Head coach Dirk Koetter addressed the media after the announcement was made that the Bucs have fired Mike Smith as defensive coordinator and replaced him with Mark Duffner. Here is the entire transcript of Koetter’s comments and responses.

(Coach’s Opening Statement)                                                                                 “I’m sure you’ve seen the release, We had a change at defensive coordinator earlier today and Mike Smith will be replaced by Mark Duffner as the defensive coordinator. I want to thank Mike Smith for his effort and his passion sand for everything he brought to the Bucs. He’s been a really good football coach, and it’s an unfortunate part of this, but we’re going to move forward and get ready for Cleveland starting right after this.”

(On why he decided to fire Mike Smith now when a couple weeks ago he said Smith is “just one guy,” and there’s more problems then just him after the Chicago game)                                                                                                       “Well, because we were going into the bye week, we’ve had quite a few things injury wise not work out the way we had originally planned. I thought it was important that both sides of the ball be able to go through the self scouting process during the bye week and see if we could make some adjustments that would help us play better as a football team. I do think that we had good plan as a defense for Atlanta, we did a lot of things that we had planned to do, we did some things differently, it just didn’t work out that way. And so, you know, this is a production business and we have to play better on defense. We have to play better as a football team but we have to be better on defense.”

(On what he’s hoping Mark Duffner will do and how he might be different with his history as a coordinator)                                                                                             “I don’t really think today is the best day to talk about this. When you make a change on our coaching staff five games into the season, it’s not like you’re going through a whole bunch of options. First of all I think everybody on the defensive staff, everybody in that room has to help pick up the slack because Mike Smith carried a big workload. Duff has been a coordinator in this league, he’s the most experienced on our staff coaching at any position. I think he coaches in the middle of the defense, he coaches the linebackers, so, his guys relate to both the backend players and front end players.”

(On what are the things that he thinks has to change the most on defense besides changing coordinators)                                                                                          “Well we have to cover better. We played man, we played zone, we played blitz zone, we have to cover better. Part of covering better is getting pressure on the quarterback. We’ve seen the last two teams we played have both gone to a lot of seven man protection. I think we are getting some pressure with a four-man rush, but we should put more on seven and we did blitz more, a lot more. But, you know, just letting up too many chunk plays on the back end.”

(On the type of message he would like this move to send to his players)             “I’ll just keep that between me and the players. I’m not going to send messages to the players through the media.”

(On if he could point to why the Bucs have had slow starts in games vs. Pittsburgh and Atlanta but good second halves and how the defense can improve for all of the game)                                                                                                     “If I knew the answer to that we’d already be doing it. We did play better in the second half, we came out and got two stops back to back. We didn’t really stop them at all in the first half, but those were two good stops. Had the offense had executed better in those first two drives, we could of gone from 11 down to three up in the first two drives, but would of, could of, should of. It didn’t get done.”

(On any update about Gerald McCoy)                                                                    “We’ll be putting our report out here later in the week, but Gerald has a calf injury and we’ll see how the injury report shakes out come Wednesday.”

(On McCoy’s injury is as severe as Vita Vea’s)                                                      We’ll let you know on Wednesday on the injury report.”

(On if someone will move into Linebacker coach with Duffner becoming defensive coordinator)                                                                                                             “No. Duffner will still be there. We have plenty of help on the defensive staff, we have Buck, we have several different coaches that help out in different capacities that are all capable of filling in. I don’t see the linebacker’s coach being the defensive coordinator any different than an offensive coordinator who also coaches the quarterbacks.” 

(On if this was one of the most difficult things he’s had to do given his history with Mike Smith)                                                                                                “Second most, second most difficult. But it’s difficult even when you have to let a practice squad player go. Mike and I worked together in Jacksonville as coordinators and I worked for Mike in Atlanta, so I didn’t see this day coming but it’s here, so we have to make decisions that we think is the best for our football team moving forward. That’s all you can do.”

(On if it was purely just his decision)                                                                   “Yes.”

(On what was the most difficult thing he had)
“I had a player pass away at Boise State when I was a head coach.”

(On if the last play of the game would have been a legal play if it worked)                 “To my knowledge, no. The way that the play ended it up isn’t the way that we practiced it, but a lot of plays don’t end up that way you practice it. We checked on it at the start of the year when we started practicing this play. If it’s inside of two minutes, or if it’s a fourth down play, it has to be a completed lateral. If it hits the ground, that’s like the old fumble on purpose play. That’s the way they explained it to us. It doesn’t really matter at this point, that’s not the way we were trying to do it. Any play where you got one shot from the 20 yard line is extremely low percentage. We had two shots at it with no timeouts and we weren’t able to get it in the end zone.”

(On if Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson was a factor in time on the end drive)
“Well I mean these guys are playing in real speed, I think Mike’s was probably a cleaner chance of getting out of bounds than DeSean’s was. I’m sure if Mike had to do it all over again he would have spun the other way and gone outside, but he went inside and he should take the ball and set it on the hash or hand it to the official, and that definitely cost us a few seconds.”

(On Peyton Barber’s game)                                                                                 “Peyton did a nice job yesterday. He broke tackles, he was explosive, he looked quick, when he got opportunities in the passing game, he did a good job. Overall, Peyton played well.”

(On if it was exclusively his call)                                                                             “Yes.”

(On if there will be any changes in meetings with the new transition)               “No.”

(On if he consulted Jason Licht and other front office management about his decision)                                                                                                                     “Of course I spoke to Jason, I mean he’s our general manager.”

(On what Jason Licht had to say)
“That’s between us.”

(On how he expects his team to react with the change)                                        “I’m not sure, I’m not sure. They just found out at the team meeting earlier today so I’m not sure. They understand it’s a production business, there’s guys in that room that I’ve cut before, that we’ve cut as a football team, some that we’ve brought back. I mean, I think everyone understands what kind of business this is.”

 

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34 COMMENTS

  1. How did he not see it coming, they were giving up 34 points a game

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    • I think what he meant was that he never figured Mike Smith would fail as a DC.

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      • Fair enough

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  2. You didn’t see it coming? We nobody’s did a long time ago. This proves you are not a NFL Head Coach. You’ll be gone at the end of the season along with Licht who has had some of the worst draft blunders I’ve seen.

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  3. Tough day for Koetter. I’m not going to hang on every word he says today. It was a tough, gutsy choice. The bottom line is that I think he made the right decision and I think his overall tone today is good for the team to see and hear. Here’s to hoping they get at it tomorrow in preparing for Cleveland! GO BUCS!

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    • An extra +1. Well stated, sir.

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  4. I don’t believe Koetter fired Smith of his own volition. Read what his feelings on the matter were just 7 days ago. Something changed and changed quickly. This sounds like orders from on high – I just don’t know how high. You decide!

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/bucs/2018/10/08/why-the-bucs-are-sticking-with-mike-smith-as-defensive-coordinator/

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    • Macabee, right with you.

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  5. I think there is a lot Dirk “doesn’t see coming” lol what a moron he is. He did good job with Winston and I wanted him over Lovie for sure but not impressed at all.

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    • I have noticed you use the word “moron” quite a bit. Perhaps something a little more accurate since Coach Koetter is hardly a moron. He earns millions of dollars for his knowledge.

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  6. Usually an in season change like this means the season just hit the iceberg. I hope I am wrong and that change makes the difference that most seem to expect.

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  7. Are you kidding me? He “didn’t see it coming?” Stevie Wonder saw this coming!!!

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  8. I do not think Dirk sees he firing coming yet ether !
    That day will arrive before next season.
    Think Vance Joseph in Denver will be first HC to go this year.
    Then Dirk later on this year.

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  9. This was the right decision two weeks late. Duffner needed two weeks to install changes to Smitty’s Stupid Defense and the break was the perfect time. This poor timing was certainly not fair and any delay in getting those changes set and the consequences of that delay are on Koetter. The next move Koetter also needs to do is boot Warhop as well for continued failure to coach the Offensive Line how to protect our QB. All our posters have known for some time that Benenoch is terrible at LG or LT. Warhop still continues to play Benenoch despite the fact Smith is the superior LG and Warhop also has Liedtke available as well who did a great job subbing for D. Smith at LT when he was hurt but Liedtke’s position is OG and he might even be better at LG than anyone on the roster. And Warhop let Omameh go awhile back who starts for the Giants. We could have used him now. Get a good OL Coach and you know the Falcons have a bad defense and we should never have had Jameis pressured and sacked like he was in this last game. Otherwise we could have won with a bad defense against the Falcons!

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  10. I disagree with most here. Koetter knows the business. Smith nows the business. They get paid hefty salaries to endure these changes. They both knew this was coming if we didn’t beat the Falcons.

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    • What I don’t understand is how you can have a defense that is loaded with star players in its front 7 and be the leagues worst. I understand DBs and all, but……
      Our offense leads the NFL and put up 512 yards against Atlanta and we lose?

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      • Unless some of those ‘star’ players aren’t really stars….

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      • Unfortunately our front 7 is categorically NOT loaded with star players. Kwon and Lavonte are good linebackers, but are not playing at a Pro Bowl level, as they have in the past and there is little quality depth behind them at LB, with several reserves injured.

        As for the front four, JPP has performed well, but Gerald’s production and influence have declined to the point where he is frankly past his ‘sell by date’. Vita Vea is injured, Allen and Unrein have also been injured and the rest of the front 7 are journeymen.

        To qualify as a ‘star’ one would surely have to be playing at least at a Pro Bowl level and to be honest that disqualifies the entirety of our front 7 at this point in time.

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        • Based on your criteria compewterpirate I would mostly agree except JPP is a star. However, I was referring to the fact that at least 4 of them have been to recent pro bowls. I wasn’t basing on this year.

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  11. Who cares whether he saw it coming or not. That’s a dumb question and not deserving of an answer in my opinion. He just fired his best friend. Put yourself in his shoes. Did Smith deserve to get fired. Yes? What the hell do you want him to say? Is it really so bad that there is a human dimension to this game. Damn, give the guy a break. I’ve had to fire people I really cared about and damn it’s tough no matter the situation. I worked for nearly 50 years and got paid well and that was the toughest day of my professional life. At the end of the day and the end of one’s life, how one is with and to other people matters. That’s why these guys play so hard for Dirk. Is he a perfect football coach. No. It’s hard to make a case that he’s any better than average as a head coach. But he’s a hell of an offensive mind, and he’ll likely have a job in this league as long as he want to coach. Personally, I’m rooting for him.

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  12. “I didn’t even see it coming”

    -lloyd Christmas “dumb and dumber

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  13. I know it’s tough for Koetter, but in the end this might save his job in Tampa (If we show improvement on defense)

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  14. I have been calling for his firing since last year, will this fix our defense? Not entirely sure, but when your defense is ranked dead last after 3 years of putting your system into place and it has not worked out, someone has to be held accountable and with this case it is Mike Smith’s responsibility as he was our leading man for the defense. I don’t expect our defense to turn It around and become a top 10 defense in the league, but I do know that it couldn’t be any worse.

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  15. OMG you morons, quit taking everything he said so literal.
    I’m sure when he said, “I didn’t see this day coming,” he meant when he hired Mike Smith he thought so highly of him he didn’t think he would ever have to fire him.
    Do you get it.
    Hells bells, two years ago every sportswriter and media type in the area thought the best FA acquisition was keeping Mike Smith as the defensive coordinator.
    Such short memories. But then we are talking about Buc fans and moronic media types.
    Then we have JP Peterman who has his own agenda. The WDAE crowd thought Koetter being terse with the media was a bad and terrible sign.
    For gods sake, the guy just had to fire one of his close friends and lost a close game he knew he should have won, how did you think he was going to react? Jovial, carefree?
    And anyone who is hoping the Glazers fire Koetter at the end of the year are also hoping the Bucs fail, it’s as simple as that. Some fans.

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    • Good post.
      I like Koetter and believe his only deficiency is loyalty and a GM who has not drafted well on defense.

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  16. Now that I got that out of my system, I will try to be a little more analytical.
    BucRy, what you stated is true. Even if they get worse, who will notice.
    And if that is the case, look for the Glazers to fire Licht as well as Koetter.
    He was the one who drafted the bulk of these players.
    Owlykat, just because Omaneh is starting for the Giants doesn’t make him better than Bennenoch. He is probably the worst OL on the Giants and they have the worst OL in the NFL right now. Manning has been more horizontal than vertical this year but the stupid fans up there want to blame everything on Manning.
    76Buc, who says we have all of this defensive talent, the local media? What a joke.
    The only plays McCoy had yesterday were bad ones. Vita Vea had more tackles than McCoy and also a pass deflection.
    Our LBs don’t seem to cover, get tied up on blitzes and then dance with the blockers and are always biting on play action like a hungry dog after a steak bone.
    The only solid safety we had was Chris Conte and some of you thought he stunk. You like what you see now.
    Licht has put a good offense together but his defensive drafts have been less than stellar. Almost like an after thought.
    I believe Licht may have gotten the call from upstairs to fire Smith, but after that week which the staff used for self relection and the input he got from his players may have played a part in it two.
    If Koetter didn’t see any changes being made with the defense after that week of self analysis, that may have led to the firing.
    Anyway, none of us will really know until after the season or beyond. Koetter is very good about keeping things in house which is one reason why his players respect and like playing for him.
    And finally, would the Bucs please let Noah Spense play. He isn’t getting any better sitting on the bench and we need all the help and speed we can get.

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    • We sure think a lot alike from a football perspective.

      The reason Dirk, “Didn’t see this coming” is exactly as you said. When he hired Mike Smith and then re-signed him (as we all wanted him to do) he had no doubt that Coach Smith would lead the Defense to greatness. No manager makes an important hire expecting it to fail. Same with marriage. Few probably see divorce coming when they’re cutting the wedding cake.

      For me; I just hope Mike Smith really was the problem. I’m hoping his scheme was so well known and his tendencies so predictable, that the opponent knew how to attack it. Perhaps now, even with the same basic defensive system, it will be orchestrated differently by Duffner.

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  17. If Mark Dufner doesn’t work out Jack Del Rio is available just say’in

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    • NO!

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  18. Mr Koetter,
    If you didn’t see this coming, then I would suggest you get a new Rx for your glasses

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  19. All I want is some wins! Koetter can save his job if he goes 8-8; just my opinion.
    Any defensive scheme is better than what we have; just press, blitz, move around some, fake charging forward, make some noise.

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  20. Our Offensive Coordinator needs to step in now and fix our OL, since Warhop has done a lousy job at it since he was hired. Start Liedtke at LT (he did a better job at it than D. Smith when Smith was hurt). Move D. Smith to LG. Leave Jensen at Center and put Marpet at RG and Dotson at RT and line up our best blocking TE, Howard, next to Dotson to chip the DEs before going out for passes. Do that and you won’t have Jameis running for his life and throwing interceptions. That will bring back your 40 plus scoring Offense while resting our Defense so they are fresh and able to put maximum pressure on the QB. Now that McCoy is sidelined our run defense should be better with Vea and Beau Allen inside and JPP and Vinny Curry/Nassib outside. In the fourth quarter bring in Spense to speed rush their tired DTs. This team needs to get its Majic back and this can do it. Go Bucs!

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  21. plopes888, join the other morons, the line wraps around the building. Rean my post if you need further clarification on his statement or scubogs if you want an actual example to further crystalize his meaning in the mush between your ears.
    owlykat, I know you probably mean well, but if you want to play GM or head coach, go buy a Madden game.
    Your intentions may be good, but put down the quart bottle of Olde English 888 malt liquor.

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    • Do they STILL not sell 40’s in FL?!? Such a strange law.

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