The NFL’s highest paid Defensive Co-ordinator and play-caller for the worst Defense in the league has been fired. The man calling the shots for a Defense which is currently on track for being the worst in the history of the NFL has been relieved of his duties. Mike Smith has packed his bags and is on the way out of Tampa.
Two weeks after surviving what was quite possibly the worst ever display by a Buccaneers Defense in Chicago, Smith was given the vote of confidence from his employers. The 59 year old even had the luxury of a bye week to get a reaction from his Defense. Two weeks to prepare for a Divisional game against the 1-4 Atlanta Falcons.
Unfortunately, Tampa’s Defense in the first half against Atlanta was nearly as bad as the Bears game. Despite an improvement in the second half, Smith’s long time friend and current Bucs Head Coach, Dirk Koetter, had seen enough. A tough decision made easier by the fact that Head Coach himself is on the hot seat.
Employed by Tampa since 2016, the former Atlanta Falcons Head Coach’s Defensive unit got progressively worse. The Buccaneers had no real alternative but to issue him with his P45. Highly appropriate since the Bucs have conceded on average 45 points per game to the opposition (it’s actually 35 points per game for those interested).
Ranked 23rd overall in 2016 where the Bucs ranked 1st on defending 3rd downs. Last in 2017 when they were ranked last on defending 3rd downs. Now, in 2018, the Bucs are, again, dead last and conceding an eye-watering 440 yards per game.
The New Man
No sooner was Mike Smith’s departure announced, current Linebacker Coach, Mark Duffner, was announced as new Defensive Co-ordinator.
‘Duff’ has been in Tampa for the last three years and is therefore familiar with the players. Previously Defensive Co-ordinator for the Cincinatti Bengals in the early 2000’s, Duffner will be looking for an immediate improvement in this Defense.
Whether or not that improvement materialises, expect an increase in energy from the Bucs on Defense if his work with the Linebacker core is anything to go by.
One the plus side, when you are at the bottom of the pile, there is only one way to go.
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