Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Mikal Smith

It's been widely reported that Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson is working with a tackling coach. But coach Lovie Smith downplayed the significance of that during the NFL owners meeting.

"I think sometimes we run with some stories that really aren't there," Smith said. "What Dashon really said was he had a coach previously and this offseason no one else can work with him, so he's wanting to improve his game in the offseason."

Goldson and the rest of Tampa Bay's players can't work with the coaching staff until the team's offseason program starts in April. But Smith made it very clear who will be coaching Goldson.

"The guys that will be coaching Dashon on tackling will be us," Smith said. "It will be me, it'll be [defensive coordinator] Leslie Frazier, it'll be [safeties coach] Mikal [Smith]. We'll be the ones that will be coaching all of our players. As a general rule, our guys will have one coach. While they're off, they can get as much help as they possibly can."

Goldson's tackling is an issue because he was fined nearly $500,000 and suspended for one game last season due to illegal hits. But Smith said he's confident he and his coaching staff can correct whatever problems Goldson has.

"There's some simple things you have to do for Dashon," Smith said. "First off, lower your target. Start with that. Did he have those problems before? We feel like we can handle that. If that's the least of our problems, we're going to be in pretty good shape."
TAMPA, Fla. -- Very quickly, Lovie Smith is putting together his coaching staff for the Buccaneers.

We already knew Jeff Tedford was the offensive coordinator and Leslie Frazier the defensive coordinator. But the Bucs announced 11 more hires Thursday evening. In some cases, the names have already been reported. But let's run through the complete list.

The Bucs hired Marcus Arroyo as quarterbacks coach, Joe Cullen as defensive line coach, Andrew Hayes-Stoker as wide receivers coach, Dave Kennedy as strength and conditioning coach, Larry Marmie as a senior defensive assistant, Hardy Nickerson as linebackers coach, Kevin O'Dea as special teams coordinator, Mikal Smith as safeties coach, Tim Spencer as running backs coach, Ben Steele as an offensive quality control coach and Matt Wiegand as assistant offensive line coach.

The most interesting names on the list are Nickerson, Marmie and Mikal Smith. Nickerson was a linebacker for the Buccaneers when Lovie Smith was the linebackers coach in the 1990s. Marmie coached Lovie Smith when he was a college player at Tulsa. Mikal Smith is Lovie Smith's son.

Buccaneers filling staff quickly

January, 4, 2014
Jan 4
TAMPA, Fla. – Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith is off to a fast start in filling his coaching staff.

It was known from the beginning of Smith’s candidacy that he planned to bring Jeff Tedford aboard as the offensive coordinator. The Bucs officially announced that move Saturday morning.

“We are very fortunate to have Jeff as our offensive coordinator,” Smith said. “I have a great deal of respect for the job Jeff did at Cal for more than a decade and I believe he will be a great fit for what we are attempting to do in Tampa. Jeff has a successful and proven track record as a teacher and developer of young talent and I know our players, and the organization as a whole, will benefit from his experience.”

The Bucs also are bringing in former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier as the defensive coordinator. Smith is off to a much better start at filling his coaching staff than predecessor Greg Schiano.

In fairness to Schiano, he was hired late. Many of the coaches he wanted were already taken and there were times when Schiano had to go with his third or fourth choice.

Tedford clearly was Smith’s first choice. Frazier was no worse than the second choice. Smith wanted Rod Marinelli, but the Dallas Cowboys wouldn’t let him out of his contract as defensive line coach. Some other names of assistant coaches with ties to Smith that could be candidates to join his staff are Gill Byrd (cornerbacks), Andrew Stoker (running backs) and Mikal Smith (Smith's son) as a potential coach of the safeties.

The Buccaneers also are likely to get their top pick as general manager because there aren’t any other jobs open at the moment. Kansas City personnel executive Chris Ballard, who has history with Smith, reportedly is the favorite.

But the Bucs also could consider former Chicago general manager Jerry Angelo, who has ties to Smith and the Bucs, former Carolina general manager Marty Hurney and former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

One other name the Bucs could look at is Atlanta Falcons director of football operations Nick Polk. He’s viewed as a rising star around the league.