Will Duffner Change Defensive Scheme And Is He The Permanent Solution?


The Buccaneers’ front office has finally pulled the trigger this week and fired much beleaguered D-Coordinator Mike Smith. Rumors of Smith’s firing have been rampant for weeks. In his place the Bucs have named LBs coach Mark Duffner as the interim D-Coordinator. Duffner is of course the logical choice with his 22 years of experience in the NFL. Two of those years, from 2001 to 2002, he served as the Defensive Coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals but was fired after finishing last in scoring defense.

Does this mean there will be many changes to this Buc defense? Probably not. It will still most likely be a base 4-3 defense. There could be minor changes to things like pass coverage with CBs playing more press coverage than zone. The LB play might be more aggressive, maybe with more blitzes because Duffner is the LB’s coach.

Simply put it would be ill-advised to change out playbooks mid-season on a unit already struggling to turn their season around.

Duffner will likely remain D-Coordinator for the rest of the season, and if he impresses and the front office makes him the permanent choice that is when you would expect to see playbook/scheme changes. That said, it would seem that the Bucs are almost certainly pursing a bigger name for D-Coordinator for the 2019 season.