With the worst defense in the NFL, the calls for defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s head on a silver platter get bigger and bigger each week.

Many thought the bye week might be the time for the Bucs to make a change to the position, but Smith has survived, and head coach Dirk Koetter explained his line of thinking when he hears the call for a new coordinator.

“Every week, every game, it’s way bigger than any one guy,” Koetter said. “It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than Mike. It’s bigger than Gerald McCoy. It’s bigger than any one person – it’s a team game. That was really my whole point. Any time anybody, me included, singles one person out for the cause of all of our problems or the cause of our success – guess what? That’s not right. It’s much more than that. I know how we game plan as a staff. I know how guys coach on the field, just like I know how guys play in practice and sometimes carry it over to the game better than others. It’s the greatest team game in the word, so any blame that goes to one person – I get how, shoot I’m a fan of my son’s team or my daughter’s volleyball team. I talk just like fans when it’s my kids and then I have to check myself on that.

“The coordinators in the NFL call the plays in, they help organize the game plan. They don’t game plan – I guess some could we don’t do it that way –  they don’t do the whole game plan themselves. Again, look at it from both positive and negative. Never all one person’s fault and it’s never all one person’s credit. Certain people in the league – quarterbacks, coordinators – tend to get more credit or more blame than they deserve and the same goes for quarterbacks.”

Koetter did give his players an assignment during the bye week. He asked them for some feedback and said he appreciated their honesty.

Bucs DL coach Brentson Buckner and DC Mike Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs DL coach Brentson Buckner and DC Mike Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

“In a couple of areas..I’m not going to tell you the areas, but just some areas that I felt like I wanted to see,” Koetter said. “When you’re a college coach and guys aren’t leaving town, you from time-to-time meet with every guy on your team. Well, I didn’t have time with everybody leaving last Tuesday for six days to meet with every guy. I put together just a very short thing that I asked the guys to give me some feedback and they did an awesome job. I really appreciate their honesty because sometimes honesty can be self-defeating – make yourself look bad – but I appreciate their honesty. The communication I think both ways – player-coach, coach-player – was good.”

Despite the Bucs being 2-2, the way they lost their last game – 48-10 at Chicago – the mood of the fans is understandably down. But Koetter said the glass is still half full.

“Like we said last time when we were in here in this group, would we have all felt better if we would’ve lost the first two and won the second two?” Koetter said. “We’re 2-2. We’re one game – going into tonight – out of first place in the division and we beat the team that’s on top. We have a road win in the division in our only game. Those are important things to remember. There’s 12 more. There’s three quarters in the season and you know we’re not exactly where we want to be, but we’re also right where we need to be as far as competing for the next 12 weeks.”


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About the Author: Mark Cook

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, the beach and family time.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 mark@pewterreport.com
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2 years ago

“Glass is still half full”? It appears the glass was only full of false hope and optimism to begin with. Is that what is still occupying that space?

2 years ago

Well the defense has been a probably for 3 seasons now so what’s taking so long then? Just another lame excuse. I’m getting fed up with koetter.

Reply to  BucRy
2 years ago


2 years ago

I wonder what his excuse will be if we get blown out by the Falcons with them putting 40+ points on us? “There was a lot of different problems out there, firstly, our water boy didn’t get us our usual top of the line quality H2O, so that’s one things we need to get more consistent at.”

2 years ago

I’ve been blaming the wrong guy. Koetters
the problem as he doesn’ t get it that the buck stops with him.
It’s corporate management 101.
Owners actually pay him to be Head Coach?

Reply to  Horse
2 years ago

I started to wonder about that when he bristled over giving up play calling. It was such a no brainer. He struggled last year with clock and game management. Stubborn to a fault. Looks like the same character trait with Smith and the defense.

2 years ago

Apparently we are to believe that the problem was as big as Jerel Worthy.

Our players are on average no worse than the average team. We have several exceptional players. The problem is CLEARLY the guy telling our players what to do every down.

2 years ago

My advice to Koetter is just copy Jacksonville’s defense. Offensively, attack attack attack with the deep ball and make Jameis run. Don’t run the ball with the running backs at all. Just use the tight ends when in run formation to block or go out for passes.