And not just players competing for Pro Bowls, but for assistant coaches who get noticed by other teams looking to fill vacancies.
Defensive coordinator Mike Smith, who some thought could be one-and-done after the Bucs terrible first eight games, is now being rumored to be a candidate for teams that have already, or will soon after the season, be looking for a new head ball coach.
Photo by: Mark Cook/PR
Smith was asked about the rumors during his weekly press conference in the media studio on Wednesday.
“Rumors are rampant this time of year,” Smith said. “I am enjoying my time here. You don’t address rumors. That is what happens this year.”
PewterReport.com later asked Smith directly of his interest in returning to the sidelines as a head coach. Again, Smith was vague.
“Guys my focus is on just one thing, and that is for us to be the best defense we can be,” Smith said quickly when asked. “It has been enlightening for me to get back into coaching and roll my sleeves up.”
Last week it was reported by Pro Football Weekly that Smith was at the top of the Jaguars list if Gus Bradley was fired (which happened on Sunday). The report took it a step further, suggesting Smith had already been reaching out to potential assistant candidates to build a staff.
It is easy to see why Smith would be an attractive candidate to prospective NFL teams. First and foremost, was the engineering of the dramatic turnaround of the Bucs defense which was at the bottom of nearly every measurable defensive stat following their Thursday night disaster of a game against the Falcons.
During the Bucs five-game winning streak, the team totally reversed most of those negative stats, and actually led the NFL in a number of categories including scoring defense and turnover differential.
Secondly Smith is an attractive candidate due to his previous head coaching experience with the Falcons where he took over for a struggling franchise stung by the sudden departure of Bobby Petrino. Smith led the Falcons to five playoff appearances and a 67-50 overall record in his seven seasons.
Regardless if the Bucs lose Smith to the Jaguars, or another head coaching vacancy, if the team builds off of their 2016 success next year, assistants will start disappearing. The Buccaneers have lost assistant coaches like Lovie Smith, Rod Marinelli, Mike Tomlin, Herm Edwards and others to greener pastures. It is just a product of success. Instead of lamenting the fact, Bucs fans should relish in the fact the team’s success is causing others to take notice.
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, 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@example.com
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