It’s All About TrustMarch 27th, 2014
Last season was a complete mess for the Bucs. If it wasn’t the MRSA, it was the soap opera with sleepy, leaky Rip Van Freeman. Then there was Dashon Goldson’s ongoing, expensive tackling issues, not to mention the 0-8 start.
It was a nightmare.
Even though new Bucs coach Lovie Smith has come in with sweeping roster changes, and a reputation of being a stand-up guy, Lovie may still have an uphill battle with the players he has inherited.
In fact, last year was such a mess that former NFL Pro Bowl linebacker and current NFL Network talking head LaVar Arrington believes Lovie will have to do more than just X’s and O’s and roster shuffling to rid the team of the stain of 2013. Here is what Arrington said this week from the NFL Owners Meetings in Orlando when asked to name Lovie’s biggest challenge:
“I would say immediately coming into the job, he’s going to have to establish trust,” Arrington said. “I think that after last season we heard of all the backbiting. We heard of all the people being on different pages from one another with Greg Schiano. I really believe that if Lovie Smith wants to have success, immediately, his biggest challenges is going to be able to gain the trust of those guys in the locker room.”
Joe thinks Lovie is already doing that, and the case in point is the Mike Williams issue. It would be so easy for Lovie to toss Williams overboard. So easy. But he has not (yet). Joe thinks how Lovie is handling Williams is actually setting an example to other players that Lovie isn’t going to make a move just because it’s popular or easy. He won’t cave in to loud voices.
Just in the past couple of days, Joe’s going to guess that Lovie has built a lot of additional street cred among his players, many of whom Lovie barely knows.