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Chargers interested in Bucs Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith, too

Roy Cummings

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The very real chance of the Buccaneers losing Mike Smith, the architect of the best defense this team has had in years, appear to be a bit greater today.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL media last night, Smith has made his way onto the radar of the San Diego Chargers after he interviews in Jacksonville today:

The Chargers joined the long list of teams looking for a new head coach on Sunday when they dumped Mike McCoy and there’s one thing Smith has over most of his rivals in this race: head coaching experience.

That’s the thing that makes Smith so attractive, perhaps more attractice than others. He went 66-46 in seven seasons as coach of the Falcons and led them to the NFC title game at the end of the 2012 season.

No one currently on the reportedly long list of potential candidates for the Chargers job has that kind of background, which is why you have to wonder why more teams aren’t interested in Smith.

Of course, it’s quite possible that many are and we just haven’t heard about them yet. So far, though, it seems only the Jaguars and Chargers have added Smith’s name to their list of candidates.

That could change, of course. If not, Smith would still seem to be in good position to regain a spot in the head coaching fraternity, if only because his experience would seem to give him a leg up on other candidates.

Speaking of other candidates, as you might expect, most of those reportedly being considered for the Chargers job are hot coordinators like Smith, the difference being their lack of head coaching experience.

According to various reports the Chargers are also interested in looking at Dolphins defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, defensive coordinator Matt Patricia of the Patriots and Panthers defensive coordinator Sean McDermott.

Interestingly, McDermott was a candidate for the Bucs head coaching job a year ago. He was passed over for Dirk Koetter, who then went out and made his old Falcons boss, Smith, his defensive coordinator.

Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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