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 about a face that was familiar to him, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who once held the same position in Jacksonville.

Photo by: Getty Images

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, 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.

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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 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 [email protected]
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Buc 1976
Buc 1976
5 years ago

We need to give Smith some help at DL. If we could pry away Kwon Shorts from Carolina it helps us and hurts them. A better pass rush helps DB’S ALOT.

5 years ago

I was impressed with Smith this year. I knew it was going to be a shaky start for the defense with a new scheme and all, and that looked to be the case. But after that Monday night Carolina game, with all of those starters out, I knew something clicked on this defense. I can’t wait for next season after they add some talent to the roster and the guys have been in this defense for a full year, and two off seasons. It’s going to be something to watch. Especially if they get the offense going.