History Shows Lovie Likes Offense

May 4th, 2014
A look at Lovie Smith's drafts with the Bears.

A look at Lovie Smith’s drafts with the Bears.

Yes, most believe there is no closer disciple in football principle to Father Dungy than Lovie Smith.

Just recently, when asked (again) if his philosophy of ground-and-pound football with a stingy defense was the way to win after sitting out of football for a year, Lovie shook his head, smiled and emphatically stated he’s convinced his way is the way to win.

But first round drafting with Chicago, where Lovie spent nine seasons leading the Bears, suggests a different man, per the research of Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times. Auman studied the Bears’ six total first-round picks under Lovie.

[Cedric] Benson was unremarkable in three seasons with the Bears, only got to 1,000 yards later with Bengals. DT Tommie Harris (2004, 14th) was a starter for Smith’s first seven seasons in Chicago, and OT Chris Williams (2008, 14th) was limited by injuries, started at guard and tackle and eventually cut in 2012. You know Gabe Carimi (29th, 2011) as the guy the Bucs gave up a sixth-rounder for last year and then cut after using him primarly as a sixth lineman. Tight end Greg Olsen (31st, 2007) had 20 touchdowns in four years with the Bears, averaging just under 50 catches a year, and that leaves DE/LB Shea McClellan, the 19th pick in 2012 — started 10 games last year, has 6.5 sacks in two seasons.

How about that, four out of six picks were on the offense. This for a defensive guy. To be fair, per Auman, slightly more than half of the draft picks under Lovie went defense.

So while Lovie is a proud defense-wins-games man, he’s not afraid to go after offensive players high in the draft.

28 Responses to “History Shows Lovie Likes Offense”

  1. bucrightoff Says:

    I suspect it’s cause his offenses were usually awful and his defense really didn’t need the players as badly as the offense. Of course 3 of those 4 offensive guys did nothing for Chicago and Olsen was traded.

  2. Brandon Says:

    Olsen was traded due to the stupid decision (nearly nepotism) to hire Mike Martz as a quick fix for the bad offense. The problem with Martz’s offense was that it does not/will not make use of a talented TE, they prefer big blocking TEs. He fetched a good return from the Panthers and he’s a good TE. I’d say he hit on that pick.

  3. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    The Rockstar loved Offense and Defense, he just did not know how to draft them.

    You can draft players until the cows come home. Its about identifying talent that can fit into the system.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Let’s hope Licht is the driving force behind our picks….and we don’t really know who it was at Chicago…but their picks look worse than ours.

  5. Hawk Says:

    I suspect that Lovie has been shown that same stat; including the fact that all four offensive players never panned out, but the defensive players did well. If Lovie ‘learned’ anything from the past, I suspect he will go with a defensive player in the first round.

  6. bigpoppabuc Says:

    I think by the end of the draft we’ll see more of Licht’s finger prints than Lovie’s. And I hope to see a nice balance of offense/defense…. We need depth on the O-Line… We need depth at linebacker… We need WRs. We need to add to the interior D-line as well as the outside to put the pressure on AC and Bowers.

    I hope we’re not back here in a week with only a shot in the dark QB prospect to talk about. They were big players in free agency so they could use the draft for what it should be for…. depth for development.

  7. Rex Says:

    We don’t need anything on defense in the first round we need a wide receiver and the best one we can get and get who ever we want on defense later. We’re not that desperate on defense.

  8. Eric Says:

    If Lovie stocks the offense with guys like Forte, Jeffery, Marshall, Cutler etc. I think Bucs fans will be delighted. Pretty damn good offensive talent brought in by Mr. Smith during his tenure there through drafting and trades.

    Especially for a guy who “doesn’t know offense”

    I’d sure trade our rock star built offense for the one in Chicago.

    Go Lovie.

  9. Kevin Says:

    He can probably self scout defensive talent in the middle to late rounds better than he can offensive prospects.

    @Eric yeah we got our Jackson to Marshall now just need our Evans to Jeffery.

  10. Dean Says:

    I think the first pick will tell a lot. We already know that WR and G are our immediate needs. Everyone else would provide either backup or upgrade to current positions. If the Bucs trade down, hopefully it would be no further than 10 or 11 and Aaron Donald is in their sights. If they trade further down, look for a 2nd tier receiver to be taken.

  11. Sapp, STFU Says:

    It’s just great to once again, finally, have a coach everyone wants to play with.

  12. Sapp, STFU Says:


  13. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    Problem is Eric once you get past the etc in your list of Lovie’s offensive picks/trades that panned out there’s a lot more misses on the list of names. Lovie’s past shows he’s a very good DC, a solid HC, an average talent evaluator/drafter, and a poor judge of OL talent. He may improve on some of his previous shortcomings like game/clock management, but I can’t see him improving everything from his previous HC failure. While I can appreciate a lot of fan’s enthusiasm that Lovie has all the answers now and the Bucs are playoff bound in the next year or two, the fact is as of now we still have a first time GM, new to NFL OC, and a HC who’s first NFL stint ended in his firing. Might be prudent to curb the enthusiasm at least until we see how the team looks during the season

  14. feelthepewterpower Says:

    I think they tipped their hand at the presser and will go offense.

  15. Eric Says:

    Look at any teams drafts and there are more misses than hits. Hindsight is a beautiful thing. It’s a crapshoot.

    Lovie’s teams averaged nine wins, made the SB, NFC Championship game, etc.

    Most importantly, always relevant and right in the mix.

    How long it will take to clean up the disaster only time will tell, but cleaned up it shall be.

  16. Mikep4bucs Says:

    Toes on the line, that is one of the BEST takes I have seen on this site and I couldn’t agree more. We need to check the reality of our situation, but I still believe that the Bucs made good move on all three of those GM/coaches u mentioned.

  17. brandonbucfan Says:

    Everyone seems to forget that the “deal” when Licht came in is that HE would control the draft and LOvie the final say on the 53 man roster. My gut says if Robinson or MAtthews slip to #7 that will be the pick. All the talk on Joe this morning was Donald..no way he goes to us at #7.. trade down maybe…BUT I HAVE A NEW THOUGHT…how about HA HA…have you seen the ratings on our safeties…terrible..Just a thought….won’t know till Thursday!

  18. Couch Fan Says:

    Last time we had pick #7 we took a safety. Can’t see it happening again but I am expecting they unexpected so who knows….

  19. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    @ Eric

    Not trying to pick on ya’ this morning man, but your facts about Lovie’s Bears teams always being in the mix is off. His first season was 5-11 (worse than Schiano’s first Bucs season), but at least Lovie turned it around the next two years and got himself a nice contract extension before finishing LAST in the NFC North (nowhere near being in the mix) and leading the team to mostly mediocre playoff-less .500 seasons. Yes he was 10-6 when he got fired, but the team looked like it needed a change (similar to how a lot of fans wanted Gruden fired from Tampa when the Bucs looked like they weren’t trending upward anymore). I’m not saying Smith is a bad hire, he’s shown he can put together a winning team, but he hasn’t accomplished enough as a HC yet to be singing his praises either.

  20. Eric Says:

    Your right toes, it was like the situation here when the fans ran Chuckie out of town.

    How did that work out for us. I would have thought some would learn from that experience but I guess not.

    Your rendition somehow omits the Super Bowl and NFC Championship Game appearances.

    I call that in the mix.

    As opposed to being a thousand miles from the mix like we have been for five years.

    Go Lovie. Great hire, we’re damn lucky to have him.

  21. chipbuc Says:

    I dont know if you could say Smith hasnt accomplished enough during his head coaching time, 81-63, first in NFC north 3 times , 1NFC championship, 1 Super Bowl appearance, 4 years 10 or more wins. I think thats pretty dam good if you ask me.

  22. ToesOnTheLine Says:

    I figured “Turned it around the next couple years” were the obvious reference to the SB and playoff appearance

  23. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Lovie had better pick a quarterback in the first round if he plans to have his job more than a couple years.

    Kafka is a joke.
    Glennon is unproven enough to justify bringing in solid competition
    McCown is a career backup who never played a full season and is in his mid-30s

    Given that the draft is very deep with WRs, but the talent level drops dramatically after the top 4 QBs, if he doesn’t take a QB in round one he is dooming himself.

    There are no OGs worthy of a first OR second round pick. Lovie is notoriously bad at picking OTs in the first round.

    Anthony Barr might be a good choice instead of QB except that if Lovie doesn’t use such a good pick on QB he will have made a disasterous mistake in his first year.

    And only Manziel, Bortles, Bridgewater and Carr are any good. The other QBs in this draft will disappear over the next year.

  24. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Also, as much as you guys keep telling each other he will pick WR, it won’t make it happen. He will not do it.

    He never drafted a first round WR and he never traded 1st round picks for one. He simply does not feel WRs are first round worthy.

    He never drafter a QB in the first round either, but he spent first round picks to acquire one.

  25. Owlykat Says:

    The way Licht explained it both he and Lovie could veto each other’s picks. Lovie couldn’t have done too bad at Chicago with their drafts, they beat the stuffings out of us in London!

  26. Hawk Says:

    @ BuccaneerBonzai
    The fact that Lovie has never picked a WR in the first round doesn’t mean he’s against the idea. It could just as easily mean that every year there was either another position that was higher rated or his ‘need’ tilted the scales elsewhere.
    And taking a QB in the first round is MORE likely to doom him than not. IF he takes one and he’s a bust, it’s going to be VERY well documented in the media and this forum. If he doesn’t take one, he’s got McCown and Glennon to hold the reins until next year, when there ‘seems’ to be a better crop.

  27. B.J. Rassam Says:

    Great to point out whether Lovie picks offensive or defensive players – more relevant to point out the obvious lack of productivity of such players.

  28. BoJim Says:

    No one can be sure, although we do have our opinions. But they’re just opinions.