A large portion of those who watch the Buccaneers thought Dirk Koetter and his staff would be fired following the 2017 NFL Season. He was not, and neither have any of his subordinate coaches at this time.
When he came back, a large portion of the Buccaneers fan base voiced lukewarm acceptance of this, but also speculated about the job security of defensive coordinator Mike Smith.
I’ve said on the Locked on Bucs podcast, and I’ll write it here: If Smith goes, it’s because he’s getting a head coaching job elsewhere.
What I’m saying is, I see no scenario where Koetter fires his long-time friend and coaching partner. The two have deep history, and loyalty in this fashion is going to win out.
Now, I don’t necessarily disagree with this, and can’t honestly say I wouldn’t do the same in their situation. Smith’s defense looked like it was on a steep upward trajectory at the end of 2016, and additions of Chris Baker, T.J. Ward, Justin Evans and Kendell Beckwith only seemed to bolster the chances of his unit returning to prominence in the NFC South.
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This, of course, did not happen. Mired by injuries and inconsistent execution along with soft play-calling led to one of the steepest declines in third down efficiency I’ve ever seen, and more quick score drives for opposing offenses than I care to count.
Once again however, his defense finished strong. In their final three games, all against divisional opponents, the Bucs defense surrendered 56 points. During the team’s 2-1 start to the season, they gave up 64.
And don’t even get me started on the losing streaks.
All of this has led to a very different scenario this year than last. In the 2016 post-season, Smith was a solid rumor to be considered for several head coaching positions. He even interviewed for a few. In the end, Buccaneers fans rejoiced as he returned on a two-year deal to Tampa’s favorite football squad.
Now, Smith might be one of the most hated sports figures not wearing a jersey – second to the guy who traded Evan Longoria. However, he’s also not getting nearly as much coaching buzz.
No reports of Smith receiving any calls as of yet have surfaced, and on NFL.com’s coaching tracker, he’s precariously listed at the very bottom of this non-alphabetical list.
Looking at the list, the available jobs, and the way the Bucs’ own season unfolded it’s highly unlikely Smith gets hired away. And I’d be more than a little surprised to see Koetter fire him.
So, Bucs fans, settle in for another year in 2018. There are some upsides it seems, and there have definitely been some downs. Either way, it doesn’t appear Smith will be jumping on the coaching carousel anytime soon.
"ICYMI: Locked on Bucs was joined by Buccaneers rookie, O.J. Howard earlier this year. Check out the full interview here!"