Tony’s Take: The Bucs Cannot Fire DC Mike Smith


The worst possible thing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could do right now is fire their defensive coordinator, Mike Smith.  The defense overall have been bottom feeders while under the watchful eye of Smith, and fans would love nothing more than for the front office to show him the door, myself included. At what cost, though? Will simply firing the DC fix the issues on defense? Will it cause the line to create more pressure? Will it fix a leaky pass defense? Most importantly, will the interim DC be able to make adjustments to a terrible defensive playbook to right this defensive ship?

The short answer is no, it will not. It would make the fan base feel better, but it might in fact make things worse if changes were made mid-season. One of the top candidates to fill in for Smith is defensive line coach Brentson Buckner. He seems to have the pedigree and the ceiling to make a great defensive coordinator (and maybe one day head coach), even though he has no such experience at the pro level.

Let’s say that the Bucs do in fact fire Mike Smith now and throw in Buckner as the fill-in DC. Would he succeed? No one can tell with absolute certainty, but it is definitely not the most ideal position for a young coach on the rise to be in. He would have zero time to install his own playbook (if he has one) and would have to lean on the hot garbage Smith playbook. He would literally have to make something out of nothing to set up a defense with the talent to succeed.

As much as it would make fans feel better to see Smith go, it would be ideal for him to stay the remainder of the season. Then, once 2018 is complete, hire his replacement and show Smith the door for good. So yes, the Bucs should fire Mike Smith, but just not yet.