Mike Smith Talks Uncertainty At Defensive Back

September 5th, 2018

After a slew of spring practices, training camp and preseason, Mike Smith talked today about how his decisions at defensive back are a very fluid situation.

The is the same defensive coordinator who said two seasons ago that he prefers to keep the same two outside corners on the field all game.

After Smith talked about relying heavily this season on Vernon Hargreaves at outside and inside cornerback — and for leadership and a significant improvement in his play — Joe asked Smith what the pecking order is among the defensive backs.

Smith seemed genuinely unsure after chuckling at the question.

“It’s tough to say. It really depends on what day it is when we’ve gone through training camp,” Smith said.  “We’ve had guys that have really gone out and competed and one day you’re thinking, ‘Ok. Here’s your guy that’s gonna be holding down that spot, or he can do this or he can do that.’ So we’re going to have a competition all through the season.

“One thing I know for sure is we’re not going to go through this season unscathed at any position. We need to have as much depth as we possible can and everybody is going to be called on at some point in time.”

Man, talk about a coachspeak kind of answer at the end there. Sheesh.

In 2016, Brent Grimes played 94 percent of the defensive snaps. Vernon Hargreaves was at 98 percent across from him. Safety Bradley McDougald logged 95 percent. Lavonte David and Kwon Alexander each played more than 96 percent. Thank Pro Football Reference for the data. That’s what Joe calls “unscathed” at those five key positions, Coach.

Joe gets that Smith has an open competition going with two rookie corners and shaky guys like Ryan Smith and Vernon Hargreaves, but there’s no way he’s not yearning for guys to lock down those positions.

Hopefully, it’s not a wild ride at cornerback on Sunday. Joe is a little nervous about Hargreaves moving between two positions. That takes a lot of maturity. Hopefully, he found it this offseason.

36 Responses to “Mike Smith Talks Uncertainty At Defensive Back”

  1. Reolity-is-a-Beotch Says:

    there is uncertainty at every level of the defense… Soft dline led by captain blowout and the Fireworks expert does not scare anyone against run. Linebackers are severely overrated. Kwon is average at best and lvd is nearly as overrated as captain blowout… Outside of grimes, not a single CB should be on the field Sunday. that’s not uncertainty that’s a pathetic roster with no depth.

  2. jmarkbuc Says:

    “It’s tough to say. It really depends on what day it is when we’ve gone through training camp,” Smith said. “We’ve had guys that have really gone out and competed and one day you’re thinking, ‘Ok. Here’s your guy that’s gonna be holding down that spot, or he can do this or he can do that…

    The rest of that, what Smitty didn’t say was..”and other days you just have no idea who can do this, or who can do that.” IMHO…

    Just doesn’t seem ship shape and bristol fashion. A little frightening.

    I hope for the best Sunday. Drew Brees ain’t no clown.

  3. Kalind Says:

    Dude that a lot of hate for the pro-bowlers on the D. I agree mSmith is the weak link but dude …chill pill needed on the players

  4. Trench War Says:

    Why does the media insist on knowing who, and how the team will field the team? If Smith tells you it will be Hargreaves and Grimes 95% of the time then that makes the enemies defensive coordinators job a whole lot easier to game plan against. Now throw in 3 or more players into the mix and the job of game planning tendencies just got tougher.

  5. Doctor_berto Says:

    Ill be happy with the secondary if Hargreaves is not on the field….like ever

  6. jmarkbuc Says:


    Listened to his PC,, he sounded just like what he said…Some days you think you got something, and some days not so much..Just depends on what day it is. It was really quite honest.

    I could probably drink a beer and wet a line with ‘ol Smitty. Probably be cool. Just not sure I’d want him to Cordinate my Defense…

    Yes Cordinate. 🙂

  7. Reolity-is-a-Beotch Says:

    Dude that a lot of hate for the pro-bowlers on the D.

    would that be the same basement dwellers who can’t finish games!

  8. Darin Says:

    And you could say the same thing about the Saints and every other team in the league. Well if you’re you. Someone who sits on his A and spews like he is better than these professionals. Welcome to the salary cap era. Maybe you’ve been locked up or are just a baby. The team has enough talent to win any game they play this year.

  9. Kobe Faker Says:

    “Im like STD. You try to keep me down but I keep on popping back up”

    Ryan Smith

  10. AmericasEnabler Says:

    Unscathed and dead faking last hahahaha weeeeeee!

  11. stpetebucsfan Says:

    Two of the major players here being discussed are rookies. When you have rookies guess what you get?

    “It’s tough to say. It really depends on what day it is when we’ve gone through training camp,”

    And it’s not just the two CB’s…rookie Jordan Whitehead may have played his safety position better than either of the rookie CB’s.

    All three show great promise but the problem with all rookies is inconsistency.
    It takes experience in the league to become truly dependable.

    Players develop at different independent rates. It’s very possible that one of these three guys jumps out right away as being good and then later one of the other two finally get it and are even better.

    I like all three of our rookie DB’s. But I do not delude myself about the growing pains that are ahead for them….apparently neither does Smitty.

  12. webster Says:

    It means there is alot of youth which means some days are better than others. That is to be expected when you are dealing with rookies and ryan smith

  13. richbucsfan Says:

    “It’s tough to say” if the defense can hold Brees and Kamara to 30 points. Is he getting the fan base ready for a real curb stomping? “No excuses?”

  14. DB55 Says:

    Sounds like you might want to start Brees in your fantasy league this week.

    If Brees has a clean pocket to throw to or at Smith, Hargreaves and or Carlton it’s gonna be a long day.

    Better bring the blitz early and often.

  15. Nprbuc Says:

    PLEASE! Just STOP responding to anything reality aka tmax has to say. He is obviously sitting in his moms basement peeing his hate for anything Bucs. The only reason he even posts is to read his own words and pat himself on the back for being so clever. This is a Bucs FAN blog. Do like I do and just ignore the guy. If I see one of his posts I just skip over it. Don’t give him a platform for his hate on our Bucs.

  16. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The secondary will be fine if the DL does its job

  17. D-Rome Says:

    The *real* Coach-My-Scheme.

  18. Pickgrin Says:

    Smith isn’t going to tell anyone who will play where and how much.

    Any info about this team and this roster that are not common knowledge will be kept close to the vest leading up to the first game.

    If Smitty told you Joe – he’d be telling the Saints as well…. Duh

  19. Mort Says:

    Funny you should pick 2016 stats Joe. What about the most recent example – 2017?

  20. LakeLand Says:

    Bottom feeders will be bottom feeders

    Tampa Bay Yucs

    King of the Catfish Pond

  21. LakeLand Says:

    I want to thank the Tampa Bay Bucs for not drafting me and ruining my career.

    Sincerely Yours

    Derwin James

  22. Dave Says:

    All I know is I saw way better play from all the DBs this entire preseason.
    As for the football pseudo-fans on here saying our linebackers are overrated, I don’t know what to say other than laugh at your ignorance . The hate is just pathetic.
    This team has damn good line backers, great o line depth, awesome receivers, depth at quarterback and a couple good tight ends. Running back’s and d line need to prove themselves.

  23. BucEmUp Says:

    OH MY GOD!!!! HE’S ALREADY MAKING EXCUSES AND HE HASN’T EVEN BLEW A GAME YET 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣Please somebody FIRE this fool!!!!

  24. BucEmUp Says:

    Been saying it three years now. How long does this have to go on???

    Mike Smith loses games calling defense because he CAN’T CALL A DEFENSE!!!!

  25. Defense Rules Says:

    @BucEmUp … “Mike Smith loses games calling defense because he CAN’T CALL A DEFENSE!!!!” Let’s see … Mike Smith is one of 32 Defensive Coordinators in a rather successful league called the NFL, and gets paid quite a few shekels for his expertise. YucEmUp is one of, oh say 500 commenters on JBF who apparently feel they know MUCH more than any of the 32 DCs in that rather exclusive group, and continues to demonstrate his expertise by filling the airwaves with dribble & negativity. Hmmm, wonder which one has a better chance of knowing their arse from a hole in the ground.

  26. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    The LBs are WAY overrated having a last place defense solidifies that couple that w a 5-11 record ya well not much on this team

  27. jmarkbuc Says:

    Hmmm, wonder which one has a better chance of knowing their arse from a hole in the ground.

    Sun. 1:00

  28. Tampaspicer Says:

    That’s the kind of answer anyone should expect from any coach. Why show your hand before the game?

  29. XpfcWintergreen2 Says:

    Maybe the coaching staff and Licht’s staff all know something most of us fans don’t. Maybe the really do see different things than we do.

    There is just a hint in what Smith said concerning Evan Smith’s potential as a pro bowler. Do you suppose this thinking played some role in the decision to draft Vea rather than James. Do you suppose they saw a need to begin to bring in more youth while revamping the defensive line this year with tried and true veterans … who coincidentally happen to be older guys.

    Oh well, let us not look back or look too far down the road. We have a great challenge to face in just four days. The odds may be against us but a win is not absolutely impossible. All the analysis and debate will soon be over.

    As Chris Berman used to say frequently, “That’s why they play the games!”.
    Go Bucs!!!! Wreak Havoc! No Excuses!!

  30. stpetebucsfan Says:


    I agree with D.R. so I suppose that makes me prejudiced. But Sunday at 1:00 will not settle this. The season is 16 games not ONE!!!

    But D.R. makes the salient point. The posters here…me included…have NO NFL experience…have NEVER coached an NFL player much less put together an NFL defense. So there are we JBF posters with ZERO experience or background which for me means we just have opinions and very little actual credibility.

    So would you hire ANY of us as a DC for the Bucs? Bwaaahaaaahaaa

    Meanwhile there is Smitty. In college at East Tennessee State he was named their defensive player of the year twice. Had a cup of coffee as a player with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers…one of my favorite nicknames in all of football.

    After some college gigs Smitty worked for DC Rex Ryan in Baltimore..he was promoted to LB coach under Brian Billick where Smitty coached Ray Lewis, Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper and Adalius Thomas….they won the 2000 SB…what could Smitty have learned working with that illustrious group of LB’s.

    Then Jack Del Rio made him the DC of the Jags.

    From there it was off to Atlanta for the HC gig. In his first year Smitty led the Falcons to their first playoff in four years. In 2008 he was named The AP Coach of the Year and the NFL Coach of the year.

    In 2010 he took the Falcons to a 13-3 record…again in 2012 he led them to a league best 13-3 record.

    Smith was named Sporting News 2012 Coach of the Year for the 3rd time by a pool of 27 NFL coaches and executives. But what do NFL coaches and executives know compared to we JBF posters?

    We can debate whether Dimitroff giving up 2 consecutive first round picks and five choices overall to move up to sixth spot to grab Julio depleted the talent base for several years ultimately costing Smitty his job.

    But there is no debate that Smitty has forgotten more about defensive football than this entire board will ever know.

    I love reading opinions here…but when it comes to disrespecting professionals with great records…Smitty’s overall 66-46 .589 record is significantly better than Chucky’s overall 95-81 .540 record you can count me out.

    D.R. has done a far better job than me documenting the incredible lack of talent Smitty had to work with last year. The fact that Licht went out and traded a 3rd rounder and spent 3 of his first 4 draft picks on defense pretty much backs up D.R.’s opinion. After a couple of years of #WeaponsforJameis produced a great group of receivers but left us weak in defensive talent.

  31. Buc1987 Says:

    This DC scares the HELL…out of me.

    Realist I honestly think you’re dead wrong about Smitty. Not wrong about Lovie, but dead wrong about this clown.

    SPBF….your theory about Smitty and forgetting about defensive football and blah, blah, blah…got shown on the field weekly last season.

    We know about DEFENSE. We’re Bucs fans..we know garbage D when we see it, but I digress….it’s a NEW season. Perhaps Smitty will pull it all together….then again this IS the Bucs.

    I’m holding my breath for Smitty cause I’m a Bucs fan….but sigh!

  32. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Cheering for a team is FAR FAR from coaching in the NFL. If you know that much about defense from watching it in the stands you should apply for a DC job.

  33. Buc1987 Says:

    SPBF…and there is such a thing as a crappy NFL coach….that’s what I saw last season from Smitty. smh lib.

    Hard Knocks brought us closer to his oh shucks, oh golly, oh gee he’s not in the right place now….oh boy…ya see there…oh boy….ya see…oh golly…..go away SMITTY!!!

    That’s our DC…YOU have faith in the knowledge he still has left…I trust my eyes.

    Like I said it’s a new season. Let’s see what he can do.

    I’m holding my breath!!!

  34. Jmarkbuc Says:


    I agree with D.R. so I suppose that makes me prejudiced. But Sunday at 1:00 will not settle this. The season is 16 games not ONE!!!
    That sounds like the beginning of an excuse, already.

    With all due respect, and I honestly mean that…Perhaps you should turn your focus back to Don Coryell.

    Your “A Football Life”” on Smitty left me non plussed. Past success is no indication of future performance.

    I may not be an NFL coach, but I don’t have to be to witness the facts. This guy does not carry himself like a great DC, or even a good one. The Defense he fields says the rest. If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck..well you know.

    I find it hypocritical for you to call out posters for their opinions on Smitty and this Defense, while proclaiming that your POV is the right one. Sheesh. I have just as much chance at being correct as you do. Once again the proof is on the field.

    You’ve been all about ” this season is a new season, put the past behind”

    Well this season starts Sun 1:00

  35. Jmarkbuc Says:


    Evan Smith is a backup center…And I couldn’t tell you why we drafted Vea at this point. I assume he’s still on the team.

  36. Issaic haggins Says:

    I truly believe Smitty knows football well, very well……… I know he can’t communicate it and he also doesn’t hv a feel for talent like he should . He’s a football genius but a horrible teacher/ communicator !!!