“I Never Had That Before”

December 11th, 2018

Lavonte David opens up

A truth comes out — and Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith should be ashamed.

Kudos to the Buccaneers for their funding of the Buccaneers Radio Network so fans like Joe can stay as educated as possible.

Lavonte David joined the network this week and talked about the defensive coordinator change from fired Mike Smith to promoted Mark Duffner.

David sure opened up.

Staying all positive in his soft-spoken way, David unknowingly (?) illustrated how his Smith and Dirk Koetter sat back and let the defense fail without exhausting the wonderful option of considering the defensive players’ Xs and Os input seriously.

“Like I said, man, Duff, nobody knows how much hard work Duff’s put into this man,” David said. “He deserves all the credit for this [defensive] turnaround. He just does a great job of just interacting with the players, getting our point of view for certain things. So I think that was one of the main things I really saw about him and I loved it about him. I never had that before. So when I see that, you know, a coach shows that he cares about our opinions and things like that. It’s really cool to see.”

How bout that. Midway through Year 7 as a Bucs linebacker and David says he finally feels like he has a coach who actively craves player feedback and takes it seriously.

Where was the head coach after ranking last in the league on defense last year?

David wasn’t finished there. Co-host Casey Phillips pushed David to talk more about the lines of communication opened by Duffner. And David shared how Duffner led meetings with all phases of the defense together and it helped with understanding and playing faster.

David explained that Duffner re-assigned him to calling the defensive signals but also sat him down to discuss each game plan after it was crafted. Duffner wanted David’s opinion on everything, the Bucs captain said, adding he never had a coach seek his input in that way and it “took my respect level for him to a whole different level.”

Joe will cut if off here.

Yeah, Joe is flabbergasted. With a broken defense, Smith and Koetter weren’t tapping players for major input and constructive criticism and communication, per their defensive captain.

And to think Smith whined about communication breakdowns.

56 Responses to ““I Never Had That Before””

  1. Matt Says:

    It’s kind of heartbreaking isn’t it? The guys doing the job didn’t even get listened to about why it wasn’t working…suddenly they do and hey presto they’re alright even with a lot of injuries.

    Allowing smith to return this year is the worst mistake we’ve made in a while and that’s saying something as it’s been a catalogue of failures.

  2. Bucsfan3 Says:

    This is extremely telling… Shows those players Respect and they will put it all on the field and then some. Money can’t always be the ultimate motivator. Respect & Heart

  3. AlteredEgo Says:

    Joe … that is typical suck up talk after every coaching change on every team every year… same suck up talk new FA’s have to say about their new team …

  4. BucsQcCity Says:

    Ok but after that? Then what? Smh

  5. cw_buc_crazy Says:

    Never go with fired coaches, and specially both in the same time. What they were thinking..!!!.they know better then Atlanta??!!! of course no.
    DK never was made to become a HC, he brought his buddy primarily cause he was scared. He can NOT lead, he is very emotional, and try to cover that, with stubbornness.
    Boy, we are in a deep trouble….to many things to fix.

  6. RyJo Says:

    But Joe, are you implying that grown, college-educated, ELITE athletes who have been immersed in all-things-gridiron their entire goddamn lives… … … …actually have valuable insights into said gridiron?

    *blink blink*

  7. Conte Piscatelli Says:

    This is a better question, since this was Duffs idea, would it be fair to say Duff would have suggested this to Smith as well and Smith apparently didn’t give an audience to his LB coach. It sounds to me like Smith was a my way out the highway stubborn bum.

  8. Aceofaerospace Says:

    Another wasted season. Thanks Dork, I mean dirk.

  9. RyJo Says:

    @Conte Piscatelli

    It certainly does seem that way, doesn’t it. And, good sir, correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t the Glazers kick Lovie Smith to the curb for ALSO being a rigid, stubborn, my-way-or-the-highway SOB? It would seem to ME (and who am I to question these things) that Kommandant Koetter would have WITNESSED what that kind of coaching mentality accomplishes [or doesn’t] and made sure his assistants didn’t make those mistakes.

  10. Waterboy Says:

    The ghost of Mike Smith is still haunting Koetter.

  11. BucfaninMi Says:

    Dirk can’t be a HC because he overlooks details and is way too stubborn. He also seems to have trust issues

  12. bucanation Says:

    How in the hell can some people think dirt is coming back how can he look these owners in the eye and tell them next year I can turn this around , and looking them in the eyes is a stretch he cant even look the media in the eyes at the press conferences and the fan base is damaged and might take years to get the fans back this is the first year I didn’t go or did I want too .f the glazers

  13. Defense Rules Says:

    That interview truly was telling Joe, but I somehow have the feeling there’s more to this story than we’re hearing.

    For starters (and I’m just speculating), for a HC to go back to being a DC or an OC is probably risky for the team that they sign with. They’ve been out of that specific area for a while most likely (in Smitty’s case several years) for one thing. But for another, the head coaches that I’ve played under think at a much different level than the assistant coaches I’ve had (probably hard for a HC to go ‘backwards’). Just speculating though. I’d speculate that’s a key reason why this defense is doing better under Duff. That plus much better play from our DLine (especially from Vea & GMC in this second half of the season).

    But for another, LVD now calling the plays … instead of Kwon … says a lot to me. I remember all those JBF stories about Smitty’s relationship with Kwon (both in at the crack of dawn, talking about football & calling plays, etc). Don’t remember LVD’s name being in there. And yet he was the play-caller under Schiano if I remember correctly (until Kwon later came along). I admittedly have never been sold on Kwon as being the great football player or leader that you apparently believe him to be Joe (Kwon’s better suited to outside than inside IMO). LVD has a better grasp of the defense I’m sure, and is probably doing a better job of play-calling. IOW, he makes a better FIELD GENERAL than Kwon does IMO.

  14. Bucs Fan #7423 Says:

    Common sense approach eludes Bucs coaching staff???? DAFUQ!!!

  15. Loyaltotheend Says:

    Another bad coaching hire by the Glazer Brothers

  16. AKickInTheBucNuts Says:

    I wonder if Lavonte ever had a coach say “I don’t know how to fix it”

    That’s real motivation right there Dirk.

    I know I will never forget those words Dirk spoke.

    Some head coach you are.

  17. BucEmUp Says:

    The defense has been much improved and I couldn’t believe they didn’t get blow out by the saints in that situation.

    I mentioned before Dirk koetter admitted the first time I thought the playcalling looked different and In was right. Well Sunday it sure felt again like Dirk was either calling the plays or told Monken what to run. There was.no.adjusting on offense..

    This sraff.is a train wreck but dufner is starting to get my.vote. I think promoting Monken and replacing Warhol may be so this team.needs. Why not do it now and find out?

  18. Knoxville Bucs Fan Says:

    Y’all Still suck though. But yeah I’m glad your happy you get to talk (“man”) to your coach and he listens to you man. I hate to hear LD in a interview, it’s man man man every other word

  19. ndog Says:

    Yet some people think Koetter should be brought back.

  20. Hawk Says:

    Didn’t Koetter give a questionnaire to all the players before their bye week? I wonder what was written, and if any ideas were seriously considered.

  21. Frank Pillow Says:

    Uh, what about the bye-week survey Dirk? What a total joke of an operation.

  22. Dave Says:

    How is this on Dirk?
    We all know the defense was Smith’s completely.
    It’s also not surprising because we know Smith was old school – his way or the highway -he just didn’t realize it would be him on the highway. 😂

    Offenses are changing like crazy and really lighting it up.
    The Bears (and now the cowboys and Seattle occasionally) are showing that one old formula still works on defense- PRESSURE

  23. Issaic haggins Says:

    Ronald Jones isn’t ready to play , Think About It !!!

  24. Maddognavy Says:

    In certainly hope that Duffner gets the chance to stick around after they release Koetter. He is a Magician compared to that joke smith.

  25. joestang Says:

    Excuses, excuses. This team can always come up with an excuse for poor play. These guys are grown men who played football their whole life, I find it hard to believe that coaching is the main problem. This seems to be the narrative after Gruden was fired. This defense sucked before Koetter and Smith were named coaches. Seems to me every coach that comes here is expected to motivate players that are satisfied picking up a paycheck and never getting any better. Sick of Excuses.

  26. EA Says:

    Can’t wait to see the results of Koetter confidence poll tomorrow.

  27. jjbucfan Says:

    So McKenzie fired, now Difilipo (sp.), seems everyone is already preparing for next season, dropping the dead weight DURING the season even for a team currently holding the last playoff spot just incredible. Koetter is like a bad freaking rash, can’t get rid of him. Dude should have been shown the door with his buddy. Give us an early Xmas gift Glazers!!

  28. Not there yet Says:

    This dude is soft right up there with Geraldine, they are way to into they own feelings. Its because d coordinators don’t have to get your feedback, it’s not like your a quarterback touching the ball on each play. Honestly how many different schemes are there for playing defense? Philosophy is different from team to team that’s all. Same coverages and fronts with different wrinkles. Dude so soft. As much as you lose who needs your input unless someone asks hey how can we lose our game this week?

    Ok you never had that with Schiano but you turned in one of the best seasons of your career. Man I keep saying it but don’t bring in another coach and have them depend for n the same weak players like all the other coaches before them. We’ve made so many changes since Dominick left. Demar, lvd and Geraldine are not in those changes. It’s time to move on to the future and get draft picks. Time to let go of the mentally weak who can’t seem to show up and compete for a division game in December. It’s not like you don’t know the saints

  29. Joe Says:

    Joe … that is typical suck up talk after every coaching change on every team every year… same suck up talk new FA’s have to say about their new team …

    Perhaps. But did you notice any Bucs player whine about the move on social media? Joe never saw one player go on any platform and complain (Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy did just that when Lovie was fired).

    Shoot, when the Bucs hired Brentson Buckner, Cardinals players went on Twitter and talked about how good of a coach Buckner is. When Smith was fired, not one peep from any Bucs player. Not complaining. Not wishing him good luck. Nothing.

  30. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    We are all assuming that it was totally Dirk Koetter who wanted to retain Smith……perhaps Licht had a heavy hand in that or perhaps the Glazers……surely it was at least with Koetter’s blessing (we assume) and….for that he and whoever else was involved with that decision should be canned.

  31. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Didn’t we see stories before that about how the coaches were getting player input?

    I think there is only one reason David is getting listened to…because the leader of the defense is on injured reserve.

    They still need to replace David this year.

  32. Dapostman Says:

    I could be wrong but I thought I remember reading something where Mike Smith after the 3-5 start to 2016 was asking the defensive players about input? Then they went out and went 6-2 the second half.

  33. jjbucfan Says:

    Bonzai- you have officially lost it, LOL. David is the heart of our Mr defense, Kwon is the spirit- we need both of them. McCoy is the backbone despite what some say on this site. If you find the article that the coaches listened to the players input, please post it. I must have missed it. These guys don’t listen to anyone. Mike Zimmer listens though, just sayin’

  34. Duthsty Rhothdes Says:

    Huge nothing burger same guy who said not be prepared ir ready to play. Best defensive coach bucs have had since kiffin was schiano and he had the defense humming and LVD, GMC, & Baron playing lights out no excuses

  35. LifeOfABucFan Says:

    Damn it Joe!!!! That’s sad to read!!! Who knows where some of our guys would be right now!!???

    Smitty just didn’t ………..CARE…..

  36. BrianBucs Says:

    Looking back, that’s the same thing the players loved about Monte Kiffin

  37. tbbucs3 Says:

    Its 2018 and the Bucs were running a defense straight out of a youth football 7 on 7 league with Mike Smith.

    O Bucs Corners

    X Opposing Wide Recivers = Easy completions for professional QBs.

  38. Not there yet Says:

    Jjbucfan says lvd is the heart of the defense and Geraldine is the backbone lol uh ok now you know why they suck every year. Neither is mentally strong enough to lead anyone anywhere. How do I know this? They’ve never done it. Thank you for proving the point

  39. RODNEY J ALLEN Says:

    Wow just wow

  40. jjbucfan Says:

    Not there yet- do you even watch the games? Do you forget the scheme that has been forced upon this defense for the past few years. It figures YOU don’t understand that. Anyway- your next positive post would be your first so thanks anyway, I love it when you D-Bags try to make up names for NFL players, you guys are so tough behind your keyboards…Morons

  41. Alaskan Abdominal Snowman Says:

    Didn’t all of the defensive coaches tell the media and fans that they deconstructed the defense and rebuilt it with the players?
    Then told us that they started having position meeting together and it helped with “communication” bla bla bla…
    This is nothing new, I love Lavonte the player but in an interview it seems like he talks in cliche athlete speak.

  42. Mike Johnson Says:

    Maybeee..IF Smitty would have come down out of that Pressbox and on to the field ocassionally…..

  43. Rod Munch Says:

    David isn’t Derrick Brooks, but he’s still an all-pro level guy who year in and year out is one of the best LB’s in football. It’s unbelievable that coaches haven’t talked to him. Like, for example, ask him why he was able to get so much pressure from the edge under Schiano and why the production has gone away (I mean I know the answer, it’s because he’s such a great coverage LB they want him back there instead of blitzing).

  44. adam from ny Says:

    also seemed like dirk might have been calling plays again sunday…it didn’t have the feel of a monken led show

  45. Bucsfanman Says:

    Are there any further questions about this coaching staff? Do you really need anything more? Really?
    Ask yourself if we really want these coaches back. If you don’t get it after reading THIS, you’ll never get it.

  46. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    jjbucfan Says
    “Bonzai- you have officially lost it, LOL. David is the heart of our Mr defense”is

    Lavante is a good guy. Don’t get me wrong. But he never hit the potential as advertised. Now, he has reached the age where injuries will start taking their toll. He’s just beginning to reach that aging out phase.

    Given Bucs luck with injuries, you have to know they will strike him down.

    Now is our last chance to trade him and get anything better than a 5th rounder…and that’s a maybe. It’s all downhill from here.

    Same with McCoy. I love Gerald being on this team, but he is about to age out. He’s already started to decline. The rest of the league currently sees value in him, but that won’t last much later.

    The Bucs need to trade him while they can. After this year, his contract is trade friendly.

    And trading them would accomplish some things. We can get younger replacements, and we can free up cap space. Both of which we need.

  47. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:


    You know, some of the coaches do a great job. We have a top offense for a reason.

    On offense, the only coaches who can be called into question are the RB, QB, and OL staff.

    Again. Number one offense for a reason.

    What we need is to maintain the quality offense, improve its few weaknesses, and fix the defense and kicker. Which is the same thing we needed last year.

    To me, you fix a team through the draft. And whenever you draft, you have to expect developmental time before the players are productive.

    Some players get it within a couple games…it’s uncommon, but it happens. Other players take eight games or so. Others a season. And sometimes drafted players take just a little longer.

    Outside of an occasional pick, the defense wasn’t focused on until the last draft. Some fans claim it was a bad draft…it wasn’t. Each player just needs a different amount of development. Davis is improving rapidly. Stewart looked better in camp and seems slow this season, but fans tend to think that is permanent. The game will speed up for him as he develops.

    Vita’s injury set him back, but with each game he plays, he gets better. Some fans will try to say a defensive tackle taken in the first round should contribute right away, and yet the best DT in team history was so bad in his first year that he was demoted from starting for games 5-12 and only had 3 sacks on the year. And he played more games his rookie year than Vea has.

    Rojo is getting a bad rap. Is it deserved? I don’t know, because Koetter is committed to his starter and backup. He doesn’t get enough game time to develop.

    Alex Cappa will be our starting RG next year. Wester will be our starting RT next year.

    We got a good safety and a wr in that draft too. So it was actually a very good draft.

    I say all of that for this reason: these defensive coaches have not been given much to work with. Starters have gone down. Backups and still developing young players are starting. So are they really bad coaches, or are they only now starting to get players they can work with? Free agents cannot be molded. Old dogs.

    I lean toward replacing the entire defensive staff, even though they’ve had little young talent. A clean slate is certainly needed there. But the offense? Not so much.

    And that poses a problem. Koetter created the Number One offense. If he goes, we may need to keep Monken, unless we hire a strong offensive coach. But we really need a coach who knows defense too.

    The problem there is a defensive coach will possibly break up our offense.

  48. Bucsfanman Says:

    Bonzai- I understand that there are MANY variables. However, we cannot pick and choose as it relates to the whole. The defense is ranked 30th, our offensive rank is artificially inflated, and our special teams aren’t so special. This has been the case EACH of the last 3 years running.
    There are good things, sure. BUT, 5-8. We ran coaches for far less.

  49. Alanbucsfan Says:

    They fired the Def Coordinator in time to save the season.
    Why in the hell didn’t they do the same thing regarding the running game coaches???!!

  50. FortMyersDave Says:

    Bonzai, this might not be the best comparison because it is apples vs oranges but the way a lot of people who are Bucs fans look up to GMC and Lavonte is kind of like the way people looked at 2 Tampa Bay Rays with big names from 2013 to 2017 or so…. They were Chris Archer and Evan Longoria who were supposed to be the heart and soul of the Rays team, providing leadership, good stats, wins, positive attitude etc, etc. However since 2013 the Rays simply were not getting the job done. Longo had good, not great numbers and Arch was simply putting up numbers that you’d expect from a #4 starter for a few seasons, not an ace like he was a few seasons back…. The Rays cut ties with Longo and traded him to the Giants, Archer went to the Pirates (AKA as Tampa North/Oakland East in baseball circles.

    The majority of fans thought the skies were falling and guys like Jones at the Ties and many national pundits were predicting a 2018 record of 40-120 like the ’62 Mets but somehow, someway the Rays won 90 with this “no name squad” all the while missing the so called “heart” of their team. In the meantime Longo was often injured for the Giants and is rumored to be on the trading block again while Archer managed below average numbers for a Pirate team that finished several games worse than the Rays though they were in the playoff hunt when they acquired him only to have a real bad August and fall out of contention much earlier than Tampa. Nothing against Arch and Longo, they had good seasons but you can not deny the Rays finished their best season in 5 years after these guys and a few other players were traded off or outright released.

    Could the Bucs see a rebound on D like that w/o GMC, Lavonte and Kwon????? I don’t know but anything is possible and the losing mentality argument TMax has been posting ad nauseum about Gerald actually got me thinking about the Rays and their band of misfits and how cutting some of the big named deadwood seemed to have somehow benefited the team as a whole despite the anger from fans and players for getting rid of some big names. Sometimes its time to make the tough call and move on.

    BTW: one MAJOR difference between Archer/Longo and GMC/Lavonte/Kwon: Longo went to the playoffs several times in his early Rays years and Archer did as well in 2013…. Names are nice but often they lose their luster over time like Longo or never actually won a lot of games like the Tampa D over the past decade.

  51. Tampa Bay Demon Says:

    JOE says
    “And to think Smith whined about communication breakdowns.”


    No F’ing doubt, man. What a fricking BUFFOON Mike Smith was.
    Glad his pathetic ass is gone.

  52. D-Rome Says:


    The Bucs are not the #1 offense in the NFL. Bucs are #1 in passing yards and #2 in yards per game, but yards != points.

    The #1 offense in the NFL are the Kansas City Chiefs. A team can’t be called the #1 offense if the rushing numbers and offensive line play is in the bottom 3rd of all teams. Regardless, the Bucs this season are having a historic season on offense (which really isn’t much considering this team’s history). It’s creates a conundrum with the team because, well, are they really going to fire the coach responsible for a historic offense?

    Then again, Dirk Koetter is not the head coach of the offense. He’s supposed to be the head coach of the entire team. By that measure he has failed. He should have stayed a coordinator.

  53. quickdrw21 Says:

    All talk . All these players do is talk . So over it . We wont be good again until we have new leadership all the way at the top . Tampa will be a place to come and waste your career . Hire Dungy as President today .

  54. 813bucboi Says:




  55. TOM Says:

    I’m afraid if I had to pick just one between Licht & Koetter to stay it would be Koetter. Also if we get a new HC who’s to say he will keep Duffner.

  56. Vinny Says:

    So should we just fired all defensive staff and have players game plan and call the defenses…?