Where’s The Change In Lovie?

April 16th, 2014

BrooksLovieLots of mysteries surround the 2014 Buccaneers.

By design, the entire offense is a secret. Tampa Bay’s targets in the NFL Draft are complete unknowns. And how a mattress on grass, a living-room stripper pole, a kitchen fire and a sibling stabbing a thigh cost the Bucs their good No. 2 receiver is a question mark, too.

It’s also unclear how Lovie Smith has changed after a year out of football.

Lovie has raved repeatedly about how beneficial his year away from the game was. He recommends a year off to everyone, with the caveat that somebody funds your vacation.

Lovie said he used his down time to study all aspects of football and his coaching practices and came away re-energized by the validation he felt, as well as eager to implement tweaks into Lovieball.

But where is Lovie 2.0?

Starting quarterback Josh McCown knows Lovie well, having played for him in Chicago. Joe asked McCown yesterday what subtle differences he sees in Lovie throughout the first eight days of the new Bucs regime, and McCown’s answer was that everything is the same and Lovie is exactly as he was in Chicago.

McCown says that’s a great thing. Lovie’s consistency is what helps command respect.

Combined with Gerald McCoy telling media that he’s been very busy studying film of the Glory Days Buccaneers and the Bears defense under Lovie because “we are playing the old school, traditional, Tampa-2 defense,” Joe’s really wondering how Lovie has changed? Cynical Bears fans who follow the Bucs also have told Joe that Lovie appears to be putting together a thin offensive line, much like he did in Chicago.

Joe’s absolutely not being negative here, merely searching for clues. Joe believes Lovie has changed, and that will be evident come draft day and when the Jeff Tedford offense is revealed.

30 Responses to “Where’s The Change In Lovie?”

  1. bucrightoff Says:

    We’ll find out by about week 8 or so. He better have because if he hasn’t then it’s not going to end well for him.

  2. Walter Says:

    Maybe the change is the type of offense he wants to run, he never had an offense based on “speed in space” while in Chicago.

  3. theDON Says:

    good points joe

  4. thegregwitul Says:

    I think Lovie has changed in regards to his approach on the offensive side of the football. I know he was hands off in Chicago when it came to offense, but I have confidence that Lovie found a good OC in Jeff Tedford and the results will be reflected on the field.

    As for the defense, I love the Tampa-2, but I know that one of the focal points of that scheme is to funnel receivers to the middle of the field where the safties can knock the ball loose to prevent long completions and force turnovers, while also attacking the QB. I’m not sure if a traditional Tampa-2 will have the greatest success in today’s NFL, especially since the rule changes favor the offense. But if anyone can make the defense work, I trust that it will be Lovie Smith and I’m looking forward to seeing what an experienced coaching staff can do with this team.

  5. lightningbuc Says:

    And how a mattress on grass, a living-room stripper pole, a kitchen fire and a sibling stabbing a thigh cost the Bucs their good No. 2 receiver is a question mark, too.


    How is that still a question mark? The players can’t even cuss, so you think Lovie was going to keep someone like Williams around.

    I’m still laughing about the no cussing. Can you imagine the outrage if Schiano had done that?

  6. Yar Says:

    The best thing Lovie can do is stay completely away from the Offense and let Tedford do what he wants with no interference from Lovie.

  7. Couch Fan Says:

    At least he doesnt control the thermostat. I mean thats way way worse. Treating men like children i tell ya. Lol

  8. chickster Says:

    Deleted for personal attacks against Joe. –Joe

  9. Orca Says:

    Building a thin offensive line? WTFRU talking about? The draft is ahead, they’ve added 2 quality starters in free agency and flushed out the stink of the underachieving lines of years past… Jeezus, give them a chance to finish the job before you make [deleted for lies.–Joe]

  10. lightningbuc Says:


    Yeah, Lovie doesn’t care what kind of pasta the players eat, just don’t cuss while you’re eating it!

  11. finishers Says:

    who cares we will stll be better than we have for the past 8 yrs!let’s see the draft!

  12. William Says:

    Right On ~ Walter!

    The receivers & o-linemen will be drafted along with Connor Shaw.

    Shaw will start on 2015.

  13. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    The No Offense offense.

    Consists of injury-prone career backups.

    I see no mystery.

  14. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    A thought did just hit me though.

    Lovie and Licht completely scrubbed the offense. If you think about it, they put it in a condition that allows them to build around a new QB.

  15. BirdDoggers Says:

    The knock on Lovie is his inability to put together a decent offense. If there’s anything he needed to learn from his time in Chicago, it’s just that. The hiring of Tedford might be an indication that Lovie is looking for something more than a plain vanilla offense to go along with his defense. Tedford is unproven in the NFL, which makes it hard to predict how the offense will do. In my opinion, the overall talent level on offense was better before free agency. The backbone of the offense, the line, is really thin. The QB situation is unsettled at best and the WR group is really lacking. The draft will address some of the issues, but Tedford will be asked to do a lot if they can’t fill the holes.

  16. Architek Says:

    Great point Bonzai and on top of that another take can be with bringing in a McCown as a veteran can be a calming presence for a young qb.

  17. RachelWatson'sthong Says:

    I have been wait and see from the Git go. I still am. Can’t wait for the regular season!

  18. Eric Says:

    Lovie was good enough for 81-61 and a Super Bowl appearance.

    No need for any change he will do just fine.

    Looking forward to the suffocating turnover machine defense, great special teams, and an offense built to win.

    10-6 at least.

  19. Knieto78 Says:

    It’s early, on D the staff is establishing a base D, a foundation and a culture predicated on a stron pass rush and solid secondary play – with these early days we’re not going to see the evolution and change in the coaching staff and philosophy. Anyone who looks at the last few years in Chicago will tell you that the D was more of a nickel/cover 1 hybrid with a change in the middle LB’s role. Urlacher became a blitzer as opposed to patrolling the middle and dropping into coverage. At this point, all work is simply foundational. The participation and investment of the players – both in the system and in each other are all very good signs and elements that have not been seen here in a VERY long time. In April, with a new coaching staff, the evolution may not be apparent but that aforementioned investment is as transformational as we can hope for when Week #1 is roughly 5 months away.
    As for the offense – as Joe states, that is a mystery. At best only the most ardent and observant Cal fans can say they have any idea what type of coordinator Tedford will be, and even they only have some idea. The Bucs will have a chance to build depth along the O line and draft a few receivers and, as unpopular as it may be here, are the only real priorities in the draft. Now is not the time to draft a QB. While the importance of the position can not be understated it is a marriage of QB, Team, and scheme that leads to success. Reaching for a franchise QB here would be desparate and short sighted given the talent available. Building depth and creating a complete team are preeminent, not taking risks on Johnny Football or hoping Carr or Bortles are more than the sum of their parts. At best, we can hope for a return to relevance and competitive football with the cultivation of a complete between now and next year’s off season.
    Given the last decade of cast-offs, sophomoric cheering, and just simple stupidity the prospect of relevance, competitive football, and organizational viability all seem downright tantalizing.
    The evolution of Lovie’s football philosophy will become apparent in August, September, and beyond. In April I’ll take smart football, foundational work, and the investment of the players as reasons to be excited and clear signs of evolution and change.

  20. biff barker Says:

    Knieto, good points on the nickel and MLB.
    I’m getting flummoxed by the thin OL comments. Huh? We just gutted one of the worst in the league. Players we thought were good simply were not.
    It’s a real challenge to replace 3-4 starters. Be patient, the draft and second wave of FA will help.

  21. pick6 Says:

    speaking from experience (as a guy who has taken time between jobs for study and self evaluation, not as an NFL head coach), it’s all well and good to take the time away and reflect, and yes you do make some important discoveries, but once you’re back in the grind it’s hard to fully apply those lessons and not to be the same guy you’ve always been. Lovie seems to be a much more disciplined guy than i am, so hopefully we do see some applied learning and fixing of blind spots. still, at that age and with so much time in the profession, it is hard for a year’s sabbatical to translate into lasting transformative changes in your thinking and philosophy

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I don’t see how the offense can be flipped in one year. I think we’ll be rebuilding it through next year as well.

    But you have to get that QB to build around first.

  23. Ernest T. Bass Says:

    Chip Kelly remade the Eagles in one year. Kelly and Tedford are very similar where they each have a HUGE play book and will call what they are comfortable with. Remember Kelly called 13 runs in a row when the Eagles played the Bucs. Then against the Raiders Foles threw for 7 TDs. Tedford will run the same plays he ran at Cal, you don’t throw away your playbook. He will just tweak it to who the opponent is and what JMac feels comfortable calling. We are in good hands.

  24. kh Says:

    Mike Williams is only a mystery to Joe.

  25. SAMCRO Says:

    JOE says,

    Joe’s really wondering how Lovie has changed? Cynical Bears fans who follow the Bucs also have told Joe that Lovie appears to be putting together a thin offensive line, much like he did in Chicago.


    Since you already know this Joe and we can assume you agree that it is a problem, why are you advocating a risky QB with our first pick instead of a future all pro OT?

    Don’t criticize if you’re not willing to take your own advise.

  26. Eric Says:

    One great change would be selecting JF at 7.

    Walter Football has us taking him at seven in their latest mock.

    They are well respected and known for accurate predictions.

  27. Kevin Says:

    It’s obviously going to be changes on the offensive side. He won’t come out and tell us…you think McCown is gonna tell us….HELL NO!!! He’s got a plan…it will work. This offense will look nasty. I will be VERY VERY disappointed though if we do not use our number 1 pick on an offensive weapon.

  28. Newbucsfan!!! Says:

    It’s going to take at least 5 weeks for the team to gel on O and D, If at that time the Bucs are at or above .500 then they’ll be fighting for the division crown. if below .500 then we will know who can play in this system and who can’t

  29. Mr Magoo Says:

    I’m seeing a mystery too. We trade a very productive #2 WR for an unproven 6th round pick. Now we have to use one of the few draft picks we have to select an unproven WR and hope he’s as productive. Many mock drafts have us picking Mike Evans even when they think JF will still be available. Even if we passed on JF and selected a top quality offensive lineman we’d be further ahead than we are now having to waste a pick on a position that was solid. To me that is not improving the offense that is treading water. We trade Zutah whose proven he can play multiple positions adequately on the O-line for an another unknown quality 5th round pick next year. How is that improving the offense. There was plenty of time to release or trade Williams next year before his big salary and cap numbers kicked in. Zutah was extremely flexible and could have been good depth. So the mystery to me is why we keep making moves on O that are keeping us in the same spot as last year. 2014 Bucs fans are not going to be happy with a repeat of Dungy-ball offensive production.

  30. Jim Says:

    Ok, I got the thigh stabbing and the mattresses on the lawn. But what is this about a kitchen fire and a stripper pole? You baited me and now I want answers. =)