Donovan Smith Acknowledges Couch Coaches, LeBron Critics

March 29th, 2021

Through six NFL seasons, Donovan Smith has absorbed a dizzying flurry of darts from critics worldwide.

Heck, it started before he got to Tampa, when an ex-NFL player and a noted Penn State game analyst said Smith “played lazily” and was overweight in college.

The Pro Football Focus tribe also got all over him, and then a popular sports radio chorus in Tampa was to move Smith to guard because, you know, he can’t succeed at left tackle.

Now, Smith is a Super Bowl left tackle enjoying a fat contract extension. He’s surpassed Donald Penn in Bucs lore and is marching toward rivaling the career of the Buccaneers’ only Ring of Honor left tackle, Paul Gruber.

Aaron Jacobson of WDAE Radio recently asked Smith on-air about his detractors, whether he’s heard the noise and if it’s hard to block out.

Joe loved Smith’s answer — because Smith admitted to being that kind of fan himself.

“You hear it and see it,” Smith said of his critics. “But I mean, if they ain’t talking about you (pause) just imagine what falls upon Lebron’s ear? You know?

“Everybody’s going to talk about something. You’ve got couch coaches. You’ve got everybody thinking that they know everything. So they put it out there and then, you know, people tap in and agree or disagree. And that’s their opinion. So be it. It don’t make or break me.”

Smith went on to say he’s a big sports fan and while watching the NBA, “I’m talking trash like I’m supposed to know.”

He added of being an opinionated couch coach, “It’s what you do.”

Bravo to Smith.

NFL players, coaches and front office types are so darn hypersensitive sometimes. It’s as if they’ve completely forgotten that they volunteered to step into the media-driven sports world and have their every move scrutinized. Some have lost reality of what it is to be an average-Joe fan, in love with the game as well as the rush of picking heroes and villains, and being right and wrong every month.

Smith, admirably, is not one of those people.

22 Responses to “Donovan Smith Acknowledges Couch Coaches, LeBron Critics”

  1. Chris Thomas from Heaven Says:

    D. Smith’s game vastly improved after a horrendous game vs the Bears & he was trending #1 on twitter for a BAD reason.

  2. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Durable Donnie.

    We are blessed.

  3. Mike C Says:

    I think blocking for the goat got rid of any lazy play that he might have had in the past. I am not saying he wasn’t talented before the goat got here, just needed the proper motivation. So glad he stepped up instead of opting out, no telling what could have happened in that scenario.

  4. 813bucboi Says:

    keep it up d.smith….

    GO BUCS!!!!

  5. lambeau Says:

    Mike C is right–TB12 may be the best thing that could have happened for D Smith. No plays off.

  6. K2 Says:

    He’s a top 10 left tackle…maybe a top 5 in the future. Fans are tough on players and think it doesn’t matter. That is why the Bucs needed a player like Tom Brady who helps the team believe they can be great. Instead of media and fans always looking to nock them down a notch.

  7. Buc50 Says:

    Great answer by D. Smith. Fans expect Tristan Wirfs in every draft or you are a bust.

  8. SufferingSince76 Says:

    His consistency will be the proof going forward. That’s all we’ve ever asked for.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    Donovan has earned his spot but he is still a whiner. Just like Lebron.

  10. Swampbuc Says:

    I’m so glad the big guy finally played to his potential.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    Give it a rest doosh. The man plays in a war zone that you and I and 99.9 percent of people would never survive in. It says a lot more about u than him at this point.

  12. Game film doesn't lie Says:

    Call us couch coaches all you want. The way I look at it is does he pass the eye test. And up till the second half of the year he was not playing like a top LT and was being paid as one. Yes I don’t know protection calls but I do remember untouched rushers blowing by him.
    No different than Rojo being drafted and not performing up to his draft status. He improved as a runner. But still can’t be counted on to catch. Couch coach or not, I see him drop the passes.

  13. Bojim Says:

    I like Donnie and LeBron.

  14. FlBoy84 Says:

    “His consistency will be the proof going forward. That’s all we’ve ever asked for.”

    Exactly this. Appreciate and respect the durability, but the consistency has always been lacking, even in the first half of last season with TB12 at the helm. Glad to see he’s stepped it up though, hope it continues. Was around for the Gruber years, other than durability there is no comparison between the two. You only lessen Gruber’s legacy by doing so Joe. And for all those who think he’s a top-5 OT, there’s a REASON the team is only giving him 2-3 year extensions. If they were confident as some fans that he was, they’d be scrambling to lock him up for as long as possible. He’s serviceable and durable, and that’s enough for Licht & Co right now.

  15. Perimeter Blocker Says:

    I think his game improved because of Brady… my 2 cents…

  16. DoooshLaRue Says:

    14 million dollars wasn’t enough motivation.
    Almost 1 million a game.

    Totally understandable.

  17. daniel Da Man Says:

    Not lazy.. he is very smart and now has the bucks to prove it..
    Put that in your think tank.
    And fame is fleeting. Enjoy today..

  18. ClodHopper Says:

    People who say “You’d never say that to his face” or “You couldn’t do it” and stuff like that need to read this article. This is what we do as sports fans. We can cheer and we can jeer. What’s the point of being a fan if you don’t get emotionally involved?

  19. Dapostman Says:

    His game improved once Donnie figured out Wirfs could and would take his position. That LT money became important to Donnie once he knew he could be replaced by a younger better player.

    It’s so obvious except to Buc fans.

  20. Glenn F Miller Says:

    Wirfs was Smith’s motivation. Glad he recognized it, and helped motivate him to reach his potential. Now the OL is as solid init.

  21. CrackerBall Says:

    Seems dismissive of some accurate criticism…

    He is, only now, an average OT in the NFL – and he has been lacking in his motor and remains slow-footed. Perhaps he has earned some of the complaints. Wish he was a little more introspective about his own play.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    Has a lot to do with a qb calling out the right protections and being where he’s supposed to be. Half the QBs out there run into sacks or hold the ball too long trying to play hero ball. With that being said it’s time to move on from the loser mentality of criticism. Harping on one guy for things that may or may not be their fault. Good coaching has a lot to do with line play also.