Mike Smith to be Buccaneers defensive coordinator

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Dirk Koetter spent three years as the Falcons offensive coordinator under head coach Mike Smith before moving to the Buccaneers following Smith’s departure after the 2014 season.

Koetter has been bumped up to head coach with the Bucs and now Smith will be working for him. The Buccaneers announced Friday that Smith will be the team’s defensive coordinator.

Smith was out of the NFL during the 2015 season, but surfaced to interview for the Giants head coaching job that ultimately went to Ben McAdoo. With Jim Caldwell staying put in Detroit and the Titans reportedly holding onto interim coach Mike Mularkey, there aren’t any opportunities for top jobs this year so Smith will try to help his chances of getting one in the future by improving the defense in Tampa.

The Bucs finished 10th in the league in yards allowed during the regular season, but were 26th in points allowed. Smith used a 4-3 defense in Atlanta and when he was a defensive coordinator in Jacksonville, which is the same base formation the Buccaneers have been using so there probably won’t be a change on that front.

47 responses to “Mike Smith to be Buccaneers defensive coordinator

  1. Maybe he is one of those people that is a better cordinator than a head coach, but I remember not being impressed by the Atl Defense more times that not during his time there.

  2. Interesting decisions being made in Tampa. Not so sure it was a good move to fire Lovie right now, but we’ll see what happens. If Koetter can’t handle his volatile quarterback, maybe Smith can.

  3. Firing Lovie without a decent replacement lined up would have been a bad move. Replacing him with Koetter and Mike Smith seems like a great idea though. Well done Bucs.

  4. Mike smith had 4 Top 10 defenses in 12 years. 7 Top 15 defenses.

    He’s a good hire. Plus, being 4-3, it will make for an easier transition, especially with this draft being mostly defense for the Bucs.

    Better choice than Schwartz…who had few Top 15 defenses and destroyed the Bills defense in his second year.

  5. kane337 says:
    Jan 15, 2016 2:36 PM
    Mike Smith could never improve the Falcons defense. Good luck.

    No, Thomas Dimitroff could never improve the Falcons defense.

    Lots of bad trades and flashy position players but never drafted an OL to protect Ryan or a single defensive playmaker.

  6. ……great hire…..I like what the Bucs have done in the off season. My guess is Lovie ends up Detroit as D cord and Frazier in New Orleans…..round and round we go…….even the Ryan brothers are together…..

  7. So when Koetter is inevitably fired, he gets to be HC right? After all that’s what we do in the NFL – we fire HCs to hire their assistants.

  8. Good for Mike Smith. I’m glad to see him back in the league. Sure there are plenty of naysayers but he was actually a good head coach in Atlanta except for his last two years.

  9. realfootballfan says:
    Jan 15, 2016 3:15 PM

    This should definitely fix everything, lol. Everyone is laughing at you Buc fans. Poor Jameis.


    Do you ever not type total nonsense?

  10. burgboy82 ,

    Let’s meet back here in a year and see who was right. Deal? We’ll see what was nonsense then. But then again, you still are a Tampa fan defending your clueless owners who make Al Davis’ last years of churning through coaches look respectable, and just think, he did know a little something about football. Your owners are winging it, latest trust fund babies who need their team taken. I’m sure this will work out, lmao.

  11. 4-3/3-4 is the most overrated thing in football, the more important thing is whether it’s a 1 gap defense or a 2 gap defense. Using the Broncos as an example, under Jack Del Rio they played a 4-3 front but 3 of the linemen were each defending 2 gaps (2 gaps) thus making it much like a classic 3-4 defense where you want the line to take on blockers and tie them up allowing your backers to make the plays. Under Wade Phillips the Broncos play a 3-4 front, however it’s a 1 gap penetration defense (gap elimination) where the front 7 are all responsible for 1 gap each. This is much more like a classic 4-3 defense.

    So again 4-3/3-4 doesn’t really matter, the more important detail is 1 gap or 2 gap? That will tell you what kind of defense they’ll be using.

  12. Smith was a great DC before becoming head coach of the Falcons and their defense only went south as soon as he relinquished his control of it. Great hire, now they just need to draft some more talent and let him get to work. McCoy, David and Kwon are a great core to build around.

  13. Also petedutcherjr,

    Just an FYI: Schwartz never destroyed the Bills defense. They were excellent under him. Rex Ryan came in and forced Schwartz out, subsequently destroying the defense.

  14. ……great hire…..I like what the Bucs have done in the off season. My guess is Lovie ends up Detroit as D cord and Frazier in New Orleans…..round and round we go…….even the Ryan brothers are together…..

    and Frazier in New Orleans: hmmm, thought the Aints were trying to improve their defense…

  15. It’s Tampa Bay.

    I was unaware they even still had a team. Looking up their attendance figures, it appears even the citizens of Tampa/St Pete didnt know that either.

  16. Hmmm … either Tampa fans hate Lovie, love Koetter … or don’t realize their QB has a volatile personality (despite some of his erratic on-field behavior this season).

  17. Mike Smith ran a pretty good D in Jax. Best of all, Smith also coached at Atlanta as a HC…he is VERY VERY familiar with drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Cam Newton…each of them NFC South rivals to the Bucs. Need a game plan against one of them. Dial up Mike Smith as the Bucs D Coordinator! This is a GREAT hire!

  18. Mike Smith is a DC hire that will immediately help the Bucs in their division. Of course he was ON the Falcons and game planned against each of the NFC South QBs, plus Greg Olsen and Julio Jones. He also knows what personal vulnerabilities are of Bucs like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Vincent Jackson, Alterran Verner, Luke Stocker, and Doug Martin. Any time you get a competent coordinator with HC experience that’s good…but all the above a big bonus!

  19. realfootballfan says:
    Jan 15, 2016 3:52 PM
    burgboy82 ,

    Let’s meet back here in a year and see who was right. Deal? We’ll see what was nonsense then. But then again, you still are a Tampa fan


    The team is “Tampa Bay” not “Tampa.” Get that and other facts straight first, and then you can begin to have anyone listen to your drivel.

  20. Mike was an “okay” head coach, nothing special. He’s much more cut out to be a coordinator. The Buccaneers are an improved team already with all the hiring they have done so far this off season.

  21. Deb, not sure what you mean about the volatile personality of the Bucs QB. I can assure you, while Mike Glennon is a real he11 raiser and wild man some of the time on the field…his emotions rampant and all, celebrations galore, explosive temper due to wanting to win, he’s actually a really calm guy.

  22. Don’t like moving OC to be first timer HC. But if you’re going to do so getting exp staff helps.

  23. They basically switched places. Koetter worked for Smith in Atlanta & now Brian Billicks brother-in-law is working for him in Tampa.

  24. The 2 couldn’t make a success of it with a better built team but hey, the Bucs just seem to like trying things that haven’t worked for other teams hoping it somehow finally will for them… SMH!

  25. Deb the repeated theme of your posts seems like you may have an agenda. We get it, you don’t like the QB. Move along.

    Actually, if you were a CFT regular, you’d know I defended your QB all over the place when everyone else was slamming him. I think he’s tremendously talented, but that he needs a strong hand to rein in his personality. Lovie seemed like a good fit for him, and it appeared they were really starting to turn things around. It always concerns me when you have a temperamental QB and a head coach is ousted in favor of an OC. It can mean the team is catering to the QB. That’s not always a good idea. Great as he is, I think my team did far too much catering to Roethlisberger in his early years.

    I rarely make snippy comments just because I don’t like someone.

  26. Deb, Jameis Winston has been a model citizen since Day 1 in the NFL. The most anyone has on him is he tried to get into a night club wearing shorts. That’s hardly comparable to anything Ben Rothlisberger has done. As for on the field that where you (inexplicably) seem to think he needs to be reigned in, that’s not the case. I don’t think he’s ever been flagged for a unsportsmanlike conduct or personal foul penalty and he has all but ONE emotional outburst in St Louis against the official about the opposing team. If him on the sideline waving his hands for the crowd to get loud or him running out to congratulate his teammates needs to be reigned in, I would disagree. His 4,000 yards passing and six TDs rushing overshadow any of his negatives. I don’t know where you think Lovie worked with him a lot more than others. It was actually mostly Dirk Koetter and QB coach Mike Bajakian. In fact, Lovie wanted to draft Mariotta. Yeah, he and Jameis had a good relationship but that is not the big part of the story.

  27. @bucsorbust …

    Thanks for the clarification. No, I’m not referring to anything off field–or to Winston’s enthusiasm with the crowd. He had some attitude issues in college (no, I’m not referring to the infamous stuff). And I saw his altercation with the officials and some back-and-forth with the opposing team. You don’t usually see QBs mixing it up like that, so it left the impression that he needed to settle down. Lovie is known for being the kind of person who could handle difficult personalities. I hope his current coaches are successful in molding his talent.

  28. I love this hire. Always had great respect for Smith. I thought that Dimitroff was the main problem in ATL, not Smith.

    Bucs fans should be happy with this.

  29. ood for Mike Smith. I’m glad to see him back in the league. Sure there are plenty of naysayers but he was actually a good head coach in Atlanta except for his last two years.

    If you followed Atl very close you would know that the GM busted up the team. We got rid of everybody our corners, OL ( great center retired) the only pass rusher Abraham……he had no talent the last 2 years….. Yea he made some time mgmt mistakes but overall he was a good coach , good hire for Tampa

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