Translating Lovie

March 10th, 2014

Joe apologizes for getting all Sesame Street here, but the number of the day for Lovie Smith is the number “4.”

One thing the Bucs couldn’t do last year is top of mind for Lovie entering free agency. And it’s all about that magic number.

Tampa Bay under Greg Schiano absolutely could not/would not rush the pass passer with four down linemen. Schiano wanted to but didn’t think he had defensive ends capable of such heroics. So the blitzes came and came, and the Bucs overinvested in their secondary to compensate for the granny-like push up front.

It’s this structural/philosophical mess that, Joe believes, led to the following Lovie quote to Roy Cummings of The Tampa Tribune.

Coach Lovie Smith has expressed a strong desire to reshape the roster he inherited when he took the job in January. 

“We have systems that we want to run and this roster wasn’t set up with our systems in mind,’’ Smith said recently. “Not that it’s going to be that different, but we have some changes we have to make.’’

Lovie is a 4-3 defense guy. So was Schiano. So were Schiano’s on-staff mentors in Butch Davis and Dave Wannstedt. It was Wannstedt who even said last week that Lovie’s inheriting “good crossover from talent and scheme” for his defense. But it’s that missing edge rush that is everything.

With news this morning that Michael Bennett is about to sign in Chicago, the Bucs’ options to fix the defense the Lovie wants it fixed are dwindling.

12 Responses to “Translating Lovie”

  1. Snook Says:

    Even if we don’t change DEs, I can almost guarantee that they’ll have more sacks under Lovie than they did under Schiano.

    Yes, we need to bring in more talent but the fact we now have a real head coach solves some of our problems already.

  2. TJ Ware Says:

    Lovie did say “our” systems in mind. Which means offense also.. you will see 1 new starting D.E. , you will see maybe one new starting D tackle. But thats all on Defense.. However on offense.. there is probaby going to be 3-4 new starting olineman. A new starting tight end. Possibly a new starting Wide Receiver. And maybe even a new starting full back. And maybe a new starting QB. So when lovie said that he was talking about more on the offensive side of the ball.

  3. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    The more we hear Lovie and Licht the more people need to realize it was not just a coach problem. There were many problems and it will take alot to repair all the issues from the past regimes.

  4. BirdDoggers Says:

    The pass rush might have been better last year if the defensive line was allowed to pin their ears back and play the game north and south, without all the now-infamous stunting.

    I’m sure there are many things Lovie and Licht will do differently than Raheem/Schiano and Dominik. It will take time to revamp the team to fit the coaches plans. Having a limited number of draft picks this year doesn’t help the cause.

  5. Bucsfanman Says:

    Agreed Snook. It might be a benefit if we don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for a FA on D-line. God knows we have plenty to fix on offense!

  6. Buc Fan #237 Says:

    Michael Bennett will never wear a Buccaneer uniform again.

    No point in wasting digital ink on him any longer.

  7. David Says:

    Always worried when a coach says players don’t fit his system. The truly great coaches have the ability to make their systems fit the talent they have. You can’t always have the exact player for a system with the salary cap and the roster sizes. This is why past coaches have failed here you can’t always be turning over the roster for a new system or you are stuck in rebuilding mode as the new coach gets his players in struggles while doing so and gets fired for not getting results fast enough. This is why most college coaches and first time coaches struggle because they are married to the “system” rather than being able to match talent on hand to their system. With comments like that this will not be a quick turnaround as the Bucs dump talented players who don’t fit the system.

  8. Brandon Says:


    That is true, to a point. But a truly great coach realizes players with great potential, and those are the players he can work into his system, or tweak it, for that player. No coach is going to try to squeeze marginal players into their system if they are a poor fit. The defense Lovie runs, REQUIRES a RDE that can get upfield in a hurry. Clayborn has NEVER been that guy.

    I’m pretty sure, any players dumped by Smith, will not be “talented” but mere problems from the previous 4-12 mess. If Adrian Clayborn could actually get upfield, turn the corner, and get heat on the QB, Schiano would probably still be coaching right now. But he isn’t, because Clayborn is a big, space-eating, bull-rushing, hand-fighting DE that would best fit on the left side if he didn’t have the issue with his right hand…so therefore, his best fit might be as a RDE in a 3-4, because that’s what his talents play to.

  9. zam Says:

    I don’t think Lovie was terribly interested in Bennett. Given Schiano, Seattle, and now probably Lovie passing on him, I have to wonder if there’s some off-field thing no one is talking about? Hate to be that way, but it feels like something weird going on.

  10. Mac Says:

    @ The Buc Realist

    Agreed… Mark Dominik left this team a total mess…

    Where is Dominik working now a days? H and R Block? Lol…

  11. lurker Says:

    so funny mac…not

    Bennett is overrated, just like half the posters here

  12. David Says:


    Pretty sure Revis qualifies as talent. Welcome to rebuilding for three years and then just good enough to make playoffs but good enough to win it all like the Dungy era. As a life long fan it pains me to see us repeat that cycle but I guess if we can trade two first round picks for a coach in the future it will be worth it.