Mike Smith is out as the Buccaneers' defensive coordinator after the team's recent run of defensive blunders.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith, NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo reported on Monday.
Smith, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, was in his third season leading the Buccaneers' defense. The defense is ranked 31st so far this year. The move comes one day after the team lost to the Falcons 34-29 on Sunday. The loss marked Tampa Bay's third-straight defeat.
"I have the utmost respect for Mike Smith as a man and as a football coach," coach Dirk Koetter said in the Buccaneers' statement. "These decisions are always difficult, but our top priority here is to ensure that we do everything possible to help this team succeed. As I have said in the past, the issues we have had as a team are never one person’s fault. During good times, as well as the bad, it is a collective effort between the coaches and the players. We all understand that this is a result-based profession and our results to this point have not met our standards. I want to thank Mike for all the hard work and passion he has displayed here on a daily basis and I wish him well moving forward."
The Buccaneers have the NFL's worst scoring defense, allowing 34.6 points per game. Tampa Bay has recorded just nine sacks in five games and are allowing a league-worst 355.6 passing yards per game.
Despite making Smith the league's highest-paid defensive coordinator, the Buccaneers decided it was time to move on. Linebackers coach Mark Duffner is set to serve as the team's interim defensive coordinator.
The Buccaneers (2–3) will host the Cleveland Browns (2–3) on Sunday.