TAMPA – Success has some drawbacks. In the NFL they usually come in the form of a team losing some of its top assistant coaches.
That was the concern the Buccaneers had after their defense carried them through a 9-7 season In 2016.
Their fear was that they would lose defensive coordinator Mike Smith to a head coaching job, but that will not happen.
Florida Football Insiders has learned that Smith agreed to terms Thursday on a contract extension that will keep him in Tampa Bay.
Smith was interviewed for the head coaching positions in San Diego (now Los Angeles) and Jacksonville. The Jags, however, chose to keep Doug Marrone as head coach and the Chargers are now believed to be nearing an agreement to make former Bills offensive coordinator and interim head coach Anthony Lynn their new coach.
The retention of Smith, meanwhile, means the Bucs will keep the architect of a defense that became one of the stingiest in the NFL as the season progressed.
The Bucs went from allowing 29 points per game in the first half of the season to allowing 17 points per game in the second half.
They also became one of the league’s top takeaway teams, ranking second in interceptions (17) and third in total takeaways (29).
Equally important is the fact that for one of the few times in recent years, the Bucs won’t have to learn a new defensive scheme, which some players were concerned about.
“Consistency helps you improve,’’ said Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy who has worked for six coordinators during his Bucs tenure.
“Keeping the same (pieces), whether it’s scheme or players or coaches, keeping them around is how you build.
“When things go in and out and there’s always change, that’s when it’s tough. I would love it if Coach Smith stays.
“Smitty’s great. I love Smitty, just as a person. He’s a great man and it was a joy to play for him.
“He has tons upon tons upon tons of knowledge about this game and he just loves this game.
“And he’s one of those coaches who, when things don’t go right, he doesn’t point fingers.
“If I didn’t make a play, Brent Grimes didn’t make a play, Lavonte David didn’t make a play and it was blatant that we should have made that particular play, he’d blames himself. A coach like that, you always want to go out and give your all for.
We all love him. Everybody loves him. Nobody has a bad thing to say about him. that’s why we’re all just hoping he’s back here.’’