When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to take a huge risk to improve the defense by throwing a truckload of money at Darrelle Revis, they were taking a chance on a player who was coming off major knee surgery. But ownership felt the defense needed some help from a big name, so Revis was brought in to complement the current defense, which had their own share of burgeoning stars.
Revis joined a defensive unit that included defensive end Gerald McCoy, safety Mark Barron and Pro-Bowler Dashon Goldson. The move was meant to put the defense over the top. Instead, the Bucs opened the season losing eight straight games en route to their sixth consecutive season without a playoff berth.
With figures like that the wrecking ball had to drop and it fell squarely on coach Greg Schiano, who was let go. The man who hired him, general manager Mark Dominik, was also shown the door. Tampa Bay heads into the offseason owning the seventh pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and features a quarterback who has proven he may hold onto the starter job despite a new regime.
Reports say former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith, who has already interviewed with the Bucs, is the leading candidate for the vacant job. If hired, he inherits a defensive unit ranked 17th in total yards per game, but also one that gives up the 12th most points in the league. The Bucs really came unraveled in their last four games of the season.
Lovie Smith, known for his work with linebackers, would improve on those numbers in no time, while mentoring the impressive Lavonte David, who was snubbed of a Pro Bowl selection this season. Mason Foster would also factor into the guidance by Smith, possibly making the Buccaneers a top 10 defensive unit. If the Bucs decide to make a credible hire that is.