Chicago Columnist Down On Lovie’s Evaluations

January 7th, 2014

Devin Hester as a No. 1 receiver was one of Lovie Smith’s failed experiments, notes a Chicago scribe.

Can Lovie Smith build a championship roster and raise an offense from the dead?

Those are really the only two things Bucs fans wonder much about these days. Why? Because Lovie’s track record in those areas is questionable.

Lovie is a proven, strong head coach, far better than what Bucs fans have seen since Chucky was fired, but there should be legitimate skepticism amid the euphoria, as Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh pointed out today.

There weren’t many tears shed by Bears fans when Lovie Smith was ousted in 2012. His time was simply up. He was no longer delivering. Nine years is quite a run in the modern NFL. Tony Dungy got six years in Tampa. Jon Gruden got seven. Few coaches retire. Most are fired.

Lovie, per Haugh, didn’t know his limitations.

The Bears missed the playoffs in five of Smith’s final six seasons after a post-Super Bowl power play when Smith began exerting the type of influence the Bucs just granted him. It was February 2007 when Smith, armed with a new contract, proclaimed “trust me” after firing defensive coordinator Ron Rivera. A month later, Smith pushed to acquire safety Adam Archuleta. Later, he endorsed Devin Hester as a No. 1 wide receiver. Lest we forget linebacker Jamar Williams, who supposedly made Lance Briggs expendable.

The good easily outweighed the bad as Smith went 84-66 for the Bears, but thinking his coaching expertise expanded into player personnel marked the beginning of the end. Of all the valuable things Smith learned during his one-year sabbatical watching football in his basement and getting paid $5 million by the McCaskeys, realizing his limits as an NFL head coach wasn’t among them. As he spoke about assembling a staff and adjusting his scheme around cornerback Darrelle Revis, Smith sounded like a guy whose to-do list included finding a general manager to groom. Who wouldn’t want to hire his boss?

Now Joe’s not ruling out Lovie’s ability to learn from his past failings and evolve and conquer.

This morning on WDAE-AM 620, Lovie clarified that his reported control over the Bucs’ 53-man roster is nothing new, he said. That was his scene in Chicago. (So was it Lovie who traded a second-round pick for underachieving Gaines Adams?)

Joe is mostly concerned about Lovie resurrecting the Bucs offense. Lovie never had an offense ranked better than 15th in Chicago.

But don’t misinterpret, Joe’s got a clean slate for all things Lovie. New offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford might be the fresh mind that can do it. Joe’s all-in, but without much expectation on that side of the football, at least not without a new quarterback.

29 Responses to “Chicago Columnist Down On Lovie’s Evaluations”

  1. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I’ll let Lovie and Tedford, along with Ballard or whoever ends up being GM, determine whether or not we need a QB. Then we’ll know if the Joes and the anti-Glennon faction are correct in their assessments or not. I’m curious myself, but unlike the other big mouths around here I admit the experts who are actually employed in the NFL might just know a thing or two that I don’t.

  2. al121976 Says:

    I think it would be great if we could get Norv Turner in here in some type of role just in case Tedford doesnt work out. I think we have a talented team we just need a competent coach(s) and hopefully that is what we are getting with the Lovie hire.

  3. RealityCheck Says:

    Weird, I must have missed the Bears game last weekend. I love how this clown acts like he knows what Lovie learned during his year out of the NFL. Just because he has final say over the roster doesn’t mean those decisions will be made 100% by himself.

  4. investwax Says:

    Here is my first thought without even reading this whole post. Dungy received the same criticism after taking over the Colts. “He’ll dismantle the offense to install a solid defense.” I was one of those saying that.

    Lesson: the situation dictates how events will unfold.

  5. Buc Neckid Says:

    The GM speculations have silented quite a bit since first thrown out there
    while Ballard still seems to be the name most mentioned
    McKay’s name has almost vanished from all discussions
    is it No Smoke no Fire
    or is it somebody telling somebody to hush it up (tampering)

  6. Buc1987 Says:

    Why does a Chicago paper or writer still care enough to write such a lengthy article about a former coach of the Bears?

    That’s the only question I have after reading the article.

  7. Macabee Says:

    Joe is mostly concerned about Lovie resurrecting the Bucs offense. Lovie never had an offense ranked better than 15th in Chicago.

    The top seeds in the NFC playoffs are Seattle, Carolina, and San Francisco. Their total defensive rankings are 1, 2, 5 and their total offensive rankings are 17, 24, and 26 respectively.

    It seems like Lovie’s emphasis on defense and his past offensive rankings are consistent with the best in the NFC!

    What am I missing here?

    You’re not missing anything. Joe’s merely stating his opinion. The Bucs offense does need resurrection, and all three of those teams have elite quarterbacks.–Joe

  8. 1Gr8Buc Says:

    Buc1987….. You are spot on. Before reading the article I was wondering the same thing. We see what Da Bears did without him. You would figure with a new hire at HC with high expectations and missing the playoffs he would have enough to write about.

    It sounded like to me is that Lovie and the GM will be working side by side on making those decisions. I’m hoping I’m correct with this assessment but I think most of our problems last year were on the coaching side not the player side. Until Lovie and his staff proves me wrong I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

  9. BucsQcCity Says:

    Good luck with Jay Cutler Chicago! LOL!

  10. Clowney Says:

    “Why does a Chicago paper or writer still care enough to write such a lengthy article about a former coach of the Bears?”

    What if the Little General gets hired next year by the J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.

    Do you think no one in Tampa might write about that?

    Re-hash the gauntlets, MRSA, thermostats, macaroni, 47 assistants (spies), Nicks-Gate and adderall?

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    Macabee, well said. I keep hearing “passing league, passing league” when all I see in the playoffs are “defense first” teams. However, there is much improvement on this offense to be had in my opinion.
    Much like this blog, everyone has different opinions regarding the hire and in this era of immediate gratification it’s hard to be patient. No one is going to like everything Lovie does, that’s OK, as long as he wins.
    Go Bucs!

  12. Macabee Says:

    I agree with everything you said in bold type Joe. We do need to fix our offense and we don’t have an elite QB. I believe that is part and parcel why we have a new HC. When Harbaugh was hired to replace Singletary changes were made and things got on track. Changes were made in Carolina and Rivera seems to have resurrected that program.

    I would like to give Lovie a chance to do the same despite his previous record which I think has been pretty good. As you can tell I’m in the “benefit of the doubt” mode!

  13. Gus Says:

    There is a reason why people call the nfl media a circus, because it’s full of clowns.

  14. Nick2 Says:

    Wow the guy names 3 players Lovie missed on one of which being Devin Hester who probably will go down as the greatest return man in NFL history. Archelletta wasn’t a bust in my opinion but never was the 2nd coming of John Lynch as I remember he was reported to be. If this writer was in a court of law everyone would say “ok what other evidence does the prosecution have?” Sounds like a bitter Chicago writer who wishes his team didn’t give up a 48 yard bomb in the last seconds to lose a playoff game. Something tells me Lovie would not have let that happen. More dribble than substance!!!!!!

  15. Couch Fan Says:

    I just hope that if Glennon is our starting QB, Joe and the rest of the anti-Glennon Mob wont be pouting all off season and season long.

  16. Buc1987 Says:

    No Clowney I don’t think the Tampa papers would. I don’t even think Joe care enough to write such a lengthy article about Schiano if he gets hired by another team next season.

    Maybe they will write stories about how bad Schiano was if he gets re-hired, maybe they won’t. I don’t see the need for it though even if they do.

    What Bears fan really cares about what Lovie said or is doing in Tampa? Sounds to me like a bored writer with nothing to write about.

  17. joseph mamma Says:

    Haugh says Lovie is a mixed bag, and says that he will probably bring the Bucs closer to relevance. He also made some personnel blunder’s that lead to one playoff appearance in Lovie’s last six years with the Bears. Seemed like a fair assessment when you read the whole article.

  18. Buc1987 Says:

    I’ll also add this. I personally do not give a crap what Lovie did in Chicago either. It’s a fresh start for everyone involved as far as I’m concerned.

  19. kennedy306 Says:

    Buc1987 is correct! Those 3 teams are in it because of their defense and running games. The weakest part of their teams is the passing game. Those 3 QBs are elite athletes but to call them elite QBs is laughable Joe. They look at their first or second read and run. Elite QB means you can win without a running game, defense, or great receivers. There are 4 of those, Manning, Brady, Brees and Rodgers. You can surround them with anyone and they will win. You see what happened to Matt Ryan without his OL line and Julio Jones. Same with Rothlisberger, Eli, etc.

  20. BirdDoggers Says:

    All coaches, GMs, scouts,etc. swing and miss on their evaluations here and there. The key is to get it right more often than not.

  21. pick6 Says:

    doesn’t matter what you do, if you are not in the superbowl or within a game or 2 of it almost every year, eventually the fans will be happy to see you go. bill belichick is one of those era-dominating talents in his job, like michael schmacher or tiger woods at their peak, where their absolute superiority makes coaches who would’ve been considered successes in another era end up as also-rans. i’m convinced that belichick’s freakish success in new england has single-handedly accelerated the pace of coach firings over the last decade. alot of these retread coaches who had good runs with their team but never won the big one seem to figure a couple things out their second time around. then again, they don’t usually ask for (and get) final say over personnel.

  22. Bucamania Says:

    Lovie will be even better as HC of his second team. Much like Dungy was, and Belicheat, and even Gruden. Go Bucs!

  23. JonBuc Says:

    Lovie may have had his pewter colored glasses on and thought Archeleta was the next Lynch instead of Sabby The Goat (JBF trademark) and Adams (RIP) was the next Simeon Rice instead of Kyle “Less is ” Moore. Most of us, me included, are guilty of reaching back to the Glory Days…much like The Glazers did with hiring Lovie.

  24. Jon Says:

    I just hope it was Angelo who busted on all those first round picks or traded for Gaines Adams, not Lovie

  25. PRBucFan Says:

    How bout we let Tedford put his system/offense in place before we prematurely claim we won’t have a good or even great offense?

    I’ve read a lot of Chicago fans/media that respect Lovie and thinks he’ll succeed but there seems to be quite a few bitter ones too lol.

    No surprise

  26. NY Buc Says:

    Lovie seems like the coaching equivalent of a blue chip stock. The buy in price is kind of steep, but he’s probably a pretty safe bet for a modest dividend (in this case maybe a playoff berth). I’m not sold yet that he’ll be that high risk/high reward guy that someone like Jay Gruden may have been for us, but I’ll hope for the best and see how the season(s) play out under Smith.

  27. Schiano Happens Says:

    Good place to flex my New Year’s resolution of not listening to yankees during the winter when they’re angry.

  28. mark2001 Says:

    That was a reasonable assessment. That is one of the reasons I wanted a GM hired first. But that is water under the bridge. There are reasons to really like Lovie and reasons to really question what he will do here. Cowher wasn’t interested…Jon wasn’t. So if the premise was to start with a seasoned HC, Lovie was probably the best guy out there, particularly with his Bucs connections. But admittedly, this isn’t nearly the bump or bold move that we had when Gruden came in. I don’t worry about him ruining the Defense…I worry about his ability to build the Offense. Yes, most of the playoff teams have a pretty good defense…but you can’t write off the talent on the offensive side of the ball of most of these team. Under the way the rules currently are enforced, I don’t know if you can win without both…a great D isn’t enough with a below average Offense. After all, you can hardly tackle a QB anymore without being an anatomy major. And it is hard to help a WR develop Alligator arms without big fines and flags.

  29. NY Buc Says:

    @ Schiano Happens Says

    HA, you’d be a little angry too if you had to deal with the crazy low temps and wind chills we ‘yankees’ have been experiencing lately. I’ll admit Schiano getting canned before getting a third year got me a little fired up mad too (felt he built the roster up enough and kept them playing hard enough to at least get a mulligan for the year two clusterf#ck that was partially a media smear campaign outside anybody’s control, but that’s why there’s a saying about not wasting time crying over spilt milk). Hopefully Lovie is great, hopefully winter warms up, and hopefully the Bucs draft Watkins with the #7 pick if he’s still available at that spot.