Thursday, January 18, 2018
Sports

Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith to interview with Chargers

TAMPA — Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith will have at least two opportunities to make his case for becoming a head coach again.

The San Diego Chargers will interview Smith, who already planned to meet with the Jacksonville Jaguars to discuss their head coaching position.

On Monday, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter almost sounded resigned to losing Smith.

"Obviously, when we brought Mike here we knew that this day might come and this day would come," Koetter said.

The Chargers fired coach Mike McCoy after a second straight last-place finish in the AFC West and the third straight season out of the playoffs. McCoy was 27-37 in four seasons.

Smith went 66-46 as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2008-14, reaching the playoffs four times including the NFC Championship Game in 2012. Smith was the defensive coordinator under Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville from 2003-07.

Under Smith, 57, the Bucs showed dramatic improvement on defense the final eight games of the season. Tampa Bay won an NFL-high five games when scoring 19 or fewer after having won one such game in the previous three seasons. The Bucs also were ranked first in the league in third-down defense as opponents only converted 34.4 percent of their opportunities.

Osweiler to start

HOUSTON — Brock Osweiler will start at quarterback for the Texans on Saturday in their wild-card game against the Raiders.

Coach Bill O'Brien announced the decision Tuesday with Tom Savage, who had started the past two games, still recovering from a concussion he suffered Sunday.

Osweiler started the first 14 games this season before being benched Dec. 18 against Jacksonville after throwing interceptions on consecutive drives in the second quarter. He got another chance after Savage got a concussion early in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to Tennessee.

Osweiler had struggled with inconsistency and turnovers before being benched, but he was better Sunday when he threw for 253 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score.

Also, veteran Texans nose tackle Vince Wilfork said he is considering retirement after this season. "I've been thinking about it," said Wilfork, 35. "I'm not saying I will do it, and I'm not saying that I won't do it. But it's definitely not off the table."

RAIDERS LEAN TOWARD COOK: Rookie Connor Cook is preparing to make his first NFL start in the playoffs, the NFL Network reported. Oakland starter Derek Carr is out with a broken fibula, and backup Matt McGloin injured his shoulder in the season finale.

MANZIEL SAGA: Former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel may have violated a deal with Dallas County prosecutors to dismiss a misdemeanor assault charge by partying at the same Miami club as ex-girlfriend Colleen Crowley, whose allegations that he assaulted her last year led to the charge.

SENIOR BOWL: The Browns and Bears will coach the Senior Bowl teams, getting a close look at some of the top prospects available in the NFL draft. The Senior Bowl is Jan. 28 in Mobile, Ala.

JETS: Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey retired after two years with the team, and quarterbacks coach Kevin Patullo, defensive line coach Pepper Johnson, outside linebackers coach Mark Collins, running backs coach Marcel Shipp and defensive backs coach Joe Danna also will not return.

RAVENS: Coach John Harbaugh will bring back offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in 2017 after the team finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

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