Hoping For “Middle-Of-The-Road Offense”

January 2nd, 2014

A former Bears All-Pro weighs in on how Lovie Smith is “amazing” and not so amazing

Seven-time Bears All-Pro center Jay Hilgenberg shared his deep angst — and deep love — for new Bucs head coach Lovie Smith today.

Hilgenberg has been part of the Bears Radio Network for years and spoke on WDAE-AM 620 this morning about how Lovie never could fix the Bears offense and forge a good offensive line.

But Hilgenberg wasn’t bashing in any way.

He’s a big Lovie fan, though Joe got queasy when Hilgenberg talked about how lucky the Bucs will be if Smith can develop “a middle-of-the-road offense,” then they’ll have a strong team.

“It is amazing the respect players have. If Lovie says, ‘Hey, you know, we need a little better pass rush this week,’ those guys come out and it’s noticeably different. He knows what buttons to push. The problem that Lovie got into in Chicago was the offense was never right. He could never get the offense right, mainly the offensive line,” Hilgenberg said. “I just think they had weak offensive lines for most of the time that Lovie was coaching here. And I think it kind of came down to the offensive line coaches. For some reason, Lovie just couldn’t get it fixed with the offensive line and what he wanted to do offensively.”

Hilgenberg also shared how much the New Lovie Order will resonate in the locker room. Players weren’t have fun, Hilgenberg said, under Greg Schiano. “The thing I like about Lovie is the players respect him, the players love to come to work. They want to win for Lovie, which is an amazing thing how he can create an atmosphere like that.”

Enjoy the entire Hilgenberg interview below.

46 Responses to “Hoping For “Middle-Of-The-Road Offense””

  1. flmike...hates Johnny Football Says:

    Middle of the road will not cut it in this div, we have 3 very strong offensive teams we deal with 6 times a season, we have to be able to put up minimum 30 points a game to win consistently in the NFC South, Lovie is going to have to pull a Dungy type recusal from all things offensive, if he’s able to do that, great, if not we’re looking at Dungy 2.0

  2. GTDigger2 Says:

    Players weren’t have fun?

  3. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    The one or two whiners on this board need to just STFU already. It’s a done deal and now we need to support our team. Stop trying to ruin what is an exciting day for 99% of Bucs fans. To those who can never be happy unless they are the GM of this team and/or the team does exactly what you want: kiss my ass! You know who I’m talking to.

  4. OB Says:

    Joe, we all learn from our mistakes, I cannot believe that Lovie did not learn from his Bears experience, he will have a strong OC that he trusts and they will work fine. Besides the draft and free agents, I can’t wait to see who makes the team next year, I believe some people will be shocked.

  5. Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I am excited about our team again, with the coaching and GM change.

  6. Patrick in VA Says:

    @FLboyinDallas – I agree. It seems like there are a ton of people who suddenly want the Bucs to be an offensive juggernaut. Not real sure why they became fans of the team in the first place because that’s not what this team has ever been about. I’d love for them to be way better than they are on offense and if they’re middle of the road, or better, and playing lights out D then I’ll take that.

  7. McBuc Says:

    Actually in 2013 the NFC south had one top offense. The stinking panthers were middle of the road. They are going to the play offs with a great defense and an ok offense. Atlantas offense was not good this year, and they may have missed the window when their injured guys return. The saints had a great offense, and a renewed defense. They may have peaked early though.

    If you want to go back a year, Tampa had a high offense and ended with the same record as this year. Defense still matters.

  8. Cannon Says:

    Just win, baby.

  9. McBuc Says:

    Also. Ask Atlanta if defense does not matter.

  10. mikeck Says:

    Yep..Agree Mc Buc…Panthers/49rs model of Great Defense and average offense is just fine for me. Everyone loves eth high power offense until January up in Greebay when its snowing.

  11. ctord Says:

    lovie made it to the super bowl with grossman and orten. let’s give the man a chance. Bears were worse this year without Lovie and it looks like they are about to have to rebuild. Happy day in buc land. National positive coverage. well respected coach. have we not had enough negative this year? Go get em Lovie.

  12. Mord Says:

    Dungy’s perspective in the earlier interview was interesting. Basically, this division is full of established offenses including one with a HOF quarterback; there’s some strength of strategy in building the team defensively, starting with the defense-minded HC in Lovie Smith

  13. Eric Says:

    So its a passing league eh. Lets see if that’s true.

    Seattle, San Fran, Carolina passing offense rankings:

    Seattle 26th
    Carolina 29th
    San Fran 30th

    Three best teams in the NFC. All three doing it with great defense. Do they have good QB’s, sure. But not great ones. None even close to Brees or Rodgers.

    But they win!

  14. bucfanjeff Says:

    My BIGGEST and only fear with Lovie, Offense.

    We cannot get by with ‘average’ on offense. It won’t work. Anxious for draft and camp already though.

  15. Jerry Says:

    Sure if you have Payton Manning or Drew Brees or Tom Brady you can pass your way into the post-season. The league will always favor that kind of QB. But those guys are freaks of nature. The chances of the Bucs finding a QB like that is slim.

  16. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    @Patrick in VA

    I’m sure Lovie, like most good coaches who’ve had previous success, has had time to reflect on his weaknesses in Chicago and come up with a plan to turn those areas around. He’s known as an intelligent coach and the Glazers hiring him so quickly is evidence he has an offensive plan in place that satisfied them and helped answer their reservations. I’d be okay with a 10-15th ranked offense if we have a top 5 defense, but I honestly believe this time around Lovie will end up with a fairly strong offense compared to the past. Or maybe I’m just a hopeful Bucs fan…hard to distinguish sometimes. Lol

  17. Patrick in VA Says:

    Gotta think that losing Gonzalez is going to have an effect on that Atlanta offense and Stephen Jackson is only getting older. If our secondary has another season to gel with one another and we have a good coaching staff then they could stand up to the offenses we face. Just gotta make sure that our offense is able to produce at least efficiently

  18. Jerry Says:

    Word out of Chicago is that Cutler just signed a 7-year extension.

    So that ends that speculation….

  19. flmike...hates Johnny Football Says:

    Forget Cutler, he just resigned with the Bears…

  20. McBuc Says:

    Never thought cutler was coming anyway. Why would lovie want another stent with the coach killer.

  21. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Lovie neglected that offensive Line in Chicago for years (eventually lead to his undoing). I’m sure he won’t make the same mistake here.

    All Marc Trestman did this year was

    1#Completely Revamp the Piss Poor Offensive line
    2#Signed One of the Best Blocking TE’s in the Game
    3#Showcased Brandon Marshall more in the Slot (VJAX??)

    If Lovie can
    #1Revamp Offensive Line( not restructure contract of poor talent)

    #Sign a Blocking TE that can catch downfield

    #Bring in some productive experience on the DLine, to blind with our current talent


  22. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    QB’s are in such low supply that even a mediocre one like Cutler gets a nice extension. Demand far exceeds supply. That’s what I laugh at fans who scream about getting a “franchise” QB, as if it’s just a given that there’s one or more available in every draft. These guys are hard to find and there are probably 20 or more teams in the league that would LOVE to upgrade the position but cannot.

  23. fritz50 Says:

    “Or maybe I’m just a hopeful Bucs fan…hard to distinguish sometimes. Lol”

    I with ya there !!! Always true , with Bucs fans.

  24. AceOfAerospace Says:

    Like stated above, I trust Lovie has learned from whatever offensive mistakes were made in Chicago. Remember, offense was never impressive in Tampa under Dungy but upon arriving in Indy, it was not a problem. Now obviously, Indy had Peyton Manning and as of yet Tampa has no Peyton manning type quarterback. The point I’m loosely trying to make is it’s not like Dungy went to Indy and immediately made Clyde Christianson or Shula his offensive coordinator. Manning would have bitch-slapped all three if them three stooges style if they tried that run-run-pass-punt offense up there. We’ll be fine under Lovie. I’m excited.

  25. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    3 Players to watch our for that bolster our DLine

    *From The Left Side
    -Justin Tuck 6′ 5″, 268 lbs (Giants have cap issues)

    *From The Right Side
    -Julius Peppers 6′ 7″, 287 lbs (Reportedly will be cut)

    *From the Defensive Tackle
    -Kendall Langford 6′ 6″, 313 lbs (Reportedly will be cut)

    *From the Nose Tackle
    -Tony McDaniel 6′ 7″, 305 lbs (Seattle has Cap Concerns)

    (Tree Trunks with Pass Rush)

    Add them to our rotation …Wow

  26. joseph mamma Says:

    I’m more excited about Lovie coaching us than Schiano, but don’t understand how people can assume he’s going to get us to the playoffs every year. He could not do that in Chicago and that’s why he was fired. Most of the time the Bears were sitting home.

  27. Architek Says:

    Bottom line is do what you do best – based on the personnel and be excellent at it, running or throwing.

    Lovie will succeed here and I am again proud to be a Buc!

    Haters and whiners can go somewhere else because we don’t know what happened in the background in Chicago and why he couldn’t make OLine changes.

    Just enjoy the moment and be thankful no more “Toes on the Line”

  28. RealityCheck Says:

    @ FLBoyInDallas – thank you! People seem to forget how we won a Superbowl. Here’s a hint…our defense was really really good and we had a game manager at QB. And please save the “not in today’s NFL” nonsense talk.

  29. Architek Says:

    Why are you guys so pessimistic after multiple losing seasons?

    REALLY – all of the fire Schiano and now the glass is half empty? Man you all are horrid fans.

  30. Bobby Says:

    Give me great defense over great offense any day. If you think defense doesn’t win games just look at the scores of the games when Seattle plays San Fran. Both have good offenses but it’s hard to put up big numbers when defenses make you one dimensional. Carolina did not win the division based upon their offense.

  31. Patrick Bourke Says:

    Well here we go sports fans, a few observations: 1-I’m very surprised we went a-s backwards as to the hiring process. As a rule, first comes the general mgr, then the coach. I’m wondering if the Bucs are in TOO MUCH of a hurry to get things rebuilt so they jumped the gun a bit. 2- There’s a VERY GOOD ex GM available, if you have to buy out his contract so be it, HIS NAME????? BILL POLIAN!!! (SEE RESULTS IN BUFFALO AND INDY WHILE HE WAS DRAFTING PLAYERS AND TAKING CARE OF CONTRACTS) Buffalo after he left gradually went downhill until now????? BKLEECH!!!! Indy, stay tuned too early to tell. But he’s got the pedigree, from listening through the grapevine other than the fallout with Jim Irsay he never seemed to have problems in the organizations he worked in. I think he’d be a BIG improvement from our 2 previous ones(Allen and Dominick) and we need some really good offensive players(OL, a speedy downfield receiver(we don’t have one right now,Vincent Jackson notwithstanding)and definitely a REALLY GOOD pass rushing DL and a few more good DB’S and possibly a BIG SIZE RB to take the pressure off our 3 current Small size RB’s. I think he’d be very good at drafting the right players, as well as hopefully keeping the good ones we already have. Scott Pioli would be a good second choice as well.
    3- One last thing; Lovie better emphasize offense a whole lot more than Schiano or Dungy did, or you will have Dungy 2.0 for this group and I’m just not sure in this day and age of the NFL you can sustain averaging just 14-20 pts a game and play defense the whole game. Just an observation. The End

  32. TAC Says:

    All I know is there is hope for a great D coming back to Tampa. Maybe you can’t win it all with just a D anymore, but you aren’t winning anything without one.

    Welcome back Lovie Smith.

  33. mark2001 Says:

    Good thing we already have a great Offense and O line in place here. Then Lovie can just concentrate on the Defense. Just one thing…I thought the team loved Rah. too.

  34. oldfart44 Says:

    A big black cloud has been lifted.

    Smith will have access to many proven coaches due to his stellar reputation; not like the clown that just left.

    The Bucs are like most teams, looking for “the guy/man/saviour/god/jesus Christ. I know what I would like to see but I don’t feel like being pelted with sarcasm and so on. 🙂

    We will be fine.

  35. mark2001 Says:

    Architek…I didn’t have a problem with Schiano’s firing, nor was I on the “torch carrying crew”. But I do think we all expected someone that had a good history of straightening out the worst side of the ball. That is our Offense. And hiring a coach before a GM, basically tells the GM that they are the one and only’s to make that decision. And if there are conflicts and problems, who are the Glazers going to side with. Frankly, what it tells me is that Malcolm was the real brains of the family, and the boys really know nothing about building an organization. So how is one to feel the glass is more than “half full” and start thinking about playoffs, particularly in our division, with the way this went down.

  36. mark2001 Says:

    BTW…Gruden came here and straightened out the Offensive side of the ball. Dungy went to Indy and straightened out the D of the colts. That is what teams with one side of the ball much stronger generally do. But not here. An offensive guy would only have to have a good D mind help him get the right couple of guys to have a great defense. The Offense is a mess and Lovie has never proved he could build a good offense. The Glazer boys don’t have to compete with Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder as the worst owners in the league…but they seem to be trying.

  37. mark2001 Says:

    No problem Old Fart…we will be fine….we are fine right now….no problem.

  38. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Real Talk, we all know what happen in Chicago.

  39. RealityCheck Says:

    mark2001 – Hiring a coach before a GM tells anyone aware of the coaching situation in the NFL that Lovie was the most desirable candidate by most teams looking for a coach and we did the smart thing by locking him up early instead of getting are 5th choice of coach like Schiano.

    @ Bobby – “Carolina did not win the division based upon their offense.” – Exactly

  40. patrickbucs Says:

    They did try to build an offensive line the problem was Jerry Angelo drafted a bunch of stiffs, some with prior known injuries that still went in the 1st round. Guys we just gave up a 6th round pick for Carimi another first round bust Bears bust this year. Angelo also could not draft a QB until they traded for Cutler, develop any receivers until they traded for Marshall and finally got Alshon. They had Devin Hester playing there for years.

    I cannot imagine the Glazers not asking in the interview what type of offense do you want to run? Everyone wants to see an exciting offense, it sells tickets.That’s the problem with hiring the coach first, the GM may not want the same things. Who knows I am happy with the signing but still concerned with the offense.

    Carolina did win because of their offense and some timely offense. I am betting that they target at least 2 wr’s in the offseason because they will fall short of going to the SB because of their lack of weapons this year.

  41. pick6 Says:

    the glazers played this brilliantly. draft rock solid core talent, sandbag it a bit by exposing them to amateur coaching for the first few years of their careers, and then bring in an experienced and beloved NFL head coach who the players will think is lombardi reincarnated by comparison, and they will walk through fire for him. (yes, sarcasm)

  42. Bucfan#37 Says:

    It is fine to be optimistic and enthusiastic about the Bucs future improvement. Lovie does’nt cut the mustard in my thinking. The Bucs will be competitive under Smith, around 50% in wins, but never at the top level. I agree the Glazers know little about football, their decisions are rash and the whole organization will wallow in mediocrity like it has most of its existance. Having said that, I am still about the biggest Bucs fan on the planet.

  43. Dan A Says:

    Well I remember our middle of the road offense playing well enough for us to win the Super Bowl. When 2 offensive teams play against each other its a shootout until the end but what normally happens when a good defense plays a good offense, the defense usually wins the game. If the Bucs were not robbed in St. Louis we could of been talking about 2 championships instead of one….. that would of been with a mediocre offense to boot.

  44. Bucfan#37 Says:

    Agree that the Bucs logically should have 2 or 3 superbowl championships in their pocket with the excellent defense of the late 90’s and early 2000’s. I hear Dungy pushed Lovie on the Bucs. On Dungy, he of the no offensive clue, he carried himself as a devout Christian, yet he was all about money. Why did his son kill himself? Dungy pushed this under the rug and seemed to show no remorse or emotion concerning his son. The reason for his sons death was covered up. I’m not a big Dungy fan, quite the opposite.

  45. fritz50 Says:

    “he carried himself as a devout Christian, yet he was all about money. Why did his son kill himself? Dungy pushed this under the rug and seemed to show no remorse or emotion concerning his son. The reason for his sons death was covered up. I’m not a big Dungy fan, quite the opposite.”

    Yep, pretty obvious you’re not a fan. Great compassion there, dude. Regadless of your opinion, it’s not always totally about what the parents did wrong. Once in a great while it’s about the person (kid) him or her self, and their problems, percieved, or real. I defy you, or anyone else, to look at a large group of kids and ACCURATLY identify which SPECIFIC ones will commit suicide, have drug problems, drop out of school, or have success. I’m sure your kids (assuming you had some) did great, making you a proud parent, more power to ya. In spite of what you did perfectly, there was a lot of luck involved in that.

  46. Bucfan#37 Says:

    There’s really no place for this stuff here in Joe’s house. And it’s surely not on topic with this Bucs post. –Joeem>