Bucs fire DC Smith, promote Duffner
Smith was in his third season at the helm of the Buccaneers’ defense. The 59-year-old Smith was replaced by Mark Duffner, who served as the team’s linebackers coach.
The Buccaneers (2-3) have been gouged for 34.6 points per game and 355.6 passing yards, with both totals serving as the worst in the NFL. They have also surrendered 439.8 yards per contest, which ranks just above the Kansas City Chiefs for 31st in the league.
“I have the utmost respect for Mike Smith as a man and as a football coach,” Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said. “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.”
Tampa Bay dropped its third straight decision in a 34-29 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. The Buccaneers will be out to rebound versus the visiting Cleveland Browns (2-3-1) on Sunday.
Duffner is in his third season with the Buccaneers and 22nd in the league. He has also been on the coaching staffs of the Miami Dolphins (2014-15), Jacksonville Jaguars (2006-13), Green Bay Packers (2003-05) and Cincinnati Bengals (1997-2002), where he served as defensive coordinator during his final two years.
--TE Cameron Brate has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games. The touchdown tied Vincent Jackson for the ninth-most touchdown receptions in franchise history. He is also tied with Jimmy Graham for the most touchdown receptions in the NFL among tight ends since the start of the 2016 season (17).
--QB Jameis Winston made his first start Sunday and he went 30-of-41 for 395 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions Sunday. It was his ninth career game with three or more touchdowns, most in franchise history. He also tied the record for most 300-plus yard career games with 12 after notching those 395 yards through the air.
--WR Mike Evans caught four passes for 58 yards against Atlanta, pushing his career totals to 342 receptions for 5,053 yards, making him the Buccaneers' all-time leader in receiving yards. Evans and Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald (15,760 yards from 2004 to the present) are the only active players in the NFL to hold their respective franchise's record in that category.
--DE Jason Pierre-Paul got his fifth sack of the season Sunday. It was his fourth straight game with a sack.
--PK Chandler Catanzaro missed his second extra point attempt of the season.