The Lovie Smith WayMarch 17th, 2014
Hiring Lovie Smith was a reach-back to the Father Dungy era for Team Glazer. No problem with that. But as Bucs fans seem to forget, Father Dungy didn’t get the job done here. Yes, if a coach’s goal is not to win a Super Bowl, then he shouldn’t be coaching.
In his only other head coaching job, Lovie got his team to the Super Bowl, something Father Dungy couldn’t and didn’t do here. Clearly, Team Glazer is hoping that same magic will re-appear in the not-too distant future. NFL insider Jeffri Chahida of BSPN believes Lovie has taken the initial steps.
Now this isn’t to say the Bucs are a perfect team at the moment. They still need more help at offensive line (after releasing left tackle Donald Penn and guard Davin Joseph), and years of bad drafting have led to depth issues that Smith and Licht will have to repair. They also need new left tackle Anthony Collins to produce (he received a five-year, $30 million deal after spending the last six seasons as a backup in Cincinnati) and third-year running back Doug Martin to stay healthy after missing 10 games in 2013 with a torn labrum. If Collins really is a hidden gem and Martin returns to the Pro Bowl form of his rookie season, the Bucs offense will be in solid shape.
The beauty of Smith’s system is that he doesn’t need that much offense to succeed. In an era where most teams want to build offensive powerhouses, he still believes that running the football, playing strong defense and relying on solid special teams play can lead to great results. The funny thing is, there is more evidence of that today than in recent memory. Instead of seeming antiquated in his nature — which seemed to be the case when so many offensive-minded head coaches were being hired for vacant jobs last year — Smith’s position now might be catching on.
The Seattle Seahawks just won their first Super Bowl with a dominant defense. The San Francisco 49ers have played in three straight NFC title games — and one Super Bowl — largely because they have all kinds of talent on that side of the football. The Carolina Panthers also blossomed into the NFC South champions this year because they made a huge leap in their organizational thinking. Instead of hoping star quarterback Cam Newton could carry them to the mountaintop, they let linebacker Luke Kuechly, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year, and his fellow defenders forge that path.
This comparison to the Seahawks is starting to annoy Joe. Half the points Seattle scored in the Super Bowl win came from the offense. It’s not like Seattle’s offense was impotent. Sure, Seattle played good defense, but you still have to have a decent (at worst) offense to win games.
And to be blunt, Joe isn’t yet convinced Josh McCown is as good as Russell Wilson. You know, Seattle’s stud quarterback?
This is the great, and sort of cool, mystery surrounding the Bucs right now. Nobody really knows what kind of offense Jeff Tedford will use in his first season as an NFL offensive coordinator. That is one making Joe look forward to training camp. Frankly, that’s the only thing Joe is looking forward to in training camp.