“Dr. Smith”May 28th, 2014
You have heard the cliche by now, “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.” Yes, it started with a TV ad.
Bucs coach Lovie Smith is a football coach, a family man, a dad, a husband, and as he self-confessed yesterday after Tuesday’s OTA, not much else. That is, until he plays “Dr. Smith,” whose specialty is hamstrings.
Joe knows Bucs fans in some circles are wringing their hands in anxiety because first round draft pick Mike Evans already has a hamstring injury — not even a full week into his pro career. These same fans are wiping their brows over Vincent Jackson having the same injury.
Both players were only spectators at practice yesterday, but Dr. Smith doesn’t see the need to throw them out on the practice field in May unless 100 percent.
“The hamstring is getting better, but I’m not an expert on a lot of things, but the hamstrings I’m an expert on – Dr. Smith talking here,” Lovie said, referring to Mike Evans’ injury.
“It is getting better, but you don’t come back right away from a hamstring injury and we’re not getting ready to play right away, we want Mike to get well and all of our hamstring injuries, Vincent Jackson has had one. We’ll take our time with them. There’s so much Mike Evans can learn besides getting on the football field running, I mean the mental part of the game and he’s doing that, he’s doing everything that we’re asking him to do and in time he’ll be back out there.
“You to prepare for [injuries] – it’s not if, we are going to have injuries during the year and it’s always about the next guy stepping up. It’s safe to say Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson are going to be on the team playing for us this year. We do need to learn about the third, fourth, fifth receiver, sixth if we decide to go that direction or seven, so you don’t know exactly how many we’re going to keep, I’ve got to throw that in there and we’ll see how they work.”
That’s just it. There are positives to this negative. Rookie Robert Herron has really caught Joe’s eyes with his speed. On down-and-outs or crossing patterns, he simply runs away from defenders. Explodes.
The goal is to get through training camp and the preseason injury-free with starters. That’s a rarity, but one way to do it is not forcing guys with gimpy legs to play underwear football in late-May.