By The Associated Press
Last Updated: 15/10/18 8:07pm
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have fired defensive coordinator Mike Smith and replaced him with linebackers coach Mark Duffner.
The move on Monday came a day after the team’s third straight loss following a 2-0 start and two weeks after Dirk Koetter said he had no intentions of dismissing Smith because the Bucs’ defensive woes were not the fault of any one person.
Tampa Bay has the NFL’s second-ranked offense and No. 1 passing attack, but is next to last in total defense and has allowed a league-high 34.6 points per game.
“I have the utmost respect for Mike Smith as a man and as a football coach,” said Koetter.
“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.”
Smith is the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Koetter was his offensive coordinator there and hired his old boss as defensive coordinator when Koetter became coach of the Bucs after the 2015 season.