The initial move was shocking, but the trickle down effect is unfolding as many expected.
After the dismissal of former head coach Lovie Smith Wednesday night, it’s being reported by Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times that four assistant coaches (so far), including defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, will also not be returning in 2016.
Along with Frazier, defensive backs coach Gil Byrd and assistant defensive backs coach Mikal Smith, Lovie Smith’s son, will not have their options picked up for next season. Assistant head coach Larry Marmie’s contract will also expire.
Frazier, who guided the Vikings to the playoffs in 2012 during a three-year stint as head coach in Minnesota, was stripped of play-calling duties before the 2015 season, diminishing his role in a sense. Even before Smith was released, Frazier’s future in Tampa Bay seemed uncertain.
Gil Byrd, who coached under Smith in St. Louis and joined his staff in Chicago from 2006-12, and Mikal Smith, who followed Lovie Smith to Tampa Bay after serving as nickelbacks coach in Dallas in 2013, oversaw the 16th ranked pass-defense in 2015, giving up an average of 240 yards a game. More telling were the final four games, in which Tampa Bay allowed a combined 86 completions on 111 attempts (77 percent completion rate), while failing to intercept a pass during the four-game skid.
Despite the general sense of optimism that the team was improving, ownership is clearly not giving Smith and the majority of the defensive staff a pass for the way they finished the final quarter of the season.
As PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook wrote on Thursday, a name to watch for defensive coordinator is former Falcons head coach Mike Smith. Offensive coordinator and widely assumed successor of Lovie Smith, Dirk Koetter, was on Mike Smith’s staff for three years in Atlanta (2012-14) and the two seem to have a good relationship. Smith, however, has been linked to the Miami Dolphins head-coaching job and will reportedly interview on Monday.
Zach is entering his 3rd year covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a writer for PewterReport.com. Since 2014, he's handled a large part of the beat reporting responsibilities at PR, attending all media gatherings and publishing and promoting content daily. Zach is a native of Sarasota, FL, and a graduate of the University of Tampa. He has also covered high school football for the Tampa Tribune and the NFL for Pro Player Insiders.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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