Lovie Smith: No. 14

June 17th, 2014
See where Lovie Smith checks in among NFL coach rankings.

See where Lovie Smith checks in among NFL coach rankings.

On paper, Team Glazer seems to have gotten their man after it was determined last November that a change to a winning atmosphere from fear and MRSA and missing team photos, was desired, and eventually Lovie Smith was landed.

After all, how many coaches who have guided teams to the Super Bowl are walking the cold streets of leafy suburban Chicago looking for work? Team Glazer pounced and now Lovie is the new leader of the Bucs.

Of course, everyone at One Buc Palace is singing about Lovie taking over. June in the NFL is akin to February in MLB; hope fills the air. But let’s see what happens when, as Bucs radio play-by-play man Gene Deckerhoff would say, toe meets leather in September.

The unknown hasn’t deterred David Steele of The Sporting News, though. He believes Lovie, before the Bucs have even played a game under his gaze, is the 14th-best coach in the NFL.

It’s hard to knock what Smith did in Chicago for nine years, getting to a Super Bowl, making the NFC title game, three losing seasons in nine years — yet only NFL insiders seem to respect his coaching chops. He’s now being handed the reins in Tampa, where things have been a mess since the end of the Jon Gruden era. The Bucs will get better, but Smith also faces a beast of a division.

Joe would say that’s about fair for Lovie. Again, training camp hasn’t even come yet, so trying to rate Lovie as Bucs head coach is premature to be kind. It’s a guess.

Joe would be willing to wait until after the 2015 season, with the Bucs having two seasons under Lovie, to determine where Lovie would place among his peers.

26 Responses to “Lovie Smith: No. 14”

  1. Tom Edrington Says:

    This one doesn’t require hours of deep thought and contemplation. When the team was looking for a coach, you simply had to ask:

    “If not Lovie, then who?”

    Best available man for the situation and the hole that this franchise dug the past few years.

  2. Eric Says:


    Glad to see the reference to Gru, given the giddiness of the “stockholders” for running him out of town.

  3. Architek Says:

    Lovie is going to surprise a lot of people and so are the Bucs. I think that year off made a already focused man more determined to succeed and eval the league in it’s totality for what it is.

    I’m sure he evaluated the division and projected what would be a great opportunity to come in and have a immediate impact. Expecting great things but tempering my emotions in case we struggle while we gel.

  4. brandonbucsfan Says:

    Agree with you Joe. Give us this same coaching staff for the next two years and we will most definitely be a team to be seriously reckoned with. Just afraid that this year by the time we jell as a team we will be behind the eight ball. Give me 8-8

  5. Touch_Down_Tampa_Bay Says:

    “The Bucs will get better, but Smith also faces a beast of a division.”

    I think Lovie respects our division. But I also believe from what we have seen of Lovie’s personality, it is the rest of the division who will be a bit concern with our team under Lovie’s coaching/leadership.

    Tedford’s aggressiveness should be the key. Our division has never faced an up tempo Buccaneer offense. Half of our offense is new to our opponents too.
    I think by having an aggressive offense some games will tilt our way as opponents adapt to our new ways. The possibilities of a quick turn around are not far-fetched.

  6. Harry Says:

    Gruden is a great coach. But lets keep two things in mind before singing his praises: 1) the “QB Guru never developed one here – I find that ironic, and 2) he got a lot out of the talent he had, but he was not good at picking talent – his drafting sucked. It was Bruce Allen’s fault you say? Bruce Allen was hired by Gruden and did Gruden bidding (some would call him a puppet), not the other way around.

    Lovie is a great choice IMO. I am thrilled. As Eric says 14th>32nd, and I will add we had 32nd for the past 4 years.

    And quite honestly, of those ranked above Lovie, I would take Lovie over John Fox (he is VERY conservative on O), McCaurthy (Rodgers makes him a good coach), Pagano (he is just Luck-y), and Mike Smith (this could be an interesting year for him).

  7. lightningbuc Says:


    Seriously, you’d rather have Lovie than McCarthy? McCarthy had the stones to get rid of Favre in favor of Rodgers – so maybe Rodgers is a good QB because of McCarthy.

  8. Brandon Says:

    I think Lovie should at least be sniffing the top 10. I can see why they ranked him behind everybody they did, except Mike Smith and possibly Pagano (who has really only coached one season)…. keeping that in mind, Bruce Arians of Arizona should be considered higher than Pagano because it was he who coached the Colts to the playoffs in 2012 and he who nearly got the Cards there in 2013.

  9. Eric Says:

    Yea the usual Chucky attack.

    Whatever talent he brought in was good enough to win and be competitive.

    I notice a lot of praise on here about Ike Hilliard. Who brought him in?

    Joey Galloway?

    Just two examples of guys brought in who were key parts of playoff teams. There are others. (such as Joseph, Faine, Penn, Graham, Caddy, Garcia, etc.)

    Yeah yeah, I know, Mark Dominik and Raheem were so much better………….definitely had their finger on the pulse of producing winning football – at least that’s what the local hack media and stockholders thought.


  10. OB Says:


    A coach needs the players otherwise you could hire the entire winning high school football team with the “best coach” and win the Super Bowl. You have to both players and coaching as if we didn’t know this.

  11. Harry Says:

    I wasn’t trying to take anything away from McCarthy, but having the right tools makes one a better doctor, mechanic, contractor, etc. Having a top 5 QB can make one a hell of a coach. Again, not taking anything away from McCarthy, but Farve was running out of time and Rodgers, I believe, was going into his 4th yr on his rookie contract and it was a MUST to find out if he could play (I assume he was demonstrating that in practice). This is just my opinion, just as it is an opinion of the guy that wrote the article.

    Most of these guys are great coaches or they wouldn’t be where they are (makes you wonder how the heck we ended up with Schiano…). Give most of the guys a great QB and they will go from good to brilliant.

  12. Harry Says:

    Maybe its the usual Chucky attack bc its so obviously true. I usually agree with most of your posts – we are typically on the same page. But your examples of Hillard and Galloway, as well as “..Faine, Penn, Garcia…”, – they were FAs. I said Chucky was terrible at drafting young talent – that is the foundation of building a strong NFL team, not FAs. IMO, Chucky liked Vets, did not want to develop young players. With regard to both Caddy and Joseph, they were 1st rd picks (#5 and #23 overall, respectively), so out of 6 drafts I am glad to see they got something right. I will give them a gold star for Graham, but since he was an undrafted FA, all the other 31 teams missed on him too.

    I said Chucky was a great coach, I guess he needs to be perfect in all things in your eyes. Sorry, IMO, he is not.

  13. Eric Says:


    A well selected free Agent is as good as a draftee. Once the game starts no one cares. We don’t win the upper Bowl without the free agents Chucky brought in his first year.

    VJ is a another good example. If possible we might have ranked below 32nd in offense last year without him.

    Both require “talent evaluation”. The term I prefer is team building.

    But, the ultimate judge of talent is the scoreboard IMO.

    How did that “the draft is the backbone of the team” work out during the Dominik era? How about hat “franchise QB” approach?

    Galloway was a trade BTW. Id say we got the better end of that deal. Again, team building. Understanding talent. Using it to win football games.

    Lovie is doing that right now. Thank goodness we have him.

    Its called knowing what your doing.

  14. Gerald S Says:

    I will measure Lovie by the effort and the philosophy showed On the field if he can bring BACK BUC Ball and where we are respected and feared the wins will come I think the most important factor from the Dungy era was accountability in the cover 2 if you don’t hVe trust and accountability you are Dallas last year NOT good IT was a grest move he fell in our laps not let’s lift him on our m shoulders as we come off the field in early February

  15. Jim Walker Says:

    Kiffin destroyed the season when Gruden got fired. Leaking that he was leaving caused the defense to collapse and caused everyone to lose their jobs. I place the blame straight on Kiffin and his big mouth.

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    @Tom Edrington
    I have to agree with everything you said.

    I also agree with this being a beast of a division. Drew may be on his last leg but he still has some fire in him. Newton and Ryan are getting better year to year. All three teams compete for playoff berths.

    If you ask me, the NFC South is the toughest division in football. Other divisions have 1-2 good teams. Ours has three, and soon the Bucs will be good as well (I hope).

    I think in 5 years, the strongest team will be the Falcons, unless our team gets much, much better. Ryan may not be consistent yet, but it will come.

    I firmly believe the NFC South is at the birthing stage of some dominant football.

    I do not think defense alone will be enough…not in this division under the current rules…not to win a superbowl. Unless, of course, the refs like us best like they did the Seahawks.

  17. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Jim Walker Says
    “Kiffin destroyed the season when Gruden got fired. Leaking that he was leaving caused the defense to collapse and caused everyone to lose their jobs. I place the blame straight on Kiffin and his big mouth.”

    I don’t. These are grown men. They knew the defense. They new what it would take to win.

    The players quit. That’s on them.

    Plus, the defense was OLD. When tv announcers laugh at Brooks trying to chase down a guy and commenting that “maybe a walker will help him” there is a huge age issue with the team.

    The players continued quitting from that point on…until Schiano came.

  18. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Eric Says
    “But, the ultimate judge of talent is the scoreboard IMO.”

    Well said.

    On a side note, neither McCown or Glennon did well on that statistic last year.

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    On another side note…

    I love the Lovie Smith hire.

    Its the coordinators I have issues with. Tedford has never coached in the NFL and fans are giving him a pass, yet fans held Schiano’s inexperience against him. At least Schiano had a job before he was hired. Tedford was fired.

    And Frazier…he was a complete embarrassment for the Vikings last year. People say he’s still a good DC. I’m not convinced.

    That’s why I refuse to give props to them. They’ve have to show they can do it before I jump up and down.

  20. fritz50 Says:

    I like the Lovie hire, but just wanted to point out that the only previous Coach we had with Superbowl experience didn’t exactly pan out. Wicky-Whacky Wyche had some good drafts, but was a really strange Coach….’course the next one was the ever-revered Father Dungy, so I guess it worked out.

  21. Harry Says:

    I don’t disagree with most of what you have said. The thing I feel Chucky failed on, as I said above, is he sucked in the draft. The best foundation for a “team building” approach, at least from what I have seen in the NFL, is being good in the draft. After that you use the FA market to add to what your missing on your team (typically from draftees you missed on – every team has their misses). So my point is that it is the combination of the two that does the best “team building”, i.e., SEA. BUT, you cannot have strong team building if you are not good at the draft.

    You can’t deny Chucky sucked at the draft. There is not a long list of players he drafted that even made the team for 3 or 4 years, let alone a Pro Bowl. However, his coaching was so good, he took average talent and typically made them playoff worthy. That is why when Chucky departed the team was bereft of talent. And, no, Dom was not much better. I think maybe he was getting it in the end, But we will never know and he had his chance. Lets hope L&L are the talent gurus.

  22. Harry Says:

    I agree, Tedford makes me real nervous. He is only getting a pass bc of Lovie. If the O can’t get the ball up the field in September, I think ppl will be screaming – especially when we will likely see the D playing so well. The thing that adds to my concern of Tedford is, typically when a team hires an inexperienced head coach, or OC/DC, they surround him with experience. Arroyo, the QB coach doesn’t have any NFL experience either. To me that is crazy.

    I am not worried about Frazier, I think he is just not good HC material.

  23. Kevin Says:

    I was actually yelling for the Bucs to get Gruden back…..but I am very happy with Lovie coming to Tampa and bringing in the staff he has. It was meant to be. Just knowing what Lovie did in Chicago and that he had a year to re-evaluate himself and his coaching will only make things better. I can’t wait god offseason sucks

  24. Eric Says:

    I’ll say Gruden was below average drafter.

    With the caveat of no first or second rounders his first two years, and he did draft a guy who is considered the second best cb in pro football.

    Sure my outlook on Chucky is a bit on the slanted side, but given he is one of only two coaches in our forty year history who won more games than he lost during his tenure here, won more Division titles than any other Bucs coach, and the SB, I hold the man in high regard.

    And, I’d rather suck in the draft than suck on the field…….

    But, water under the bridge. The Lovie era is going to be great IMO. Please let’s not run this one out of town for a play off loss or winning season.

    If the last five years have taught us anything, it’s that good coaches are damn hard to come by.

  25. Harry Says:

    Totally on board with all of that. Lovie is good enough that we can be optimistic and excited, but there are some unknowns, so lets be realistic. We need to have some patience until L&L finds their right mix. Hopefully, HOPEFULLY, Tedford is the next coming of Don Coryell. Then our biggest problem will be worrying about another team wanting Tedford for a HC. THAT would be a nice problem to have.

    I damn sure so not want to do Morris and Schiano clones again anytime soon.

  26. BigMacAttack Says:

    I like chicken a lot but I really like eggs too.