Mike Smith will on longer be the defensive coordinator for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Linebackers coach Mark Duffner will take over in his place.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith. The Bucs will promote linebackers coach Mark Duffner to serve as the new coordinator.
Smith joined the Bucs in 2016 with head coach Dirk Koetter. Throughout his time in Tampa Bay, the defense has steadily declined. In his first season, the Buccaneers ranked 15th in points allowed, but have plummeted to 32nd so far in 2018.
“I have the utmost respect for Mike Smith as a man and as a football coach,” said Buccaneers Head Coach Dirk Koetter in a press release. “These decisions are always difficult, but our top priority here is to ensure that we do everything possible to help this team succeed.”
The Buccaneers have allowed 34.6 points per game, the worst mark in the league. They rank second to last in yards allowed per game and dead last in passing yards allowed per game.
With the offense putting up historic numbers to open the season, the defensive struggles have overshadowed it.
The dreadful performances that have accumulated this season made it inevitable that Smith was going to be fired. The only question was, when would the organization pull the trigger on the move.
Shockingly, the move came just a day after the Buccaneers 34-29 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. The in-season departure of Smith leaves Duffner in charge.
Before his time with Tampa, Smith served as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons for seven seasons. Smith has been a coordinator or head coach for the past 15 years.
Although he doesn’t have much experience as an NFL coordinator, Duffner has paid his dues. He had been a linebackers coach in the league since his time with the Cincinnati Bengals back in 1999.
Before his run in the professional ranks, Duffner was a head coach at Holy Cross and the University of Maryland.