A Clue To Why Defense Struggles

October 12th, 2018

“I have the definition of ‘RPO’ written down somewhere.”

Yes, Joe went on record at halftime of the Windy City Wipeout writing if the Bucs were to transform from almost annual cellar dwellers to a legitimate playoff contender, it would have to be without defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

Though a great guy, the evidence against Smith is just too overwhelming. The Chicago crapfest by the defense was, for Joe, the final game in a series of games that saw the defense not ready to play and with no business being on the field.

Joe takes no joy in wanting Smith defrocked, but it has come to that in BucsLand.

If the Bucs can’t fix the defense after some 33 months of the same ol’ same ol,’ even after offseason upgrades, then why should Joe or any sober fan expect the defense to be fixed during a bye week or beyond?

The Bucs are currently on pace to set the NFL record for points allowed in a season.

Now some would say the game has passed Smith by. Former Bucs quarterback Chris Simms claims Smith is running the exact same defense he ran 15 years ago while defensive coordinator in Jacksonville. Simms prepared for that defense as a Bucs rookie.

The game has literally changed since. It’s a pass-happy league more like the Big XII than the NFL of 2003. Could that be why Smith is struggling now?

Joe came across an interesting article that may shed light onto the Smith (and the Bucs’) predicament.

Just days after Dirk Koetter defended Smith saying the problem with the defense isn’t one guy, Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley fired long-time Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. The Sooners, who have legitimate national title hopes, had their defense run off the field by a mediocre Texas offense (you know, like what the Bears offense did to the Bucs defense two weeks ago?).

One interesting element of the Stoops firing is that he is the brother of the guy who hired Riley at Oklahoma, Bob Stoops. Some Bucs fans believe Koetter would never turn loose Smith because the two are so tight. Koetter has strongly denied this notion.

Smith played a key role in Koetter landing his first NFL gig in Jacksonville and the two have been together since, save for one year when Koetter was Bucs offensive coordinator.

But the second interesting element about the Stoops firing related to Smith and the Bucs came through an interview with Stoops by Jason Kersey of The Athletic.

Since Mike Stoops became defensive coordinator at Oklahoma, the conference has transformed from a bruising, rock ’em, sock ’em league to a virtual video game league that has all but abandoned the run for the pass.

Oklahoma was at the forefront of this offensive evolution when Mike Leach brought a version of the spread to Norman in 1999. Did you see all of this stuff coming?

I don’t think anyone saw it getting to this. I think you saw that spread offense, but not the tempo, the running game off it, the RPOs. Mike wasn’t like that. He was spread it out, throw it, dump it, and run it every now and then to keep you off-balance. Hal Mumme was the creator of it, and it’s really taken on a life of its own.

Could this be the same thing happening with the Bucs defense (and what Simms is hinting at)? That Smith didn’t see the passing revolution coming. And now with the NFL looking very much like the Big XII, could it be as simple as Smith getting steamrolled by the evolution of offenses?

34 Responses to “A Clue To Why Defense Struggles”

  1. Jeff Says:

    I’m a Floridian trapped up in Chicago, I can tell you as a Bucs Fan up here the last couple weeks have been BRUTAL listening to 670 the Score. They are talking about Trubisky like he’s the next coming of Dan Marino after that game, “Six Touchdowns, wow, lookout here we come.” PUMP THE BRAKES, Bears fans. You played a Defense that couldn’t stop a lot of college offenses, most likely *eyeroll*

  2. Darin Says:

    Almost has to be. The guy doesnt game plan, says Dirk. How can you adjust without game planning? This whole thing is rotten. No idea how Smith didnt get canned after the Bears game. I hope Monken game planned this week because theyre gona need some points.

  3. D-Rome Says:

    Gee, whatever happened to all of that “We need a hybrid 3-4 / 4-3 defense because the Cover 2 is dead” talk?

  4. Buc believer Says:

    How can Smith see it when the dude is like 110 years old and he sits in the press box stuffing his fat gut with doughnuts all game long. He can’t even see the players on the field either that or he is so old he thinks he is the opposing teams OFFENSIVE coordinator instead of our Defensive coordinator.

  5. firethecannons Says:

    Wish somebody in the Bucs organization gave shat about this — time for Mike smith to go–really unfortunate–couldn’t Buckner do better–dam we suck so bad–done with this team while koetter is in–next year will be fun fun fun to watch as koetter and smith leave together

  6. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    No defense will ever be winners nor consistent when led by cancer93 and lvd. When your so called leaders are soft, mentally weak and football ignorant you simply don’t stand a chance. Combined those 2 moroons dont have a football iq of 3

  7. Alanbucsfan Says:

    The Bucs were bad vs Bears, but defense was missing Allen, Hargreaves, Whitehead, McCoy was not 100 pct, Beckwith still out, Conte is out, Kwon had a poor game …
    Smith warrants criticism , but injuries were a factor
    And the offense was terrible, too, which Joe seems to overlook.

  8. GhostofSchiano Says:

    If ATL scores 35 or more……Mike Smith must go.

  9. LargoBuc Says:

    This defense has the pieces. No excuse for what we had to endure in Chicago. Almost every defense has to deal with rookie growing pains and injuries. No excuses. And I really do like coach Koetter but if we finish with another losing season, it’s most likely going to be because of the defense, and I can’t defend Koetter coming back because it ultimately falls on him if his d co can’t get his unit in check and it costs us games.

  10. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:


    McCoy is never 100%… the cryin little clown always has a boo boo to whine about. Softest player in nfl history

  11. joestang Says:

    we have no secondary. these guys couldn’t cover me, lack of talent is a contributing factor. We do not have 1 shut down corner.I blame Licht, he is not a good GM he can’t seem to be able to spot talent, he must go.

  12. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    GhostofSchiano Says:
    October 12th, 2018 at 9:20 am

    If ATL scores 35 or more……Mike Smith must go.

    Every struggling team gets right playing the bucs. i would bet they score 28 by halftime and mid 40’s to finish. Watch how quickly your senior defendes quit AGAIN…. not even a cheap crackwhore lays down as fast as mccoy and his girls

  13. Scotty in Fat Antonio Says:

    Gee, how do the Bucs (NFL #1 passing offense mind you) offense practice against our defense day in and day out but yet our defense continues to be ROTTEN TO THE CORE?

  14. tj Says:

    Wasn’t it a couple years ago people were worried smith might be a head coach somewhere and leave the bucs

  15. passthebuc Says:

    yes, they suck

  16. JabooBuc Says:

    Reality – why? If the Bucs score 50 and give up 35, what difference does it make? In case you guys haven’t noticed, this league is very different from the one i remember growing up. Rams and Vikings, two teams thought to have good defense, were scoring all over the place on each other a couple of weeks ago.

    You can’t touch the QB’s. You can’t touch the WR’s. The goal is to outscore your opponent. I don’t care if we give up 35 as long as we have 36.

  17. JabooBuc Says:

    sorry, previous post was meant for GhostofSchiano

  18. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    There are 2 things wrong with the Bucs defense.

    1. Mike
    2. Smith

  19. theodore Says:

    Yeah, who knew the passing revolution was coming with Brady, Manning, and Brees breaking records for 10+ years now?

    Buc Ball wins games! A-Train coming through!

  20. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:


  21. DBS Says:

    Maxi. What rock were you hiding under the first 2 games? Not a word. You are just like Webster. Only time he shows up is if it is about Jameis.

  22. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    Hmm Lincoln Riley night not be a bad option to replace Dirk after Smith sinks his ship.

  23. Defense Rules Says:

    Oh if the world were only as simple as some ‘fans’ (and Joe) try to make it out to be. I’m quite sure Joe that “Smith didn’t see the passing revolution coming” is quite an oversimplification. I also feel pretty sure that Smitty believes that ‘old-school defense still works IF you have the horses to make it work’. It’s undoubtedly too simple for many Bucs’ fans tastes, but it calls for (1) stop the run; (2) pressure the QB; (3) capitalize on mistakes IMO. Our biggest problem has been that each week we’ve been fielding a different team. Too many injuries, too many guys playing hurt; and too many who are healthy underperforming at their positions.

    Numbers 1 & 2 work IMO IF you have beasts upfront (like GMC, Allen, Vea) AND if your LBs play good, solid football to back them up. With several key players now getting healthy, this Sunday’s game will show whether that Front 6 or 7 can get their part of the job done.

    Number 3 is where I still have a problem because of our very inexperienced Secondary. I’d rather that Brent Grimes NOT play, and that we go all-in with our youngsters. Grimes looked BAD out there in Games 3 & 4 and quite simply hurt the team. The youngsters will make mistakes, but they have a better chance IMO of actually accomplishing Number 3: Capitalizing on mistakes. Still say that IF our defense can hold Atlanta to 24-25 points, and IF our offense can score in the neighborhood of 28 points, my math tells me that we should win. Ya, I’ll stick with that … Bucs win 28-24.

  24. Eric Says:

    We always think the coordinator is the problem around here, then we get another one and its the same outcome.

    Just a way to divert attention from the fact that our GM is incapable of fielding a competitive team.

    Maybe some picks he has made look good on paper, but his teams suck.

  25. Buc4evr Says:

    Bad defensive scheme, bad linebackers, bad secondary, poor coaching….what could go wrong?

  26. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Smith played a key role in Koetter landing his first NFL gig in Jacksonville and the two have been together since, save for one year when Koetter was Bucs offensive coordinator.

    That’s all you really need to know…Now they both must ride off into the sunset together….

  27. Reality-is-a-Beotch Says:

    DBS Says:
    October 12th, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Maxi. What rock were you hiding under the first 2 games? Not a word. You are just like Webster. Only time he shows up is if it is about Jameis.

    never hid a day in my life ma’am… Vacation out of the country…. pound your chest all you want about the first 2 fluke wins they are irrelevant and beyond meaningless when the bucs assume their rightful place in the basement in the next few weeks. can’t win with captain blowout on the roster. he will ensure the glazers basement streak is alive and well.

  28. Mike Johnson Says:

    The Atlanta Falcons are a Bad team this year. There defense is ..POP WARNER just like ours! We should beat these guys with our offense alone. However, IF..Smitty’s Defense lays a dead Egg this Sunday, I hope the Glazers have his office packed upon his return to Buc One Place… And a ticket for him to..SIBERIA!!!

  29. jmarkbuc Says:

    You know

    If our secondary played more press and a helluva lot less off, every once in a while you send a corner blitz..Ronde made a hall of fame career out of that.

    But you can’t do that 10-12 yds off the receiver…

  30. DBS Says:

    Nice try. Everyone knows even if you were out of the country, your phone or whatever you use would work and you would have been jumping all over this team for losing. Because that is about the only time you show up.

  31. lambchop Says:

    The Chicago game was down right shameful for coaches and players. If Mike Smith makes one more excuse that the players aren’t consistent, I demand to know why the geniuses didn’t go out and get a veteran CB. Stop throwing your players under the bus, and put the right players on the field or simplify the defense without having rookies figure out if they need to drive down or cover deep. Just play man coverage; it can’t be any worse than what was happening in Chicago.

    For all this chatter that Mike Smith is such a good guy, why the F hasn’t he come out and put the blame on himself even if it is rookie mistakes? Ultimately, the captain goes down with the ship. I’m afraid Mike Smith would don a skirt and jump on the life boat.

  32. Oneilbucs Says:

    If the defense plays bad some kind of way it will be Jamies fault if he throw 1 int or a fumble and the first quarter then the game is over to a lot of people on this site and it will be Jamies fault why we lose cause of the 1int or fumble in the first half of the game. So Smith is ok lol lol lol …..

  33. bigdaddio Says:

    Any stat geeks out there to help answer this question–How many times is a pass rusher unblocked to the QB per team? That is a pretty good measure of a defensive coordinate. How many times did he scheme a sack or pressure. I honestly, other than zero man blitzes that leave gaping coverage holes, recall a single time this year the Bucs have manage it. The Bucs just line up their DL in the same spot and if they don’t beat protection there is no pressure. They sometimes throw in predictable LB blitzes that are always picked up.

    Just lining up and beating your opponent with talent worked pretty well when you had Sapp, Brooks, Rice, Barber, Lynch and other pro-bowl caliber players throughout the same defense. But if you don’t have that, you have to win some on scheme. We never do.

  34. D1 Says:

    Defense rules,

    Funny but your opinion is the exact same as Derrick Brooks. hmmmm..

    -Stop the run..
    Bucs are currently #2 in the NFL vs the run.

    -Pressure the QB….
    working on it.

    -capitalizing on mistakes….vague and passive but ok….
    what if the other side doesn’t make’em, And the Bucs do?
    mistakes happen but it’s not something you bank on.

    Build a 1990 defense today and you win 8 games a year max.