Wanted: “Good Thinker”

January 24th, 2016
New Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith talks about what his friend and head coach Dirk Koetter wants

New Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith talks about what his friend and head coach Dirk Koetter wants

Dumb won’t fly with new Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter.

That was the message from defensive coordinator Mike Smith when he joined Ron & JP on WDAE-AM 620 last week.

“I know that’s what Dirk believes in, is playing smart football. You know, being a good thinker on your feet is what you’ve got to be able to do,” Smith said. “Yes, it’s an emotional game, but sometimes you have to put your emotions behind you because that’s when those dumb penalties come. And we can’t have the silly penalties.”

Joe is very interested in any morsel that sheds light into how Koetter will operate as a head coach, how he’ll differ from Lovie Smith, a guy who seemed to tolerate dumb penalties and/or couldn’t stop players’ stupid behavior.

Mike Smith repeated his theme of education, which was his focus in Atlanta. As head coach there, Smith’s teams set NFL records for fewest penalties.

“Make sure our guys understood how a game is going to be officiated, and try to take it and use it to our advantage,” Smith said of his past approach. “You gotta play on the edge, you can’t go over the edge.”

On the day he was introduced to media as Bucs head coach, Koetter also emphasized needing a deep education of players on penalties. It felt like Koetter was calling Lovie off the mark in that area.

Do the Bucs have enough “good thinkers” to improve discipline with better education? Joe thinks so, though Joe has doubts when it comes to Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Will Gholston and other prime offenders.

31 Responses to “Wanted: “Good Thinker””

  1. Stu Laake Says:

    Mike Evans a.k.a. ME

  2. Buc1987 Says:

    “Mike Smith repeated his theme of education, which was his focus in Atlanta. As head coach there, Smith’s teams set NFL records for fewest penalties”

    Holy crap then he better get out his axe and start making cuts with this Bucs team. The team is loaded with morons.

  3. Pick6 Says:

    if this or any coaching staff can save knuckleheads like ASJ and Gholston from themselves, i will be thoroughly impressed

  4. The Buc Realist Says:

    It will be so refreshing to see some “real” coaching around here!!! after 2 years of a hearing a coach keep saying that he just needs to collect better players, I will enjoy watching some players actually get better!! Will Coach Koetter and Smith get thru to every player? the answer is no!! But worth salvaging some players will drafting and heaven forbid a free agent that is not a bust around here will be welcome!!!!!!!!

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

  5. Wausa Says:


    Funny but true
    My hope is the idiotic penalties are not tolerated any longer.
    Heck Lovie wouldn’t even take the player out for one play let alone preach an intolerance to it.

  6. godzilla13 Says:

    Lovie Smith seemed to tolerate dumb penalties and/or couldn’t stop players’ stupid behavior. Very frustrating especially the same ones over and over again. Mike Smith needs to focus on the defensive line, neutral zone infractions, illegal use of hands/hands to the face penalties. In the secondary the defensive pass interference and defensive holding calls are big ones too. Koetter needs to put his foot down with the illegal formations and offensive pass interference penalties. George Warhop needs to reduce the false starts and offensive holding penalties. I am interested to hear what coach Koetter plans on doing differently this year in regards to the immaturity with players like Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins?

  7. ToesOnTheLine! Says:

    I realize it’s all just offseason hyperbole and rhetoric until September, but I can’t help but feeling this is one of the most qualified coaching staffs the Bucs have assembled in a very long time. Just looking at NFL success Mike Smith is a stronger coaching hire than Leslie Frazier was.

  8. Stanglassman Says:

    Mike Smith sounds like he just was breaking down some of years tape and couldn’t believe all the stupid penalties this team got.

    There is plenty of things to say about Lovie’s coaching without making things up. He probably should have pulled and benched more players for stupid behavior but he did pull players at times when they committed penalties. I’ve seen Evans, Spence and Gholston all pulled at times and chewed out.

    I really don’t think this team would lead the league in penalties if they weren’t the Bucs. Maybe top 10 but I watch all the other games and see plays all the time that if it were the Bucs doing the same thing it would be called a penalty.

  9. Buc1987 Says:

    Toes…yep, but I’m tryng REAL hard not to get too excited.

    I”l leave that for The Buc Realist. LOL Did I just type that?

    Realist is excited. smh

  10. Wombat Says:

    The fact that Mike Smith got pulled away from his defensive coaches to do his “presser”, and couldn’t wait to get back in there excites me.
    Completely different approach. Wanting to hear what the other guys have to say rather than this is the defense, you all have to learn it!! He never said what the defense was when asked 3-4 or 4-3, prolly because its a work in progress. Only a fool would want to run a static defense in this league. Surround yourself with smart guys, hear what they have to say. Find out how you can utilize a certain player, and play to their strengths.
    Lovie was searching for unicorns to play the mythical “cover 2″…. we all know how that worked.
    The times they are a changin’

  11. Supersam Says:

    That’s one thing about this team, there isn’t a lot of “thinkers”. I see a lot of our players on the sideline that don’t look like there’s much going on upstairs.

  12. biff barker Says:

    It’s more like Lovie couldn’t do anything to stop the penalties because some players just tuned him out. Just my hunch.

  13. Stanglassman Says:

    Smith said it would be based out of a 4-3 but went on to explain that the front end is easily changed to a 3-4 but it was the back end is where the flexibility is much more diverse. Essentially answering the question. 4-3 base mixing in 3-4 both with man, different zone coverage. Basically if you’re a coach or Qb be ready and prepare for everything b/c you won’t know exactly what you’re getting.

  14. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    The great Paul Brown was an innovator. Invented the face mask for NFL helmets.

    And long before it was fashionable Brown gave potential players IQ tests to see if he wanted to work with them.

    I do not believe we have a stupid team. When you see Aquib Talib or Legarette Blount you can quickly realize these guys are not the brightest bulbs in the chandelier. Combine that with a challenging upbringing and you get trouble

    The Buc’s players however…ASJ and M.E in particular seem to be articulate bright if immature individuals.

    The major question is can Koetter/Smith coach the selfishness and immaturity out of them.

  15. Mike Johnson Says:

    All conjecture and talk right now. WIN and we will heap the praises. Coulda/Woulda/Shoulda…all fodder for the media. Having been a Bucs fan for 40 plus yrs, I’ve heard and seen it all. Less verbalization and more implementation. Kick back Buc fans and watch playoff teams this Sunday who stuck with their coaches and are now reaping the rewards. Watch, learn….and weep.

  16. LargoBuc Says:

    Players are making unprecedented amounts of money. You cant be so lax or players will walk all over you. But on the other side of the spectrum, we saw Schiano’s drill seargant ways didnt work either. Its so important now for coaches to find that middle ground. So many players have this sense of entitlement that makes it hard for either side to be effective. That said, my impression of Mike Smith has been tough but fair. Intense but understanding. I just really hope his message gets through.

  17. LargoBuc Says:

    M Johnson, if those coaches made as many blunders as Lovie, or lost the lockeroom like Schiano, they wouldnt have been around for so long. The key isnt to keep a coach around, the key is to find a coach that can get it done and keep him around.

  18. Stanglassman Says:

    Stuck with their coaches? I guess one of the 4 might make sense.

    It nice to see you are warming up to the idea that Mike smith was a good hire though.

  19. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    You can’t really have it both ways…..blame Lovie for coaching mistakes…then not believe that Gholston, ASJ, Evans et al….can be changed by good coaching.
    These guys are young players and can be changed….riding the pine after a stupid penalty can cure many ills.
    Now…if you have no talent and make mistakes….riding the pine elsewhere is called for.

  20. Bird Says:

    Joe. I’m proud of you to write articles about the team and not just one player. Keep em coming. Excited with having this coaching staff. Wonder if any free agents that are close with some of our new coaches from other teams who would want to follow them here as a quality free agent. I’m sure guys on the offensive side would want to come here (receiver and tight end) and play with Jameis so we got that. Just need some quality players on defensive side and draft 3 starting defensive players in draft.

  21. Stanglassman Says:

    I wonder how long it’s going to take for them to hire a OC and WR coach?

    Is there any news on this front? Potential hires or interviews taking place?

  22. ToesOnTheLine! Says:

    Yeah the earlier “stick with their coaches” comment puzzles me. Denver actually did the opposite, they dumped a winning coach (Fox) and brought in Kubiak (good to be the backup QB to the current GM). The Cardinals cycled through a fair number of HC’s before they stuck with Wisenhunt. Arians has only been there since 2013, and if anything is a perfect example of how quickly a good HC can turn a franchise around. Belichick is a rare example of a HC that can punch his own ticket, so the fact the Patriots “stuck by their coach” is a no brainer in that case. I guess the only team that you can say “stuck by their coach” are the Panthers.

  23. ToesOnTheLine! Says:

    Ironically if you look at the playoffs just this season it blows the whole “be patient” argument out of the water. Out of the 12 teams that were in the postseason 50% (6) of them currently reached the postseason with coaches that have been with their teams 3 or fewer seasons. Four of those six coaches have turned their teams’ fortunes around in 2 or less years. I tend to agree that in most cases a HC deserves 3 years to field a winner, but it shouldn’t be guaranteed as shown by teams made relevant in a shorter period of time.

  24. Buc1987 Says:

    Toes…splendid debunking of what Mike Johnson just said. I don’t expect a counter from him though. You just proved what he said was nonsense.

  25. unbelievable Says:

    @Toes, great point!

    I agree a coach should usually get 3 years if it looks like things are improving. But when you’re posies pfor a playoff push and you come out flat and pathetic for 4 weeks straight against inferior opponens, and then take into account the abysmal first season- Lovie had to go. Simple as that.

    This is the first coaching staff I’ve been excited about since Gruden.

  26. ReallyDude Says:

    You make it seems as if Mike Smith is a genius i remember when Mike Smith and his team where trash now that there here we are headed to the superbowl next year..

  27. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Way to counter Mike’s point with some facts!!

    BTW notice that Belicheat was a loser until he got Brady. Not saying that he’s a bad coach just that another common denominator is that all 4 coaches have a franchise QB!

    Another note is that Ron Rivera was on his way out at Carolina after just his second year but he finished with wins and saved his job.

    AGAIN…this is not rocket science…Lovie lost his job for many reasons but you really don’t need to look any farther than the final quarter of the year. We went backwards…the final four games were an embarrassment and that’s why #3 went off after the Carolina game.

  28. Stanglassman Says:

    Yea Toes great point, I sure do wish I would have made the same point a hour before you. You did do a good job spelling it out., not hard to debunk MJ.

  29. LargoBuc Says:

    Nicely done toes. Greatly expanded upon a point

  30. Pelbuc Says:

    Toes is right. Lovie had full control of the roster, chased away some really good players and brought in stiffs. Hopefully, this regime will bring in players that care and play smart. Panthers look loaded for years. Their defense flat out intimidates. Bucs gotta rebuild the defensive disaster Lovie left us.

  31. BigHogHaynes Says:

    Some teams get lucky most teams are ready to show improvement before the next coach is hired and some teams need stability in the coaching staff (more than 2 yrs to build) instant championship type teams are not the norm!