Donovan Smith Gets Non-Traditional Love From Dirk Koetter

December 6th, 2018

For 60 consecutive games, Donovan Smith has lined up as the Buccaneers’ starting left tackle, ever since he was selected in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft.

And in that time, many NFL executives have wished Smith was on their team.

That’s always been the running take on Smith at One Buc Palace: he’s better than most left tackles. Top-10, top-14, wherever you want to rank him in the NFL, Smith is a durable, effective, good player who is inconsistent.

It’s a weird endorsement because it sort of acknowledges that Smith could be better than he plays.

Joe actually can’t recall anyone connected to the Bucs saying Smith is consistent in his performance. And Dirk Koetter was back at that today noting a fair knock on Smith is that he’s inconsistent but that label applies to most NFL players.

Koetter was asked about Smith and how he’s playing in a contract year. The head coach said he hears Smith’s loud critics but sort of challenged anyone to name a list of better left tackles.

That list is “extremely small,” Koetter said.

Koetter is correct. However, Smith will want to be paid after this season like an elite left tackle. And that’s where the Bucs’ decision lies. Will they want to pay an inconsistent player a monster contract?

It’s a good question, and it might be a tough one.

The good news is the Bucs can slap the franchise tag on Smith for 2019. It’s a reasonable price ($14.07 million in 2018) because the tag covers the position of offensive lineman rather than left tackle, which is the highest paid slot among O-linemen. On the open market, 25-year-old Smith could fetch $16 or $17 million per season.

Joe suspects that whoever is coaching the Bucs will want to keep Smith for at least one more year.

No matter who is running this team in 2019, there’s no way the Bucs will be drafting a left tackle in Round 1, and chances are slim they’ll invest in a free agent LT not named Smith.

Joe would love to see how Smith responds to a new offensive line coach.

Derrick Brooks and Kaylee Glyder (filling in for Ira Kaufman) answer your questions after the Buccaneers earned their second win in a row. Submit your questions to @TheIdentityTB on Twitter to be featured in the upcoming shows presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning and Heating.

This is a verrrry interesting episode. (Look for the follow-up/game-preview episode here on Friday.)

42 Responses to “Donovan Smith Gets Non-Traditional Love From Dirk Koetter”

  1. Destinjohnny Says:

    Ye ha another average player

  2. AfrikaThaRapper Says:

    Don’t want him !!!!!

  3. 813bucboi Says:

    i agree…..

    i think KRIS RICHARD would love to have d.smith and develop him into a consistent player…..


  4. Easy Says:

    I have zero problem with him getting a franchise tackle tag. The guy is young, durable and only 25 freaking years old. He hasn’t even his his plateau yet!

  5. Jolly Bucs Fan Says:

    Warhop must go. Bucs got to see if we can get more out of this Oline

  6. JimmyJack Says:

    The problem I got with Donavon Smith is that he played a really nice rookie season.

    Offensive lineman should always get better with experience. But since Dirk has taken over Smith has probably gotten worse. Same with Marpet, Phampile.

    We do lack talent on the Oline but I really have to question the coaching and blocking scheme’s we use. No reason for players to get worse in time and no excuse for failing to develope anybody for that line.

    This team needs serious help on how to develope and coach up their lineman.

  7. 813bucboi Says:


    i agree…the lack of development/coaching is embarrassing…..

    but is that really smith’s problem?….or the staff’s problem?


  8. AlteredEgo Says:

    Lacks motivation….LAZY….coasts on natural ability….he is what he is and I can’t imagine him ever being anything different, actually he may ratchet down after his next contract….and Oh yeah he says “I am not a right tackle”….glad it’s not my decision

  9. JimmyJack Says:

    Time will tell 813……And if we ever get good coaching don’t be surprised if they get solid play from guys who we think are bums.

    I listed to Bect after one of the games and he said Benechot looks like a fish out of water because his natural position is not Guard….. Benechot is just a example. You could go back last year and see a similar situation with Marpet.

  10. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    Been reading a lot of your guys’ posts above, here. If there is a general consensus amongst us fans that Donovan has talent but seems to play under his ability (almost lazy looking at times).. than perhaps a new OL coach truly could get the most out of him?

    Still… does he warrant the kind of money that we would have to pay to keep him?

  11. Not there yet Says:

    Clear sign this team is coached by amateurs. Dude is average so we are going to pay above average money for him because they are afraid to give someone else a shot. Not afraid to move on from guys like Kevin pamphile but scared to death to move on from bigger names. Licht and Koetter should be fired for that reason alone

  12. james west Says:

    he’s lazy, just say it like it is, seen him plenty of times make his assigned block, and if the whistle has not been blown, and the play is evolving ( going for yac or extra yardage on a rush) instead of coming off the man he has beat or put down, to engage another lineman, or linebacker he pulls up and expects someone else to make the extra block, he does not have the heart of a champion, we have some that play defense on this team who are quite like him, who would just as much like the year to end in december, as they would to be playing in jan, or feb

  13. james west Says:

    these are the players that have driven this team to being the laughing stock it has become, no heart, no drive, pay me, play me, cya. it’s party time, only a few have the ambition and want, and that’s a damn shame

  14. SenileSenior Says:

    I had forgotten how young he actually is. Not every franchise has the luck to have a top six (out of 32) left tackle.

    His durability is a positive. The fact that he has never had to compete for the position as a Buccaneer could be seen as a negative.

    Also having Marpet outshine him a bit may have made some fans get down on him more than they should have. With them side by side now we can have decent confidence in our left side. It would be truly exceptional to have all-pros all along the line.

    Of course Licht and the Bucs should always be on the look out to upgrade every position.
    Go Bucs!!!!

  15. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    I hate to put it like this but..

    Is he just kind of pouting because his buddy Ali got paid before him?

  16. Bucsfanman Says:

    west- I won’t say he’s “lazy” but I agree to a certain extent. The issue we have is a top-down one. We can’t replace yet because we have to find a RG, FIRST AND FOREMOST, and a RT to replace Dotson. Then there’s that pesky defensive line issue.
    At $14 million, it’s worth franchising him until we can find a replacement, considering that it’s the average salary.
    Average player=average salary!

  17. SOEbuc Says:

    DT in the first round and LT in the second. Smith isn’t anything but a tid-bit above average. Do not pay him. Not long enough and jumps. He gives off a feeling of a lazy after paid player.

  18. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Challenge Accepted:

    Tyron Smith
    Andrew Whitworth
    Trent Williams
    David Bhaktiari
    Jason Peters
    Lane Johnson
    Taylor Lewan
    Jake Mathews
    Eric Fisher
    Taylor Decker

    That’s 10 OTs I’d take over him off the top of my head and I’m sure I’m missing at least 2-5 others. So not “extremely small” list. That’s 1/3 of the league starters that are better than him. I’d say most are not even debatable even though a couple of these play RT but are super athletic and I’d take my chances at LT with them over Smith.

    So like I said – he is an average LT at best right now. That’s all. Better in pass pro than run blocking and inconsistent and highly penalized.

    Now I’m back on the fire Koetter train. He says too much dumb sh** sometimes.

  19. teacherman777 Says:

    Trade back again this year, pick up another 2nd round pick.

    Draft the best G/C on the board and then draft the best RT or in the country or a top 5 LT and make him a RT.

    Double dip on the O-line next year.

    Right side.

  20. 813bucboi Says:


    your right!!!


  21. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Sorry if double post but looked like my first never made it. Anyway Challenge Accepted Dirk:

    Tyron Smith
    Andrew Whitworth
    David Bahtiaria or whatever (Greenbay LT)
    Jason Peters
    Taylor Lewan
    Eric Fisher (altho it took him a long time to get there)
    Laremy Tunsil
    Taylor Decker

    and a few others on my original list. This is just off the top of my head without looking anything up. So when Dirk implies this guy is some type of elite LT; I just want to jump on the fire-this-clown train again.

  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Seriously I’m a casual fan and I guarentee NFL consensus is that htere are at least 10-15 guys they take over Smith – including athletic RT’s they’d rather have.

    If you say “extremely small list” it better be only like 3-4 legit names better than him. Not 1/3 or 1/2 the f*cking starters in the league.

  23. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Maybe not casual I am pretty obsessed lol

  24. Bucsfanman Says:

    Lord C.- You’re definitely “obsessed!”
    I agree though. That “elite” word is being used awfully liberally when talking about Smith’s play.

  25. Dooshlarue Says:

    I heard Kris Richard just cured cancer while saving a baby from drowning.
    We need this guy so bad.

  26. Dooshlarue Says:

    Donovan is the offensive equivalent of GMC in terms of attitude and lack of fire.
    So by all means….. let’s make him rich.
    Don’t make me laugh.

  27. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Don’t put’em on blast like that young man lol

    Good Stuff.

  28. cmurda Says:

    Forget Donovan Smith. I heart Kaylee Glyder.

  29. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Yo Joe,

    Either you got it or you don’t.

    Like Demar Dotson said on one your podcast -“These kids now days don’t have the work ethic, drive and determination to be good”.

    If that was the case Donovan would be in that gym improving his conditioning. Cleaning up his footwork, and hand placement. He looks like the same Pillsbury Doe Boy from his Penn St. days.

    Coaching is Coaching don’t me wrong. But Donovan’s the only one to blame for his poor performances this year. He’s had at the very least – two offseason before camp. Too really get in shape – but he hasn’t.

  30. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Oklahoma’s offensive lineman – Bobby Evans will make a nice addition

  31. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    #71 Bobby Evans Oklahoma Sooners

  32. Owlykat Says:

    Draft a LT first round and give D. Smith a one year prove it LG contract within incentive if he is an All Pro. Keep our expensive Center. Play Marpet at RG and Weston at RT and after making Warhop walk the plank and fire Koetter if he disagrees and require that he not call Offensive plays anymore, then hire the best OL Coach available! Koetter doesn’t know OL any better than he knows Defense. He shows his ignorance every time he opens his mouth about D. Smith parroting anything Warhop tells him. I am sick of watching this awful OL. If Jameis wasn’t so good at dodging sacks the sack total for this team would be one of the worst in the NFL.

  33. 813bucboi Says:


    i missed that…

    but i did see him create the LOB, improve dallas’ defense in 1 offseason and hold the saints to 10 points…..

    damn right we need this guy….


  34. Dooshlarue Says:


    Lots of guys have a good year or two, doesn’t mean they’re a sure thing.
    He may be great, then again he may just have been lucky.

  35. Brandon Short Says:

    I remember when you dumb $%&@s thought Donald Penn sucked and were happy to see him run out of town. What a difference not having a bad college offensive coordinator like Marcus Arroyo running the offense and the two headed monster of McCown and Glennon leading the attack. Poorly schemed plays run at bad times by QBs that hold onto the ball too long while waiting for receivers that can’t get open will tend to lead to some sacks. But Penn giving up sacks to the league best on poorly designed plays where the QB held the ball for five seconds led you to hate the wrong guy.

  36. unbelievable Says:

    Smith has not gotten worse, his technique and pad level has actually gotten better.

    But his inconsistency has not improved, at all.

    That was the knock on him in college too… that he takes plays off. Still happening in the NFL.

    Can’t remember if it was the Giants or the Redskins game, but that was one of the most pathetic performances from a left tackle I’ve seen in years… And I say having watched Anthony Collins play for us not that long ago.

  37. Rod Munch Says:

    I like Smith, he should absolutely be resigned if they can work out a good deal for both sides, but I don’t know if he’d get that kind of money on the open market. I think he’d be an upgrade for a lot of teams, but I wonder if they’d really put that much money into a guy long term based on his tape. I think he’s a perfectly average LT and I don’t know where people think the Bucs get someone better from. Anywho I agree with franchising him for a year and drafting a new guy high, then play them at RT for a year and see if they can might be better or not, and if not you give that big deal to Smith. Also keep in mind the way the Bucs do business, they give out deals where you can cut guys a year or two later without it killing the cap, so if you got a couple of years into the deal and you don’t like how it’s going, you can easily get out of it.

    Anywho franchise him, or give a transition tag at the very least (I think that’s an option) and see how it goes.

  38. Rod Munch Says:

    Brandon Short – No kidding, these dopes all the time want to chase everyone out of town constantly, then these same idiots will talk about how great Ryan Smith is. They’re awful scouts, or just outright morons. Smith isn’t a top LT, but he’s not awful, he’s middle the road and even a middle of the road LT isn’t easily replaceable.

  39. John Says:

    Being consistent is about mentality and he doesn’t have the right mentality. Our running game is the way it is because our o line is filled with fun loving jolly good guys who are soft overall. When there’s 1 yard to gain you better believe they’re getting blown off the ball and our running back is getting hit in the backfield. How many times has our rbs been hit in the backfield this year? That’s the only thing that seems consistent to me, you can expect us to get consistently hit in the backfield multiple times a game. You can get whoever you want at running back next year, if the line is like it is currently, you’ll have the same result.

  40. SOEbuc Says:

    Brandon Short

    Donald Penn is the complete opposite of what Smith is. Penn was huge, long, and strong with fire in his eyes. Smith is fat and stubby and jumps and holds too much. And yes he might be even softer than whip cream 93. Penn had a bit too much fire in his eyes and that resulted to off field issues, but a Penn type body is exactly what we need at LT.

  41. SOEbuc Says:

    And might add we had Mark “Rock Star” Dominik that Joe references so many of his opinions as GM when we let Penn go.

  42. Getaclue Says:

    Meanwhile Dotson isn’t even making 4mil and is our most tenured player and been the most consistent on the line most of his career. I can’t fathom paying Smith that. He is built to play guard anyways