Playing To Mike Smith’s Goal

March 19th, 2016

The defensive coordinator has been served

The Bucs’ three big defensive free agency moves all play right to what Mike Smith talked about when he was hired as defensive coordinator.

Smith was adamant that he expects his defense to use systems and schemes that are easy for his players but perplexing for QBs. The anti-Lovie even went on to say he was happy to morph from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4, whatever it took to maximize the talent available.

Enter free agent defensive end Robert Ayers. Here’s a look at every one of his sacks last year. The man defines versatility — inside, outside, left and right.

New linebacker Daryl Smith also is a fountain of versatility. Joe was told (but hasn’t yet verified) that during Smith’s career, he led teams in tackles at each linebacker position. And, as Joe explained yesterday, Smith is a true three down linebacker, just like Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David, two guys who can blitz effectively. Smith had three sacks last year, so he’s no slouch chasing QBs, either.

Brent Grimes primarily plays left cornerback, but can effectively shadow top receivers all over the field. Yes, Brandon Marshall ate up Grimes late last season, but please remember Marshall is a five-time Pro Bowler with 882 catches and led the NFL in touchdowns last season. He’s a sure Hall of Famer.

Look at this play. Though a loss for Grimes, he was in position to make the play.

The point is the Bucs have major league flexibility on defense. That will only soar when they draft a super-talented defensive end player in the first round next month, as well as later picks on that side of the ball.

Mike Smith has been served.

48 Responses to “Playing To Mike Smith’s Goal”

  1. Chromolly Says:

    First 1 nb4lock!

  2. gotbbucs Says:

    Just disguise some coverages, please. If nothing else teach these guys how to do some pre-snap shifting to force opposing QBs to at least move on to there 2nd, maybe even 3rd read.

  3. Mike Johnson Says:

    Onr thing is certain…the pressure us on Both Koetter and Smith to turn this Defense completely around. The clock is ticking. And We Bucs fans are waiting…..

  4. tmaxcon Says:

    If versatility is key then the bucs need Leonard “The Freak” Floyd. Pass on Buckner.

  5. Buc-M Says:

    I like the Mike Smith hire, makes sense. If not for the Falcons giving up so many draft picks for J Jones their team would have been better and might not have gotten fired.
    His D in Jax that he coached indicates he should turn the Bucs D around… we will find out soon enough. With that said, I hope GM JL gets some D assistants in place that can take over where he leaves off, because he will probably will get a head coaching job again. He did interview for HC positions this year.

    Go Bucs

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    I have been hearing that the hold over players are saying how much fun it was in Schiano’s defense and that the players are hoping that Coach Smitty’s defense will be similar to Coach Schiano’s!!!!

    A lot of truth is coming out this week!!! Pay attention Buc fans!!!!!

  7. CAN'T FIX IT Says:

    Mike Johnson , It sounds like your mad because the Buc’s let your do nothing Lovie Smith go !! And now you want to take it out on Koetter and Mike Smith… What is the color of your skin you say ??????? THOUGHT SO !!!

  8. Bob in Valrico Says:


    sad commentary on the Lovie years.But when I think of all the benching of corners every week or two.Hard for Lovie to complain when it happened to him.
    he at least got two years.

  9. The Buc Realist Says:

    @can’t fix it

    Maybe mike johnson is mad, But the players are not!!!!

    Some of what the players are saying is incredible!!! Its one thing when fans say the defense is out-dated and there were no adjustments, but it speaks volumes when multiple players are saying it!!!!!!!!!

  10. Pawel Says:

    Mike Jenkins would of tripped himself on purpose if Marshall passed him.

  11. SOEbuc Says:


    We got Hayes to take over the D when Smith leaves

  12. cover deuce Says:

    I think you might be overselling Smith a bit as a 3-down guy. I’m glad he’s here, but his age was starting to show last year in coverage. At this stage in his career he’s far more suited to run-downs.

  13. The Other Side of the Coin Says:

    First round: defensive tackle.
    Second round: defensive end.
    Third round: wide receiver.
    Fourth round: safety
    Fifth and sixth: BPA

  14. Defense Rules Says:

    Thanks for a super-positive article Joe. I’ve felt good about each of our FA signings this spring and the idea of each one of them being versatile is great. I fully expect that Mike Smith will turn this defense around, and as a result will end up moving on in either 1 or 2 years, depending upon HC openings. But we’ve made some excellent hires on the defensive coaching side, and that should serve us well for years to come. Can’t wait to see what pieces the Bucs can add in next month’s draft.

  15. biff barker Says:

    Shortly after the firing I commented about the gut was telling me the secondary coaching had a major rift with the players. There was a lot of crap flowing in the bowels of OBP.

    That’s being right and wrong at once.

    It was far deeper than I ever imagined.

    Having survived Lovie means there some guys laser focused on vindicating themselves from the stench.

    BTW, nice of Banks to mention Schiano so favorably. It’s doubtful M. Smith missed the part about how playing well as a unit is called having fun.

  16. Defense Rules Says:

    @The Other Side of the Coin … Like the list except that I doubt the Bucs will be so restrictive in the top spots after what they did in FA. With 7 picks altogether, personally expect them to address 7 positions, very likely in the order of BPA with defense getting priority: DT, DE, Safety, CB, LB, WR and OLine. It’ll be an interesting draft in any event.

  17. BigHogHaynes Says:

    @ THE REALIST : Banks the only one to have a negative word about LOVIE; if he makes the cut this year we’ll see if he can pick up M Smith’s Defense, where are you getting all these other quotes. PURE PROPAGANDA!!

  18. The Buc Realist Says:


    Seems like Verner had a lot to say as well!!!! Which is odd because he is very low-key and reserved!!! And the Hawk has spoken out, Mark Barron spoke out, and there are whisper from the Linebackers that have not been in the media yet!!!

  19. Mike Johnson Says:

    Note to..CAN’T FIX IT..Color of my skin? I’m white sir. Just not a confederate yourself. My ancestors were on..the winning side.

  20. James Walker Says:

    Does Daryl Smith have the speed for coverage?

  21. mike10 Says:

    This is how u do it though. You build through the draft but have proven talent in place so your rookies can develop and come into their own..

  22. Stanglassman Says:

    I can’t believe anyone thought Mike Johnson (Slave name?) was a grown Black man, they’re never that immature.

  23. Dave Says:

    Another great DT is awesome but for you people thinking they are going to select one in round 1, not going to happen. They have McCoy and Spence as starters and vet rotational guys along with Ayers moving in sometimes.
    The needs in the first 3 rounds are:
    Safety or LB or WR

    then –
    What they don’t select and OLine

  24. CAN'T FIX IT Says:

    Note to:: Mike Johnson I’m black !!! And love the south ,,,Your our right I’m a confederate rebel like my grandfathers before me SIR and always will be !!!

  25. Couch Fan Says:

    We could very well pick a DT at #9. You might not agree with that but it doesnt make it anyless true. I think we will pick a DT. I’d rather have Billings, Rankins or Bullard over any of the DEs available except Bosa.

  26. BigHogHaynes Says:

    @The Buc Realist : Verner is not a Schiano holder over, as I recall some defensive players were very upset that LOVIE got BACK-STABBED, THE CONSPIRACY CONTINUES TO RUN DEEPER!!

  27. The Buc Realist Says:


    You asked who else spoke out about lovie,,,”Banks the only one to have a negative word about LOVIE”

    I guess Verner was using his other 4 years NFL experience with the Titans to recognize that lovie and his system are incompetent in today’s NFL!!!! I am just glad That everyone knows the truth know!!!! There is more to come though, and I am surprised that Joe has not said a peep about it yet!!!!

    From animosity amigos to the astute amigos I would say!!!!!!!!!!

  28. unbelievable Says:

    @Couch, I agree!

    I think the best DE is the draft is Noah Spence, but #9 is too high for him. Bosa is good too but there are character concerns there as well, plus he’s not as great rushing the passer. Very good against the run thigh.

  29. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Man lovie suck and I’ve said on more than one occasion I’m a black man. He suck so bad he erase all bad memories I had of Greg Shiano.

  30. Stevek Says:


    Cmon man, Lovie led the worst Buccaneer Defense in the last 20 years. No excuses for being that freaking bad. I was a little surprised Lovie was fired, but relieved that we have a new coaching staff. This staff can’t be any worse, can’t wait!

    Lovie was not back stabbed, he refused to change and he refused to do what was needed. Stubbornness is a b!tch.

  31. unbelievable Says:

    LOL @ Nole!

    I’m just trying to erase the memories of both of them!

    It seems there are 2 posters in this site that can’t get over it though. My theory is they are both related to (and possibly employed by?) the previous HC.

  32. The Buc Realist Says:

    backstabbing is what you do when you secretly meet with the owners in October when a Coach is in his second year and you are hiding in your basement!!!!

    I just read a great read on “Reviewing five years of Buccaneers defense” and it details how lovie destroyed this teams defense!!! The truth is really flying out now!!!!!

  33. Dave Says:


    They could do anything.
    But the reality is teams ALWAYS fill needs with BPA. There is serious depth at both positions. They very could go DE Rd 2 but I would think they’d take a CB in Rd 1 then simply because starting DT is just not needed.

    I do disagree about the DEs though. I think ogbah, Lawson, Dodd, bosa, Buckner… And others are all worth Rd 1.
    I believe if they go DTbitll be in the middle rounds.

    All I do know is I will give them the benefit of the doubt after last year because it’s all a crap shoot and no one really knows.

  34. cmurda Says:

    The Grimes play was great coverage. As good as Marshall is, he catches that ball once in 7 attempts. I’m okay if a guy gets beat like that. You just tip your cap to Marshall but last year our CB’s were not even in the same zip code.

  35. BigHogHaynes Says:

    @ STEVEK: I’m good with everything you say because I read for entertainment, oh yea and enlightenment, but I will call out on a falsehood, not the worst defense in the last 20 years! Will hit you back later after I do my research! And to Mr REALIST BACK-STABBING can happen in January thru December!!

  36. Kevin Says:

    Wtf joes yall are slacking today this is the same post thats been up all day!!!

  37. Bucs SB with Jameis Says:

    Several homies on this thread. Howdy, and keep the Bucs Love Alive!

  38. 74 bucs fan Says:

    Want to see a really neat trick I learned from the Realist? Watch this… !!!! Everyone feel free to use that awesome trick of multiple exclamation points too!!!!! !!!!! !!!!!


  39. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    SB like the late great Marvin Gaye said”what’s going on”man.

  40. Cobraboy Says:

    The Bucs draft of pass-rushing DE’s in the first & second rounds in the last 20 years has been dismal.

    Anybody remember DeWayne White?

  41. Trubucfan22 Says:

    Anyone that has read mike Smith’s book, would know the problem was not talent with the Falcons. It was the complacency and expectations, that they were 1 play away from the Super Bowl, so they didn’t need to work that hard to get back to that point. That next year they fell off the map and the following year wasn’t much better.

    Mike Smith built a great culture and set high standards for the Falcons in those first 5 seasons. But after they made it to the NFC championship game, they (Mike and the players) thought the hard work was over. They made it and just needed to coast to the finish line. Mike admits that is 100% his fault for letting the players think that way and for not sticking to the culture and standards that he had in place before that season.

    I am confident in Mike’s coaching ability. His schemes have a track record for being aggressive, and being flexible. So I really don’t think our defense needs 7 rookies to help it get better. The guys we already have on the defense today are decent enough to win games for us. Obviously the more talent the better. But other than a DE and S. Any other player would be a back up or rotational guy. Our offense still needs work. Even after 2 offensive drafts, there is still some work to do. Our WR depth chart was a strength 3 years ago. But it is a weakness now. One of the worst groups in the league. And it’s all because of the lack of depth. We need 3 new WRs. We have brought in zero through FA. So I expect us to get some more weapons via the draft. Winston needs people to throw to. I expect us to draft a WR, RB, And TE at some point during the draft.

    DE, S, WR, RB, TE, CB, LB.

    A balanced draft will be good for this team.

  42. Dave Says:

    74 Bucs —

  43. Dave Says:


    I agree with what you say they’ll draft at the bottom except RB, except possibly in the last round or 2 for special teams.
    I do think you are a little wrong though, they grabbed a DE and a CB that have a couple years left. They will draft both as they are needs and deep in this draft.
    I agree they’ll also get a S, WR, LB. I think an O Lineman too. Not sure about TE.
    I think they like ASJ, Brate, and Stocker

  44. Nole on Sat.-Bucc on Sun. Says:

    Good post Trubuc only part I disagree with is our WR unit being a weakness now. I mean the 1 and the 2 each caught for over a 1000 yards just a season ago. Health is the issue there in my opinion,like any other team if the 1 and 2 stay healthy we probably don’t think that unit is a weakness.

  45. godzilla13 Says:

    I really like what I am hearing from Mike Smith and the players on the defensive side of the ball. It should come as no surprise how much players, especially in the secondary last year, were frustrated and demoralized over an environment they considered out of control. The fact there was no continuity with the secondary and that there was a different starting lineup virtually every month, all contributed to the players not performing at the at the top of their game. In the eyes of some it was what was taken away from them, which made them realize how bad they want it. In Mike Smith’s defensive scheme, it’s about getting the most out of its players. Playing a physical, much more aggressive defense, where the coaches will scheme to players strengths. Going from Mikal Smith to our new secondary coach Jon Hoke and defensive backs coach Brett Maxie, is a change most people outside of the organisation have no idea the impact it is going to have. Josh Robinson and Brent Grimes may end up starting but Johnthan Banks and Alterraun Verner has something to prove and just may surprise some people. With our new DE Robert Ayers, our defense could be something special this year. We just need to knock our draft picks out of the park. First round has to be DE. Noah Spence, Leonard Floyd, Kevin Dodd or Shaq Lawson works. No Hargeaves or Buckey. Second round best WR (or Karl Joseph?). Third round Javon Hargrave.

  46. Pickgrin Says:

    James Walker Says:
    March 19th, 2016 at 3:35 pm
    Does Daryl Smith have the speed for coverage?

    Daryl Smith has 28 passes defended in the last 3 years (2nd only to LaVante David for LBers in that span). He also has 371 total tackles the last 3 years (5th best total in the league for that span)

  47. Pat Says:

    Opposing offenses will now be scratching their heads….not like the dumfounded looks by our former HC. GO BUCS!

  48. Trubucfan22 Says:

    WR is only a weakness because of the lack of depth. As we saw last season. Injuries can play a huge role during the season. Losing 3 of our top 4 targets on offense crippled us for a long stretch of games. I agree, ME and VJ are both top notch players. But if VJ gets injured and misses a few games again, who do we turn to right now? We currently only have 2 NFL caliber WRs on the roster. Bell is a huge question mark. Humpheries deserves a shot at the roster in TC. But he is no where near a starting caliber player. Will Louis Murphy be ready to go for next season? I’m a big fan of his, but his blown ACL might not be ready.

    To me, only having 2 WRs on the roster, is a huge weakness. I’m kinda shocked Licht hasn’t brought in at least a middle or low teir WR just to compete in TC.