We watched two seasons of Buccaneers football under Lovie Smith that were painful more often than not. Registering a losing record of 8-24 through the fist 32 games of his tenure with Tampa Bay, the Glazer family had seen enough.
There was a lot of speculation swirling this afternoon on what exactly sealed Smith’s fate. As general manager Jason Licht said during his press conference Thursday the team’s lack of competitive fire did him in.
“I think when you have eight wins in two years – three home wins in two years – I think they have been patient enough,” Licht said. “It does take time, but I think while you’re building a good football team, you can compete.”
And that is something this team failed to do the last two years, compete — specifically on defense.
Countless times during the 2015 season we heard players admit how they practically checked out of games mentally and were unprepared following calls or plays that did not go their way on defense. That shows a lack of drive and resiliency from a unit that lacked the right kind of coaching. And what’s more alarming is that the defensive unit is what Lovie Smith’s specialty is in.
The Bucs will now move forward with the process of finding a coach. It’s likely that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will succeed Smith and may have already interviewed and Licht stated he is a “strong candidate” and has yet to talk to “outside candidates”. But when he does, Licht already has his sales pitch ready to go.
“I’ll start with, once again, ownership that is not afraid to spend money. I’ll go into a 22-year old quarterback, who I happen to believe is a franchise quarterback, that’s a very strong asset to have. That’s one that not many teams can say that they have.”