Smith went a combined 8-24 in two seasons with the team, but increased their win total by four between the two years. The Bucs held a news conference Thursday announcing the change and thanking Smith for his time.
The struggles on defense, particularly in the secondary, along with the high amount of penalties is what led to the move. Smith also had some questionable coordinator hires that did not sit well with the organization.
The team planned to fly to Tampa on Thursday to inform the former Chicago Bears' coach of the news. Sources say Smith found out about the news over the phone, when he knew something wasn't right with GM Jason Licht. He would then insist that there was no need for anyone to visit him on Thursday. He did not attend the team's news conference that day as well.
Buccaneers offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is reportedly listed as a "strong candidate" for the vacant job position, but the organization will be very thorough in the hunt. The team does not plan to bring back defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, but Frazier has yet to be informed of the decision.
Many of the players were stunned by the firing of Smith, including the likes of Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, including David writing "This is stupid, we can't even have a consistent coach." Despite the surprise and angry reactions from the players, the Bucs will look for a new head coach to lead young QB Winston, who showed a ton of upside in his first and only season with coach Smith.