Koetter Wants Little Change To Defense … Even If Mike Smith Leaves

January 4th, 2017
Dirk Koetter sheds Licht on a potential new DC

Dirk Koetter sheds light on a potential new DC

Yes, Joe can say what Dirk Koetter is thinking when it comes to hiring a new defensive coordinator in the likely event Mike Smith leaves for a head coaching gig.

How can Joe do this? Because Koetter talked about it.

Koetter jumped on the Buccaneers Radio Network after Sunday’s game, like he always does.

In addition to glowing about his defense and saying it had “a coming of age,” Koetter added that the defense has a powerful nucleus from the back of the defense (he named Keith Tandy) to the defensive line. Koetter also shared his mindset on a potential next DC, if Smith leaves.

Simply stated: Koetter wants to replicate the status quo.

“Of course, we’d like to keep the system as close as we can,” Koetter said when asked about who might come after Smith.

Well, Coach, there’s one way to keep the system flowing for your “coming of age” defense: promote someone from within.

Linebackers coach Mark Duffner was the Bengals defensive coordinator prior to the Marvin Lewis era and spent years working under Smith in Jacksonville and alongside Koetter, the former Jags offensive coordinator. Certainly, Duffner is the one man with the greatest knowledge of Smith’s defense.

Duffner, 63, certainly has the respect of his players. Joe talked to prominent Bucs about Duffner recently and will share in the coming days.

33 Responses to “Koetter Wants Little Change To Defense … Even If Mike Smith Leaves”

  1. Bill Says:

    DB coach Joe Hoke has been around the NFL for a while (DB coach for Bucs, Bears, Texans) and was a DC in college at Florida and South Carolina. He’d also make sense. But Duffner makes the most because there is a good chance Mike Smith might try to bring him with him because of all the time the two have worked together.

  2. 813bucboi Says:

    add JPP, a FA run stuffing dt and some draft talent and we will be in good shape….would love to see us get d.walker from fsu….kid has a crazy motor…can play inside and outside….GO BUCS!!!!

  3. Byrd Says:

    Coach Hayes

  4. thunderchunkyPA Says:

    The Bucs can block any coaches NOT leaving to be a HC. Duffner or Hayes would be my picks. I hope we don’t lose the QB coach when Smith leaves

  5. Pickgrin Says:

    Its pretty easy to assume that Jay Hayes was promised the DC job if Mike Smith departs. Why else would he have come here having been so settled and successful in his Dline coaching role in Cincinnati?

  6. R.O. Says:

    Did the LBs really have a good year though? I’d like to see the # of TFLs or no gain tackles made by our LBs… I understand KA58 had a lot of Solo tackles but were they 5-10 yds downfield?

  7. rrsrq Says:

    Maybe Jay Hayes came because he wanted to be around Jameis, noting that the Cincy window may be closing and If Marvin Lewis didn’t start winning playoff games, he would not have stability. In that case, Could make jay Hayes the Asst. DC if Dufner gets the gig

  8. LargoBuc Says:

    Yes a big, strong, space eating one tech would do wonders in terms of stopping the run. The Giants brought one in Damon “Snacks” Harris and sure enough they sweep the team with the best ol in football. I was kinda hoping in last years draft we would trade up to the end of the first and take Ashawn Robinson or Jarran Reed.

  9. Warrenfb12 Says:

    I think the best move would be giving Jay Hayes a shot.

  10. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I think we’ll be OK.

    Koetter seemed pretty involved in the defensive turnaround – at least philosophically. If I recall one of his pressers during our run; he had said that if they kept doing the same thing while expecting better results they’d be stupid.

    That kind of philosophy has been missing. Drop the coach ego at the door and figure out the best way to put our specific players in position to succeed. I’m sure whatever DC we hire will have to share in that philosophy (one that Mike Smith preached as well).

  11. Negative Jeff Says:

    Get the best DC available. Let that DC devise a defense that takes advantage of the talent the Bucs have on D. As long as they get a 4-3 D coordinator, the defense will not change that much.

  12. mike Says:

    I would think Duff would go with Smith to be his dc.

  13. The bucfan 88 Says:

    Now guys hear me out it looks like wade Phillips is on his way out I say we go after him he will have this defense playing nasty

  14. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    It seems we have two qualified candidates in house. What worries me is what happens to the odd man out. Will he stay and coach DL/LBers depending which one loses out in the DC competition?

  15. teacherman777 Says:


    Jayvien Elliot article please!!

  16. Miko Says:

    hope that means signing their own too…gholston, mcdougald and akeem spence

  17. Miko Says:

    conte can walk..apparently had a hissy fit after the last game…

  18. Warren Says:

    I’m not on board with promoting someone with less experience from within at this point. Mike Smith succeeded because of his wealth of experience as a head coach and DC that allowed him to do what a GOOD experienced coach does which is design a scheme to suit the strengths of our personnel not try to shoehorn ill suited players into an outdated scheme (cough…Lovie…cough). Did it really take that long for our guys to adapt? Bring in another former head coach or experienced DC with a successful track record, but tie his arse down to a long term contract.

  19. Warren Says:

    On board with Negative Jeff and Bucfan 88…we’re too close to being a perennial playoff contender to dick around

  20. Miko Says:

    OR if they’re scared to lose a coordinator maybe promote to head coach..lol…groundhog day – the movie

  21. Doolnutts Says:

    I kind of agree with everyone LOL. The bucfan 88 is correct if we can get someone like Wade Phillips who doesn’t seem to have HC aspirations he is well worth a look… BUTTT if we cannot get a top notch guy such as this I am OK with a home grown guy… The wise move would not be going out to get any old coordinator just for the sake of doing so….

  22. orlbucfan Says:

    Hey Joe(s): wasn’t there a lot of talk on here and other sites about why Hayes came here? The word was to either move up and/or be seriously considered the DC if Smith moved on. I don’t know Coach Hayes’s resume, but I do know he came here as a very highly regarded/respected coach from the Bengals. Gawd, Cincy su#ked this year.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Gut feel is that Bucs will promote from within, either Duffner or Hayes. More than likely Duffner gets the nod because of his previous relationship with Mike Mith & Dirk Koetter. Still kinda bewildered at what the Bucs promised Jon Hayes to get him to leave Cincy though.

  24. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Dufner has experience as a DC. So there goes that argument. Jay Hayes is a highly respected coach with years of experience including building the Bengals D line and doing a decent job fighting through injuries with our thin DL.

    Both of these guys are qualified!!! They already KNOW the players intimately.

    It’s not that I worry so much about our players being able to pick up a new system…as DK has said they are flexible and can adapt to change.

    I’m much more worried about the new DC learning our players than the players learning his system.

    I’m a big Smitty fan like others here…but he said it would take four weeks of the season to really implement his D. In reality it was closer to 9 counting that horrid puke fest against Atl. Then we turned it around for the five game win streak. For all we know as good as he is perhaps Smitty should have had Tandy in their lineup instead of Conte.

    Do we really have 4-6 weeks of next season for a new DC to truly learn his players? I hope it’s either Duffner or Hayes. I’d be happy with either.

    And remember the continuity for staff as well. A new DC from outside will want his own LB and DB and DL coaches. He may keep one or two but then you have that disruption as well.

    Virtually every good organization I’ve known promotes from within whenever possible and view going outside as an organizational failure.

  25. Buc50 Says:

    Wade Phillips is a 3-4 guy. Why would we consider him unless there is a personnel change. Coach already said he wanted little change so that will not and should not happen.

  26. salish_seamonster Says:

    Many here assume it’s Jay Hayes because of his rep as a D-line coach, but a great position coach doesn’t always make a great coordinator. Maybe it is Hayes, but on paper Duffner looks more likely based on overall coaching experience and actual DC experience. Worst nightmare would be if Mike Smith took Hayes with him as DC, but that seems unlikely.

  27. Mojiska Says:

    R.O.- I looked it up. LVD had the most tfl for any olb at 17. That 2 off the league most at 19. And Kwon wasn’t too shabby either, he lead all mlb with 12. So yes, our linebackers mad a lot of great plays in the backfield, not just overall tackles.

  28. NutterBuccer Says:

    LVD and Kwon were both named to bleacher reports second team all pro list. I know bleacher report isn’t the AP but it’s a respectable website and one of my personal favorites.

  29. LakeLandBuc Says:

    No team has hire the “Hot” Mike Smith yet?

  30. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Lavonte has been playing Lights out all season long. Some delusional fans on this site had a problem with his performance.

  31. Sunny Says:

    I think smith will get a chance next year if he can produce a good defense again , but I don’t see it coming this year , only real chance I see is with jags, and as dirk said they got a long list already

  32. Fred E. Buc Says:

    I think they are close. I don’t want much change either. I like the idea of hiring from within. But I also would like Koetter to get out of the OC business. I think it’s just to much to do to be HC and call the plays too. Maybe after a few more years….but not now.

  33. Bobby A Says:

    I understand the value of continuity as much as the next guy, but considering his success in Seattle and early time in Tampa, I think you have to seriously cover all bases with Gus Bradley before “writing him off”. He lacks the success as a HC of Mike Smith, and with him being more recently let go than “Smitty” was, he is not likely to leave for a promotion any time soon.