took an indefinite leave from the Bucs in September following a coronary angioplasty prior to the season. In his absence, quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo served as Tampa's interim play-caller.

Koetter was successful running a Falcons' offense that leaned on Matt Ryan throwing darts to Julio Jones, Roddy White, Harry Douglas and the retired Tony Gonzalez. Despite the lack of a reliable ground game, Koetter's downfield passing attack helped Atlanta finish eighth in offense this season.

Koetter faces immediate challenges in Tampa, where the quarterback position -- with Josh McCown and Mike Glennon -- is full of questions. The great hope lies in young wideout Mike Evans, who enjoyed a marvelous rookie campaign in 2014 and gives the Bucs a tall, reliable target to lean on for years to come.

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