Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 – No. 3

July 14th, 2016


The Bucs have a pile of key question marks entering the 2016 season. Most teams do.

For this countdown series, Joe looks at this year’s top X-factors, guys with question marks who could be great difference-makers, positive or negative, based on changes in their performances.

Mike Smith – No. 3

A hell of a lot has changed in the NFL since the 2007 season. That’s the last year Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith called all the shots for a defense. He used multiple coordinators while Falcons head coach.

Reality reveals Smith inherits a Bucs defense that was broken mentally and lacking physically. Smith has one hell of a job on his hands to prepare a defense for opening games at Atlanta and at Arizona.

Thankfully, the Bucs added serious talent on defense. Veterans Brent Grimes, Robert Ayers, and Daryl Smith should be welcome glue for Smith’s transformation operation, but still, so much falls in Smith’s lap. With Dirk Koetter admitting he’s focused on full-team and offensive issues, Smith has full control.

Remember when Daryl Smith told a national radio audience that he didn’t remember Mike Smith having so much volume in his defensive playbook? If not, you can refresh your memory here.

That tells Joe that Mike Smith is gunning for a high standard and high-efficiency out of the gate. Just guiding a defense learning a new system is always a challenge, especially with so many battered psyches after two seasons with Coach My Scheme. Smith’s ability to gauge what his players can handle early will be a massive key to this season.

Kwon Alexander – No. 4

Jacquies Smith – No. 5

Brent Grimes – No. 6

Jameis Winston – No. 7

Charles Sims – No. 8

J.R. Sweezy – No. 9

Gerald McCoy — No. 10

34 Responses to “Top 10 X-Factors Of 2016 – No. 3”

  1. canadian bucsfan Says:

    Honestly expected this to be #1

  2. Bob in Valrico Says:

    the enthusiasm Mike Smith brings to the sideline will rub off on our players and he does have does two former players familiar with him and his system. as long
    players are getting to use their instincts and play to their strengths,the defense should improve.Annointing starters at corner held the team back and the constant carousel had to be frustrating and demoralizing.

  3. Cobraboy Says:

    I disagree the Bucs D of 2016 lacked physically. What they lacked was motivation and the extra 5% “juice” that separates good from great.

    In a nutshell, the players never bought into Lovies D, nor the bad coaches they were dealt.

    That has all changed.

  4. mike n Says:

    I was never impressed w any D he had at atlanta even though he always had a d cordinator I think he had a lot of say on D. We will see. We have more talent than we did last year so you never know.

  5. blind melon Says:

    Agreed, also thought this would have been #1.

  6. The Buc Realist Says:

    Make no mistake, this is the “real” #1 X-factor for the Bucs this year!!!!!!!

  7. Bucsfanman Says:

    Smith is definitely an “X” factor. In fact, his will be the most scrutinized unit based on the influx of good talent and the complete atrocity that still lingers from last year.
    By default, the addition of Grimes, Ayers, and D.Smith should make us better, let alone the rookie talent. How much better? That’s the question.

  8. DefenseRules Says:

    Our 3rd biggest concern? Not hardly, because the Bucs have no place to go but up defensively. The only stat that counts defensively is Points Against. Last 4 yrs: 2015 – 417 PA (ranked 26th worst in NFL); 2014 – 410 PA (ranked 25th worst); 2013 – 389 PA (ranked 22nd worst); 2012 – 394 PA (ranked 23rd worst).

    Over the last 4 years Bucs have given up an average of 402 pts against each season (25 pts per game) and ranked 24th worst in the NFL. With the talent we have in terms of players and coaches, no place to go but up. Mike Smith will git ‘er done.

  9. Buccfan37 Says:

    In retrospect Lovie would have been the #1 X factor if we backtracked a year. See what you missed out on Lovie. This Smith will make that Smith look like smithereens.

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    Nice stats Defense! Staggering! How could we have been so consistently bad?!
    I like your optimism and I share your opinion. It can’t get much worse!

  11. theodore Says:

    2. Evans
    1. Koetter

  12. Fred McNeil Says:

    I agree with theodore,

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    2. vjax
    1. roberto

  14. Fred McNeil Says:

    Number 2 could be Aguyo, tho.

  15. Pickgrin Says:

    God I hope this guy can orchestrate a turn around for the Bucs defense.

    A legit D will make this team an instant contender. Can it be accomplished this year? We shall see…

    Agree this new Smith in town is the #1 “X-Factor” for 2016.

    I find it interesting that we got rid of 1 Smith and picked up 3 more (Mike, Daryl and 4th rd pick Ryan) to go along with the 2 we already had (Jacquies and Donovan). That’s a lot of Smiths.

  16. DB55 Says:

    Lol, I thought -hey Jude your man is wide open again- was the 3rd Xfactor. If Smith puts that man on the field I’ll lose all hope for a turn-around on D.

    On a more depressing note, word on the street is Boldin might sign with the Saints. Come’on Licht just pay the man!

  17. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    I agree. Evans at 2 and Koetter at 1. Especially how Koetter handles being head coach and play caller.

  18. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    VJax could also be the choice at 2. Winstons development will only be helped if VJax can stay healthy.

  19. SB with Jameis Says:

    Since there is NO Way possible that our Defense can be any worse I will expect it to win us two extra games this yr. With Jameis and the Offense being in the second yr and Koetter fully running the show I expect it to win us 3 extra games this yr.
    Woooo Hoooo. 11 and 5 Here We Come!
    Oh..sorry, Good Evening fellas.

  20. SB with Jameis Says:

    Lol……The Panties just signed Leonard Johnson to compete for the nickle role. Glad we don’t have a problem like that anymore. 🙂

  21. BigHogHaynes Says:

    X-Factor:Mike Smith, we shall soon see! This defense has better talent and what some are calling a new or more realistic approach to defence, should see improvement. 9 wins or follow LOVIE to the corn fields!

  22. SB with Jameis Says:

    Hey Big Hog..Lovie won two game in his first yr and 6 in his second. So you are saying that a first hr HC should win more in ONE yr than a Nine yr HC did in TWO yrs Combined or hit the cornfields??? Yeah….Your logic is flawless. Was Lovie your Tampa lover and now he is gone? All that aside I don’t see us doing less than 9 and 7 cause we woulda gone 10 and 6 last yr if it were not for Lovies horrid D and Don’t try to score right now attitude on Offense we woulda been 10 and 6 last yr

  23. Kevin Says:

    Just saw a video on a te laquan mgowen or something like that. Why has nobody signed that kid?????

  24. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Kevin, because nobody wants a 400 pound TE.

  25. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Koetter is 1.

  26. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    I think the Defense bought in…they just needed Kwon to do it

  27. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    Don’t be suprised if ASJ is next on the list, honestly I thought it would of been…

    3) ASJ
    2) M.Evans
    1) M.Smith

  28. Bob in Valrico Says:

    Honestly with all Lovies years in the NFL it is inconceivable that he should have been so unprepared to turn the team around.Lovie is responsible for his mistakes.Koetter will be responsible for his,and his alone.No reason to hang Koetter for past deficiencies such as coaching and personnel decisions.

  29. Bob in Valrico Says:

    For the people that expect 10-6 from Koetter in his first year.If Lovie went 10-6 for the next four years he would finally break even and reach

  30. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Bob in Valrico Says
    “For the people that expect 10-6 from Koetter in his first year.If Lovie went 10-6 for the next four years he would finally break even and reach

    If Lovie were to have gone 10-6 he would still be here, and no one would complain about it. It’s “what have you done for me lately”.

  31. » Blog Archive » Top 10 Bucs X-Factors For 2016 – No. 2 - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] Mike Smith – No. 3 […]

  32. Bucsfanman Says:

    “If Lovie were to have gone 10-6 he would still be here, and no one would complain about it. It’s “what have you done for me lately”.

    No truer words have been spoken.

  33. Bob in Valrico Says:

    very true contracts are written with future in mind and when the past doesn,t meet expectations then you are gone.
    and 10-6 would have shown progress to warrant still being here. That said given the poor defensive showing I would not be surprised if there would be changes in coaching staff required at minimum.Our defense got worse when Lovie replaced Frazier as defensive play caller.
    The glazers did fire Tony Dungy who was 12 games over .500 for the
    offensive showing of the team.And Lovie would still be aqccoutable for turning around the defense in short order in my opinion.

  34. » Blog Archive » Top 10 Bucs X-Factors For 2016 — No. 1 - Tampa Bay Bucs Blog, Buccaneers News Says:

    […] Mike Smith – No. 3 […]