The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will hire Mike Smith as their defensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter announced in his inaugural press conference.
Bucs fans will know Smith from his long tenure with the Atlanta Falcons: he was the head coach in Atlanta from 2008 through 2014 before being fired last year. During that time his defenses were very much up-and-down, though he delegated a lot of the defensive coaching responsibilities to Brian Van Gorder and later Mike Nolan, who produced two horrendous defenses in 2013 and 2014.
Smith has a history as a 4-3 coach, though he trends toward bigger personnel and has run some 3-4 looks and influences as well. Smith was most recently the defensive coordinator for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003 through 2007 after being a defensive assistant on the defensive line (1999-2001) and linebackers (2002) for the Baltimore Ravens -- which means he won a Super Bowl with a defense-dominated team in 2001.
Smith was an outstanding defensive coordinator for the Jaguars, ranking ninth, tenth, seventh, third and fifteenth in Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings. In 2007, he was on the same staff as Dirk Koetter, who was then the offensive coordinator for the Jaguars. In 2012, Koetter and Smith joined hands again when Smith hired him as his offensive coordinator, and they'd run the Falcons until Smith was fired last year.
The question is whether Smith's defensive success from a decade ago will carry over to today -- that's hard to say, given the way Smith delegated a lot of the defensive responsibilities in Atlanta. One thing we do know: his experience as a successful head coach will certainly help Koetter adjust to his new job.