One of the fun things about attending the Pro Bowl practice was walking around and spotting familiar faces in the crowds. One of those that attended the week-long festivities in Orlando last week was former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell.
Brunell stopped and talked to PewterReport.com about a face that was familiar to him, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who once held the same position in Jacksonville.
The former Jags signal caller was all smiles when talking about Smith.
“First of all, Mike is a great person,” Brunell said. “He is a very good person, commands a lot of respect and players love playing for him. And that is first and foremost. And then the fact that he is brilliant putting together defense. He is one of the best defensive coaches in the league. The Buccaneers are fortunate to have him. And once again, he will be a head coach, but I can’t say enough about him as a person. And I am excited to see the Buccaneers and how well they do with Mike Smith at the helm on defense. They are going to be just fine.”
When the 2016 season ended, and the annual axing of coaches took place on January 2, many, including PewterReport.com, felt Smith would have a great shot at one of the vacancies. And from reports, Smith was the runner-up for the job with the Jaguars that eventually went to Doug Marrone.
Tampa Bay dodged a bullet and soon went on the offensive to secure Smith, who agreed to a new contract extension that should keep him part of the Buccaneers organization for the next two seasons.
While head coach Dirk Koetter was confident he could have found a suitable replacement for Smith had be taken another head coaching job, just as last season, continuity, appears to best in the situation, and the Bucs will have that on the defensive side of the ball heading into 2017.