Mike Smith has spent a good part of his coaching career serving as a head coach. The last time he stood on the sidelines, he was the Falcons' head coach, a position which he held from 2008 to 2014. After spending 2015 out of football, Smith had toyed with the experiment of becoming a head coach again. But if he was going to be a defensive coordinator again, there was only one team he would do it with.
"This would be the one place that I would come," Smith said during his introductory press conference. "I'm very excited because of my relationship with Dirk. We had an opportunity to work in Jacksonville together, as coordinators, and then he was my [offensive] coordinator there in Atlanta. This is really the only one that I would have considered, getting back in it. I'm very excited about the opportunity to work with the staff that Dirk has put together and some of these guys on this team."
Photos of new Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith.
Smith has plenty to like about the unit he's inheriting, and about the team as a whole.
"Well you've got a good quarterback," he said. "In this league, it's about quarterback play, there's no doubt about it. Jameis had an outstanding rookie season. I think he's going to be a great quarterback. When you have a quarterback, that makes your chances of being successful much more.
"I also think there's a core of players on the defense that are very good football players and have a chance to be outstanding players. You've got to start up front, with our defensive tackle Gerald [McCoy]. Lavonte David had a great season. I've had an opportunity to talk to a couple of these guys that have been in the building, here in passing. It's exciting to see, here in January, that there's players that are here in the building, when they don't have to be, so that's exciting. I'm looking forward to working with the coaching staff that Dirk put together. There are some really fine coaches that I've had an opportunity to work with in the past."
Smith is one of several new coaches to join the Buccaneers, especially on defense. He will be joined by Mark Duffner (linebackers), Brett Maxie (defensive backs), Jon Hoke (secondary), Jay Hayes (defensive line) and Paul Spicer (assistant defensive line), all of whom were signed by the Buccaneers since Dirk Koetter became the team's head coach.
The Buccaneers' coaching roster has been finalized.