At the time of Mike Smith’s firing, Tampa Bay allowed the most points in the league, the most passing yards per game and the second-most yards per game.
The Buccaneers offense was firing on all cylinders through the first six games of the season. No matter who was under center, the Bucs were shredding opposing secondaries. The only problem was that Tampa Bay needed to score 30 or more points per game to keep it close.
Smith’s defensive system saw receivers running wide open down the field leading to career days for any quarterback on the schedule.
Miscommunication marred the defense. The secondary was leaving receivers wide open, and running backs coming out of the backfield were catching passes with nothing but green grass in front of them.
The Buccaneers defense hasn’t become a strength under Duffner, but it isn’t the worst unit in the league anymore. With Duffner calling plays, the Bucs have improved in every category except run defense.
Tampa hasn’t allowed 30-plus points since Week 11. Despite the multitude of injuries on that side of the ball.
If Tampa Bay cut ties with Smith sooner, perhaps the 2018 season could have been salvaged.