Lovie Smith Gets “Worst” Tag

December 26th, 2014

lovie 0613b

No need to itemize all the nightmares that added up to the Bucs being minutes from the most important loss in franchise history — to secure the top pick in the draft.

When the Bucs hired Lovie Smith 51 weeks ago, fans erupted in glee thinking they got the reincarnation of Father Dungy and happy days were here again.

Instead, that sonic boom you heard was the crash-landing of the second-coming of Leeman Bennett. This team not only got worse, but much worse, despite the upheaval of the roster and tens of millions of Team Glazer cash spent.

How bad? It’s hard to fathom, honestly. So bad that veteran sports columnist Gary Shelton, writing on GarySheltonSports.com, tagged Lovie as the “worst” of the first-year NFL coaches.

Granted, not many coaches take over a team where the winning comes easy. There is a reason the last guy was fired. But a first year is about direction and tone, and it’s about getting to the mid-levels of the league.

In a dreadful division, with owners who were spending money, that didn’t happen. Today, that is the major shortcoming of Lovie’s first season. They look as far away from winning as they ever have. They are so many holes in the roster (quarterback, offensive line, defensive end, cornerback, safety, linebacker) that the Bucs may have to turn to free agency again to do it. And who do you trust to spend money there?

Frankly, it doesn’t seem like much of an argument that Lovie would be the worst coach of the new guys. But how about overall? Can anyone go lowball with him?

Joe’s not so sure the Bucs need a corner (Alterraun Verner is steady and Johnthan Banks may be a budding star), but Joe gets Shelton’s drift and pretty much agrees.

Shelton documented all the first-year coaches and most have done a decent if not a good job turning things around, sans Ken Whisenhunt, who is on a 10-game losing streak.

Despite the defense coming around nicely, the massive whiffs in free agency, godawful offense and shameful record add up to Lovie getting a flat out “F” grade from Joe.

42 Responses to “Lovie Smith Gets “Worst” Tag”

  1. CC Says:


  2. louden Says:

    and all the “defense got better” chatter is laughable – look at the tape, the teams have gone easy on the bucs.
    At the start of the season other teams shredded through picking on Leonard Johnson as example. THen suddenly, they only attacked him when they needed splash plays or wanted to turn things up a nod….

    This defense isn´t anywhere near media wants to sell it.
    Even McCoy is way overhyped. what does he do after 3 drives of picking up the opposition (our “great leader” is helping the other team win?!!)

  3. P'cola Buc Says:

    At this point I really do still believe in Lovie but I sure wish he hire a crackerjack evaluator of player talent. Someone who could prevent the fiasco of the hiring,for the most part, highly disappointing FAs (such as last year)…and help with the 2015 draft picks.

  4. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Build through the draft. Dabble in free agency for depth, maybe an oline starter. Maybe. We need five new starters on the offensive line and probably two on the defensive line. Won’t happen overnight but we can get to six wins next year with the right guys.

  5. OB Says:

    F = Fired.

    He has clearly demonstrated that he has a talent evaluation problem, play calling problem, problem solving problem (No OC and doesn’t hire one), and continue to play players that have proven game after game that they are inept. How could anyone expect him to do different next year?

  6. RachelWatson'sthong Says:

    Long time, knowledgable fans didn’t “erupt in glee”. Also, if there is an upgrade for “Verner makes a slug look like a burner”‘ get him. There must be NO off season for Lovie. Simple as that.

  7. Sapp, STFU Says:

    Ummm, not all fans shouted with glee when he was hired. He may have seemed like a safe bet, but not an exciting bet.

  8. Walter White Says:

    And yet, with all that being said, people still want to turn a blind eye and keep this guy.

    I have faith in my doctor, I just wouldn’t want him performing surgery on me.

    I have faith in my dentist, I just wouldn’t want him near me with a drill.

    I have faith in my mechanic, I just don’t want him to buy the parts.

    I have faith in our head coach, I just don’t want him in charge of free agents, the draft, OC hiring, O-line coach hiring, any other hiring, having to open his mouth in public, key late-game strategy, or any other important or influential decision… sounds like I need to find the right people for the job eh?

    Lovie hustled us all. He’s not the man to bring us to relevancy. He instead has lead us back the other direction, back to laughing stock futility. How in the world can you say you have “faith” in this guy when his undebatable track record illustrates his propensity for F A I L U R E time and time again? Lovie Smith has NEVER DONE JACK SH*T in this league! One SB appearance? Big freakin deal! Is that honestly how we grade people now? “Hmm.. This guy sucks and all factual evidence suggests so, but, BUT he did APPEAR in a Super Bowl one day. That means something right??

    The product we put on the field pretty consistently sucks.

    I live in Indianapolis. The Colts are like a polar opposite franchise. They just know how to win football games here (I know, they have a QB) and fans get so upset when they lose. I can’t contain my laughter! Oh no! You lost TWO IN A ROW??? lol try rooting for the Bucs…………… We don’t just lose, we do so in the lamest, most embarrassingly bad ways possible. It’s a Bucs life.

  9. Charter Season Says:

    I think Lovie can turn things around, “if” he learned something from this year. If he studied players in his basement for a year, and Jason is a good GM, how could they have missed their free agent picks so badly? Tony Dungy built a great program but was fired for lack of offense. Tony went to Indy and I think was told to keep his hands off the offense, and they won a Super Bowl. Lovie like Tony and West Muschamp are defensive minded coaches in an “now” offensive world. I sat through 0 and 16 and many other bad years since the 1976 season. This was the worst considering how much they spent on free agency. If Lovie does not turn it around next year, this franchise will be set way back and the fans will stay away until it is relevant again. If I was the Glazer’s I’d be having some serious conversations with the GM and coach.

  10. jh Says:

    Did all other coaches loose their OC right before the season started?

  11. Bucnut2 Says:

    Joe, nice posts and comment. As you’ve pointed out, our first need is qb, but as shris Landry says, there is not a lot of talent on this team. Lovies talent evaluation skills or lack thereof scare me to death. We are going to have the best drafting positions we’ve had in years and I don’t trust L&L to pick the right players. We now focused on the 1st overall pick, but think about it; our second is like a late round first, our third like a late round second and so on…. This may be the most important draft in history. Makes me ill.

  12. seminolebuccaneer Says:

    I predicted 7-9 at best but leave it to the L&L connection to prove me wrong

  13. Eric Says:

    I still believe in Lovie.

    He inherited a huge mess.


  14. Tmaxcon Says:


    The real question is how many head coaches ran their OC out if town because they mislead him at time of hire.

    Lovie is simply stealing from the glazers.

  15. Barry Says:

    Should of kept Schiano.

  16. JoshFreeman Says:

    I wish Lovie was my coach

  17. SeanyMacinSC Says:

    The thing that bugs me the most about Lovie is I don’t see the passion or fire I want to see in a HC. He is just sort of hum-hoo here we go and his team seems to play the same way. I question his ability to lead men to run threw fire to get that win. He has now set the bar so low for next season that anything is an improvement over this year. These are low times indeed my fellow Bucs fans.

  18. Pickgrin Says:

    I believe Lovie is a good coach and will get this team headed in the right direction. That said, he needs help in the form of a great OC and offensive coaching staff as well as help from the scouting dept and GM in identifying and acquiring the best draftees and Free agents for this franchise.

    Shelton is correct in his assessment of our needs – QB, DE, MLB, Safety, CB and at least 3 new OL players.

    Joe I agree with you that we are OK with Verner and Banks moving forward – but unless you are comfortable with slow Leonard Johnson covering quick receivers out of the slot all game – then we definitely need another good CB in today’s NFL which is pass happy and where opponents often utilize multiple receiver sets.

  19. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    You can’t give Lovie a F. You have to turn something in to get a grade. He gets an “I” for incomplete.

  20. Matt Says:

    I really do think that Tedfords offense was supposed to keep our heads above water until the defense learned the scheme. Once Tedford didn’t come back by Q1 of the season we went in panic mode and by week 8 it was full blown tanking. With an average offense we easily win 4 more games this year.

    If Lovie is able to hire a good ooffensive mind, he’ll look like a genius this time next year. He’s a Dungy guy and what would Dungy do? He would not take an iffy QB but draft defense 1st round. I remember the year we drafted Booger. We had Sapp, we didn’tneed another DT but we made our strength stronger.

    Attitude in the trenches permeates the entire roster and that’s what we are missing. Geraldini gets a lotof eencroachment penalties. Just once I want to see him get a personal foul for slamming the running back back into to the ground after he talks shit after a first down. Let these sobs know that shit ain’thappening again, it’s going to be a long day. Leonard Williams has that in him, Dante Fowler has that in him.

    Winning is about an attitude. Blountwas the attitude that kept us above water before, as soon as we lost him we lost our edge. We need our edge back and Mr. Soft spoken Mariota won’tbring us that.

    It’slike The Replacements “Jimmy McGinty says they’ll need heart to get back into this one.” Our heart will always be attitudeon defense. Lovie will find it. Have faith.

  21. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I’m not happy but I’m with Eric…..I think he will turn things around……the recent play of the defense gives me hope….I just don’t think we have the talent on the Oline….what a difference about 3 players would make….QB, LT, RG…and perhaps a 3rd WR……

  22. Soggy Says:

    Lovie has to prove he is a good coach for the bucs before I praise him, So far not good and it showed real fast starting with hester and QB thing…. Now lets see what he does about the OC,QB and Oline.. The last game and the draft is going to be very interesting..Show us you are good for the bucs lovie and I will start to believe in our future..

  23. MGM4Life Says:

    Good article JOE but I would like to know why Smith did not hire an expirenced OC to at least fill in for Tedford? He had the offense plays and schemes, all the OC had to do was look at the variables (Defense/match-ups/field position etc) and call the right play. I think Marcus Arroyo was in way over his head and we all knew it. So why did’nt Lovie hire someone to fill in? You have people like Mike Martz sitting around doing nothing.

  24. mark2001 Says:

    Sorry Joe….with Glee? Admittedly, few saw that we would sink to the bottom of the entire league…but those that expected that lovie would coach our guys up to be a good team, and that his coaching ability would be able to “even carry Grudens Jock” were fooling themselves. And maybe that was why it was relatively easy to force JG out of town.

  25. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    You can’t give Lovie an F. Thought you had to turn something in in order to get a grade? He should get an “I” for Incomplete. He didn’t do anything and he didn’t turn anything in.

    I know I know it isn’t his fault. The teacher they hired didn’t show up when school started so they were using a substitute teacher. What do you expect from him.

  26. Skyline Crew for Mariota or Winston Says:

    I honestly thought we would be a 7-8 win team. By all accounts we should be as well, but like some have said before. We just found lame ways to lose the game. Whether it was the defense losing the game or it was the terrible QB play of McCown that lost us the game.

  27. road warrior Says:

    I don’t think Lovie should should be able to hire anyone. They need to let the GM do the job of a true GM. The first thing the Glazers need to do is take Lovies power away. His track record speaks for itself. I would like to know what Mr Licht really thinks of Lovie.

  28. bucrightoff Says:

    Two things:

    1. People keep going with “All Lovie needs is a great OC or a a QB” as if Lovie isn’t a major part of why those things aren’t happening. A great OC is highly unlikely, Lovie has no job security next year so any OC could be walking into a 1 and done situation. And that’s before you look at his having 5 OCs in 9 years Gonna be hard to attract a top candidate, more than likely people won’t like who he hired. The QB part is ridiculous because it has nothing to do with Lovie. Amazingly every coach would do better with a Peyton Manning at QB. It has nothing to do with the coach though

    2, We just allowed two 100 yard receivers when the Packers were playing with a 60% Aaron Rodgers. Could easily be two 200 yard receivers with Rodgers at 100%. Secondary is still very weak, still far too many guys just running wide open back there. So yeah corner is still a need, even if it’s not the top need.

  29. KeithInTampa Says:

    Dungy was fired because he couldn’t take a team to “The Big Dance”. He continued his inconsistency in Indianapolis, when he had the best talent on any given team for a decade, and was able to get to the Super Bowl on only one occasion.

    Lovie imitates Dungy in so many ways; from the lack of emotion, to his strategy on defense, (Dungy’s and Smith’s strong suit!) to their overall approach to the game, player/personnel, and general demeanor.

    I’ve got mixed emotions about Lovie continuing as Head Coach. On the one hand, another “Regime Change” means starting over for the third time in five years. On the other hand, with Lovie/Licht remaining at the helm, I don’t see the Bucs being “relevant” for at least another three or four years, we have so many holes to fill and needs to obtain. After the hype over last year’s Free Agent acquisitions; (and admittedly I think Lovie/Licht did do well in the 2014 Draft!) it’s hard to envision them being able to assess our immediate needs and evaluate talent.

  30. Architek Says:

    I’m not sold that Lovie will be here next year for the reasons Shelton pointed out.

    I keep hammering away at the word trust. The fanbase have lost trust and I’m sure the multi billionaire Glazers aren’t happy on the return that his HC and GM provided on their FA investments.

    Lovie essentially took a bad team trending toward decent and gutted it to shape his philosophy and scheme and this was the product. We don’t know what Tedford presence would or wouldn’t have made but I do know Tedford didn’t come back and the HC didn’t feel the need to help out his offense staff with bringing in someone seasoned.

    How can you trust a HC that would expose a young coach to playcalling on the NFL level with no help? It’s things like that decision making that scares people from Lovie as a HC not a coordinator. He has this repetitive track record with offense and it’s happening again. No credible OC will come here for a lame duck HC that’s on the hot seat that he caused.

    That said I wouldn’t be surprised if the Glazers leverage their positioning with first overall pick to attract a younger – more balanced offensive minded HC to come pick his QB and groceries.

    This team is worse off than it was with joke of the HC. Lovie has dug this hole for himself.

  31. Flmike Says:

    I said from day one this will be the biggest mistake the Glazers ever make…so far with a 15 game sampling, I think I’m correct. I was forced to watch Lovie in Chicago, with his Defense will win us 10 games a season philosophy, yeah, great for 2008 football, not so much in today’s NFL, you simply cannot win with defense alone, not anymore…. I’ve been on the fire the moron freight train since the preseason, he simply is not capable of building a winning team, do you really want him grooming a rookie QB, seriuosly, he will neuter any athletic QB into being a Rex Grossman, hand it off, don’t lose the game, game manager, not someone who will go out and win the game, but someone he hopes will not lose it, again, that simply will not work in today’s NFL. Wanna shock the fans, fire Lovie, make a run at Shaw, Helfrich or even Jimbo, draft either Mariota or Winston and build a offense that fits today’s game, not a defense from yesteryear….

  32. Patrick Says:

    LOL the ugly uniforms make it worse!

  33. Buccfan37 Says:

    Being on the verge could be a 5 year plan back to .500.

  34. Tye Says:

    It is obvious Lovie is the worst… This team wasn’t even competitive this season and hard to watch…

    2014 goes down as the Bucs being the worst team, in the worst division, with the worst HC and playing in the worst uniforms! If their is no significant change then why believe next season could be any different….

  35. biff barker Says:

    Dungy Lite.

  36. buccinfan Says:

    Free agent hires draft picks… All things we want to blame lovie screwed up. Im fine with that. Teams swing and miss all the time. But coming in feeding us lies from the start. Dogging the previous coachs old team saying this we will win now instead of saying its a process. Then not getting the best out of your players, playing undisciplined football, refusing to play the best players because of your ego, obviously showing favoritism, oh and did i mention putting down the old ball coachs regime. Im not going to put my opinion im simply going to state the facts and let you insert yoyr own opinion.

  37. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    “Taking a look back when Lovie was hired”

    Harry Says:

    (January 1st, 2014 at 9:04 pm)

    Lovie would not be the best selection as Bucs HC. I really like him. I would also love the stability Lovie would bring to the Bucs. But as Joe correctly pointed out: “…many fans think Lovie Smith will know how to fix all of our current problems. Even though he’s never led an offense ranked higher than 15th in the NFL.”

    With the Bucs being in the search for a franchise QB, they need long term stability out of the offensive coaching positions. In a best case scenario, Lovie hires an offensive coordinator, and he has success. Another NFL franchise will hire him away the next year as a HC, hence an unstable situation. We cannot develop a QB that way.

    As much as I would like Lovie, he does not work well for the Bucs.. with where they are at with the QB status. Am I wrong on this?

    …In response to HARRY


    (January 1st, 2014 at 9:10 pm)


    As much as I Luv Lovie, and all that he stands for. I feel the same way.

    Hardly sounds like a bunch of Glee-ful fans

  38. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    January 1st, 2014 at 9:03 pm

    (Fits our current personnel)

    • Nor Turner-(Head Coach)
    • Rob Chudzinski-(Offensive Coordinator)
    • Cam Cameron-(Quarterback Coach)

    • Ray Horton-(Defensive Coordinator)
    • Bryan Cox-(Outside Linebackers Coach)
    • Ken Flajole-(Inside Linebackers Coach)

    source: What Is Team Glazer’s New “Mandate?”
    January 1st, 2014

  39. Bucamania Says:

    Lovie and Jason Licht turned a bad team into THE WORST TEAM IN THE NFL. Total fail in year one. Brilliant guys. Literally every move you made backfired. It’s almost laughable.

  40. Pruritus Ani Says:

    Even if you drop the lowest grade, his average is still 0!

    Look at him and the coaches. All you see is complete apathy. If there is no effort, you don’t deserve the job. The players do not believe in him or his system. All I see is 53 guys going through the motions. Not quite as bad as Morris’s last year but pretty close.

  41. JJBuc Says:

    Eric & Lovmybucs You also loved Freeman and Morris. . Real good judgement, but whoever accused you of a lot of smarts? Fire Lovey.

  42. sho nuff Says:

    lovie is a bust…toil