5 Questions to Ask of Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ HC Lovie Smith
5 Questions For Tampa Bay Buccaneers' HC Lovie Smith
After being sent his walking papers by the Chicago Bears following the 2012 season, Lovie Smith took a year off from football in 2013. He’s back in 2014, and this time he’s trying to rebuild the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise that saw more negative headlines last season than Kanye West when he declared himself to be a genius for the 365th time. Smith may have used the time off to regroup and learn different things regarding the NFL, but his role will not change. He once again plans to be a head coach/general manager — even if the Buccaneers also tabbed Jason Licht to be the general manager. Licht will do the player scouting and Smith will have a major role in the construction of the roster.
My five questions for Smith would be strictly football focused. I have no need to dabble with questions about Michael Sam’s sexuality or former Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman’s, for that matter. I would prefer to get right down to the nuts and bolts of it, and I would want to use this platform to grill Smith on the X’s and O’s of his defensive scheme. Although Smith is in fact the head coach, he is bringing with him a defensive scheme that has followed him for more than a decade with various other teams.
The rebuilding process in Tampa Bay has been greatly exaggerated by the media. The team already has in place three core player on the defensive side of the ball with Darrelle Revis, Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David. They have a solid offensive line and two really talented skill position players with Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson. I would use my five questions to pinpoint how Smith plans to fill the other holes outside of those five core players I just mentioned.
5. Are These Rumors About Trading Darrelle Revis Bogus?
One of the biggest misconceptions about the 2013 season is that Darrelle Revis had a bad season. Those who choose to judge a CB by his interception and pass deflection totals aren’t accurate in their assessment of the position. According to Pro Football Focus, Revis was the best CB in the league in 2013. If Smith has had the opportunity to watch the game film on Revis, there is no way that he will trade him. I think if I had the opportunity to ask him this question he would be emphatic in letting me know that Revis is not going anywhere.
4. How Do You Plan To Address The QB Position?
Mike Glennon had a very successful rookie season, even if the national media doesn’t want to give him credit for it. Just think about all the factors that were working against Glennon. He was playing with arguably the worst offensive play caller in the NFL, a shoddy offensive line and without his second-best wide receiver (Mike Williams) and his featured running back (Doug Martin). Glennon certainly has upside to be a successful quarterback in the NFL, but I wonder if Smith would rather bring in a bridge-starter who can help them win now. This would give us all insight on the validity of the rumor that puts Michael Vick to the Buccaneers.
3. Fill The Roster With The Best Players or The Players Who Fit Your Scheme?
There has been a lot of discussion about Smith's "cover 2" defense that he ran with the Chicago Bears. Smith has repeatedly stated that he will create his scheme around the talent on his roster, but a lot of the roster has not been filled out. When he starts to add players via free agency and the draft, I wonder if they will fit the mold of a traditional Lovie Smith defense.
2. How Do You Plan To Generate A Consistent Pass Rush?
The Buccaneers’ biggest weakness on defense in 2013 was their ability to generate a pass rush. After trying to rely on their front four for pressure early in the season, head coach Greg Schiano started to try creative ways to get pressure. Using stunts and extra blitzers did not work and the team failed to ever find a consistent pass rush. The Buccaneers can really use a new gap-penetrating three-technique defensive tackle to play next to McCoy and one or two new starting defensive ends. I would like to know how he plans to find those.
1. Do You Need To Look Further Than Tim Wright To Find Your Franchise TE?
Last season, Tim Wright flashed bursts of greatness while working with Glennon. He is oozing with potential due to his great size and speed and having never been drafted. There is still a possibility that Wright has a few more hiccups along the way before developing into a great overall player. Does Smith decide to go forward with Wright as his franchise TE? Or, does he look for a replacement in free agency or the draft?