Flexible Lovie

February 14th, 2015

lovie smith 0511

Joe never dreamed Josh McCown would have been cut like he was — when he was. That’s not to say he shouldn’t have been cut.

When you are the worst starting quarterback in the NFL on the worst team in the NFL, you shouldn’t have job security.

As it turned out, he didn’t.

One reason Joe didn’t see it coming is the rock that is Lovie Smith.

Remember, McCown was chosen by Lovie, and while the Bucs were circling the drain and McCown played more like Bobby Douglass than Bob Griese, Lovie still refused to bench him. Lovie claimed he was playing the players who he thought gave the Bucs the best chance to win.

Then Wednesday afternoon happened. Pat Yasinskas of ESPN.com believes Lovie has become, well, flexible.

So what the heck happened the other day when Smith released quarterback Josh McCown? He was showing flexibility I didn’t think he had. It’s funny how a 2-14 season can change your thinking.

A year ago, McCown was Smith’s hand-picked quarterback. They had been together in Chicago and there was a comfort level that flowed both ways. Mike Glennon, who had started 13 games in 2013, immediately was pushed to the bench to make room for McCown.

In theory, McCown was supposed to be the savvy veteran who rarely made mistakes. In theory, he was supposed to lead a highly efficient offense while the defense and special teams took care of the rest and the Bucs would contend for the playoffs.

As Yasinskas later typed, a 2-14 record can change one’s personality profoundly.

Look, if Lovie tried to go with McCown next year, there would have been little chance for the Bucs to finish .500. Hell, the NFC South was historically bad last year and the Bucs never won a division game. There’s little chance the Dixie Chicks. the Stinking Panthers and the Saints will be as bad in 2015

By drafting a rookie quarterback, Lovie might buy himself another season. If he went with McCown again this fall, it was possible Lovie was setting himsef up to get run.

25 Responses to “Flexible Lovie”

  1. ihateloviesmith Says:

    hopefully stretch Armstrong will b gone after another dismal year and they will promote capt dirk to man the helm at HMS glazer problem solved have a nice day everyone except for you lovie.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    McCown should never have been signed in Tampa, especially for what we paid him.

  3. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    Joe never dreamed Mariota would be drafted by the Bucs….8:09 PM 30 April 2015

  4. WS99 Says:

    Here some perspective for the lovie lovers. In 2005-2006 the same year lovie went to the SB, tiger Woods won 12 championships during that span. 10 years later neither can make the cut.

  5. The Buc Realist Says:

    Desperate moves by a desperate man,

    Jobs are on the line this year!

  6. Harry Says:

    Not sure that I buy Lovie changing. What changed from a month ago?

    Dirk Koetter

  7. JoeJoes Fungi Nails Says:

    Good thing we already have next years HC & OC in place…
    2015 OC bumps to HC in 2016
    2015 QB Coach bumps to OC in 2016

  8. Dean Says:

    Here is the thing that is so scary. Last year, the Bucs were praised and praised again by everyone from Hall of Famer Bill Polian on down. Praised for their 12+ free agent additions, picked by Herm to be in the Superbowl.

    At the very least, we marvelled how Jason and Lovie built a team with wheeling-dealing, getting 3 or so of the best free agents at their position (EDS, Collins, and the Ghost of a DE). They traded for Mankins and, early on, brought in the top QB on the free agent market from Chicago.

    It took guts to assemble that group. And they were as welcome as a turd in a punchpowl, after only one disasterous season.

    The only positive thing you can say is…….they tried. Jason and Lovie tried and failed. What’s the alternative? You can go draft only, maybe select 3 players each year that make an impact on your team?

    I would personally rather have the Bucs try and fail. At least they are trying to get better and each year they will hit on 2 or 3 free agents that actually make a difference.

    That increases the power of our team by 5 or 6 players total each year, as opposed to only 3 from the draft. When you’re this far down from being respectable, it takes a lot of bodies (and time) to rebuild. Go Jason and Lovie. We’ll ride that roller coaster with you, but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE show some improvement.

  9. biff barker Says:

    Seems like our football czar Lovie is on a forced march at the hands of ownership.
    Hard to see it otherwise after last years debacle. The worst coach and talent evaluator in the entire NFL.

  10. Jack Says:

    Harry, nailed it – Koetter input.

  11. Barry Says:

    This was either a GM or Ownership move IMO. I do believe the QB situation is out of Lovie’s hands, Glennon/Mariota/TheCreepyCrab, doesn’t matter who but it’s not Lovie’s call on this one. #IMO

  12. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Dean

    Finally a breath of optimism……that took some guts…..absolutely, L & L came in and stated…”win now”….fans shouldn’t be patient….made all the moves…tremendous expectations from everyone……then, failure.
    They didn’t have to raise expectations but they did….they could have stated the team is a mess and needs a couple of years of rebuilding…we may get worse before we can grow.
    What happened…..I think Tedford going down was the bulk of it. Lovie doesn’t have an offensive background so he was unable to help. That coupled with a couple of key misses….mainly Collins & Johnson.
    Now, I think we are going to see some adjustments.

    On Offense……Coaching, QB & Oline
    On Defense…….MLB, and……the huge questionmark….Pass Rush

    I am in the skeptical but hopeful camp….I choose not to completely trash L&L….its too early for that.

    Fans have a right to be terribly disappointed…this is always what happens with unmet expectations.

  13. OB Says:

    I have to comment on this:

    WS99 Says:
    February 14th, 2015 at 10:35 am

    Here some perspective for the lovie lovers. In 2005-2006 the same year lovie went to the SB, tiger Woods won 12 championships during that span. 10 years later neither can make the cut.

    I would also add that Belacheat (sp) with a franchise QB in the last ten years or so has been in the SB what 6 times and won three, but his OL was very good and continually upgraded, see Makins trade.

    I agree Lovie is over his head and the hill as far as football goes. You have to use what you have. Using McCown was kind of like a sniper using him nine MM pistol for a 1000 yard shot, it ain’t going to happen.

  14. Hawk Says:

    I agree with Tampabaybucfan, mostly. I agree that Collins and Johnson were not the only misses, just that they were the glaring ones. But I cannot help but wonder what kind of season the Bucs would have had if he had NOT blown up the entire O-line. I am sure he will not admit it, but I cannot help but believe that Lovie regrets that move. I also believe he kicks himself for seeing something in McCown that just was not there. I believe he kept McCown, as the starter, in the hope that the ‘real’ McCown would start to shine at some time during the season. (The forest/trees phrase goes in here somewhere)
    The fact that Lovie/Licht talked about a winning season and idiots(writers/sportscasters/etc) around the country lifted the Bucs into the ‘preseason playoffs’, just made the season ‘seem’ all the worse.
    I was NOT in favor of the hiring of Lovie, but he is the coach of ‘MY’ team, and I will support (and question) him until he is no longer the coach.
    I will always give my $.02 when I feel strongly about something. That is the advantage of only giving $.02. If I am wrong, I don’t lose much, and if I am right, I cannot brag much about winning $.02.

  15. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    @ Hawk

    I agree…the McCown choice was (in hindsight) a total disaster….and you now have given a good reason why he kept him in……blind hope that McCown would shine….game after game till the end….never happened….and what was the Bucs first move…..cut him!!!

  16. crazy Says:

    I don’t know Lovie waived McCown in Aug ’12, rehired him in Nov ’12 when Cutler went down before being dumped as Bears HC in Dec ’12 as I recall. So what’s new?

  17. Not ...... "The Kevin" Says:

    If he drafts a QB and starts Glennon, I STILL think he buy’s himself another season. Draft Mariota, let him learn this offense for one full offseason/season, start Glennon. THEN trade Glennon next year….IF he doesn’t take us to the playoffs.

    If he does than I’d say you’d have a QB competition in 2016.

    Either way we HAVE to take a QB and Glennon is the most experienced and has not had a fair shot yet. I really hope they do the right thing here…

  18. gotbbucs Says:

    Lovie set us back an entire season with “his” QB choice. Glennon should have been given the ball mid season and let it ride out just so we would know. This wasn’t Lovie’s choice, I think his balls have been cut off by ownership even if it isn’t public knowledge. They gave him a chance and he blew it.
    He’s done nothing in his career to deserve full roster control, if anything, he’s done enough to earn the exact opposite.

  19. losleach Says:

    @gotbbucs is right. Love killed us w/ Mccown. We didn’t have time to evaluate Glennon. Now we have no clue what he can do. It didn’t help that our O line was the worst in the NFL.

    Bottom line is drafting a rookie QB buys Lovie two more years. They will take Winston no doubt!

    The key is how do they fix this O line!

  20. Hawk Says:

    @ Not …… “The Kevin”

    While I do not disagree with most of what you said, NO ONE will take the Bucs to the playoffs next year, barring the league turning completely upside down.
    *IF* the NFC South has another year like this one (HIGHLY doubtful), then MAYBE the Bucs would have an opportunity to lose a first round playoff game, but I seriously doubt it. Too many holes to fill, and other teams are not going to stand still either.
    Glennon may very well become a good QB (here or elsewhere), and keeping him (he is cheap) would make more sense than trading and hoping to get as good with a late pick. Trading him would also leave the Bucs with NO QB (at this time) who has NFL experience on the roster.
    My personal opinion is still to trade down (no farther than #7) and get, at least, a #1 for next years’ draft (along with two picks this year). IF Mariota/Winston drop, then the Bucs still have to option of grabbing one. If not, then they have a full season to see if Glennon (with an OC, QB coach, and starter reps) is the answer. If he is not, the Bucs will have TWO first round picks (next year) with which to move up and select a QB. There will be several very good QBs in next years’ draft (at least two from Ohio State alone). If this years’ draft and free agency improves the O-line, this team will be better equipped to help a young QB get a legitimate opportunity at an NFL career.

  21. Dick2111 Says:

    All he fans clamoring to replace Lovie should chill out a bit. Good NFL teams all have stability in their coaching staffs. Lovie obviously has a different style than the Pete Carrolls and the Bill Belichecks, but that’s OK with me. What’s most important in my book is that the head coach assemble a high quality stable of assistant coaches give them a good vision of where he wants the team to be, provides them with some decent talent at the various positions, then lets them coach. Micro-managing rarely works in my experience.

    The Bucs now have a pretty decent group of assitant coaches. They’ve still got to upgrade the talent at a number of positions and ultimately build depth, but that takes time. Free agency can patch holes, but it’s no way to build a team.

    We’ve gone far too many years without a clear vision of what it takes to build a true winner in the NFL. Constantly changing coaches, drafting poorly and continually tapping the FA market looking for short-term fixes has to stop.

  22. ddneast Says:

    I don’t know why anyone is surprised. Lovie has fired McCown before. McCown is a very fireable guy.

  23. Pickgrin Says:

    Perhaps its because of his past reputation – but characterizing Lovie as inflexible is a mistake. To me – the fact that a 100% defensive minded HC with holes needing to be filled on “his” side of the ball was on board with and/or allowed his 1st draft class to be all offensive players said a lot about Lovies ability to be flexible.

    I’ve seen a hell of a lot of negativity thrown Lovie’s way over the last 6 months. I guess that’s inevitable while “guiding” a team through a 2-14 season. Especially after expectations were artificially high coming into the season – partially because L&L said they expected to “win now” and that “the fans shouldn’t be expected to be patient” (I still say this was the Glazers idea to put that out there in order to sell more season tickets – L&L went along hoping it would come true but deep down knowing the talent level of the team needed much bolstering).

    IMO – Odds are that Bucs fans will see vast improvements in their team over the next 2 years and coach Smith will right this long time listing ship and guide it back to “relevance” again. Time will tell – but Lovie’s history and NFL experience suggest that he DOES know what he is doing and will ultimately be successful here in Tampa Bay. Will there be mistakes made along the way? Of course – just as there were a # last year. But with the #1 overall pick in the draft – and thus a young talented QB coming to town – if the Bucs can find enough talent in the draft and FA to fix the OLine and plug a couple holes on the defensive side of the ball (MLB and DE in particular) – I believe there’s a decent to good chance the Bucs can make a big jump next year and win 7, 8 or even 9 games which should be more than enough to allow Lovie to stick around long enough to get us over the hump and get all the fans excited again and back on board.

    Call me an optimist – but it could definitely play out that way. If L&L are smart enough to draft Jameis Winston – then the odds of major improvement in the coming year increase drastically and the future will look so bright we will all need shades… (credit for the great ending 1 liner extended to ex-coach Gruden of course).

  24. ddneast Says:

    Excellent point Dean. I didn’t hear anyone degrading these players before the season started. Everyone thought they were great additions.
    Lovie was wrong and so was everyone else. He had a lot of company.

  25. BoJim Says:

    No matter what you think of Lovie, you can’t hire a HC every year.