Mike Smith admits effort was issue for defense vs. Falcons
Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith admitted Thursday that his defense's effort was an issue in the second half of last week's 43-28 loss to the Falcons, following criticism from former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks.
"I think everybody has their opinion. I think when the score got to where it was, our effort was not where it needed to be," Smith said. "When you don't force them to punt, let's be very frank: That's not a very good defensive performance. ... This is no excuses. It doesn't matter what happened the previous week. We've got to go out and play. We've got to play much better. As I've said many times, let's not pin it on the players. Let's pin it on the coaches and on me."
The Bucs trailed Atlanta 20-14 at halftime last week but saw the Falcons pull away with three consecutive touchdown drives for a 40-14 lead in the fourth quarter. Over two games in five days, they gave up 1,087 yards of total offense, the fourth-highest two-game stretch in the NFL over the last 50 years.
Former Bucs linebacker Derrick Brooks, on hand to see former teammate John Lynch be inducted into the Bucs' Ring of Honor, said on 620 WDAE AM on Wednesday that he was surprised by the lack of effort he saw from his team's defense as the Falcons pulled away.
"It was some effort plays. I felt our defense gave up to that Atlanta offense and it just was pure effort that we did not win," Brooks said. "It wasn't scheme, it wasn't right play bad defense. It was just effort, of want-to, and that was a little bit concerning."