As Bucs head coach Lovie Smith prepares to meet with his staff this week, he will need to figure out why there has been such a disconnect in his defense’s secondary.
Sources have told TheBayCave.com that trouble has been brewing for some time among the secondary coaches: Cornerbacks coach Gill Byrd, Lovie’s son and safeties coach Mikal Smith and nickelbacks coach Larry Marmie. Word is that the group can not agree on one philosophy for the entire group creating major communication problems across the unit. Byrd has wanted control of the defensive backs group but that has not happened.
Former Buccaneers defensive tackle Booger McFarland hinted to such problems recently on Twitter saying Lovie Smith has too many voices on his staff and that appears to be the case with Tampa Bay. Former head coach Greg Schiano had 23 coaches under him and it was believed by many to be too much as well. Smith has the same amount of coaches under him as Schiano did.
For comparison’s sake, the New England Patriots have 16 coaches under head coach Bill Belichick but the Seattle Seahawks have 25 under Pete Carroll. So there’s that.
At the end of the day the major issue could be just that, too many voices for one group that are not on the same page. Many and perhaps almost all teams in the league have two secondary coaches, one for the corners and another for the safeties (including the previously mentioned Patriots and Seahawks). But Smith’s defense puts heavy emphasis on the nickel corner position which would validate the “need” for a third secondary coach.
Also of note, the whispers from disgruntled players are obvious. TBC was told those within the secondary have voiced their displeasure to Byrd as players felt they were unable to go to Smith regarding their disappointment. Players have been upset with their treatment from the head coach, which could be a trickle down affect from the disconnect on Smith’s staff.
Tampa Bay finished the 2015 season with the fourth-most passing touchdowns allowed and the second worst quarterback rating give up at 102.5. They also allowed a league-worst 70 percent completion rate.
A lot of that falls on a lack of pass rush as well. But it’s clear there are problems within the coaching staff and that needs to be addressed for any success moving forward whether it’s coming to an agreement between everyone or making changes to the staff.