Bucs Lock Smith Down as their Defensive Coordinator
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to a contract extension with their defensive coordinator Mike Smith. The terms of his new deal have yet to be released.
Smith had been exploring head coaching opportunities with other teams this past week. He was considered for both the (newly-named) Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars.
Smith has only been with the Bucs for one year, but improved Tampa Bay’s defense from their 2015 season. They went from 30th in 2015 to 1st in 2016 in third down defense, allowing teams to convert on just 34.4 percent.
The team also ranked third in the league in takeaways. They had a total of 29, which included 17 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries.
The Bucs won five games when scoring 19 points or less, an NFL-high.
The Buccaneers allowed 26.1 points per game (26th in the league) in 2015 and under Smith in 2016, improved to 23.1 points per game (15th in the league). During Tampa Bay’s season-high five-game winning streak, the team allowed just 64 points total to the Bears, Chargers, Saints, Seahawks and Chiefs. Both the Seahawks and Chiefs are in the second round of the playoffs, which shows how dominate this defense can be.
The Bucs defense is very well balanced with veterans like defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, linebacker Lavonte David and defensive back Brent Grimes. They also have good young talent like linebacker Kwon Alexander and defensive back Vernon Hargreaves.
Smith, 57, was brought onto the team’s staff in 2016 after Dirk Koetter was made the head coach. Before coaching the defense of the Bucs, Smith was the head coach for the Atlanta Falcons from 2008-2014.
Schmittyyyyyyyyy!! Welcome back coach!!
— Gerald McCoy (@Geraldini93) January 13, 2017
Signing an extension to lead the defense shows how much faith the Bucs brass have in him. The Bucs play in a division with some of the league’s best quarterbacks. Tampa Bay will need a defensive mastermind to help the team prepare for Cam Newton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan twice a year.