Add Chuck Pagano To The Circle Of Trust

October 16th, 2018

“Mike, I would have come to help you but I’m way to busy with ESPN and feet.”

The Bucs’ defensive staff is down a man, aka just-booted defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

The architect of the Dirk Koetter defense worked very long hours, tirelessly grinding to manage and fix his unit, Koetter has said.

Well, Joe thinks it’s time Koetter digs into his own pocket and/or Team Glazer opens the company vault to replace Smith with a fresh set of eyes, a guy with real coaching talent and experience to help interim coordinator Mark Duffner.

And who couldn’t use a little help, right?

Koetter friend and former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano comes to mind for two reasons: first, he spent a couple of days at Bucs training camp this year. Second, a former safety himself, Pagano spent 20-plus years coaching defensive backs at the pro and college level before taking over as Ravens defensive coordinator in 2011. His performance there helped vault him to a 2012 head coaching gig with the Colts.

Joe cornered Pagano at training camp and Pagano talked to Joe about coaching Josh Freeman and other stuff off the record. However, Pagano said he wouldn’t comment on the Bucs roster in any way because it’s Koetter’s team and not his place. But the implication was clear that Pagano had been studying the Bucs. So at least there’s a little familiarity.

If not Pagano, then it should be someone else.

Koetter and Duffner, who has been coaching steadily since 1975, must have all kinds of A-list friends in the business who wouldn’t mind a 10-week job in Florida helping a talented defense that’s supported by a juggernaut offense.

In fact, Team Glazer should flat out demand Koetter bring in a body to the defensive staff.

41 Responses to “Add Chuck Pagano To The Circle Of Trust”

  1. DislocatedBucsFan Says:

    Not a bad idea. My concern would be that switching an entire schem mid season might be a bad idea. Tweaking and altering play style within the current system may be all that’s necessary

  2. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    So LEAVING the current scheme in place is going to help us out HOW exactly?

    Sapp = “QB Killa”
    McCoy = “Coach Killa”

  3. XpfcWintergreen2 Says:

    Something needs to be done to bring out the best from the available talent we have for the remainder of this season. We don’t need a radical scheme change just now.

    A change in the dynamics of what we do might be enough. It is not too late yet.
    Go Bucs!!!!

  4. LakeLand Says:

    I don’t see how DB coach Jon Hoke still have a job. Lovie hired him to replace Steve Wilks in Chicago. Lovie was fired, Marc Trestman kept him on, then Trestman was fired. Then the Bucs hired him to replace Gil Byrd.

    The 2014 Bears defense (Hoke last season) allowed 4230 passing yards, 67% completion rate, 34 TD, 101.7 passing rate

    Hoke coached the DBs for Steve Spurrier 3-9 Gamecocks in 2015
    It seems like the Bucs could have found a better DB coach than him

    But the Bucs are the Bucs

  5. Conte Piscatelli Says:


    Amen about Hoke, I’m pretty sure the kid that bags my groceries at Publix could do a better job than that guy.

  6. BUC_40 Says:

    REX RYAN FOR DC 2019

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    @Lakeland … “But the Bucs are the Bucs.” That’s the REAL bottom-line Lakeland to sooo many things that go wrong in Bucsville. I was always taught to look for CAUSES when problem-solving, not so much at SYMPTOMS. A good example is politics (not really going there, but it is a good example). We see so many things going wrong politically, and everyone naturally focuses on the things going wrong. Strange thing is that most of the time, the CAUSE of those things going wrong is politicians themselves (Winston Churchill … “There is nothing that government can give you that it hasn’t taken from you in the first place”).

    The CAUSE of the Bucs long history of losing over these past 15 years? There’s only one common denominator. Winning organizations are built from the top down. (Another of Sir Winston’s quotes … “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”). If he’s right, Bucs fans must be the most enthusiastic fans in the world.

  8. D-Rome Says:

    Anyone else notice the players didn’t complain on Twitter about the Mike Smith firing like they did for Lovie Smith?

  9. LakeLand Says:

    LakeLandBuc Says:
    June 10th, 2016 at 12:07 pm

    I’m so sick and tired of this offseason hype, it happens every offseason and then ( welcome to the real world). Mike Smith is getting all of these accolades, it’s like the fans are treating him like he’s the 2nd coming of Buddy Ryan. His defenses in Atlanta were some of the WORST in the NFL. In Jacksonville, the Jags had GREAT defenses there, but we still don’t know if were Jack Del Rio or Mike Smith defense. Dirk Koetter has NEVER been an HEAD COACH in the NFL, we don’t know what he will bring to the table. It’s never easy for a ROOKIE HEAD COACH in the NFL. Only time will tell, hopefully Koetter and the Bucs will be successful. But I’m not a believer in BLIND HOPE anymore, I have to see it on the field. Then I will believe, no more paper hype for me.

  10. SteveK Says:

    Looking forward to the new look D on Sunday. If Jameis can have another big game, we are in shape to beat the Browns.

  11. BucEmUp Says:

    This team has a playoff caliber offense . There is no excuse not to have reliable and proven defensive coordinators flying in to interview forr a position.

  12. Kobe Faker Says:

    “It amazing the stupidity of the tampa bay fanbase and local media”

    “The best teams have the better talented roster”

    The best defenses have the better talented defensive players

    Every player in our secondary could not start in any other 31 teams in the NFL

    What is soooooo hard to figure out???

    There is 1 Buffoon meathead in charge that acquired these stiffs…only 1 person is accountable

    ” My name is Forrest Gump and I know what Busts is”

    Jason Dimwit Licht

  13. Kobe Faker Says:

    Hey Lake,

    Tell the Bucsheep here how bad the Atlanta Defense is that we played this past week

    Cleveland and Greg Williams is going to abuse our torrid offensive line all game long

  14. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Turn up the heat…..blitz more…..jam on the line….be very aggressive… least our defense will go down fighting……we can’t cover anyway so send many after the QB early & often.

  15. Jacob Says:

    Again, I’ll repeat. The Glazers do not care. They aren’t going to make Dirk so anything. There plan is to fire him and let someone else figure it out. Please get a clue.

  16. LakeLand Says:

    Kobe Faker

    They don’t want to hear the truth

    The Atlanta defense was allowing 32.6 points a game
    121 in their last 3 games

    The Bucs scored 29

  17. bucy Says:

    2 down 2 to go…

    Conte… Out
    Mike Smith.. Out

    Jason Licht… Still in (somehow)
    Brent Grimes… AKA 7 yard padding DB who gets throw to constantly and is slow as christmas.

    Keep cleaning house Bucs and we might have a chance this year.

  18. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    A Great Idea, IMHO.
    Coach Pagano has been loved by his players, wherever he has been.

  19. LakeLand Says:

    Many moons ago when I was young and dumb
    I needed new tires for my old Dodge
    I didn’t have much money to spend
    So I went out and bought a set of retread tires
    They lasted me a good 6 months

    I learned my lesson

    Never, ever buy RETREADS

    Please Bucs

    No more RETREADS

  20. Bobby M. Says:

    The only way we’ll win with Jameis at QB is a total rebuild of the roster…..They basically have to load the defense with elite talent and coaching and be willing to give Winston less weapons. Winston cant help but turn the ball over every game…generally 2x per game. In order to compensate for that, you have to have a defense that lock teams down…..Getting in shoot outs is not going to work. Teams know if you have Winston drop back 32+ times, you’ll have an 80% chance of winning because he’s going to turn the ball over. This is a statistical fact…..IMO teams stack the line of scrimmage daring the bucs to throw….We do….and we lose.

    Licht has built this team in very similar fashion to what you see in New England with Tom Brady….Bend but don’t break defense…..serviceable runningbacks….Let your QB win the game. Winston isn’t Brady…..not remotely close. Licht is a great evaluator of talent but he lacks vision. We definitely need a Tom Coughlin type to shape the roster and select the coaches.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Blitzing constantly is not the answer. While I agree we need more of it, the real problem is predictability. Teams constantly know what is coming.

    As to the hiring of a new DC?

    Not going to happen. They promoted Duffner. They could have named him ‘Acting’ DC in order to leave the door open, but they did not.

    The truth is, Duffner does not deserve a promotion. His unit might have been the best defensive unit on the team, but that’s like being the shiniest turd in a heaping pile of crap.

    But we are in-season. Expecting a lot of turnover is unrealistic. It would create too much upheaval. THAT’S what Koetter meant after game 4 when he asked if they fired Smith, then what?

    A new defensive coordinator worth shaking a stick at will want his own staff. Can’t do that in-season. They need time to prepare a defensive scheme.

    Duffner is probably a lame duck buying time until the end of season, unless he somehow turns the defense around. Using the same playbook and stuck with the same coaches, I don’t see how that will happen.

    As to those calling Koetter a liar because he said he would not fire Smith, grow up. First even though a headline or article might say Koetter fired him, it more than likely was not him who did it.

    The Glazers probably ordered Jason Licht to do it.

    And you people hating on Jason Licht are complete fools. He’s the best GM this team has ever had…and that list includes Rich McKay.

  22. Not there yet Says:

    Not a bad idea for consulting because I don’t know if Duffner can solve the bad cornerback play but it’s too early, dork has to see how Duffner does on game day first

  23. Aceofaerospace Says:

    There’s nothing anyone could do to make this defense worse. It either gets better or stays the same. The move had to be made. Should have been made in the offseason. Today is a little bit brighter than yesterday. Go Bucs.

  24. Bucman0620 Says:

    In regards of Smith, I was willing to show him support only because they kept him on. I didn’t like the initial signing. I wanted and still want a coach that is going to send pressure. So tired of not seeing blitzes and all the soft coverage. I tried to stay positive on Smith until the Bears game. That is the one that did it for me. I have been a fan of this team for a long time and there have been frustrating times and a lot of them. But it was “MITCH FREAKIN TRUBISKY”. We made him look like a god. I am so happy that Smith is gone even though it gives me little hope about the rest of the year. Many of the players seem like they don’t care about losing because it is already fostered in the attitude of the locker room. I would love to see us hire Dick LeBeau for next season. Even though that means going to a 3-4 defense. At least I know they are going to pressure the QB.

  25. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    Lakeland, Kobe & Defense Rules are some people who can see the light and it aint licht……the browns defense is one of the top ones in the NFL and myels garrett and greg williams will be up and down benenoch and dotson, i am so afraid that baker will have his coming out game and will be doing his friggin running up & down the sideline antics this sunday…

  26. LakeLand Says:


    Last season the Browns were last in take-ways with 13
    This season they are number one with 16

    Last season they were last in turnover ratio -27
    This year they are number one in turnover ratio +7

    This is important, if you want to win football games

  27. PolkFan Says:

    The browns are #1 in turnover ratio but are below .500 @lakeland

  28. ben Says:

    Mr. Light is a great gm??? are you kidding me .. He has had years to make this team a winner and so far ,not even close !

  29. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Just do the opposite of what Smith had them doing. And at D-Rome, I noticed that as well, no complaints from anyone….very telling

  30. jjbucfan Says:

    We have 1 interception this year, 1!! Our DBs aren’t even in the same zip code as WRs. This was necessary. I like the idea of a consultant or director of player personnel. No way we run the same defense we have been. If Duffner does the same thing as Smitty, I fire him Sunday at 4:05!

  31. PSLBob Says:

    Playing press, instead of off, coverage some of the time might help without having to make major adjustments to the D.

  32. __TGH__ Says:


  33. LakeLand Says:


    But the Browns has won more games in the 6 games this season

    Than they won in 32 over the past two years

    I call that Progress

  34. Trench War Says:

    …and then there is always the fiery, and feisty Rob Ryan available, or maybe bring back Coach Schiano, who might have been a mediocre head coach but always was more of a defensive minded guru.

  35. lambchop Says:

    The Dirk and Duff Show. Sounds like a cartoon sketch.

  36. lambchop Says:

    Or dirk and duff your way to a loss. Dink and dunk just sighed a big relief to be off the hook for once.

  37. Rob in Land O Lakes Says:

    At this point, you have to simplify the system for the DB’s. While there’s 7 or 8 different base coverages, I’d have the young guys press or go man under most of the time with Whitehead and Evans over the top. Not brain surgery but put them in a position to act and react as opposed to think.

  38. SOEbuc Says:

    Like Koetter said the week before they fired Smith, you just can’t totally bring in someone new and start a new scheme. Especially with so many young players on defense. I would like to bring in Pagano to be a LB or Secondary coach, getting to know the players and then possibly move to DC in 2019 if considered.

  39. SOEbuc Says:


    “Playing press, instead of off, coverage some of the time might help without having to make major adjustments to the D.”

    Seems like that (and maybe minus Ridley and Sanu) and some more blitzing was what helped us hold them to 10 points in the second half. Too bad it only took Mike Smith two years and 5 games to figure it out.

  40. destinjohnny Says:

    until we get talent Vince Lombardi wouldn’t do a good job

  41. TOM Says:

    No need to try and make big scheme changes, just dial up more blitz packages. Also adding Pagano as a consultant doesn’t sound like a bad idea. If the db’s don’t start to show improvement then maybe it will be time to get rid of Hoke. Also I think Del Rio would make a good DC.