TAMPA, Fla. -- It didn't take long for pressure to start building for new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter.
It was started by his own general manager.
After the team's news conference to introduce Koetter as the replacement for Lovie Smith, GM Jason Licht said the Bucs, who haven't had a winning season since 2010 and finished 6-10 in 2015, are ready to compete for the playoffs in 2016.
"Dirk and I both agree that there's talent on this team," Licht said. "There's enough talent to compete."
Surprisingly, Koetter didn't try to deflect the issue or temper expectations. He actually embraced it.
"We already have a really good nucleus of football players on this team," Koetter said. "This team is headed in the right direction.
"I don't think there's a man in that locker room that doesn't think we have the talent to make the playoffs. That's 32 teams' goal. Twelve are going to make it. My theory on that is if you're going to say something to the media, put your name on it. Jason put his name on it, so it's out there."
And for the first time, it's all on Koetter's shoulders. The 56-year-old has never been an NFL head coach before Friday, but he takes over a franchise that is on its fourth head coach since Jon Gruden was fired after the 2008 season. Only one, Raheem Morris, lasted more than two seasons.
Licht said he believes Koetter will be around for a long time. He said he became convinced of that during the interview process. Since 2001, he has worked for the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals, where he was involved in a coaching search that eventually ended with Bruce Arians.
Licht said Koetter has some of the same qualities that have made Bill Belichick, Arians, Andy Reid and Pete Carroll successful head coaches.
"I've been around some real good ones, and I saw the common threads of those guys, and I used my experience and my background to put together a list of the things that I was looking for to present to the owners when I came up with the decision," Licht said. "Every coach is unique, but he's got bits and pieces of all of them."
Koetter also has quarterback Jameis Winston, which played a big role into Licht's decision to promote Koetter from offensive coordinator to head coach.
Koetter joined the Tampa Bay staff in 2015 and helped guide Winston to one of the best seasons by a rookie quarterback in NFL history. Winston completed 58.3 percent of his passes for 4,042 yards and 22 touchdowns with 15 interceptions, making him just the third rookie quarterback to surpass 4,000 yards. The other two are Cam Newton and Andrew Luck.
The Bucs' offense ranked fifth in rushing -- thanks to Doug Martin's finishing second in the NFL in rushing (1,402 yards) -- and 17th in passing and fifth overall. Koetter said he will remain the playcaller and expects to retain the majority of the offensive coaching staff. He hired former Atlanta head coach Mike Smith, with whom he worked in Jacksonville and Atlanta, to be the team's defensive coordinator. The Bucs' defense ranked 26th in points allowed in 2015.
The offensive continuity is a big reason for the playoff optimism.
"One of my favorite parts of football is the strategy and game management part, the play-calling part, so I think I'd be foolish to give that up," he said. "With that said, that's going to cause some juggles and some reorganization within the staff. But that's one of the great things about taking over a program that I was already here for a year is that I worked hand-in-hand with those guys on the offensive staff, and the majority of those guys are going to continue on with me. I've got a great group.
"When I said surround yourself with a good staff, we're already off to a terrific start."
That progress follows a poor finish to 2015, one of the reasons for Smith's firing. The Bucs were 6-6 and on the cusp of a wild-card spot but finished the season 0-4. That a team starting a rookie quarterback and two rookie offensive linemen was in the hunt that late in the season is part of the reason Licht thinks the playoffs are within reach in 2016.
So, apparently, does Koetter.
"To the fans: I hope you're with me and with Jason and with the Glazers when we tell you that this franchise is heading in the right direction," he said. "Easy to say, harder to do because competition in this league is the best of the best every week.
"I'm fully aware of that and ready for the responsibility and ready for the challenge. It's been a heck of a journey. Can't wait to roll them up and get started."