Penalties Don’t Fly Under Mike Smith

January 16th, 2016
"Hey, Lovie, we averaged just four penalties a game in Atlanta."

Hey, Lovie, for years, we averaged just four penalties a game in Atlanta.”

Whaddya know! New Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter has hired one of the great penalty-prevention gurus in NFL history.

Defensive coordinator Mike Smith, the former Falcons head coach, might want to bring a mop to Tampa when he arrives.

Smith has a lot to clean up.

The Bucs had 143 penalties last season. That total flirted with the NFL single-season record of 158 set by the 1998 Chiefs. In 2014, under Lovie Smith, penalties also were a huge problem, as they were for Tampa Bay in 2013.

In 2012, Mike Smith’s Falcons had the fewest penalties in NFL history, just 55, and they set the record for least penalty yards (415). That wasn’t by chance. In 2010, the Falcons had just 58 penalties, one of the best marks in league history.

Koetter was asked about cleaning up the Bucs’ penalty woes yesterday, and he made it clear that serious change is coming.

It so important to Koetter, it was one of the few things about which he would not share specifics on his exact approach.

Koetter cited his track record prior to this season, and Smith’s historic numbers as a head coach, as reasons to be confidence the messy Bucs will clean up their act.

“No. 1, we’ve got to do a great job educating our players on what are the most important factors on winning and losing in the NFL. Penalties is in that top-10. It starts with education,” Koetter said. “I’m not one of those guys that thinks, ‘Ok, you bring officials to practice every day, you’re less penalties.’ I don’t buy that.”

It sure sounded to Joe like Koetter would have had a radically different approach to penalties than Lovie did.

Koetter emphasized that players must understand “more games are lost than won” in the NFL.

28 Responses to “Penalties Don’t Fly Under Mike Smith”

  1. DallasBuc Says:

    Clean, competitive, penalty free football? That’s crazy talk.

  2. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I would love to create a “cut out” video of all the talking heads reacting to the Bengals game.

    I’d show the last minute..the Burfict and Pacman stupidity and then I cut in people like Chris Collinsworth…still lives in Cincy and as much as his job permits roots for the Bengals…same for Boomer Esiason…let’s see their faces hung in SHAME over their former team.

    Or we could cut to Dungy and Harrison with Rodney who was known as a borderline player himself calling Burfict straight up a THUG. Yep that was a black man using the “T” word on another black man. He clearly understands the implications!!!

    And so then I say that is NOT the rep the team wants!! I’d point out how the Bengals should be in Denver this weekend if it wasn’t for the boneheaded… of just two of their players.

    Then I might cut to Akeem Spence’s penalties and Mike Evans…and point out this just can’t go on anymore. We want to win…not vent our aggressions!

  3. Supersam Says:

    Finally some coaches with some sense!! Great days ahead Bucs fans.

  4. TNOLES Says:

    Hey Joes, Any word on when and if Mike Smith will be introduced to the media and have a Q&A session?

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    But how will they learn to strip the football?????

  6. Buccfan37 Says:

    StPeteBucsFan… If I was a Bengals fan that loss would be very difficult to get past also. Talk about giving the game away, the loss is unacceptable.

  7. Luther Says:

    @StPeteBucsFan I don’t think the problem was with the word “Thug”, it was how it has morphed to any black that got into trouble. Berfict and Pacman, are definitely “Thugs”, along with Cris Johnson. They lead that kind of lifestyle and it’s fairly obvious. I have an issue when it’s thrown at guys like Winston or Cam Newton (I can’t stand that dude) when they are nothing of the kind and not thrown and Johnny Manziel who acts like Pacman the most (Both love strip clubs and making it rain).

  8. unbelievable Says:

    @st. Pete,

    That was an embarrassing way to lose for sure, but you gotta blame the refs for much of that situation too. Bengals were pissed after the way Ryan Shazier took out Bernard, that probably should have been flagged.

    Then, when you have assistant coaches like mularkey and Joey Porter (a guy who started sh!t all the time as a player), grabbing Bengals players and going on the field to get in the middle of guys, an the refs do nothing?!? The coaches should be held to a higher standard than players, IMO. The fact that they did nothing towards the steelers would have drove me insane as a Bengals player / fan. Now the players need to have more self control, I’m not giving them a lot of pass, but Cinci definitely got the short end of the stick.

    Going back to the Bucs, I absolutely lover what Koetters been preaching so far! Clean, competitive, fire!

  9. Joe Says:

    Hey Joes, Any word on when and if Mike Smith will be introduced to the media and have a Q&A session?

    No. This was discussed with Bucs officials last night. Maybe next week, maybe by conference call. Still fluid.

  10. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I like a nice well-timed personal foul once in a while…..a real nasty thump on a player like Cammy….wipe that smile off!!!

  11. Trubucfan22 Says:

    I’ll belive it when i see it. Koetter’s offense had it’s fair share of penalties too. False starts were a common occurance and that is just inexcusable. Can’t blame the defensive Lovie for the Offenses failures.

  12. LargoBuc Says:

    HOPEFULLY it will sink in this time. It sounds nice to talk about cleaning up penalties, but ultimately its up to the players to stop making stupid mistakes. And hopefully we get dome depth to where the coaches can actually bench a player for a stupid penalty, and the play on the field dosent suffer. I sense a massive overhaul on defense this spring. Its obvious ownership wasnt pleased with where the unit was going under Lovie. And no one, NO ONE, should have a guaranteed spot on that defense, except for Kwon. Guys like GMC and LVD need to feel pushed to either bring it, every minute of every day starting in training camp, or you will be gone. They got paid like the best in the league. And Lovie made plenty of mistakes, but the effort out there on defense the last four games was disgusting. Eceruone was flat and didnt care. LVD can btch and moan about Lovie being fired all he wants, but that lackluster effort was a big factor. These guys have no one to blame but themselves for losing their coach, anf big changes need to be made.

  13. LargoBuc Says:

    Tbbf, I agree. Sometimes 15 yards is worth it to get a point across. Too many times Cam has completly disrespected our team, and its about time the defense knocked that smile off of his face. Im so tired of Cam coming into our house and laughing, having a good time, thinking he can spit on the team and fans. Make that brat uncomfortable. Make his sweat. Make him not want anything to do with coming into Tampa to play the Buccaneers. Im tired of this spit.

  14. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Completely agree with you unbelievable. The refs got under the bengals skin more than the steelers did. Players just want you to call a fair game. The refs did a terrible job of that.

  15. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    @Luther…agree completely about the use of the word “thug”.

    @Unbelievable I certainly understand your take. Remember I grew up across from Riverfront Stadium and had been a Bengals fan since their creation by Paul Brown. All of my extended family still live in Greater Cincinnati and a couple of them even have Bengals season tickets. I haven’t talked to them because I just thought that was such a painful way to lose I want to let it heal a bit first.

    Agree with your takes on who bears the responsibility. If this was the first time…say like Akeem Spence…if it wasn’t such an obvious attempt to injure someobody..Burfict’s hit…I would perhaps have a different view.

    I agree with you there is plenty of blame…but IMHO is starts with Burfict and PacMan who are REPEAT offenders. The Refs certainly bear some responsibility.
    the league bears responsiblility…Burfict has been repeatedly fined for this kind of behavior…at some point sit him down for a LONG time.

    But most of all I blame Marvin Lewis. The Bengals simply need to cut bait and start again. Lewis has maintained a look the other way policy since he’s gotten the job. If he won Super Bowls with his thugs perhaps some would excuse it..not me…but with his record in the post season why continue to put up with it.

    Lewis KNEW that PacMan was literally a thug off the field and had a horrible rep…Burfict is borderline crazy…Lewis just reaped what he had sown.

  16. unbelievable Says:

    Oh man, the family is probably still so bummed! Yea I agree, definitely a lot of blame to go around. Marvin Lewis has obviously enabled the players, and really the league has with Burfict too since the fines have done nothing to make him change his play. I don’t have any issue with the call on him.

    My issue is the foul on pacman when you’ve got Joey porter out on the field in the middle of players instigating things. Then take into account the hair pulling by another of their assistant coaches and the Shazier hit, it just seems like the steelers got away with a lot and the Bengals got the raw end. It goes back to overall frustration with how inconsistent officiating has gotten. And it seems to directly effect certain teams positively and others negatively. But make no mistake, Burfict deserves that flag 100%

  17. Trubucfan22 Says:

    You can’t (shouldn’t) fire a coach because a player made a stupid hit during a game. That’s complete nonsense.

    You want passionate, hard hitting, even a little “nasty” in your defense. Firing Lewis for this would be stupid. Even seriously thinking about it is illogical.

  18. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Are we really hating on pacman? He has been a perfect citizen for a long time now. His worse offense? Yelling at an opposing coach for instigating a situation on the field? Please. Im against most of these thugs and scum of the earth in the NFL, but pacman did clean himself up and has stayed out of trouble. You can’t use pacman as a reason to fire Lewis, if anything pacman showed how well Lewis has handled the thugs on his team.

    People are blowing up over nothing. A hit and a flag for yelling. I mean come on. How sensitive can this society get? Smh.

  19. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Nobody is suggesting Lewis get fired just for PacMan. He is but ONE example.

    The Bengals are third in the league in the past decade in players who have been arrested. 31 arrests in the past decade.

    Burfict is a known on field thug…that’s from Rodney Harrison not me. Burfict was fined not once..not twice..but three times in just ONE game…the previous game against the Steelers. He tried to take out Big Ben’s knee!!! He had been fined three times before then including twisting the ankles of Panther players.

    Many teams have some players with questionable character but they seem to control them. It seems as if the sheer number of bad Bengals has overwhelmed Lewis.

    I think Lewis is actually a good coach with bad judgement in this area…much like Chucky. But 31 arrests..more than a half dozen fines on one player in the past two seasons…and a huge O fer in the first round of the playoffs!!! It’s time for him to move on and let Cincinnati get a coach capable of getting past the first round while they still have this nucleus of talent.

  20. Trubucfan22 Says:

    I dont buy it. If lewis is a good coach, like you say, then dont fire him.

    Everyone expects the next coach to be better than the last. But that rarely happens. Coaches fail at a far greater rate than they succeed. If ownership has an issue with the character issues the team seemingly has, then he should meet with Lewis and address the issue. But firing him for trying to field the best team he possibly can, is just stupid. Imo. That’s what you pay him to do.

    As for the failures in the playoffs. How do you know or expect the next coach can get over that hump? We expected the bucs to get better when we fire gurden and hired Raheem Morris, then Schiano, then Lovie. It’s a lot harder to find a good HC than you think.

  21. HIRE JIMBO Says:

    If we had Pac-Man or burfict everyone would have a different view. And we could get one or both of them this off season. Idk if they are FA, but they might get cut for their shananagans. I would welcome both with open arms. We NEED some NASTY on this team.

  22. Dreambig Says:

    Hire jimbo – No way! Those kind of meat heads always kill you in the end.

  23. MadMax Says:

    PLEASE Mike!!! Clean it up Sir! So glad you’re here 🙂

  24. MadMax Says:

    And a big fat NO to players like burfict and pacman….thats a prime example of immature selfish me me me me me players who put themselves before the team and winning the game….they’re retarded! No room for them in our locker room.

  25. godzilla13 Says:

    With the Jaguars his defense finished 18th, 7th, 6th, 4th and 10th for Points Allowed. Schematically, look for the use a 4-3 front and Cover-2 coverage, much like we have been using but with the ability to be flexible. In 2005, the Jaguars ranked 4th in overall defense (296.6), 3rd in offensive points allowed (16.1), 5th in rushing defense (99.3) and allowed the third fewest rushing touchdowns (37) from 2003-06. Smith’s coaching philosophies center on his team displaying sustainability. Being consistent from play to play, game to game. His defense’s are known for playing disciplined, fundamentally sound football. Holding onto leads and closing out games. He teaches a rugged and physical approach to defense and has his team ready to play in every game. Disciplined, sustainability, consistency, closing out games, rugged, physical football who’s team is ready to play, never flat? These are the words I have been waiting for.

  26. BUCSFAN68 Says:

    Rodney Harrison was wrong to use the word thug and folks on this site using that word to describe Burfict are wrong. He hasn’t been convicted of any crime.

  27. Pick6 Says:

    offense had issues with penalties also, but then again there were times when the only players on the field offensively who had been in the NFL before Jameis won his heisman were mankins and our RT. inexperience can explain alot more on offense than it can on defense from last year

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    I’m sittin here LMAO. Penalties don’t fly under DC Smith? But his defenses sure do give up big plays down the field. Look how much we use to score on him. And we were not even contenders.