It’s official. Mike Smith is no longer employed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A report points to linebackers coach Mark Duffner to act as the interim DC for the remainder of the season. Will he be any better than Mike Smith with the same playbook? One would hope for sure, but his short record as a defensive coordinator isn’t encouraging. If you were wondering, he went 8-24 in Cincinnati before the Bengals sent him packing, and has been a position coach ever since.
For sure he has experience being a coordinator, and has coached in this league for 22 years now. So experience he isn’t short on. Success however is a different story. It must be noted that his experience is limited, and there is an argument to be made that there is a lot more upside to Duffner than you might notice at first glance.
For what it’s worth the Bucs organization believes in Duffner enough to at least make him the temporary DC over his peers. That does say something, and all honesty the arrow has to be pointing up for the defense as things could not get much worse. With simple adjustments, it would not be a stretch to guess that the Bucs could give away fewer than their current 34 points per game. Or allow mediocre QB’s to throw for 400+ yards and 5+ TD’s. So it really can’t go anywhere, but up.
Make no mistake, the game this next Sunday against the Browns will not just be a statement game for the Bucs defense (heck the entire team), but for the front office which felt like anything was better than what they had in Mike Smith.