Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith has become a storyteller at the podium. But his act is growing old with many. From his delusional optimism where he claims the team is getting better to giving up 30+ points week in and week out, Smith should stop trying to force feed us his false optimism.
His opening act was one full of joy and excitement. One where so many fell victim to his deceitful words as they felt he was the perfect man for the job. I admit I was one and I couldn’t have felt more misled as I do today.
I was there at One Buc Place for Smith’s introductory press conference. I witnessed him answer questions with a smile that stretched from ear to ear. There was excitement in the air as the media, owners, coaches and players, past and present, looked at what could be history in the making.
But it was that same day, that same moment where Lovie Smith started exploiting the minds of many.
“Defensively, I’m a head football coach because of my expertise on the defensive side of the football,” Smith said during his introductory press conference last January. “I had a chance to meet and talk to [defensive tackle] Gerald McCoy earlier. As you guys know, defense-wise, no one should ask me if we’re a 3-4 team. We’re a 4-3 team. There’s a reason why we have Tampa-2 associated to one of our coverages, but I just want you to know, especially [in reference to cornerback] Darrelle Revis, we don’t play Cover-2 every snap. We have a place for a great cover corner that’s physical and can do all things. But it’s about the three-technique. Gerald McCoy – it’s the reason why he’s going to the Pro Bowl.”
“But there’s a reason why Darrelle Revis is one of the best football players in this game. We’re excited about getting our hands on him and putting him in a position to make plays.”
Smith’s “expertise” on defense has yet to come to light. In fact, he has failed and failed miserably. Revis, arguably one of the best players in the league still, is no longer around due to the head coach’s decision not to pay him. But as you can tell in the quote above, he was already setting up his decision to let Revis go by emphasizing what McCoy meant to him.
Should have known then what that show was all about.
Time has passed since then but nothing has changed. Smith’s act is still seen almost everyday each week with showtimes in the afternoon. Monday’s performance was his best ever and I can honestly say I have officially heard it all.
When asked why the team did not continue to apply pressure to the Redskins before the half during their 31-30 loss or if he will be more aggressive moving forward, Smith emphatically said, “No, not at all.” That reply revealed his biggest feature — a feature only losing coaches have: Lack of fire and aggression.
“At the end of the game, you always want more points, but in that situation I didn’t think we needed it,” Smith added. “We were OK 24-7 going in (to halftime). What could happen in that situation? I think more bad things could happen in that situation. So don’t bring the rest of the games in here, either. Each one of them is a totally different situation.”
Well we now see what being “OK” got him. Hilarious. Another loss to add to his record.
People continue to make excuses for him as well saying he hasn’t had good drafts to work with just yet and depth isn’t all that great. Let’s briefly analyze that.
Even with a “lack of depth” the defense showed improvement finishing off last season. He takes over the defense, brings in a couple retreads, the defense is now worse than last season.
Who’s fault is that? Lovie’s fault.
He may not have had drafts to fill his depth with, but he has had players from previous drafts who are either not here or aren’t performing under Lovie Smith. Mason Foster was a big reason for the Bucs’ success against the run last season which I broke down the reasons why last fall. Also, many within the team felt Foster was worth keeping around.
But not Smith.
Safety Mark Barron didn’t work out under Tampa Bay’s new scheme so they traded him away. At the time it was a good move. But his current team, the St. Louis Rams, put him in at linebacker this past week and recorded 19 tackles. That’s what good head coaches do. They stick with players and put them in position to succeed.
But not Smith.
Cornerback Johnthan Banks has seen better days. Certainly not under head coach Lovie Smith.
Linebacker Lavonte David has also seen better days. All he has done is regress in this new system.
Smith currently has and has had players. From Revis all the way down. He just doesn’t know what to do what them so folks seriously need to stop making excuses for him.
Those types of excuses allow his act to go on. From his introductory press conference to Monday’s admission of being a lackluster coach and everything in between, Tampa already has a premier comedy theater in Ybor. It’s time to pull the plug on this comedy act.
Oh, and for those that keep saying it takes time to build a winning team? Tell that to Smith who said the team was ready for immediate success over a year ago.
“It’s easy for me to sit up here and say, ‘Hey, this time next year, we’re not going to be having this type of [situation]’ – I’m talking about where we are in the playoffs and doing different things. I do think, though, nowadays, you can improve quickly.”
Please exit stage left, Lovie.