Mike Smith’s Allergy To Penalties

February 2nd, 2016

An evil image of Bucs’ DC Mike Smith was shared at Super Bowl Opening Night.

When Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith was introduced to the Tampa Bay pen and mic club last month, he didn’t waste a whole lot of time addressing an area that stung the Bucs in recent years, a rash that drives Smith nuts.

That would be penalties.

“One of the things that I think is very important is that you strive to play penalty-free football and, on defense, you have to play penalty-free football because if you don’t, you’re getting a lot of opportunities to have the spot fouls,” Smith said. “The things that really hurt you are the defensive pass interferences or the silly, dumb penalties.

“As a defense, we’re going to strive to play on the edge but not over the edge, and that’s a fine line. When teams play on the edge they’re ready to play and they’re ready to play the way the game is supposed to be played.”

Well, last night on the way to San Jose for Super Bowl Opening Night (nee: media day), Joe talked to a Dixie Chicks beat writer who knows Smith well.

(How bad was the bus driver hauling some media members from San Francisco to the SAP Center, the home of the San Jose Sharks? At one point a Georgia-based columnist was getting directions from Siri and relaying them to the driver. Later, the bus Joe was on was right in front of the friggin’ arena and the driver had no idea until a writer told him!)

Penalties drove Smith so crazy, that in an effort to reduce them, Smith would shame players who racked up flag after flag — before their teammates.

Smith would post a list of the top penalty offenders in the locker room for all players to see. Smith would update the list weekly.

In 2012, the Dixie Chicks under Smith had the fewest penalties in the NFL.

This sure sounds radically different than Lovie Smith. Oh, Lovie would preach against penalties publicly, but Joe has been told it was little more than lip service.

Joe was once told by a Bucs player that Lovie didn’t often discuss penalties on practice days and really only started to preach against penalties in earnest in the final weeks of the 2015 season.

It was a far cry from the days of former Bucs commander Greg Schiano, Joe was told, who had analytics on each NFL official: what calls they liked to throw flags on and what they tended to let slide. Schiano made sure players knew those tendencies in the days leading up to a game.

It seems, that in one way, Smith and Schiano are obsessed with the same thing: playing penalty-free football.

15 Responses to “Mike Smith’s Allergy To Penalties”

  1. Bucnut2 Says:

    Great post Joe! Really interesting stuff.

  2. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    And how many offsides penalties did GMC have during the ProBowl? LMAO! Good luck Coach M. Smith.

  3. Tom Edrington Says:

    Clueless driver? Was that Lovie at the wheel?

  4. Warren Says:

    We’ll see! I am thinking Mike Smith formerly being a consultant with the officiating committee (not sure if I got that exactly right), will probably help. We don’t play enough insider baseball as a franchise, or so it would seem, to get favorable calls coming our way

  5. Espo Says:

    Sounds like taxi drivers here. Drive around for a living but either get lost or drive like crap. I don’t use their service, but answer their 911 calls when they drive around in circles and get upset when customers don’t want to pay them.

  6. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Still wish we could add Jim Tomsula to the staff. Someone with a little bit-more fire in the belly.

  7. Wombat Says:

    Now I would like to see a leader board in the Offensive Meeting Room…. Most drops, and in big 6″ letters!

  8. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Mike Smith & Mike Nolan couldn’t -produce a formidable hybrid defense in Atlanta. Mike Smith & Jim Tomsula could work though. The differences in personalities types – made Dom Capers & Dick LeBeau the perfect marriage in Pittsburg. They teamed up, to bring the zone blitz to Blitzburgh.

  9. The Buc Realist Says:

    Just more evidence of why the players were grumbling earlier this year!!! I don’t know how many articles and sources that Joe has to use to prove that lovie only collects talent on defense to be successful!!!

    That is why The Buc Realist is so excited for this year!!! Excited to see some real coaching!! Excited to what Coach Mike Smith can salvage off this current defensive roster. Yes, he will have to coach the “lovie” out of these players!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!!

  10. BucTrooper Says:

    I’d like to see the Penalty Board. Top 3 penalty getters have to pay for a night at Ruth’s Chris.

  11. Couch Fan Says:

    The proof was on the field for all to see each and every week. Amazing that only now people are seeing what some of us have been seeing.

  12. Mike Johnson Says:

    I remember coach Smith’s defenses getting trounced by many NFL teams. We shall see IF..he can turn this Defense around. If not, Lovie and Schiano have 2 reels and Rods waiting for him and Koetter over at Bubba’s bait& tackle shop!

  13. Stanglassman Says:

    MJ- All this time and you still haven’t looked into Mike Smith’s defenses? We all know Mike Nolan failed as a DC in ATL when Mike Smith was HC his last few years in ATL but try looking a lil’ deeper bro.

    One thing I liked about Mike Smith’s teams while he was in ATL besides the lack of penalties was that his teams were relatively injury free. The guy knows how to manages his players health throughout the year.

  14. loggedontosay Says:

    The majority of the penalties were on offense.

  15. pick6 Says:

    “The majority of the penalties were on offense.”

    …where, at times, hawley, and our RT were the only players on the field who weren’t in college at the time Lovie Smith became bucs HC. this is in contrast to a veteran defense where the majority of guys have pro bowls or all pros on their resume