“It’s Way Bigger Than One Guy”

October 9th, 2018

Not just him.

Bucs fans have not let up.

Just this morning Joe got a Twitter asking why Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith is still running the defense. Fair question.

Aside from a five-game stretch (fluke?) the Bucs defense has been downright rotten and Bucs fans are simply fed up with Smith’s favorite line that the defense is struggling due to “communication.”

(Hell, as long as Smith has been on the job for the past 33 months, Joe could have become fluent in freaking Latin by now. Enough of the “communication” crutch.)

Last year the Bucs had the worst pass defense in the NFL and after upgrading the talent on defense with free agents, draft picks and a big-time trade, the pass defense is actually worse.

Still, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has defended his long-time colleague and yesterday he explained further why, to the dismay of many Bucs fans, Smith is still on the job.

“Every week, every game, it’s way bigger than any one guy,” Koetter said. “It’s bigger than me. It’s bigger than Mike. It’s bigger than Gerald McCoy. It’s bigger than any one person – it’s a team game. That was really my whole point. Any time anybody, me included, singles one person out for the cause of all of our problems or the cause of our success – guess what? That’s not right. It’s much more than that.

“I know how we game plan as a staff. I know how guys coach on the field, just like I know how guys play in practice and sometimes carry it over to the game better than others. It’s the greatest team game in the word, so any blame that goes to one person – I get how, shoot I’m a fan of my son’s team or my daughter’s volleyball team. I talk just like fans when it’s my kids and then I have to check myself on that.

“The coordinators in the NFL call the plays in, they help organize the game plan. They don’t game plan – I guess some could we don’t do it that way – they don’t do the whole game plan themselves. Again, look at it from both positive and negative. Never all one person’s fault and it’s never all one person’s credit. Certain people in the league – quarterbacks, coordinators – tend to get more credit or more blame than they deserve and the same goes for quarterbacks.”

Joe doesn’t discount what Koetter is saying and in the big picture, he’s not wronge. (The story in the best-selling book “Season on the Brink” of Bobby Knight having to watch his son play zone defense in a game on the same day Knight’s hunting dog ran away sprang to mind when Joe heard Koetter talking about watching his children play in a game for some reason.)  But if Smith is going to be absolved, then there is something then wrong with how Koetter has structured how his defensive coaching staff goes about its job.

This is no small sample size here. It’s roughly 31 games in less than three seasons. And Joe doesn’t expect the Bucs to overnight turn into the 1977 Steelers if, say, Mark Duffner was given full control of the defense.

There is a thing called stemming the tide. There is also a saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Just like Koetter is with the whole team, Smith is ultimately responsible for his side of the ball. Otherwise, what’s he even wearing a headset for if he has no responsibility?

In 2009, the Bucs’ failed defense with Jim Bates as coordinator actually settled down after Raheem Morris defrocked the veteran coach. Don’t tell Joe such a move won’t help now. How can it hurt — the Bucs are the worst in the NFL on defense?

Joe knows the following is apples and oranges but it is interesting.

Sunday night, when Joe heard Oklahoma fired defensive coordinator Mike Stoops, Joe immediately thought of the Bucs.

Last week, Koetter basically said getting rid of Smith would not have the desired effect fans are seeking. The Bucs are in a playoff hunt (yes they are) and anything less than a playoff berth means Koetter’s perceived hot seat goes from warm to front and center on a griddle.

Oklahoma has national title hopes and dreams. And after Stoops’ defense was getting shredding regularly over the past two seasons and when a non-explosive offense like Texas boatraced Oklahoma’s defense last weekend, that was enough for Sooners coach Lincoln Riley (think the Windy City Wipeout).

The thing that intrigued Joe about Riley firing Stoops is Riley had the stones to fire a coach who happens to be a brother of the guy who hired Riley.

Joe fears that former NFL suit Michael Lombardi’s prediction about Koetter will come true, that Smith will get Koetter fired. That’s the last thing Joe wants to happen.

44 Responses to ““It’s Way Bigger Than One Guy””

  1. joestang Says:

    If Koetter is that bullheaded the he needs to go also. They need better talent and a GM that can evaluate talent. Licht is the major blame, he failed on too many draft pics.

  2. GhostofSchiano Says:

    JOE says “— the Bucs are the worst in the NFL on defense?”

    Three years running sir, three. years. in. a . row.

  3. BucThis Says:

    Perhaps Pressbox Smitty should be on the sidelines so he can better communication with his guys? Just food for thought

  4. Jmarkbuc Says:

    OK, Dork is now officially a blathering idiot.

    Can the Glazers not see they dropped a plum job in the lap of an OK offensive coordinator?

    A head coach he is not. And he shows it more and more every time he opens his mouth….

    ““The coordinators in the NFL call the plays in, they help organize the game plan. They don’t game plan – I guess some could we don’t do it that way – they don’t do the whole game plan themselves. Again, look at it from both positive and negative. Never all one person’s fault and it’s never all one person’s credit. Certain people in the league – quarterbacks, coordinators – tend to get more credit or more blame than they deserve and the same goes for quarterbacks.”

    He can’t even get coach speak right…what the hell was this gobbeldy gook????

  5. Jmarkbuc Says:

    Apparently, coordinators don’t game plan…

    That explains a lot.

  6. Joe Says:

    Three years running sir, three. years. in. a . row.

    That’s inaccurate. Bucs were not last in 2016 in either yards allowed or points allowed. More like middle of the pack.

  7. 813bucboi Says:


    that’s my biggest take away….lol…..so if our coordinators don’t game plan, who does, the players….lol

    so dirk doesn’t get involved with “game planning” for the defense…..monken is the “coordinator” but doesn’t game plan or call plays……dirk calls the plays but isn’t a coordinator……smittys the coordinator but doesn’t game plan…..lol….

    no wonder why the team comes out flat….lol….no one is game planning…..lol

    dirk could’ve did everyone a favor and just put the blame on the players because that exactly what he did…..lol…..he placed no accountability or responsibility on the coordinators, on himself or any on the coaches…..

    that statement right there shows his incompetence and shows how much he’s in over his head…..glazers please take dirk out of his misery…..he’s begging for it….


  8. Bird Says:

    I like Koetter.

    However , if he thinks loyalty is right move here then he needs to get fired as well . This is embarrassing. My 5 year old nephew could get the same results at d-coordinator

    Think owners will give ultimatum after this game. This is last straw. Most guys on defense are healthy (so no excuses there ) and 2 weeks to prepare for Atlanta ( so no excuses there)

  9. 813bucboi Says:

    that’s explains the “communication” issues…..the person calling the plays isn’t the same person that creating the game plan…..

    the person who is creating the game plan says we’re going to attack and play tight coverage but then smitty calls plays that have CB’s playing 10yards off and having LVD and kwon dropping into coverage instead of attacking…..then WR’s are running wide open and everyone is looking confused….

    it all makes sense now….thanks for shedding some light dirk….or shall I say dimming it….


  10. Architek Says:

    Don’t be leveraging my Horns offensive issues to support your argument. As Koetter said,” it’s never one person.” 🙂

  11. DB55 Says:


    I’m right there with you. Didn’t Koetter say he doesn’t get too involved with the defense?

  12. unbelievable Says:


    Agree 100%. What do you mean the coordinators don’t game plan? Then who the h3ll does?

    Maybe that’s the whole Problem right there.

    @Joe can you ask some follow up questions for clarity? Cuz that part of his statement is baffling.

  13. zzbuc Says:

    I like and respect Coach Koetter a lot, I’ve been 100% supportive with him, I believe in him as a person and as a coach, but this kind of situations standing back a bad Coordinator is the tipical situation that will get you fired. Its proven with three years in a row that our defense is really bad. Please Coach something has to change, and if you don’t remove your DC, your are gone sooner rather than later. I still believe in your common sense!!!!

  14. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    The defense has been bad for the past 5 years since day 1 of the lovie regime and one guy has been consistent in that has been licht and the horrible way he bult the team and the defense especially, this team is 2-3 drafts from a solid defense and jury still out on winston

  15. jjuice 32 Says:

    The one thing that gets me is he doesn’t seem to think there is a problem. I wish he would just say “we suck” and admit it. All he seems to do is dance around the real problem. He must acknowledge there is a problem.

  16. theodore Says:

    Mike Smith is making his 2 1/2 year adjustments. Defense will be fine on Sunday.

  17. Posey99 Says:

    Unless the Glazers are picking the coaches and staff this is on the GM and head coach. Koetter is really backing himself into a corner with these comments lately.

  18. Rojas Says:

    Bucs resign Marpet 6 year deal

  19. Posey99 Says:

    On another note the NFL is exploded with Offense across the board. How much of this has to do with the rule adjustments??

  20. adam from ny Says:

    dirk is getting ball slapped by smitty


  21. 813bucboi Says:


    smitty was hired to fix the defense not make it worse…..I find it hilarious that folks gross over the poor coaching, poor player development and lack of game planning when it comes to the defense…..


  22. Buc4evr Says:

    Pathetic excuse Koetter . I honestly don’t care about coach speak, if things don’t improve on defense you and your buddy are gone. You may not even make it until the end of the season at this rate.

  23. Jmarkbuc Says:


    ” 2 weeks to prepare for Atlanta ( so no excuses there)”

    I don’t know what the CBA says about bye weeks, if teams are required to give players the week off…but we know our players took the week off. That makes two weeks to prepare kind of moot. Odds are this team will not be prepared.

    Koetters statement above just blows my mind.

    The only thing he’s right about is it’s not just one guy…It’s three guys.

  24. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Smith is ultimately responsible for his side of the ball. Otherwise, what’s he even wearing a headset for if he has no responsibility?” No responsibility? That’s not at all what Koetter said Joe.

    What Dirk did say (according to you) is ““The coordinators in the NFL call the plays in, they help organize the game plan. They don’t game plan – I guess some could we don’t do it that way – they don’t do the whole game plan themselves.”

    I can understand where he’s coming from (a coordinated approach to planning), BUT … I don’t like the way he described the process. That approach smacks of the same problem we seem to be having with ownership. Back when Daddy Glazer ran the Bucs, he probably had a sign on his desk that read ‘The Bucs Stop Here’. Malcolm was in charge … period. Now that we have some Glazer Consortium running the franchise, things have changed (and not for the better IMO). Maybe it’s just my military background coming out, but decision-making-by-committee doesn’t work in the military, it obviously doesn’t work in politics, and it probably doesn’t work on the football field either.

  25. Dusthty Rhothdes Says:

    The play that Conte got trucked was not on conte aside from not pushing guy out or going low, but someone blew coverage for the 5 zillionth time, is smiths scheme too complex to understand, i am guessing that smith has dumbed down his defense if that is the case and they run a cover 4 look all the time, i mean this week,, would any of you run a Man defense straight across with a FS, who do you put on Julio and then ridley, then if you gonna do that and blitz, it just doesnt seem like LVD or kwon are any good at that……..what the gators are doing now and did under dan quinn and muschamp is good stuff but you better be on yoru assignment and the players were held accountable by muschamp and quinn and here in tampa under schiano, maybe there are too many menatlly soft players here in tampa, watch gmc, he seems to slant every play, no clue what calls are, or what reason he does that or what Kwons read is supposed to be as he runs around blocks and opens huge holes

  26. Nprbuc Says:

    I just have to keep harping on this single theme: if Smitty had any class and gave a crap about the team and Koetter, he would be a man and resign. It is blatantly obvious over 3 years that this defense is going nowhere regardless of who is on the field. There are many teams that don’t have Hall of Fame talent who at least know where to line up. Time for Smith to step up, say he did his best, and wish everyone good luck.i am sure the Glazers could find an extra couple of bucks to break his fall from grace or keep him in the organization in some other position. After his debacle in Tampa I don’t see a bright future for him on anyone’s sideline. Save the coach, save the team and resign. You will be thought highly of doing the right thing for everyone involved. Thanks for the memories/ nightmares.

  27. Not there yet Says:

    Licht lock up your decent draft picks before you and your coaching staff get the axe, they don’t get it and when your in defensive mode without acknowledging that one guy calls the plays, it’s one guys scheme and after 3 years you can’t keep putting most of the blame on the players. Didn’t want a rebuild but now I see this team is limited because the forward thinking is limited. Mr coach my scheme and we might as well have kept Lovie Smith

  28. JimmyJack Says:

    Anytime we take a bad loss under Dirk it’s the same thing.

    It’s not just the defense. It’s both offense and defense. This is a team thing and a preparation thing.

    For sure our defense looked a ton worse then the O Sunday. But what was the O doing?………Same thing they always do in a blowout. Come out dry come out flat and do nothing during the first half to get us momentum while we proceed to get pushed all over the field.

    The problems with this team cannot be fixed by eliminating one person. The entire coaching staff has failed to prepare this team on a consistent basis. I don’t know what the heck this team is doing Monday through Friday but it darn sure is not good enough as we can all tell on Blowout Sundays.

    go Bucs?

  29. JimmyJack Says:

    Blowouts only happen when the entire team is sucking butt.

  30. Phil Says:

    Joe you are right how could the defense be any worse if they fire Mike Smith? We already are the worst defense in the league. At least it would send a message to the players that they better get their butt in gear or they might not be here either.

  31. JimmyJack Says:

    Not there yet……This team is nowhere near a rebuild mode. And don’t forget, if Licht is possibly getting replaced there is no way the Glazers will approve any deal he wishes to make. If we have the rehire a new Front Office they will be the ones who decide who to keep and who not to…….You could argue but I would say that any new GM that would look at or roster would see a lot of talent and untapped potential.

    Lil tidbit for all the Licht-haters…….say whatever you will about his term but you cannot deny that, financially speaking, he has been very smart with any deal he has made and has the organization in a fine place. The financial aspect may go overlooked but next year we will be looking at some extremely important decisions that will have a major impact on our future. Whoever the GM is better be able to handle the fianace end of things or this team will quickly go back to the dreaded “rebuild/retool” mode.

  32. JimmyJack Says:

    ^^^^And IMO I trust Licht to do that job. No use in arguing why because emotions run too deep.

    I also think Licht has earned the right to hire a HC if things don’t work out this year. Yada, yada he hired Dirk….I call a little foul on the Dirk hire. It almost seems like he was hired by the media but I think the true reason he was hired was because the Glazers didn’t want to lose him and see him get promoted and another city……..just like with Raheeeeem.

    Let Licht get us a Coach of his choosing if Dirk can fix this.

  33. Darin Says:

    Lomardi is correct, kind of. Smitty will help Dirk get fired. Dirk has a big hand in his own firing. Wish it happened last year. And Yeah Dirk its not just one guy. Its all of them. Theyre all out of position due to one guy tho. Or maybe not. Who the hell knows who game plans for this defense. Sure isnt the guy who should. Monkens gona have to pull off some magic play calling the rest of the season to save these clowns jobs. He is our only hope.

  34. 813bucboi Says:

    DB55 Says:
    October 9th, 2018 at 1:02 pm
    I’m right there with you. Didn’t Koetter say he doesn’t get too involved with the defense?

    bingo….so neither dirk nor smitty are putting in the defensive game plan…..

    so we have a HC and DC that don’t game plan….what do they do all week?…fish?


  35. GhostofSchiano Says:

    Jmarkbuc Says: He can’t even get coach speak right…what the hell was this gobbeldy gook????

    I speak a little gobbeldy gook, let me see if I can translate

    Koetter – Mike Smith is more than just my friend, he got me my start, my big break, I cant just toss him out like common trash. Even though his defensive scheme and play calling is trash. I just couldn’t do that to him. So I figure I can score some serious loyalty points to impress the GM and HC of the next NFL franchise that I apply to after being fired at the end of this season. Because I sure as hell am going to be fired, barring a miracle and this being Tampa, miracles are few and far between. Why I have as much chance as being the HC of this team next year as a game winning field goal drive executed by Josh Freeman with Roberto Aguyao kicking. Yeah, it’s like that.

    Something to that effect

  36. Ryan McGregor Says:


  37. Mike Johnson Says:

    Thats right Dirk…Keep makin EXCUSES. Its bigger thanone guy is right. So lets include YOU and Licht along with Smitty. Thats..3 guys now. Want more? How about the ball-less owners as well. Thats up to about 7..I can give you more…..
    EXCUSE CITY…What a mantra aye?

  38. Buccfan37 Says:

    The Bucs are all about on the job training constantly on extension.

  39. Defense Rules Says:

    @JimmyJack … “The problems with this team cannot be fixed by eliminating one person. The entire coaching staff has failed to prepare this team on a consistent basis.” BINGO! Too many ‘fans’ keep looking for the quick-fix to this Bucs’ situation, but it’s never that simple. All folks have to do is look at (1) who got what snaps on offense & defense; and (2) the drives summary for each game.

    Webster has a definition for what happens when your opponent (Bears) score 6 TDs & 2 FGs on their first 10 drives with no turnovers and you score 1 TD & 1 FG with 3 turnovers in your first 10 drives. It’s call an ass-whoopin. ONE coach is not responsible for that ass-whoopin … the entire team is. Coaches AND players.

    And JimmyJack, we are NOT in very good financial shape. Without changes in TALENT, we’ll keep getting the same results. And TALENT costs $$$. Bucs have some major financial commitments on the horizon (as in … at the end of THIS year). Licht has committed too much $$$ to a few players who simply aren’t producing up to their contract. I agree that we not in the middle of a rebuild at this moment, but we could be in a year or two.

  40. Dapostman Says:

    In need of the ‘defense whisperer’…………………

  41. Mike Says:

    If we are the worst defense in the NFL, by definition, we are not in a playoff race. We have two wins- there is more of a chance that we implode completely- that’s how it’s trending- looking for a great draft slot as usual, to blow as usual.

    Clean house!

    Fire the cannons,
    Fire Koetter
    Fire Light
    Fire Smith

  42. Bucsace Says:

    I figure Smitty knows knows he’ll probably never be a NFL head coach again, so unlike a lot of coordinators who are motivated to make an impact that could lead to advancing to a head coaching position, Smitty’s already been there, so it’s just marking time and collecting a paycheck. He probably has a big enough nest egg from his coaching days in Atlanta to retire after this gig anyway. He and Koetter might be fishing together in Idaho this time next year…..and maybe be happy about it !!!

  43. BUC IT Says:

    This is a Licht/Smith problem. I place most of the blame on Jason Licht. Lets review… he took a kicker with a 2nd round pick (could’ve been secondary). He took OJ which I liked but we didn’t need him (could’ve gotten derwin james). He chose Hargreaves who is a bust as a 1st round pick. He chose Ronald Jones with a 2nd rounder who looks like a bust (over Kerryon or defense). Noah Spence….. these are a lot of misses. OJ wasn’t a miss but we had cameron brate… that was a luxury item on a team that lacks depth on Defense. So Licht definitely is on my hot seat. Mike Smith needs to be fired AFTER the season unless the defense shows a lot of improvement.

  44. Defense Rules Says:

    @Bucsace … “Smitty’s already been there, so it’s just marking time and collecting a paycheck.” And you KNOW that how? Pretty BIG ASSUMPTION there.