Buccaneers fans breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was announced Mike Smith removed himself from head coach consideration and signed an extension to remain in Tampa Bay.
There is much to be said about consistency. One of the biggest off-season moves the Buccaneers could have made was to retain Mike Smith as defensive coordinator. Though the defense was far from perfect, the massive improvement over the 2015 season – not to mention the drastic uptick in performance from the first half of 2016 to the second half – is something that had Bucs fans excited.
All that seemed to be in jeopardy when Mike Smith was named a “leading candidate” for the Jaguars job. Then, the Jags hired Doug Marrone.
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Next, it was Los San Diego Angeles that had Bucs fans concerned. In fact, lost in the news today of the Chargers’ relocation and God-awful attempt at a logo unveil, was Jason Cole of Bleacher Report saying Mike Smith was the leading candidate for that job.
Again, Buccaneers fans were glued to Twitter to see if Smith was going to be packing his bags and heading west. Then, Adam Schefter gave us all something to cheer about;
So this wasn’t a “well, the Chargers don’t want me so I guess I’ll stay,” decision. Not at all. Mike Smith withdrew his name from consideration to stay with the Buccaneers because, at the end of the day, it appears he sees that there is something special brewing.
It was no secret that Mike Smith was potentially a one and done as coordinator in Tampa. There were guys on the staff that could have – and likely would have – stepped into that coordinator role had Smith left. Jay Hayes was a popular choice among the speculation, but even promoting from within would have come with adjustments and a somewhat new system, something the players wouldn’t have been thrilled about.
This is tremendous news for the organization moving forward and may be, arguably, the biggest coaching move in the league. Retaining Smith and allowing this young, up-and-coming team to continue to grow under the same staff is a massive win.
Details on the extension are not known yet, but we will update as soon as the terms are released.