D.J. Moore Holds A Draft KeyMay 1st, 2014
Joe has put in way too much research into the eight-year Lovie Smith regime in Chicago.
As a Bucs fan, Joe can say a lot of Lovie’s time in Chicago is incredibly encouraging, some is downright frightening, and the rest offers great insight into Lovie.
One of many telling Lovie facts is that as Bears head coach in 2008, Lovie personally took on the coaching of nickel cornerbacks himself. That’s pretty darn rare, and it’s evidence of how seriously he takes the position and how critical it is in his defense.
Many fans peg Lovie as a linebackers guy because that’s what he coached with the Bucs under Tony Dungy. But Lovie has roots in the secondary, including coaching defensive backs at the University of Tennessee and Ohio State before heading to the NFL.
So it doesn’t surprise Joe that the two former Lovie Smith Bears on the Bucs defense are both in the secondary, safety Major Wright and cornerback D.J. Moore.
Moore, 27, a 2009 fourth-round pick, thrived in Chicago. He left after the 2012 season following Lovie’s ousting. Moore was signed quickly in free agency by Carolina last year, but he was cut in midseason after a knee injury.
Lovie pounced on Moore after the 2014 Super Bowl, and Moore told Joe it was a no-brainer for him to join the Buccaneers.
“It’s so rare for a coach to have complete trust in a player and for a player to have that same trust in the head coach. Lovie and I have that. I don’t take that for granted, and I wasn’t going to wait for more offers,” Moore said. “I’m confident I can win the nickel back job here.”
“He’s a playmaker.”
“He has great instincts for the position.”
“He’s a student of the game.”
“Every (shortcoming) we’ve identified with D.J., he has taken care of.”
Those are all quotes from Lovie about Moore to the Chicago Tribune.
Cornering the draft
Joe brings up Moore now because he’s a great example of how last week’s Bucs minicamp could affect the Bucs’ 2014 draft.
Did Lovie see all the traits in Moore that Lovie rewarded in Chicago? If so, then Joe must think Moore is viewed now as a strong starting nickel back. Joe uses the term “starting” because Lovie told Joe he views the position as a starter, given how often opponents line up in three-receiver sets.
How Lovie feels right now about Moore – good or bad – in addition to Johnathan Banks and Mike Jenkins, two corners Lovie and his staff got to evaluate on grass for the first time last week, likely will affect where/if/when the Bucs address the cornerback position the next week’s draft.
Where the Bucs stand on the position a huge unknown. And Joe is confident Lovie won’t leave the Bucs thin at the position like former Bucs general manager Mark Dominik did routinely.
As Joe laid out in these practice notes, cornerbacks got an awful lot of intense teaching last week. Lovie had to assess whether the Bucs’ crop of corners can fit his scheme.