Bucs HC Dirk Koetter and DC Mike Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
From the Buccaneers Communications Department:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced on Friday that the team has signed Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith to a new multi-year agreement. Smith joined Head Coach Dirk Koetter’s staff last offseason and played a major role in transforming the Buccaneers defense into one of the league’s top units in the second half of 2016.
“I am excited about what we are building here in Tampa Bay and would like to thank the Glazer family, Jason Licht and DirkKoetter for showing faith in what we are doing on the defensive side of the ball,” said Smith. “I think we grew quite a bit as a defense this past season and I look forward to working with my staff and our players to continue building upon what we have started. While I did have a chance to speak with a few organizations about head coaching opportunities earlier this offseason, it became very clear to me that I am in an ideal situation here with the Buccaneers. For the next couple years, I am fully committed and focused on my role with Dirk and the organization and will not be pursuing head coaching opportunities during this time.”
Bucs DC Mike Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
In 2016, Smith’s first season with Tampa Bay, he oversaw a defensive turnaround that had the team going from 26th in the NFL in points allowed in 2015 to 15th in the league in 2016. Smith’s defense last season forced 29 takeaways, the third-highest mark in the league, including 17 interceptions, tied for the fourth-most in the NFL. The Buccaneers also held opponents to a league-low 34.4 third down percent conversion rate in 2016, the best mark by a Tampa Bay defense since 2003 and an improvement from ranking 30th in 2015. Under Smith, the Buccaneers defense posted 38 sacks last season, tied for the ninth-highest mark in the league and tied for the most by a Tampa Bay defense since 2004.
“Mike Smith is quite simply one of the best coaches I have had the opportunity to work with and I am thrilled to know that he has committed to remain with us for the foreseeable future,” said Koetter. “In addition to being a great teacher on the field and in the meeting rooms, Mike has consistently been able to get the most out of his players and that was never more evident than this past season. The growth and exceptional play of our defense in the second half of the season played a major factor in our success and Mike, along with the rest of the defensive staff, deserves much of that credit. I can’t say enough about the job he did this past season and I am excited to have him leading our defense for years to come.”
Smith’s defense improved as the season progressed, allowing the fourth-fewest points per game over the final eight weeks of the season (17.1), while leading the league with 13 interceptions, tying for a league-low six touchdown passes allowed and holding opponents to a 72.9 passer rating, the second-lowest mark in the NFL during that time. Tampa Bay recorded 21 sacks during the final eight weeks of the season, tied for the fifth-most in the league during that span.
Under Smith’s guidance, a number of Buccaneers players posted banner seasons. Cornerback Brent Grimes, who was named a Pro Bowl alternate in his first season with Tampa Bay, tied for the team lead in interceptions, with four, while leading the NFL in passes defensed, with 24. Linebacker Lavonte David was voted as a Pro Bowl alternate while recording 17 tackles for loss, tied for the league lead. David was also one of only two players to record at least 80 tackles and 5.0 sacks (also Benardrick McKinney). Linebacker Kwon Alexander led the team in tackles, with 145, the fourth-most in the NFL, including a league-best 108 solo tackles. Tampa Bay’s three safeties (Chris Conte, Bradley McDougald and Keith Tandy) combined for 207 tackles, 23 passes defensed and eight interceptions. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy earned his fifth Pro Bowl selection after leading the team with 7.0 sacks, the fourth-most by a defensive tackle.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya’ll Magazine. Cook can be reached at [email protected]
Smart move. I had hunch this would happen. At his age I’d much rather be a coordinator with a good deal than head coach with all the pressure etc. he was head coach before too so sure he’s not hurting for cash….
Great move… This is the kind of consistency that the Bucs were desperate for and now the pieces are starting to settle in from the top down.
Fantastic news. BTW, we finished with 17 INTs, second most number in the league and a good bit more than overrated SEA and DEN.
Now we need to get healthy Jack Smith and Gholston. Hopefully Ayers has another year in the tank.
Now think about this – A healthy Noah Spence with a season under his belt !
We need a starting quality OG and depth across both OL and DL. Then we need another RB and WR. I think all these needs can be filled in FA and the draft.
Congratulations to Coach Smith! And the players, staff and fans! And a big thank you to the Glazers for doing what’s necessary to win NOW!!!
Great news indeed!!!
Does anyone know how long is his contract?
Okay, just read it again, two seasons.
Good news; still need to draft in the early rounds a DL and CB. Go Bucs!
I agree with you Horse:
I would like to see us TRY to sign K. Short from Carolina.
In the draft I have not seen alot DT play,but did see Taco C. From Michigan and he looks outstanding he more DE he is long and STRONG.
I am sure there are some others and I will be watching in the E-w game and Senior bowl. As for the draft if Cory Davis is available in first Rd. Take then 4 Defense picks.
Kwan Short would be free agent steal.
Imagine if we snagged Eric Berry also.
It’s a wet dream.
Horse, we need playmakers!
How refreshing for Coach Smith to commit to the Bucs for the term of his new contract and agree not to seek a HC opportunity. I’m sure the players took note.
This is by FAR the best HC/DC combination since Gruden/Kiffen. I mention Jon over Dungy because he, like Coach Koetter, were previously OC’s and as HC’s called their plays on offense.
I do agree the Buccaneers need to focus on playmakers, weapons for Winston, in the draft. Of course that will be determined after FA, really depends on how needs are met there.
Anyway, Buccaneers are playing to win NOW and the Mike Smith signing certainly is a statement. The Glazers are NOT afraid of spending money when it’s being spent in the right places.
This is great news, continuity and stability on both sides of the ball and guys that want to be here and build. That will filter down to the players and I’m sure that there are guys out there that want to play for the Bucs knowing their potential. Now let’s draft well, snag a few free agents for some depth and go!
By the way, where are all of those clowns from the national media that were whining about Lovie Smith getting fired last year? It was the best thing that happened for this team, this team’s defense and the perception by others of this team. I’m very happy that Mike Smith came here this year and the improvement that we had hoped for has happened and it will only get better.
Our most important offseason move has been finalized! On to the draft Mr Licht
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