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Lovie Smith: Bucs had to be active in free agency

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In the offseason, the Buccaneers signed more than a half-dozen veterans expected to play regular roles in 2014. Considering the franchise had hired a new coach (Lovie Smith) and G.M. (Jason Licht) after a 4-12 campaign in 2013, changes were to be expected.

However, beneath it all, there was a rather logical reason why the Bucs were aggressive in free agency, as Smith told the Buccaneers’ website in a story published Tuesday.

“We had five draft picks – five – so we had to look around,” Lovie Smith said, according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com. “We weren’t going to be able to bring in an awful lot in the draft, numbers-wise. Right after our evaluation process, we determined exactly what we needed. And then we looked at the available free agents and thought there were going to be a lot of opportunities to help ourselves. And that’s what happened.”

Offensive tackle Anthony Collins, center Evan Dietrich-Smith, defensive end Michael Johnson, quarterback Josh McCown, tight end Brandon Myers and cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Alterraun Verner all joined Tampa Bay in free agency, and the talent infusion surely helps the Buccaneers’ roster. But it’s not cheap to sign experienced talent, and the Bucs, like every other club, need to annually stock the roster with young contributors. The Buccaneers did add six drafted rookies in 2014, but in the process, they dealt away a 2015 fifth-round selection to move up for rookie offensive tackle Kevin Pamphile on the final day of the draft.

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34 Responses to “Lovie Smith: Bucs had to be active in free agency”
  1. alshonbrandontandem says: Jul 15, 2014 6:16 PM

    Buc fans: enjoy your head coach who shows Zero emotion on game days. You’ll be down 2 scores with 2 mins to play & Lovie will look just as confused and emotionless as he did when the game started. Good luck with that

  2. sirbenly says: Jul 15, 2014 6:22 PM

    Hard to critique from a fan’s perspective. I would have preferred Jared Allen to Michael Johnson, but otherwise I feel it was a very successful off-season.

  3. pftmaniac says: Jul 15, 2014 6:30 PM

    @alshonbrandontandem All those winning seasons with very little off the field drama must have been horrible to deal with!

    Buc Fans endured the impish Jon Gruden, the hapless Raheem Morris, and the clueless Greg Schiano during Lovie Smith’s tenure in Chicago. He has been welcomed back to town with open arms, and if he’s truly the second-coming of Tony Dungy as expected, then he will be adored here for generations.

    We wish you the best of luck with Trestman. May he not be a flash-in-the-pan like Gruden was here.

  4. ubepunkedagain says: Jul 15, 2014 6:32 PM

    Tampa will go from the 32nd ranked offense in the NFL all the way up to the 32nd ranked offense in the NFL. It’s the Lovie way. Then he will fire his OC and start the process over again. He can get 8 years before they catch on and fire him. The guy is a master at it.

  5. dabears2485 says: Jul 15, 2014 6:44 PM

    “We get off the bus running” is code for “we’re gonna pass the hell out if the ball, whether we have the worst o-line or not.” Just ask the last two OC’s Lovie had in Chicago.

  6. moeman79 says: Jul 15, 2014 6:46 PM

    Class act and great coach know how to get a lot out of average guys. Just don’t give him a horrible GM like Jerry.

  7. djshnooks says: Jul 15, 2014 6:47 PM

    And when does building through free agency EVER work for an NFL team?

    The Redskins, Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins have a tried this in the past decade.

    It never works, no matter who it is…you need to build your team through the draft.

  8. bucsorbust says: Jul 15, 2014 6:49 PM

    alshonbrandontandem…thanks for the advice, but no thanks. We Bucs fans know Lovie Smith well–he was here before. He’s come home. Tony Dungy had little emotion too. Tom Landry. Yup. Not much. Yeah, Greg Schiano had lots of it…good luck with that as you say. I will give you Lovie didn’t do much with offense in Chicago, but he did take Cutler to the Super Bowl, right? Playoffs right? Winning seasons, right? He had a year off to reflect on his approach to Offense, and he focused on that. All 5 draft picks were offense in fact. So, consider this too. Lovie has taken you to the Super Bowl. Has the CFL’s Trestman? I’ll take Lovie over Trestman any day. Yup, our Alshon/Marshall duo…is V. Jackson and Mike Evans…with Austine S-F just as big at TE (bigger/faster/bestter hands then Tony Gonzalez) and Doug Martin in the backfield (can match Forte any day). So we’re just fine in Tampa I think. And frankly, I don’t plan to need two scores to win in the closing minutes. We’ll rely on a Lovie Smith/Monte Kiffen/Tony Dungy style Defense to preserve the win. It’s Buc ball. Lovie isn’t just coaching the Bucs; he belongs to them.

  9. evansvc says: Jul 15, 2014 6:50 PM

    Why don’t you bring in Vince Young…
    He’s the best insurance policy a team could ever have…
    (NFL Rookie of the Year, 2 Pro Bowls, Playoff experience and Mobility). Vince has a career winning record of 31-19…
    Even if it’s only to upgrade the team’s quarterback pool…

  10. bucsorbust says: Jul 15, 2014 6:54 PM

    Sirbenly…Bucs fans were hopeful on Jared Allen, for sure. But he was too expensive and too old for the price he wanted. Michael Johnson and Gerald McCoy can put in a lot of good years here side by side. We can’t complain…and Leslie Frazier will do well at coaching up the D.

  11. purpleguy says: Jul 15, 2014 7:02 PM

    I agree with djshnooks — does an extensive free agency retrofit ever really work?

  12. abninf says: Jul 15, 2014 7:03 PM

    djshnooks says:
    Jul 15, 2014 6:47 PM
    And when does building through free agency EVER work for an NFL team?

    The Redskins, Cowboys, Bills, Dolphins have a tried this in the past decade.

    It never works, no matter who it is…you need to build your team through the draft.
    ==================================

    Say what you will about Jerry, but he isn’t known for signing a bunch of overpriced big name free agents like the Redskins. He just can’t draft worth a damn.

  13. qdog112 says: Jul 15, 2014 7:13 PM

    Smith and the Bucs have done more than any team in the NFCS and will challenge the Saints for the division lead.

    I’ll be surprised if the Panthers and Falcons have a real shot.

  14. vikesr4reel says: Jul 15, 2014 7:16 PM

    Bucs = joke of the NFL!!

  15. bucsorbust says: Jul 15, 2014 7:27 PM

    @Vikesr4reel saying the Bucs are the joke of the NFL….just a reality check for you. The Schiano Bucs…probably one of the worst Bucs teams in history….beat the Vikings–both times. One was from a 17-0 deficit…and Ponder wasn’t even in. In fact, Schiano did it in your own house twice. I got it…he was awful…just saying…but man, the smell from the Metrodome….whoa…

  16. alshonbrandontandem says: Jul 15, 2014 7:31 PM

    bucsorbust:

    It was Rex Grossman who he took to the SB

  17. runbucs says: Jul 15, 2014 7:58 PM

    I’m curious to see how aggressive this defense will be. They were aggressive under Schiano, but still gave up a lot of points. Safety and MLB play must improve. I’m also curious to see if this years offense will be aggressive. Schiano liked to use all 3 downs to gain 10 short yards. One offensive penalty or incomplete pass killed a drive, because they had no intermediate passing. Will Tedford change that, or will Lovie handcuff them and rely on the defense?

  18. bucsorbust says: Jul 15, 2014 8:15 PM

    @alshonbrandontandem….it was Rex…you’re right. That’s even tougher to do, would you agree? Up and down guy if I recall, while Jay is mostly up.

  19. bucsorbust says: Jul 15, 2014 8:24 PM

    @runbucs…Bucs D under Schiano was agressive, but too many stunts, the long road to the QB. With a guy like G-Mack and Clayborn (and now Collins and McDonald), you need to plow through, not ballet dance. They are all beasts. That hurt their sack number too, and their pass D. It improved with Revis and Banks, but not enough to get the QB–they need to gain .4 seconds. I think they will. The MLB needs to have the headset, not the WLB. Lovie will have none of that. It’s back with the MLB calling the D on the field. The new O will focus on run with more than one RB, and lots of pass options. Get the ball out quickly. Less accuracy maybe but less sacks and that’s why you have Jackson, Evans, Sef-Jen (all huge guys who win the 50/50 battles), and Simms (burner and hands) out there. I think it’s going to be extremely fun to watch. But we won’t see much of it in pre-season.

  20. calvinthegreat82 says: Jul 15, 2014 8:38 PM

    Lovie Smith should have joined my Lions, at least we could have had chance to compete with the Bears. Now that Alshon and Brandon is unstoppable, Calvin is just mediocre in the NFCN.

  21. saints12013 says: Jul 15, 2014 8:49 PM

    I love Lovie Smith, always have. It stinks he has to coach in our division now. The Bucs are definitely solid on paper. I think they can get a Wild-Card this season. NFC is very loaded though. So they might have to win 11 games.

  22. jpat2424 says: Jul 15, 2014 9:40 PM

    Haha. Have fun with lovie and his red flags losses and use of his timeouts. Haha.

  23. obamareallysucks says: Jul 15, 2014 10:03 PM

    lovie couldn’t coach someone to fart after a chili eating contest. FAIL

  24. slick50ks says: Jul 15, 2014 10:18 PM

    The Johnson and Verner signings were decent, but the rest, including the 400 year old QB are just noise.

    The Bucs will play more sound football just because of the arrival of Lovie, but the team lacks talent overall.

  25. packerbackernj says: Jul 15, 2014 10:26 PM

    Lovie Smith will do great things for this Bucs defense. I am glad he is out of the NFC North.

  26. fromundamahjunk says: Jul 15, 2014 11:05 PM

    Lovie is not an offense guy, plain and simple. I don’t blame him for what the 3 TERRIBLE OC’s did in his tenure in Chicago. Lovie just had to trust that they were good at what they do. Mike Martz simply went full on insane, and noone saw that coming. Lovie did make the mistake of hiring them at that position, but he wasnt the reason the offense was terrible. Angelo (GM) couldn’t draft a decent O-lineman in 10 years, and Cutler was playing from his back on the turf for 5 years. With a decent GM, a decent OC, and ANY level of talent whatsoever, Lovie is one hell of a coach. That calm demeanor is intentional, and effective at keeping the players focused and in control, as opposed to hooting, hollaring, and celebrating a first down when your down by 17 (a situation his teams didn’t face very often, even without talent.) Props to Tampa, they are in for a few good, drama-free years. Not to mention, Lovie was fired for only going 10-6, without an offense, in the NFC. Best of luck Lovie!

  27. seahawkfanfrom1970s says: Jul 15, 2014 11:16 PM

    Bucs sure put a big scare into my Hawks last season. The NFC South is going to be as much of a meat-grinder of physical teams as the NFC West.

  28. JC De La Torre says: Jul 16, 2014 7:09 AM

    For the Bears fans: Lovie got you multiple NFC North Championships, an NFC title and 5 seasons of 9 or more wins.

    Marc Trestman got you 8-8. Let us know when your new golden boy actually puts together a winning season.

    I guess it’s true: Score a few points and the idiots are satisfied. We’d rather win some games here in Tampa.

    But hey, at least you’ll be good at fantasy football.

  29. harrybucsfan says: Jul 16, 2014 9:30 AM

    I like Trestman. He seems to be doing good things for the Bears. But, he was only 8-8 last year – the jury is still out.

    I love Lovie. Class act. In 9 seasons in CHI, he gave the Bears a SB appearance, 3 division Championships in a very tough division, one Conference Championship, 4 seasons of double digit wins, and he was fired for winning “only” 10 games his last year there. I will take that over Rah and Schiano any day of the week. Good luck with Trestman – you may one day wish you had Lovie back CHI.

  30. DitkasHair says: Jul 16, 2014 10:55 AM

    …and ‘Rex is our QB’….DOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. JC De La Torre says: Jul 16, 2014 1:37 PM

    Rex got you to a Super Bowl, Cutler got you to….DOH!

  32. acurat says: Jul 16, 2014 2:00 PM

    People in Chicago are very hard on Lovie, but it is hard to see why. He took them to a superbowl with a QB no one wanted to use (Rex Grossman). In other words, despite their QB, they got there. He was not the GM – he did not get the QB in Chicago, that was the GM’s job.

    He had a winning record in all his years in Chicago. Before him, they were not winning as much. Again, nothing but complaints from many fans because they felt he was terrible on offense.

    So ask yourself the question – considering where Tampa is – is he an improvment over what was here? The answer is a resounding yes.

  33. silkyjohnson937 says: Jul 16, 2014 3:01 PM

    The NFC North has to have some of the most whiny comments from fans I’ve ever read. Between the Vikings, Packers, and Bears fans it’s ridiculous. I’m tired of seeing the SAME comments from Bears fans on every single article that has Lovie Smith’s name on the title. We get it you’re real mad you didn’t have a top ten offense to go with that top 5-10 defense he put on the field year after year. The Raiders number one ranked offense lost a Superbowl, the Broncos number one offense lost last year, the 18-0 Patriots lost to the Giants it’s not always about offense you fantasy football/Madden online trolls.

  34. zam1104 says: Jul 17, 2014 12:30 PM

    If Lovie’s 100% right they go 14-2, but they have to all be successful moves. The big problem is he’s left little wiggle room if a free agent doesn’t pan out, or the injury bug shows up at all. Then he’s probably 6-10.

    Should be a fun season, looking forward to finding out! I’m hopeful.

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