TAMPA, Fla. -- More than a month after Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter said he did not anticipate any changes to his staff, the Bucs will be making a change at defensive line. A source told ESPN that they have fired defensive line coach Jay Hayes.
The Bucs finished the 2017 season with 22 sacks, the fewest of any team in the league. They also surrendered 378.1 yards per game, more than any other team in the league en route to a 5-11 record. They were 9-7 in 2016.
In the two years Hayes has been in Tampa, the Bucs' defense registered 60 sacks, tied for 27th in the league. Hayes' unit struggled with injuries in 2017, with Noah Spence landing on injured reserve with a shoulder injury, and Jacquies Smith struggling to return to form after suffering a torn ACL.
The Bucs' defensive line play and scheme drew criticism from Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, who called the unit "disgraceful."
"It really does not make sense what they're doing on a play-in, play-out basis," Sapp said. "But hey, somebody is making a lot more money than me doing it. So I'm gonna hope that they can fix it, because what we saw this year was disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful."
This is the first defensive change the Bucs have made this year. The only other change they made to their staff has been promoting Skyler Fulton to wide receivers coach, allowing Todd Monken to focus solely on offensive coordinator duties, with Koetter still expected to call plays.