Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter worked for Mike Smith as the offensive coordinator of the Falcons and hired Smith as his defensive coordinator when he took over in Tampa in 2016, so it wasn’t surprising to hear him say that Monday’s decision to fire Smith was a difficult one.
Koetter said at a press conference that it was the second-toughest moment of his coaching career — the toughest was when a player died while Koetter coached Boise State — and a decision he never thought he’d have to make. Koetter said it was solely his call to fire Smith and that he didn’t do it before the bye week because he wanted the team to go through the self-scouting process to “see if we could make some adjustments that help us play better as a football team.”
Koetter said he thought the team had a good plan for Sunday’s game against the Falcons, but the defense didn’t show much improvement and a change had to be made.
“This is a production business. We have to play better on defense,” Koetter said.
Linebackers coach Mark Duffner is taking over as the interim defensive coordinator and Koetter said that “every coach that’s in that room has to help pick up the slack.” If that doesn’t lead to better results, changes that include Koetter’s departure could be coming to Tampa before too much more time passes.