“We Never Looked Like We Weren’t Heading In The Right Direction”

September 21st, 2014

HermLovieBucs fans often will hear Lovie Smith talk about his desire to simply improve each week.

As a new regime with an overturned roster and new schemes on both sides of the ball, Lovie has been clear that all he can ask for is getting better every game, and the wins will come.

Well, um, that didn’t happen Thursday night in Atlanta.

Fans and some media types like to compare the Lovie regime to Tony Dungy’s first year, when the Bucs went 1-8 to start the season before rallying to finish 6-10.

One member of that team, however, says the comparisons must be suspended immediately. The starting right guard on that ’96 team, Ian Beckles, now a local sports radio personality on WDAE-AM 620, says he’s not seeing a correlation.

“We never looked like we weren’t heading in the right direction,” Beckles said after Friday’s massacre.

In what might make Bucs fans feel a pang of optimism, Beckles might be re-writing history a bit.

Those ’96 Buccaneers were blown out home 27-0 by Detroit in Week 5 of that season. The Bucs turned the ball over four times and Scott Mitchell and Herman Moore carved up Tampa Bay. The Bucs responded with their first win of the season the following Sunday.

26 Responses to ““We Never Looked Like We Weren’t Heading In The Right Direction””

  1. RastaMon Says:

    Different era of football mentality…Tonys 96 team consisted of players with a mentality formed growing up in the 80’s…..mental toughness along with phyiscal toughness….Lovie crew grew up with mentality formed in the early 2000’s….me…me..me….if things go wrong it’s someone else…I am surrounded by bad players and coaches….trade or release me so I can go somewhere better

  2. NCMike Says:

    I agree Rasta, but just know that other teams in the NFL are actually aloud to throw the ball over 20yrds. So we can a different era of mentality and physical style of play. Just running the ball doesn’t work now

  3. NCMike Says:


  4. Soggy Says:

    It’s asking alot but maybe if tedford and glennon can get something going they will unite this team and maybe lovie might even play to win..

  5. JBuc Says:

    @Rastaman- dude, what are you talking about? This is a generational problem? Seriously? So I guess Pete Carroll and Bill Bellechik should just give it up. What a bunch of crap. This is nothing more than the fact that there are 40 new players on this roster with brand new schemes on both sides of the ball in addition to a brand new coaching staff.

    Why is this so hard for people? If you took Team A with comparable talent but has experience wih the same players, same system and same coaches vs Team B that is almost entirely new in all of the fore mentioned categories,wouldn’t you expect Team A to outperform Team B initially?

    Again, not sure why this is so hard.

  6. RealityCheck Says:

    JBuc missed the entire point of the article.

  7. Joseph Mamma Says:

    I thought we were going to be the Chiefs of this year and win now, right? Lovie just like Reid has tons of experience. Dungy and most of his staff in Tampa in 96 didn’t have much experience, at least in running their own program.

  8. JBuc Says:

    @RealityCheck- Ah no I didn’t. I was commenting on Rastamans comment as he seems to be saying that comparing Tony’s team to Lovie’s is off base due to generational differences to which I say is BS.

    I do not recall Tony completely overhauling the entire roster in year one. I also don’t recall him dealing with an OC with a heart problem and a multitude of injuries to some of the only key holdovers on the roster.

    Not trying to make excuses for Lovie. Thursday night was an embarrassment and if it keeps heading in this direction he will lose all support. However, because of all the reasons already known, I am willing to give him more than 3 games. I live in REALITY which means I did not expect greatness so early with this team.

  9. OB Says:


    It is my experience that when terrible things happen, the leaders either show up or are put in charge and the phoenix rises from the ashes.

    The Thursday Night Massacre, a great name to remember this, certainly qualifies for a terrible thing for us, now we will see if this team has the leadership and grit to rise from the ashes but it must have some changes.

    GMC is not one of the changes, he is the heart and soul of the defense and the rock to build on. He is a two year all pro and he broke his hand.

  10. buc4lyfe Says:

    Damn finally someone said it!! Now the dungy comparisons can stop, lovie is nothing like him and demeanor doesn’t count only whether we’re finally trending up, if it were only the offense I’d be OK to wait cuz were used to that but even that bucs team wasn’t ready for a Superbowl until edge rusher Simeon rice came along. It’s just need coaching, you can’t have it both ways… Who cleans up technique for their scheme? And remember schiano first cornerback coach fired after one season lol so what about these, we have two and one is his son. You could say it’s the players we have of the coach didn’t chooses them or because we’ve had no talent since rich mckay left

  11. Patrickbucs Says:


    Since that 9-0 start what’s Reid’s record now? We would rather go the other way. I am not a fan of either QB but Glennon at least deserves the chance to prove if he’s capable or not. I thought McCown would do much better then he has but I do think there are other factors everything is a mess right now. Let’s start a new season with Glennon 0-0 and go from there, if he’s bad as well let’s go QB with our top 5 pick.

  12. RealityCheck Says:

    @JBuc – you missed the point again.

  13. JBuc Says:

    Well then enlighten me genius.

  14. RealityCheck Says:

    @JBuc….Do I really have to keep telling you the basics of why people are mad? It’s in the damn title dude.

    Most Bucs fans, myself included, do not “expect greatness so early with this team.” We also do not expect complete and utter incompetence. As the title indicates, this team is not even showing that they are headed in the right direction. They went from bad to embarrassing.

    Is the talent that Lovie brought in performing? No. From QB to D-Line to coaches, none of them have shown that they’re worthy of their paycheck.

    Do I think they’ll get better? Yes.

    Do I want Lovie fired? No.

    Did anyone force Lovie to preach all off-season how this was a win now team? No, he dug is own grave on that.

    People are angry because our Josh Freeman lead, MRSA infected, Rutgers team performed better than this year’s team. This year’s team has shown zero improvement and look completely lost out there. All that anyone wants to see is a competitive football team. A team that looks like they’ve been on a football field before.

    Again, not sure why this is so hard.

  15. jb Says:

    ^^^^ This

  16. JBuc Says:

    Okay then not sure how your comments show how I am missing the point of this article. My point is that you have sample size of 3 games and that people are all over this sight screaming for Lovie’s head, just like they did with Tony.

    Most people that live in REALITY understand that it will likely get worse before it gets better. As the article suggests, Tony’s team looked bad early. I’ve been a Bucs fan since 76 so I remember. Been through this all before. Then the team started to get it. That, along with an infusion of talent over time brought success. That is what I expect to see here.

    Schiano’s team started off with some growing pains and then started to show some progress in year 1. 2nd year it was clear he was losing the team and we saw regression. Thus, he was fired. If Lovie’s team does not show growth this year and next then he will be out of here as well and I will support the move.

    By the way, I, unlike you, do not want a competitive team. I want a perennial winner. They were competitive in game 1 and game 2. Is that what you were looking for? I doubt it. Winning comes with talent, good coaching, sound strategy and tactics and consistency. I would agree we are lacking in some of those areas and the jury is still out on others.

  17. Tnews Says:

    The big difference I see in the two groups boil down into one word Character. At the top, Dungy appeared stoic but I have never heard him described as “laid back”. In fact it was assumed that he was always on simmer. Every player in that locker room didn’t want to let Dungy down. Was he loyal to a fault, yes, but I don’t remember him playing his favorites like lovie has appeared to do.
    McCoy loves to be compared to Sapp and while I’d rather have McCoy over for dinner, I’d rather have Sapp as my defensive leader. Johnson wouldn’t last a series next to Sapp. Neither would Bowers. Sapp wouldn’t hope the player would start playing hard he would command it. This isn’t mccoy. LVD maybe the cerebral guy that db55 is but this season he isn’t playing as fearless as db did in his prime. As far as a Nickerson, barber, Lynch guys of that character just aren’t in the locker room.

    Dungy was always labeled as conservative on offense, but he never had the weapons not to be. Dunn and alstott were the only weapons Dilfer never won you any games but how could he. First thing Gruden did upon arrival was get a new rb and retool the wr corps save for meshawn.

    Lovie is not seeing his team for what it is. Trying to make McCown into a game manager is lunacy, as is trying to make Martin a one cut back. Verner and banks (give him time) look to be good tampa 2 cbs but that defense must have excellent safety play from both safeties to play well.

    This isn’t 1996 and lovie smith is not tony dungy

  18. Tnews Says:

    Btw, lovie smith is going nowhere unless he resigns. There is zero way that the glazers will put three coaches and gm’ son the payroll.

  19. RealityCheck Says:

    “If Lovie’s team does not show growth this year and next then he will be out of here as well and I will support the move.” – Agreed.

  20. Mathius Says:

    The D looked like a team trying to learn a new system on Thursday. I think by the second half of the season the D will start to resemble a NFL team. But the lack of talent will take much longer. I am tired of people explaining to me the cover 2 only works with a pass rush. Well we don’t have a pass rush so stop running the cover 2. Square peg in round hole.

    I hope we Bucs Fans don’t bail on another coach to early. I though the organization bailed on Shanio too early. Repeating the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of………

  21. Tnews Says:

    Smith will be our coach next season no matter what. Too much money allocated by the glazers to sign a third. Also, don’t look now but their prize professional club, Manchester United is losing again (as in a mediocre club not just today’s game) This after setting a club record in transfer fees (free agency monies) this past year. Man U also has two coaches on contract, and is looking at bringing in Christiano ronaldo. His contract could eclipse the entire Buccaneer team. I realize that these two entities are managed “separately” but like anyone that has ever run two or more businesses will tell you if one is struggling, the other is affected. In this case, if both are well…. Don’t forget the Bucs are the second son in this relationship.

  22. MGM Exterminator Says:

    @Reality Check: If you are going to call out someone, respond directly to what they typed.

  23. Jerry Says:

    Lovie will have 3 years at least… so stop with the fire Lovie crap. The Glazers are not going to pay 3 head coaches at the same time, and they aren’t exactly good at picking new ones anyway.

  24. james west Says:

    the problem is not coaching, it is ownership. the glazers are very savvy astute businessmen, and the bucs are a very profitable organization. the glazers make millions alone on ticket sales, concessions, merchandising, TV broadcasting and corporate sponsors, not counting concessions , luxury suites, parking etc. the bottom line for them, is not wins vs losses. it is about their bottom line, profit vs loss! this is why year in and year out we see the same product put on the field, think about it, after the superbowl, they dismantled the team, oh they say it was older veteran players, I say it was high dollar salaries. and then they jettisoned their high dollar coach, for a low dollar gamble. raheem and we have been on this course since. if you continually are in the top, or mid range in the annual draft, how is it that you cannot put together a competitive or above average team? the profit margin is a lot cozier when you have drafted only a couple of elite players over a period of eight to ten years. knowing when their contracts are ready for renegotiation they will sign with a winning team, thus moving a high dollar salary. also their coaching choices are either, in house want to be’s, or other coaches of no experience, to fired coaches chomping at the bit to get back in the league selling the illusion of wanting to win, all the while setting them up for failure. why not allure or entice an elite established winning coach? answer, money and that is why the bucs will be perennial losers, and the poor fans will always hear the never ending story, next year- next year!!!!

  25. Fort Myers Dave Says:

    The ’96 team had a lot more talent on the roster than the 2014 Bucs. The environment was different: the CIT vote passed so that Ray Jay became a reality and despite the Bucs poor start and frustrating losses (like losing a 133 lead to Seattle w/ 6 minutes left @ home to lose), people could see the team had some potential: at least on defense and the running game was starting to gel. In 2014, the Bucs seem in freefall and disarray. I also agree with what James West posted: the ownership is a big part of the problem. Other teams rebuild and do not have to go 0-5 or worse during the rebuild unless you have bad ownership like the Bucs or Rams (who recently won 6 games in a 3 year span). These bad teams have owners that are content to make $ off of the TV contract and revenue sharing and always bugger up their high draft picks. Bucs have had one successful 1st pick in the draft dating back to Kenyatta Walker over a decade ago: McCoy. Sure they did well a couple of times with a 2nd pick (moving up for Doug Martin, still debatable if he was a hit and Lavonte David)…. To sum it up; its not a coincidence that the Bucs have gotten progressively worse since Malcolm G had the stroke and his boys took over team operations: you should not be continuously drafting in the top 10 year in and out w/o improvement unless the ownership is impeding progress for the sake of coin…

  26. Lanny Says:

    So; to make his prediction come true (Sarcasm alert) they dug a hole to China & hell so there was no way but up! Lovey is a joke! He is a first class looser! I know he was just hired but if it was my money, he would be just fired later this morning. Glazers are really getting pelted with Shyt storms on both sides of the pond. They cant buy any good luck!