Mike Smith Took All The Punches

October 11th, 2018

Didn’t play dodgeball.

It was one of the most intense yet professional press conferences Joe has ever attended at One Buc Palace.

Every person in the media studio of One Buc Palace knew the man who was about to walk to the podium is fortunate to still have a job, including the man who walked to the podium himself, and that was Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

For the past 20 games — or if one wishes, a very large chunk of 31 of the past 36 games, Smith’s Bucs defense has been mostly terrible and currently on pace to set an NFL record for most points allowed in a season

Last year the Bucs had the worst defense in the NFL. And despite the team beefing up the defensive line and secondary, the defense is actually worse. The Bucs allow appalling 77 percent completion rate on opponents’ passes.

Joe is nearly convinced some quarterbacks in the Pasco County high school summer flag football league don’t have that high of a completion percentage.

It was Smith’s first face-the-music appearance since the Windy City Wipeout. He knew it; the local pen and mic club knew it: The press conference was going to be tough. But Smith, ever the stand-up guy, fielded each and every question for nearly 17 minutes as the press conference grew more uncomfortable by the minute and the questions more biting.

Not once did Smith duck a question, bark “next question” or refuse to answer.

Virtually none of his answers would pacify Bucs fans who are clamoring for his dismissal.

“I’ve got tracks on my back through the years,” Smith quipped when Joe asked him about the loud cries for his job. “You are in this business, hey… it doesn’t hurt my feelings. Everybody has their own opinion. That’s the way this world is. That’s what makes it go around. … You try to be focused at the task at hand.”

Notice Joe wrote “virtually none” of Smith’s answers would satisfy fans. But Smith did mention one thing when he searched for reasons why his defense has been downright offensive. He cited inconsistent play as a culprit.

“Overall, we have not done what we need to get done,” Smith said. “I think there’s some young guys that have shown spurts of being good players. I think there’s been times when they’ve shown their youth.

“I think there’s times that we’ve shown that we’re able to put pressure on the quarterback and there’s other times it’s not. We’ve been an inconsistent group and really that’s frustrating as a coach because you don’t like to put the inconsistencies out on the field.”

Joe is of the mind that is a fair answer. It’s hard to put a guy in an ideal position when it’s a coin-flip whether he can perform the required task or not. That makes it awfully hard to gameplan or match up talent.

Of course, the logical question is, Why are so many players playing so inconsistently? That seems to speak to larger issues.

Joe has to give Smith props for his composure. He fielded tough questions while having several cameras recording his every word not to mention his own team streaming video of the press conference live throughout the globe.

A lot of coaches would have blown a gasket or copped an attitude and picked an argument with a reporter. Several coaches would have stomped off the stage in anger. Instead, Smith stood there and took all the bullets.

Joe sure cannot say much for Smith’s defense this year (or last year) but Joe gained another level of respect from a professional like Smith.

Trust Joe, Smith’s defense is garbage. But Joe gets no joy from pointing out the faults of a good man.

35 Responses to “Mike Smith Took All The Punches”

  1. Dewey Selmon Says:

    let me guess,he wasn’t able to stop punches either.

  2. Robert Says:

    Smith will be fine.

    He’s simply the scapegoat for JW nut huggers a young braindead secondary and divided locker room at the time of the last game.

    Now that we have definitive starter again at QB the locker room can mend. Atlanta is so bad JW can turn it over 3 times and we still have a chance and he can regain confidence. The secondary…..well it will be the #11 show and a long day.

  3. D-Rome Says:

    Smith will be fine.

    He’s simply the scapegoat for JW nut huggers

    Apart from a five game fluke, Mike Smith’s defense has been awful. Worse than when Lovie Smith was here. Has nothing to do with Jameis Winston.

  4. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “He’s simply the scapegoat for JW nut huggers a young braindead secondary and divided locker room at the time of the last game”

    How would he be a scapegoat for JW nut huggers? What did Jameis do wrong that we are blaming on Smitty now?

    Jameis hasn’t even been playing this year lol. We should blame him for having the worst D in the league through 4 weeks of football?

    And it’s not just the Bears game. The Mike Smitty Defense has been bottom 3 in the NFL going back to 2016; outside of a 5 game stretch.

  5. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Let’s not forget – last year – this defense was 31s/32nd in points given up / yards given up per possession.

    Their yearly aggregate totals weren’t that bad (like 22-24); but only because our offense covered for them by netting 5 less possessions the defense had to face compared to average NFL teams (based on 10 less punts than average vs 5 more turnovers than average for our offense).

    The D also single handily gave up wins against the Packers, Panthers, & Lions.

    F*ck you Jameis Winston!

  6. Dapostman Says:

    Go to youtube and look at the Vance McDonald 75 yard stiff arm TD. The Bucs are blitzing but the Steelers have blockers to pick up the blitz. It’s 3rd and 10 and Conte is at least 15 yards back. McDonald gets a free release catches the ball at the sticks and the rest is history. The Steelers knew YOU were blitzing. Conte should have been up at the line of scrimmage disguising who actually was coming. Maybe Conte maybe not. Conte should have had a closer cover to McDonald. That was a total joke of a defensive call. Keep it simpler Mike Smith. Line up and cover your guy. QB’s like Ben know more than you do about coverage. If you play these same games with Matt Ryan prepare to get scorched.

    #Get After It!

  7. Trench War Says:

    I think the only real issue I have with coach Smith is the fact that he calls the game from a press box. It’s supposed to give him a birds eye view of the enemies offense, but even with that he still has a difficult time adjusting or recognizing the same repeated offensive plays that burn us. Like Daniel Jeremiah pointed out, coach Smith did not recognize any of the wheel routes the Bears deployed and had no defensive instructions to guard against them. How does a veteran defensive coordinator miss that? Is it really a lack of communication or did they just fail getting the rookies prepared? Or is it all on coach Smith and his decision making? If the birds eye view is not working then why not return to the sideline where he can teach during the game.

  8. Jmarkbuc Says:

    He’s such a standup guy that it took him 10 days to get to the podium,

    I don’t recall him addressing anything that happened in Chicago. Maybe he did and I missed it, surely Joe would have reported it.

    At the end of the day he might be a great guy and all, but he hasn’t coached any decent defense in three years. It’s not all on the players.

  9. Season Is Over Says:

    “A lot of coaches would have blown a gasket or copped an attitude and picked an argument with a reporter.”

    You mean coaches like Koetter?

    Why would anyone think Smith adjusted since the Jones drubbing? Hasn’t there already been a game where Ryan just threw to everyone else and Jones ran all over them? There is no defense for Smith. The Bucs are forcing their fans to watch a subpar product. What are you as a fan going to do about it?

  10. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    Mike Smith says: “Everybody has their own opinion.”

    This is an interesting peek into his thought process. Does he really think he’s doing a good job and people are just willy nilly voicing their opinion that his defense sucks?

    After 3 years, I think ones “opinion” has turned to: Hard. Cold. FACT.

    It’s not an opinion anymore Mr. Smith, the “Fact” is, your defense sucks.

  11. Season Is Over Says:

    Freeman not Jones.

  12. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    Mike Smith appears to be a nice honest guy but in this business, guys get let go all the time. Not sure how many more chances he will get but I think it is pretty selfish that he is putting the other coaches jobs on the line, not to mention the entire bucs organization. He just needs to step down. Most of us, have lost all trust in him and his D scheme.

  13. 813bucboi Says:

    @joe, you shoulve asked smitty, “why is your defense worse than lovie’s”…..that’s what the fans want to know….

    why is smitty’s defense worse than lovie when lovie didn’t have 4 former 1st round picks along the dline and 2nd round picks thru out the secondary….


  14. 813bucboi Says:


  15. D-Rome Says:

    Dapostman, I wholeheartedly agree. I pointed that out as well a couple of weeks ago. I will never understand that play call on 3rd and 10. There were too many Bucs defenders at the line of scrimmage. If that’s the play call, it was terrible. If someone did something wrong and no one on the field (Kwon) realized it.

  16. Not there yet Says:

    He still butchered that press conference because I couldn’t watch after he said the is not falling. Sorry Smitty but it wasn’t a one-off, it wasn’t an anomaly, you get destroyed by offenses on a regular basis

  17. GhostofSchiano Says:

    So basically the press conference was this –

    1) retire the Communication issues excuse

    2) Introduce new excuse – “Inconsistency”

    3) Introduce the on deck excuse – “Youth”

    Got it.

  18. Buccfan37 Says:

    Sitting in the press box or whereabouts with a birds eye view seems too distant to get a handle on the situation. Like the coach at a hockey game sitting in the rafters but farther away.

  19. Mike Johnson Says:

    Smith took all of the punches? He got hellava lot more comin if his Defense does not iprove markedly.

  20. JabooBuc Says:

    I know this is not a popular opinion, but aside from the Bears game (no defending that BS) I thought the Bucs defense had played well. A lot of you seem very concerned about yards given up but in today’s league and the Bucs offense, it’s a little unrealistic to assume they won’t give up yards.

    In case you hadn’t noticed, the Saints have a pretty potent offense. So do the Eagles and Steelers. With all of the injuries and youth on the defensive side of the ball, they did hold their own against those teams. I would even go so far that the Steelers game might be their best effort. 4 TO’s in the first half including a pick 6 and only gave up 30 points to that offense (no points in the 2nd half)? Not bad in my book.

    I’m with Smith in hoping that game was just an anomaly and that this bye week will get them back on track. All NFL games are important but this one is pivotal.

    I’m all in and tired of all the bitching. Go BUCs!

  21. Defense Rules Says:

    @Lord C … “Their yearly aggregate totals weren’t that bad (like 22-24); but only because our offense covered for them by netting 5 less possessions the defense had to face compared to average NFL teams (based on 10 less punts than average vs 5 more turnovers than average for our offense).”

    “OUR OFFENSE COVERED FOR THEM?” Lord C, please tell me someone broke into your house, stole your computer, and wrote that while you were away on vacation, because I refuse to believe you REALLY believe that.

    The Bucs’ defense was on the field in 2017 for 1,011 defensive snaps. Bucs offense had 14 INTs & 27 fumbles (41 altogether).
    o The Saints’ defense was on the field in 2017 for 1,002 defensive snaps. Saints offense had 8 INTs & 19 fumbles (27 altogether).
    o The Panthers’ defense was on the field in 2017 for 953 defensive snaps. Panthers offense had 16 INTs & 19 fumbles (35 altogether).
    o The Falcons’ defense was on the field in 2017 for 994 defensive snaps. Falcons offense had 12 INTs & 17 fumbles (29 altogether).

    From a defensive snaps standpoint, only the Panthers were appreciably lower than the Bucs (Saints & Falcons were similar). From a turnover standpoint, the Bucs’ offense led the pack by quite a bit … and I would hardly call that COVERING FOR THE DEFENSE. Quite the opposite actually … turnovers screw the defense in more ways than one (increases the defense’s time on the field AND often results in crummy field position which leads to either FGs or TDs).

    Of course we won’t mention that the Bucs’ offense up until this year had gotten the preponderance of the $$$ & draft ‘assets’ over the past 4-5 years as our Bucs insisted we’d become an offensive juggernaut. Take away the points scored by the Bucs’ defense each year and we’re not even averaging 20 PPG over these last 3 years. But hey, if believing that the Bucs offense is COVERING FOR THE DEFENSE works for you, then run with it. Plenty of JBFers, including Joe of course, will back you to the hilt.

  22. Buc'n Enough Says:

    Joe: You mean he had to be accountable like every other hard working person has to be held accountable at their job or workplace?

    Geez, quit putting this guy on a pedestal ….he is a football coach paid big bucks …I don’t care about his feelings….I care if he can get the job done right or not…and so far…he can’t get the job done.

  23. Buc believer Says:

    I still don’t give a rats arse if he IS a nice guy or how he stood up there and “took the blows” as you say bottom line is he SUCKS!!! He doesn’t deserve to have a job with the Bucs or any NFL team at all! Keeping Smith guarantees us last place in the NFC south and at best maybe another win or two. The guy needs to do the right thing and just go away.

  24. Dapostman Says:


    I’m ok with guys at the line of scrimmage. My point was the Bucs have 6 and the Steelers have 6 with the back in on the left where the pressure was coming from. If Conte was also on the line can you tell for sure which 6 are coming? The Steelers had that blitz neutered at the line and with Conte off McDonald at least 15 yards it was way too easy. Throw in a missed tackle and it’s a TD. The reason you blitz is to confuse blockers. 7 blitzers for 6 blockers, 6 for 5 and so on. It doesn’t do any good if your blockers are picked off at the LOS.

  25. Eric Says:

    Wyche used to bring food to the homeless……………

  26. Defense Rules Says:

    @JabooBuc … “I know this is not a popular opinion, but aside from the Bears game (no defending that BS) I thought the Bucs defense had played well.” Oh heavens Jaboo, that could get you tarred & feathered on JoeBucsFan. Joe made it very clear that the Bucs defense is the only reason we’re not SuperBowl champs: “Trust Joe, Smith’s defense is garbage.”

    I particularly like Joe’s use of ‘selective facts’ … “despite the team beefing up the defensive line and secondary, the defense is actually worse.” No mention whatsoever that the interior of the ‘beefed up DLine’ has missed almost the entire season thus far. Hmmm, no mention either that the Secondary was relegated to playing 4 ROOKIES or near-ROOKIES, plus 1 crippled aging veteran who lasted half a game (but should never have been out there at all). And certainly we won’t mention that those 5 in the Secondary had almost surely NEVER been on the field before at the same time. Heck, who needs ‘EXCUSES’ like that when we have Scapegoat Smitty. Hmmm, maybe there is ‘joy from pointing out the faults of a good man’ after all.

  27. Wausa Says:

    Usually it’s the drunk adult or an immature kid that blames the QB on the kicker missing his kicks or the defense playing poorly.

  28. Joe Says:

    Buc’n Enough:

    Joe wouldn’t have hired the guy in the first place. Joe campaigned strongly for the Bucs to hire Jim Schwartz (how’d that turn out?).

    Sorry if Joe is human. Of course Smith should go. Still, in this business there are so many jackasses and Joe can honestly say Koetter’s coaching staff at worst seems to be good people and at the top of this list is Smith. Hate to see bad things happen to good people, no matter their salary.

    If Joe is a scumbag for thinking that way, well, then Joe’s a scumbag, sorry.

  29. JabooBuc Says:

    Defense Rules: I’m with you. Can’t explain the Chicago game other than they had a collective brain fart. However, the back end of this defense has been literally hurting up until now. Not an excuse but a harsh reality. You can’t play all those rookies and not expect an experienced offensive mind like Nagy not to come after you.

    My prediction is that they will get better and fairly quickly. Joe and all the other sky is falling crowd will eat their words as this team will start to get healthy and gain a better understanding of their assignments. Can’t emphasize enough how important it is, whether in team sports or business, to have experience and continuity. Most of that entire defense has been turned over either by choice (JPP, Curry, Allen, Vea) or by necessity (Whitehead, Davis, Stewart, Williams). Hard to win early on with all of that going on.

    It will get better though and I hope the offense can continue to score some points until that time comes.

  30. Defense Rules Says:

    JabooBuc … Well said; stay optimistic. This defense WILL get better now that some key players are healing up. Guys like JPP & Curry, and yes, GMC & LVD have too much pride to simply roll over & play dead. Personally hope that Smitty stays with the young guys on the back end … they’ll make mistakes, and all the ‘fans’ will scream even louder for Smitty’s head, but you don’t learn by sitting on the bench. If the DLine heals up & gets after it, AND if our LBs can get their collective act squared away, then our young Secondary will be able to play to its’ strengths (aggressive & up). They’ll still give up points & yardage, but hopefully our offense does its’ part by putting up lots of points themselves, controls the clock, and doesn’t turn the danged ball over. THAT’S the kiss of death for this defense.

  31. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Eric Says:

    Wyche used to bring food to the homeless……………

    Gruden threw a sandwich out the window of his limo at a homeless guy that he only took one bite from…….not sure if he scowled or not.

  32. Joe Says:

    2) Introduce new excuse – “Inconsistency”

    They were anything but inconsistent. They were and have been consistently horrible.

  33. BucEmUp Says:

    Why are so many of his players playing so inconsistently….CONSITENTLY over the years?

    I agree hell we all agree he’s a good guy….I would love to sit and watch a game with him. A game that’ he isn’t coaching.

    The guy has been unable to coach up anyone to play good against the pass. Why does he still have a job here? This is the reason Lovie was fired!!!! Dirk would still be here calling plays so why the hell did they fire him just to have the same crap defense


  34. T REX Says:

    My opinion is you suck, Mike. Get out of town.

  35. lambchop Says:

    The excuses are strong with this one.