When Lovie Smith took over a Tampa Bay team with a player like Darrelle Revis on the roster, you could have assumed it would have been an easy transition for the ol’ ball coach.
Boy was that wrong.
I too thought the same. Seeing a Revis, a Dashon Goldson, a Mark Barron with a Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, you were not wrong in thinking a defensive minded coach like Smith can easily turn the defense and franchise around. But that hasn’t been the case and instead it’s been a firestorm of so many wanting ownership to look elsewhere for a head coach even after tripling the win total from last season.
Since Smith has final say on the roster, it has been turned over more often than it has been successful making acquisitions and that is the main reason for its failures. We’ve seen pieces move on in the past 31 games since his tenure started and be successful elsewhere. That’s either a sign that the game has passed him or he can not adapt to his players to bring out the best in them.
I’d say both.
Speaking to the media on Monday during his day after game press conference, Smith said something that was telling of his tenure.
“It’s not a finished product. When I say it’s not a finished product, the way you get a finished product is, first off, you have to have the type of player that you are looking for in every position. We’re not there yet,” Smith said. “When I talk about not being able to rush one-on-one and beat someone or cover, it’s that. You can’t put that with all the other defenses we’ve had. It’s just not as simple as that. You continue to build and you strengthen some positions and we need to strengthen more. After 15 weeks that’s the conclusion I’ve come to.”
There it is. Smith admits he doesn’t have the players he needs at each position which is also a reflection of what he has done. And what he has done is a horrible job dismantling the team and making it his own.
It has been the release of Revis, the signings of Michael Johnson, Mike Jenkins and Alterraun Verner last season and Bruce Carter among others this season. All of which are either gone or sitting on the bench because Smith can’t seem to get the right players in for his system although he assumed they were.
“You have to have the type of player that you are looking for in every position.” Smith is right. A team does have to have the right players in place. But it has been up to him to do so since he has final say on the roster and he has failed.
This offseason Smith needs to step back and relieve himself of this duty. He’s clearly not the right man for building this team. He needs to stick to coaching. Simple as that.