Contagious Leaders

July 12th, 2016
Mike Smith likes a contagious energy in his locker room.

Mike Smith likes a contagious, positive personality in his locker room.

Until the Bucs check in at One Buc Palace to report for training camp, Joe will try to get in the mind of defensive coordinator Mike Smith.

Joe will regularly deliver excerpts and/or highlights from Smith’s book, “You Win in the Locker Room,” available on Google Play and iTunes.

When current Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith took over the Dixie Chicks as head coach, the one thing he sought was a team leader who both oozed energy and went about his business the right way.

Smith was convinced if he could find one, then that attitude and work ethic would quickly spread through the locker room (not like the MRSA) and the result would be wins.

In his book, Smith writes he found that rare trait in quarterback Matty Ice. Soon, the Dixie Chicks transformed from filthy, s(p)it-in-their-nest sparrows into winners.

“I also witnessed the impact that a team member with a positive attitude can have on and off the field. I remember our first scrimmage, when our offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and I were standing behind the huddle listening to rookie Matt Ryan call his first play. With the confidence of a seasoned quarterback, he told a veteran receiver that he was going to throw him the ball high and told him to go up and get it. Most first-year QBs don’t think or talk with that much confidence. After the scrimmage, I looked at Mike and said, ‘It looks like we got ourselves a QB.’ Matt’s positive attitude and approach to the game was contagious in other ways, too. He was always working to improve, whether it was during the season or the offseason. For example, Matt always had an offseason project that he felt was going to make him a better player. …

“When word got out that Matt had already started his offseason work in the weight room, it did not take long for the majority of the team to start their workouts prior to the official start date.

“Matt’s positive approach along with his contagious desire to be great rubbed off on the rest of the team and organization. No one ever worked harder than our starting quarterback, on and off the field. You have to have this type of leader and mentor on your team to maximize your chances of being successful.”

Now if Joe didn’t know any better, Joe could have sworn Smith was describing America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston. Seriously, remove Matty Ice’s name from the excerpt above and replace it with Jameis. That description sounds exactly like Jameis.

And you wonder why Bucs types absolutely crow over Jameis.

Joe remembers talking with a high-placed Bucs official who said Jameis was drafted as much for his personality as he was his quarterbacking skills. The Bucs thought Jameis would be a guy who would grab a teammate’s collar by the hands, if he had to in order to motivate and help the player help the Bucs. And that is exactly what Jameis has become. Whatever it takes to help a teammate improve, that’s what he’ll do, not to mention he works his tail off to improve himself.

Late last year, every Bucs player talked as if Jameis was the Second Coming. Joe wanted to know if this was just forced rhetoric directed by a suit, or if Jameis was in fact the real deal. A veteran player Joe spoke with looked Joe in the eye and said, in so many words, Jameis’ spirit and passion was just what the doctor ordered to give the Bucs a shot in the arm and lift the team out of the doldrums.

If nothing else, it sure seems like Smith has a Jameis/Matty Ice-type player on his Bucs defense in Kwon Alexander. Just reading body language, it seems the two already have a tight bond. And Alexander certainly has a Jameis-like attitude and drive to be the best he can be.

5 Responses to “Contagious Leaders”

  1. gilhealy Says:

    If the kid stays healthy thru his career, he’ll be the standard all will be measured by. Simple as that.

  2. ptwalk Says:

    We get a front seat. This is going to be exciting.

  3. Bucsfanman Says:

    I like these Smith “tidbits” Joe. It kind of puts you in his head a little. We might have ourselves a real good one here.

  4. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    What’s really exciting for me is that lost in the deserved love for #3 and the final four game suspension is that Kwon Alexander may be to our D what #3 is to the O.

    We can at least hope. Kwon has done nothing to dash any cold water on those hopes other than drink too much energy drink. Just imagine if Kwon turns out to be as good at MLB as #3 turns out at QB.

  5. Cobraboy Says:


    I thought this was a MRSA thread…