“I Just Want Good Football Players”

March 23rd, 2016
Bucs DC Mike Smith isn't picky.

Bucs DC Mike Smith isn’t picky.

Can a player play in Lovie’s defense?

That was a question weighing on the mind of Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht the past two years when considering prospective roster additions.

Can players play in Mike Smith’s defense? That question is no longer pondered. Rather, can the player play? That’s what Licht discussed last night when he spoke with Alex Marvez on “Late Hits,” heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio from the NFL owners meetings in rundown Boca Raton last night.

When asked by Marvez if Licht must be specific in finding players that fit the scheme of the new Bucs defensive coordinator, Licht noted there is none of that mindset any longer.

“With different schemes, there is always some tweaking here or there,” Licht said. “At the core, from when [Smith and Licht] first met, [Smith] said, ‘I just want good football players and I will find a way to get them in there.'”

How refreshing is that? Just get guys who can play and Smith will find a way to utilize their skills. Awesome.

To Joe, this is coaching at its foundation. You have players with talent. Find a way to get the most out of their talent, not try to shoe horn them into a scheme that doesn’t maximize their skillset.

To do otherwise is not only irresponsible to the team, but totally unfair to the players.

30 Responses to ““I Just Want Good Football Players””

  1. tmaxcon Says:

    I have been saying for 4 years this team needs talented football players not system specific choirboys with injury histories which is all we have been signing previously. It’s refreshing to see some attitude and emphasis placed on football players.

  2. Dewey Selmon Says:

    Much thanks to you Joe, you are the only one who is down there, at the probowl, etc reporting on a regular basis. It does make the off season a little bearable.

  3. DB55 Says:

    Then you have bellicheat who trades away his best def player (chan jones) and says just bring me someone with a heartbeat and I’ll make it work. Must be nice to be that good!

  4. Kevin Says:

    Koetter and licht are that good, thats how harry douglas looked like a probowler when jones was injured

  5. Mike Johnson Says:

    Here is the problem Joe..You 1st have to have players with talent. I did not think we had a great deal of talent on the Defensive side of the ball. We had some..but not enough. Especially in the secondary and at defensive End. It seems as though we are trying to change this. If Grimes can play anywhere near what he di the past 2 or 3 yrs, we are improved. He plays fearless. And if Ayers can get a lot more push..some sacks, it changes the game. Hopefully we will get a lot of talent in this years draft defensively. If we improve our Defense just 50%? I think we win a lot more games.

  6. tmaxcon Says:

    Mike Johnson

    So let me ask this if the good coach Smith gets better play from held over secondary mainly Banks and Verner will you finally admit the issue was scheme and philosophy with the bad coach smith versus talent in the secondary???

    If it was just one CB that forgot how to play I would blame the players / talent level but the entire secondary regressed under bad coach Smith and his incompetent-unqualified staff… Hard to blame the players and talent on that. Verner was a pro bowler previously and banks was progressing nicely until Lovie and the friends and family coaching staff arrived.

  7. ndog Says:

    On a separate note I keep seeing people thinking we are going to draft Hargraves. I just dont see it as he is not big OR fast. Every time he matched up against an elite level talent in college he got roasted. So what do people think is going to happen in the NFL? I fully admit I am an FSU guy but I watched the Gators play a lot (rooting against them of course) and I never saw him standout unless it was against some garbage QB like Vanderbilt or Kentucky. Bama, and FSU seemed to own him and the rest of the SEC just cant throw the ball .so what did he really do to make it so great? He is just to small and unlike Grimes does not have the freak athletic ability to make up for it in the NFL. Despite all of that WE NEED A DOMINATE D LINE TO IMPROVE THIS TEAM!

  8. The Buc Realist Says:

    I Think it is very difficult to assess what we have in the LB and Secondary due to bad coaching and a horrible, outdated scheme!!! Other teams could not believe what they were running, and no adjustments was a disgrace!!! Other than a vanilla 4 man rush, we have no idea what this roster can achieve!!!! At least now we can see what we have!!! So very excited this year with incredible upgraded coaching staff!!!!!!

    Go Bucs!!!!! Go Bucs!!!!! Go Bucs!!!!!!!!

  9. Destinjohnny Says:

    Funny players playing better in certain schemes
    McCoy David banks all had their best seasons under Schiano

  10. Buc1987 Says:

    Destin…correct and Verner was a pro-bowler.

  11. Joe Says:


    Much thanks to you Joe, you are the only one who is down there, at the probowl, etc reporting on a regular basis. It does make the off season a little bearable.

    Thanks. That’s the way Joe looks at it and why Joe spends the cash to go to these events.

  12. Big Marlon B Says:

    Wow what a crazy concept….find guys who do things well, and then let them do those things!! That’s insane, things like that don’t work.

    Thank GODDDDD for a competent coach. The difference in defense will be night and day.

  13. Mike Johnson Says:

    tmaxcon..I stick by my guns sir. I don’t think we had a lot of defensive talent last year. We have gotten a little better with the 2 signings. I witnessed to many missed tackles, missed blocks..and balls. Dbacks not flying to the ball, no slant coverages, and not enough defensive hard hittin. To me? that’s players. But then again, I do think we will improve. We have to. And I also think we will get some talent on the defensive side of the ball in the draft. I don’t have a lot of confidence in verner/banks/msDouggle-mispelled and our current group. We are trying to make improvement though. And thais is good.

  14. Buc since '74 Says:

    A non-negative comment from Mike J – thank you Sir – that’s refreshing!

    Repeating myself, so apologies, but letting go of Revis, Barron, and Hawk because they don’t fit? A sure Hall of Famer in his prime (that we gave up a #1 pick for) can’t play on Lovie’s D? I had blind faith in Lovie’s scheme, but looking back – OUCH!

    Welcome to Tampa Mike Smith! Get some more talent and set that talent free!

  15. Joe Says:

    Dbacks not flying to the ball, no slant coverages, and not enough defensive hard hittin. To me? that’s players.

    Doesn’t take decent cornerbacks to cover a slant. As in *never* cover a slant. For example, when is the last time you saw a Lovie corner jam a receiver at the line? Blasting a receiver at the line immediately throws off the timing of a slant pass.

    For reasons unknown, Lovie didnt’t want that, or was positioning players so that the defense was sustainable to a slant.

    Second, “hard hittin” has all but been legislated out of the game (see: Goldson, Hawk). “Hard hittin” now often leads to penalties. And, yeah, that sucks, but that’s the NFL in the sue-happy 21st century we live in.

  16. Bucfan951 Says:

    @mike Johnson: pewter report had an article out last week that you should read. They talked to Verner about what lovie wanted from the secondary. After you read it, you should have a better understanding of how badly ran the defense was. Go check it out

  17. Bucsfanman Says:

    I’m not into bashing, but I will say that I am curious to see what this D will look like. The schemes Lovie was using were just not working. It’s going to be the same personnel at certain spots soooooooo, we’ll see!

  18. The Buc Realist Says:


    and supplement that with the article on bucs nation reviewing the last 5 years of defense and it is eye opening how bad that last coach was here!!!

  19. Bucsfanman Says:

    @Realist-I thought we were rounding a corner defensively with Schiano. At least improving anyway. We definitely took a step back these last 2 years.

  20. 813bucboi Says:

    @ndog…that’s crazy talk I and I completely disagree….the only wr that cooked Hargreaves was a.cooper from bama(a top 5 pick)….he shut down odell, j.landry and your man r.green…l.treadwell couldn’t get open vs Hargreaves or j.tabor(who I think is a better cb than both ramsey and Hargreaves)….he has plenty of speed and he’s the same height and weight as revis 5’11 205….I understand your a criminole but give credit where credit is do(I did so with Winston)…Hargreaves is athletic as they come…he played some offense and also returned kicks and punts….im a gator fan and follow the program closely….db coach t.robinson is the best in the business coaching cb’s….the man who replaced him (kirk Callahan) was in over his head…Hargreaves, tabor and q.wilson knew more about technique and the scheme they were playing than he did…the coach basically let Hargreaves run position drills(not an excuse for a slight dip in his play)…idk about you but that’s the type of player we need…someone that can come in step up and be a leader….ramsey is a great versatile player but I saw him get beat plenty of times throughout his career as well…ramsey and Hargreaves both got burnt in the bowl games…if bosa and Stanley are gone we HAVE to take him…at that point he would be the best player available…GO BUCS!!!!

  21. Jerseybuc Says:

    Addition by subtraction. The Buc ship has cut it’s anchor and is ready to sail!

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    Bucs (most likely) starting defense is actually quite good:

    DTs: McCoy, McDonald (or Spence)
    DEs: Ayers, Gholston (or J. Smith)
    LBs: David, Alexander, D. Smith
    CBs: Grimes, Verner (or Banks)
    FS/SS: Conte, McDougald

    With the change in defensive coaching staff, I personally think we’ve fixed our biggest problem. Bucs still lack quality depth at a number of defensive positions (especially DE, LB & Safety) but that’s what the draft is for. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see 1 or 2 of the rookies start on defense this year (DE & Safety?) and for Licht to pick up another couple of defensive FAs prior to season start. Our 2016 schedule looks to be a LOT tougher than 2015, but I’m betting that the Bucs offense, defense & STs will be a LOT better this year than they were in 2014 & 2015.

  23. 813bucboi Says:

    there’s no question the talent level on offense was 5x better than the talent we had on defense…if you disagree than you don’t know football…I just don’t think they gave the old head coach enough time after a season without an oc and then a team full of young immature players lacking any leadership…I mean damn kwon and jameis are our leaders…I simply think they pulled the plug too soon…with that said the old head coach didn’t do his self any favors by allowing his son to coach the secondary or not wanting to hire a quality secondary coach…I don’t think he should’ve just fired his son but he could’ve brought someone in with a better resume…then you mix that in with some of the band aids he and LICHT tried to use hoping they would be productive until this year when he could draft players that fit had talent and fit his system like kwon alexander…the truth is he got fired before given the right amount of time and some fans are happy, some fans are pissed and some don’t care they just want to see the team win…hopefully licht has learned that any band aid doesn’t work you need band aids with some talent until you get/develop your younger players…as I said before be careful what you wish for because the green aint always greener on the other side….GO BUCS!!!

  24. Tbbucs3 Says:

    A lot of completions last year were due to pre snap alignment of the corners and outside backers. The corners were always way too far of the receiver and we ran way too many fake LB blitzes which gets him out of position. Our defense will instantly with good allignment alone, and Mike Smith runs a way better scheme than Lovie ever did.

  25. Kevin Says:

    Mike Johnson, when the corners are lined up ten yards off the reciever and the qb knows they are going to play soft, its not the players, its the coach putting him in a bad position. When the corners publickly admit how happy they are with a.new defensive coach, its the coach. There is a time and a place for lovies scheme, but he ran it all game every game. He was playing checkers every sunday while the other team was playing chess. When my mother who knows absolutley NOTHING is watching the game with us and says “why are they playing so far away from the guys catching the pases, when SHE can identify part of the problem and the coach cant, he shouldnt be coaching any higher than midget league ball

  26. Bob in Valrico Says:

    So with Licht unchained and koetter able to call plays at critical times in the game I am hoping for good things to happen for us.

  27. biff barker Says:

    Sensible FA pick ups let us go get those exact players Mike Smith is talking about.

  28. godzilla13 Says:

    Lovie Smith put his players 10 yards back because he had no faith in his CB’s speed, with slant or deep routes. That is probably why he went with Mike Jenkins. He had speed, just could not cover. They were out of position a lot and the linebackers constantly overreacted to play action. There were too many missed tackles and too many times it looked like no one wanted to get physical and hit someone. Players would get fatigued in the 4th quarter. Better conditioning has to happen this year. My biggest concern is with our Safeties. Bradley McDougal struggled in coverage time and time again last year. Everyone talks about how bad Chris Conte is when he only allowed a passer rating of 52.5 and 0.21 yards per cover snap when targeted in 2015. With Brent Grimes and Josh Robinson it will make our defense better. We have to get pressure up front. Having Robert Ayers will help but we need to draft a DE and DT early to increase the pass rush and if we can take some of the double teams off of McCoy, he should be at his best.

  29. William Walls Says:

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: It sure is nice to have professionals in charge.

  30. Pick6 Says:

    the amazing thing was, once lovie got his scheme-specific players they almost all got worse at football. Bruce Carter, Henry Melton, Conte, Major Wright, Mike Jenkins….not exactly an all pro team but all had down years and many of them had long stretches of playing like rookies. Unless it’s the food they are serving to defensive players at one buc, I can only think of one common denominator in all those down years