Coordinators And Horrid Defenses

May 14th, 2018

“Don’t worry, Mike. Monte Kiffin didn’t always have the magic touch either.”

Sometimes, if it catches Joe’s eye, Joe will highlight insightful takes from loyal readers in the comments section.

Now Joe cannot remember the author (sorry), but a commenter suggested last week that he has never seen a good defensive coordinator have the worst defense in the NFL.

Joe thought for a moment and it seemed as if the author was onto something. Sure made sense.

But research of the last NFL decade revealed big-time defensive coaches did oversee the worst defense in the NFL for a specific season.

Last year, the Bucs defense was an absolute nightmare. It was dead last in yards allowed per game (which is what Joecalling worst defense) and last in almost too many categories to think about, including rock bottom in passing yards per completion (7.8), sacks (22) and a completely inexcusable third down conversion rate (48.15 percent).

Joe began looking at the coordinators of the past 10 seasons who guided their defenses into the ground. Below is that list and brace yourself, there are some huge names, and a couple appear multiple times.

2017 Bucs: Mike Smith
2016 49ers: Jim O’Neil
2015 Giants: Steve Spagnuolo
2014 Falcons: Mike Nolan
2013 Cowboys: Monte Kiffin
2012 Saints: Steve Spagnuolo
2011 Packers: Dom Capers
2010 Broncos: Don Martindale
2009 Lions: Joe Barry
2008 Lions: Joe Barry

By Joe’s count, more than half on the list above won Super Bowl rings as assistant defensive coaches (Spagnuolo, Giants; Kiffin, Bucs; Capers, Packers; Barry, Bucs — as a linebackers coach).

The 2014 Falcons were led by Smith, the current Bucs defensive coordinator, as he was their head coach. The 2012 Saints was the season Sean Payton was suspended all year.

So while at first glace it is hard to believe a good coordinator could ever be responsible for the worst defense in the NFL, recent history suggests it is entirely possible a good coordinator would puke all over his shoes for a season.

That still does not excuse the total garbage of a defense that appeared whenever the Bucs played indoor games last season.

28 Responses to “Coordinators And Horrid Defenses”

  1. The Buc Realist Says:

    Luckily games are won and lost by points, not yards!!!!!! If the Bucs cut out 9.5 yards a game, they would have been better than the Patriots!!!!!!! But it matters on points and scoreboards!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Its good to see that the sheep and so called-fans, will give the coaching staff a chance this year!!!! LOL!!!!! The defense was not good enough last year!! We all agree on that!!!! But what we saw on the field, was a measured plan to ” limit the damage”!!!!! If you look for the last 10 years of Bucs defense, only 2008 and 2010 had a less, points allowed!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And that was facing the highest average ranked offenses of the decade in 2017!!!!!

    But the sheep and so-called fans have really bought into the propaganda!!!!! While those in the know still wonder how joe wanted to bltiz and double team-wr?????? can’t have 13 men on the field!!!!!!!!

    Here is the good news for the sheep and so-called fans, We know the Bucs did not like the defense either!!!! That is why there is a new D-line coach, a new D-line, CB’s, Safety and drafted Mount VEA in the 1st round like a told you months before!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. IsrBuc Says:

    Maybe it the time difference between success and failure, possibly suggesting a once successfull coach stuck with his scheme and didn’t accept nfl changes and trends. This may be more common with once successfull coaches as their ego and confidance may fail them later

  3. BucFamous Says:

    Somebody needs to lose exclamation point privelages.

  4. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Think the one thing about smitty is he is not in a box and the players have to fit, I do think they drafted players this year to help with what he wants to do whether its the 4-2-5 or with the addition of vea it seems maybe more of a 3-3-5 concept and havng more dime packages because of who we play in the South…….bottom line these dudes need to play and win at each play

  5. Defense Rules Says:

    @Realist … “Luckily games are won and lost by points, not yards!!!!!!” Kudos Realist, although we BOTH know that Joe is like a dog with a bone when it comes to pronouncing the 2017 Bucs defense as the worst in the league (apparently yardage is king in Joe’s world).

    @BucFamous … “Somebody needs to lose exclamation point privelages.” And somebody needs to turn on their spell-checker.

  6. Ptwalk Says:

    @Joe, I’m the one that made that comment. Still doesn’t give me much confidence in Mike Smith.

  7. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    It’s time to perform on both sides of the line…..our new defense has no excuses….and our offense should have been much better last year…’s time to put the foot on the throat of the other team and not let up.

    With our weapons, we should be able to score at least 24 points per game (20.9) last year.
    Our defense gave up 23.9 last year…..this year we should be able to improve on that to 21……that should lead us to a 9-7 or 8-8 record. (let’s hope)

    Heads should roll if we can’t achieve these numbers vs last year.

  8. Harry in Costa Rica Says:

    “…Somebody needs to lose exclamation point privelages…”


  9. Wausa Says:

    The one thing that does give he hope of Mike Smith coaching abilities is how well the Bucs defense played down the stretch in 2016.

  10. Andrew Says:

    What’s each guy do the following year if not fired?

  11. Andrew Says:

    What did*

  12. Marine Buc Says:

    Let’s be honest. The talent level on defense has been below average. Our defensive line will be improved this year but our defensive backs are either rookies/second year guys or a has been. I don’t expect our defense to be all that much better until we see better defensive backs playing.

  13. ndog Says:

    Isn’t the definition of a sheep: a person who is too easily influenced or led?

    So it seems by that definition there is only one sheep among us, as no one else on this board easily believes this defensive staff is great like one certain person who likes to talk in 3rd person. So who’s the sheep again?

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Listen to this…..

  15. Bob in Valrico Says:

    D coordinators can’t turn frogs into princes. Baker was lazy and showed little
    interest in being a team player. There was a reason TJ Ward was let go.Denver thought the younger players were better in coverage. One dimensional safety was no help in passing defense.
    Bucs did have 13 fumbles recovered which was one behind Chicago who had the most.
    Time will tell ,but on paper this the most talented defensive free agent talent
    Licht has signed since he has been here. If the rookies develope accordingly,
    we got a good chance to be much better on defense.

  16. Destinjohnny Says:

    You can’t win without talent.
    Don’t shoot the messenger

  17. MTM Says:

    Hell if the Bucs had the 15th best defense they would probably made the playoffs. How many games are lost in the remaining minutes of the 4th quarter over the years? That being said the league is now all about offense. Put up big points and you win.

  18. Defense Rules Says:

    Marine Buc, I agree with you about the Secondary being young, but if the DLine AND LBs kick ass, we should still see a fairly significant improvement … better rushing defense (where we sucked last year), increased pressure on opposing QBs (helping the Secondary in the passing game), and a drop in Points Allowed (we were 22nd there last year & ‘should’ be able to improve to at least the mid-teens this year. With the addition of JPP, Allen, Vea & Unrein there’s absolutely no excuse for not improving in all 3 of those areas.

    There’s also no excuse for the Bucs’ offense to only be scoring as few points per game as they did in 2017. The Bucs last year LED THE NFL in the number of 1st downs that we got achieved by passing and 2nd in total 1st downs (only behind the Pats), yet we scored 314 points (if you take away the 21 pts scored by the defense) … less than 20 pts/game. Bucs have incredible weapons, and there are only 3 reasons why our offense performed so poorly: (1) turnovers (especially fumbles) killed drive after drive; (2) inability to punch it in once we were in the Red Zone (partially on play-calling); and (3) our OLine was average to mediocre (varied by game). We’ll all just have to wait & see if those 3 can be fixed this year, but IMO there’s no excuse for this offense scoring less than 24-25 pts/game. As a minimum …

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    JPP addition with a healthy Spence alone should make a huge difference, and the RE”VITA”LIZED line…that along with the excellent development of all our young DBs by our outstanding DB coaches should really help….
    Looking forward to a much stouter defense this year.

  20. Joe Says:

    Thank you Ptwalk!

  21. DB55 Says:

    Sheep? The problem with sheep is that they regurgitate what they been told rather than reading multiple sources and defining their own conclusions. I could get political here but what’s the point?

    If you’re able to define patterns you may be able to predict results rather accurately. In 2014 a Mike Smith def was in last place and in 2017 it was in last place too. Why? Well according to Matthew Chambers of SB Nation:

  22. Kobe Faker Says:

    Lol, The Buc False Prophet slapping himself on his back…watch your shoulder…you might hurt your shoulder like gimp nowhere spence

    how many 2 down Def Tackles do we have? signed and overpaid to tackles in FA and then use our prised first round pick for a run stopper

    You know what the big surprise is and huge problem?

    our wasted pick of VV will limit the snaps of Beau Allen…


  23. Mike Johnson Says:

    Will somebody please let Buc Realist know..the sale on Target runs thru friday.

  24. Capt.Tim Says:

    Often, injuries are are bigger factor than Coaching.
    Even the greatest defenses are usually driven by 2-4 above average players, and supported by a cast of Role players.

    The loss of a couple of the above average players can cause any defense to tank

  25. Lucious Selmon Says:

    @DB55 – Here are a couple of quotes from your link, which I found poignant.
    “Even with new coordinators, we saw a lot of the same problems: play time goes to the veterans, even if they cannot play; the team cannot rush the passer, and seems to be actively trying to not get to the quarterback; and halftime adjustments are nonexistent, leading to numerous third and fourth quarter meltdowns.”
    “The NFL is constantly evolving, and teams are changing and working on new ideas to help win games. Smith seemed content to run the same scheme, regardless of the year, the personnel, or the match up.”

    Same spit, different team?

  26. BucEmUp Says:

    Aside fro. 5 games in 2016 it’s been two seasons. Take away del Rios defense is Jax and Smith has nothing. He will take our press corners and convert them to softies just like vh3. This will be 3 years in a row. Not one year among good ones….ANOTHER BAD YEAR!!!

    Fire him please!

  27. Rod Munch Says:

    The Bucs defense last year was not only last in yards, finishing 32nd for the first time in team history, but was also 1st in points per drive given up. That means they would have given up a lot more points had the offense not done such a good job of moving the ball and keeping the defense off the field.

    The defense last year was horrific and most of that blame is on three people, Mike Smith, Chris Conte and Ryan Smith. I literally don’t know how Mike Smith kept playing Ryan Smith when the guy looked just as clueless and lost in week 17 versus the Saints as he did early in the year against the Vikings when he had the worst outing by a corner I’ve ever seen. Also those who say the defense wasn’t really last because it didn’t give up the most points… had the Vikings basically not stopped playing at halftime the Bucs defense would have given up 800 yards and more than 60 points, and that’s not an exaggeration. VH3 wasn’t any good in that Vikings game but Ryan Smith giving up bomb after bomb after bomb, I don’t know why they kept playing him, he was awful.

  28. Owlykat Says:

    One main factor not discussed was the failure of Smitty to put our All Pro to cover the opponent’s best WR no matter where he lines up. By putting our All Pro always on one side our opponents simply moved their top WR to the opposite side. We should not be running zone defenses. Watch the Patriots. They take away the top scorer on the opposite side. We should be doing the same. We also need to use Davis this year to jam his receiver. The DC needs to design his defense around the skills of his players. And every once in awhile use every kind of blitz to unnerve their QB and stop drives.