Banking On Lovie SmithJune 27th, 2014
Most changes come with the shiny optimism of newness and the clouds of doubt. Such is the case with new Bucs coach Lovie Smith.
Will Lovie be able to turn the Bucs around and make them Super Bowl contenders, or will the team mirror Lovie’s Bears with a defense-first, frustrating-plodding-offense style?
No one really knows, though NFL analyst Doug Farrar of SI.com is supremely confident he knows. Farrar has thrown all of his chips into the pot, banking that Lovie can make the Bucs not just relevant again, but an NFC monster.
In a roundtable debate with his colleague, Chris Burke, Farrar claimed the Bucs made a bigger splash in the offseason than the demise of the Stinking Panthers’ offense.
“The Bucs offseason is an amazing story,” Farrar said. “You look in one year, a team that was falling apart under Greg Schiano — he had that little bit of a rebound at the end — really, the way Schiano did it, the way he handled his players, the way he handled everything. Then you have Lovie Smith who is kind of a voice of reason and a brilliant defensive coach, might have had the best free agent period of any team. [They got] a lot of underrated guys. [Offensively], you pair Mike Evans with Vincent Jackson … and it could be like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey all over again.
“I think what the Buccaneers could be in Year One under Lovie Smith, after what happened last year, to me, that is a slightly bigger story because it is not only a franchise turnaround, but a turnaround that could be sustainable for a number of seasons.”
Of course, Farrar noted that he is unsure what to make of Jeff Tedford as Bucs offensive coordinator. It sounded as if he has major reservations saying, “The Aaron Rodgers now is not the Aaron Rodgers” Tedford had at Cal. That’s pretty much what Super Bowl-winning quarterback Phil Simms has said about Rodgers, as well.
Tedford, of course, is the key. Can he squeeze the magic out of McCown that Marc Trestman did in Chicago? Can that the offensive line with so many holes protect McCown and give him time to throw?
Naturally, we will not know the answer to these questions until at least September.