SHOULD THE BUCCANEERS HAVE PAID TO KEEP HIM LAST SEASON?
If the Buccaneers go on to lose the remaining three games left on the schedule Coach Koetter will likely be fired, and taking with him defensive coordinator Mike Smith who at the end of last season appeared to have the Buccaneers defense heading in the right direction. So much so that he was getting interest from teams about returning to head coaching.
At the time this scared the Buccaneers fans who didn’t want to lose the guy who had turned around the defense, and it also scared the team as they went out and signed him to a two year extension as the defensive coordinator.
Looking back on it now, was that such a good idea sine the defense has played terribly for most of this season and have gotten worse in total yards allowed (2016 – 367.9, 2017 – 389.3), points allowed (2016 – 23.1, 2017 – 24), passing yards allowed (2016 – 250.8, 2017 – 276.1 NFL worst), completion percentage (2016 – 63.3, 2017 – 68), third down conversion (2016 – 34%, 2017 – 48% NFL worst), and sacks are down considerable (2016 – 38, 2017 – NFL worst 17). Rushing yards allowed per game is the only major defense stat that is better slightly from last season.
Granted some of these increases may be due to key players missing games due to injuries such as Lavonte David (2), Brent Grimes (3), Kwon Alexander (4), Vernon Hargreaves (4), and Noah Spence (7) but every team goes through injuries throughout the season and still does not have such a drop in almost every defensive category.
If the Buccaneers continue to struggle on defense but manager to win a game or two of the last three I that if the whole coaching staff is not blown up that at least Mike Smith will be relieved of his duties because clearly his defensive scheme is not working as we all have seen with the systems inability to get any pass rush and allowing even bad/average quarterbacks to carve them up.
Smith’s time as the Jacksonville Jaguars defensive coordinator was good as he helped lead the team to a 45-35 record from 2003 – 2007 with the defense accounting for 183 sacks and 90 interceptions, but the last time he was actually a defensive coordinator was 2007 or ten seasons ago and I think that the NFL of today has passed his defense by.
If the entire coaching staff is not canned defensive coordinator Mike Smith will be gone but since him and Koetter are so connected it may be difficult to cut ties without blowing whole thing up, but something needs to be done on the defensive side of the ball whether that means trying another defensive minded head coach or changing defensive coordinators.