Lovie Smith will make 'majority' of Bucs' defensive play calls

TAMPA, Fla. -- There have been implications that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have a different defensive play-caller this season.

But defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier took things a step forward Thursday and said that head coach Lovie Smith will handle those duties.

"He’s going to be heavily involved as he always has been with our defense," Frazier said. "He’s going to do the majority of the defensive play-calling. It really doesn’t change my role from a year ago. My role is to come in and help our defense prepare for every ballgame and help our team to win."

Smith has been vague when asked about the possible change, but has admitted he will be more involved with the defense than he was a year ago. Part of the reason for that is the fact that Smith, who has a strong defensive background, had to be more involved with the offense after coordinator Jeff Tedford left the team because of a heart problem.

The Bucs started last season very slowly on defense, but did come on in the second half of the year. Still, Tampa Bay ended the season ranked No. 25 in the league in total defense.

Frazier said he doesn’t view the move as a demotion.

"I’m excited for it," Frazier said. "His background and the defense that we installed is the one he ran in Chicago, so it should be good for our defense and good for our team. I think we’re all looking forward to just continue to build on the momentum that we had from this offseason."