Bucs S Bradley McDougald and DC Mike Smith - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Success breeds envy.
After a dramatic second half turnaround, Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith’s name has been a hot commodity among teams looking to fill head coaching vacancies.
The Jaguars were the first team reported to be on the Smith bandwagon and the train has grown by another team according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Schefter has reported the San Diego Chargers, who fired coach Mike McCoy following another disappointing season, are interested in bringing in a defensive mind possibly, and want to interview Smith for their opening.
No date for the interview has been reported.
According to ProFootballTalk.com, the Chargers have reportedly have also reached out to Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub, Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph and Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
Bucs DC Mike Smith and DE Robert Ayers – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Under Smith, the Bucs defense finished 23rd in the league in points allowed with a 367.9-yard average, but finished 15th in the NFL, allowing 23.1 points per game. Tampa Bay’s defense excelled on third down defense, finishing first in the league with 34 percent (67-of-195) allowed, a year after being the worst team in the league on third down defense.
“Obviously when we brought Mike here we knew this day might come and that this day would come,” Koetter said. “If it’s the right fit, and he’s the right guy, and that’s what he wants and that’s what they want there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s how this league works. What I can tell you is that I have a lot of confidence in the staff I put together last year and I got a lot of confidence I have in the staff I’ll put together moving forward.”
The 57-year old Smith, who is a native of Daytona Beach, Fla., has the desire to become a head coach again and the personnel the Jaguars have assembled in defensive back Jalen Ramsey, defensive ends Yannick Ngakoue and Dante Fowler, and linebacker Myles Jack, in addition to free agent defensive tackle Malik Jackson, safety Tashaun Price has to be enticing.
Smith is widely respected around the NFL after becoming Atlanta’s all-time winning head coach from 2008-14 when he amassed a 66-46 record (.589), leading the Falcons to the playoffs in four of his first five seasons. The Falcons posted a franchise-best 13-3 mark twice under Smith’s leadership, first in 2010 before losing to Green Bay in the NFC Divisional Game and again in 2012 before losing to San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game.
What led the Falcons to hire Smith in 2008 was the outstanding job he did as Jacksonville’s defensive coordinator from 2003-07 where he was paired with Koetter, who was the Jaguars offensive coordinator before he became Smith’s play-caller in Atlanta from 2012-14.
– Scott Reynolds contributed to this report
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, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. 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]
I watch ESPN NFL Insiders and NFL Live every day. Take it with a grain of salt, as I don’t know how much their reporters are in the know, but over the last two weeks on those shows, Mike Smith’s name has never come up as a potential head coaching candidate for anyone. Again, I don’t know how well they research, et al. to come up with their names, but that is just what I’ve seen. I don’t watch the NFL aka Cowboys Network much, so I’m not sure what they have said on that network. As of yesterday, Adam Schefter still was not showing him as a Jaguars or Chargers likely candidate, so I’m not sure what is going on there. Today’s shows haven’t been on yet, so maybe today he will add his name to the mix.
Cowboys network is correct.
Other teams may well interview Smitty too. But I still believe MOST of the new HC’s will come from the offense side of the ball. That’s just my gut feeling. I think Smitty returns to the Buccaneers for at least another year.
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