Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith are combining forces once again. During a press conference at One Buccaneer Place Friday, in which Koetter was introduced as the Bucs 11th head coach in franchise history, Koetter announced Smith has agreed to join him as the Bucs new defensive coordinator.
It also marks the third time that Koetter and Smith have landed in the same NFL location, always as coordinators or head coaches. In the previous two stops, that pairing immediately helped produce a playoff team.
The two coaches first intersected in Jacksonville in 2007. That was the last year of Smith's very successful four-year run as the Jaguars' defensive coordinator; in 2008, he would be hired by the Atlanta Falcons as their head coach. Koetter began a five-year stint as Jacksonville's offensive coordinator in '07, and he and Smith helped the Jaguars record an 11-5 record and a Wild Card playoff win. Jacksonville ranked sixth in scoring offense and 10th in scoring defense that season.
In 2012, Smith brought Koetter to Atlanta to be his offensive coordinator, and the Falcons soared to a 13-3 record before suffering a narrow loss to San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game.
As defensive coordinator, Smith led the Jacksonville defense to four consecutive top 10 appearances (in points allowed) from 2004-07. From 2008 to 2012, with Smith as head coach, the Falcons finished in the top 11 in points allowed three times in five years and the franchise didn't finish lower than 18th in that category until back-to-back finishes at the #27 spot in the last two years. Smith certainly has a resume of a good defensive mind and he knows Koetter well.