Lovie Smith: I thought we had a plan in place with Buccaneers


Lovie Smith is now the head coach at the University of Illinois, a job that he wasn’t expecting to take when the Buccaneers ended their 2015 season.

It was a losing season for the Bucs, but it was Smith’s second on the job and they improved by four wins with a rookie quarterback starting every game. That made it seem like things were moving in the right direction, but the organization disagreed and fired Smith before promoting offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter.

During an appearance with Colin Cowherd on FOX Sports Radio, Smith said he thought he had the Bucs “set up to really take off in Year 3” and said he was surprised and disappointed by the move.

“I definitely think there should be more patience. It takes time,” Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “If you make a change, there’s something that’s wrong, and you can’t just flip a switch. Things don’t happen overnight. You have to have a plan going in and stick with that plan. When I took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers job, I thought there was a plan in place. I thought that plan was being put into action. When you’re the boss, though, you can be impatient. Normally the franchises that do take their time and give you a chance maintain that level of success.”

Since the Bucs last made the playoffs in 2007, they have employed Jon Gruden, Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Smith and Koetter as their head coach. The lack of stability certainly hasn’t helped the team find success on the field, but it’s hard to make a case for staying the course when the course has consistently led the Bucs to the back of the pack.

45 responses to “Lovie Smith: I thought we had a plan in place with Buccaneers

  1. 1. The team improved because a of Koetter and Winston, not Smith.
    2. Numerous defensive players regressed under Smith.
    3. Lovie wouldn’t fire his sons who are horrible coaches.
    4. Lovie can’t adapt to talent, if you aren’t a Tampa 2 player he can’t use you.
    5. Ownership told him to hire a DC and he wouldn’t.

    Locals know that Lovie was a bad coach that had to go, no matter what narrative national media wants to feed you. Just ask Bears fan.

  2. More like YOU thought we had a plan in place. The Cover 2 defense is played out. Had it not been for that we would still have Revis. The priority was just getting as many Bears rejects as possible.

    Great person. Terrible coach.

  3. Lovie took Rex Grossman and the Bears (D) to a Super Bowl. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Win now is supposed to mean within 4 years… not 1 lol Sad Tampa… Sad Cleveland… et al.

  4. It was time for Lovie to leave that mess in Chicago, I do agree with that. However, one year in Tampa was not enough and anyone with a brain in their head knows that. I’m glad he is getting a chance with college, because he has a demeanor that suits that level of play (patience, for one-I really don’t know HOW he put up with what he did in Chicago for that long!). So, for what it’s worth, good luck to all, but, Tampa, you lost a REALLY good coach. Living in the Chicagoland area as I do, I watched him for years. Winston is a really good QB who will do well and hopefully not falter under a lesser coach.

  5. Lovie is an ok coach, not a great coach. He’d have probably gotten them competitive in another year or two but he seems to lack the instincts needed to win a championship. Just ask Bears fans. I wish him the best in his new gig; he seems like a decent guy.

  6. Did that plan include losing more than Schiano did?

    Did that plan include fielding a horrendous defense that got saved by a vastly improved offense?

    He deserved to be fired, and anyone who says differently did not watch Bucs games last season.

  7. Yeah, I remember Pete Caroll saying as much when he left the NE Patriots, as if hiring the former “HC of the NYJ” was a bad idea…especially given his lousy track record as Cleveland’s HC.
    I don’t see NE fans upset with that decision.

  8. Former Buc fan here. Not that I thought Lovie was “the guy” – he obviously was not.

    However – the way that was handled was atrocious, and it confirmed my decision a couple years ago to turn in my 35-year-old fan card. As a fan, I just could not support such a wretched organization any longer.

  9. Admission: I am neither a Bucs or a Fins fan. If there is one thing we can all agree on is that we will all be getting a play by play of everything Bucs this year. With Mr. Grimes bringing his waning talent to TB, you can be rest assured that his wife will be letting the world know how bad TB is over the course of this season. Curious to see how she likes Mr. Winston as the QB on this team.

  10. It’s funny reading comments from people who clearly didn’t watch any Bucs games. First, Lovie is a great guy, but he’s not the coach he used to be. I can’t tell you how many 3rd and longs (and I mean like 3 and 14) ended up going for 1st downs…by slant routes. SLANT ROUTES. In a modern passing league. Can you blame the players, but ultimately it’s up to the coaching staff to fix that.

    Lovie’s cover 2 was way too passive, and considering the fact that the D was actually playing well towards the end of 2015 under Leslie Frasier and Lovie took his play calling away and made it worse! The main reason the Bucs won 6 games was A) a soft schedule and B) Koetter, Winston and an occasionally explosion offense.

    I get the Bucs aren’t one of the glamour franchises and that teams who remember Lovie from his Bears glory years think he’s still that same coach but he’s lost something and I watch the majority of Bucs games during his 2 years and he’s not the same guy that the Bears to the Super Bowl.

    I think Illinois will be a good move for him and I wish him success, but he was not the answer in Tampa. And remember all this “garbage franchise” talk when your team inevitably struggles down the road and everyone dogs them for every move they make, because with the league parity it WILL happen to pretty much every franchise at some point.

  11. I have a hard time believing Lovie did not know the real reason. Simply put the Bucs were going to lose Dirk to another HC position. They felt as if he was responsible for the team trending upward and did not want to lose him, so they fired Lovie. Sometimes your actions can speak so loud you do not need to hear what someone has to say. Move on Lovie. Your boy dirty macked you but that is the way it is sometimes.

  12. I’m actually not sure why anyone is even talking about this anymore. I wish Lovie all the luck in the world now. As for Tampa, well, as the saying goes, fellas, sometimes, well, what you wish for…. I won’t go there. Good luck with that.

  13. if the plan was to be the worst defense in the league or the worst evaluator of talent then he was right on schedule, but i want my team to win games and get better over the season not worse as the season goes on

  14. Loser franchises that continue to be loser franchises generally don’t understand the philosophy at all of a winning culture.

    Lovie Smith cultivated a winning culture on some extremely average Bears teams over time, with a slew of incompetent quarterbacks.

    He could have changed the culture in Tampa Bay over time. This is why the Buccs will continue to be a loser franchise.

    -Fan of a loser franchise

  15. Just when I thought the man couldn’t sound more stupid.

    Obviously, his PLAN was to stand, arms folded, on the sideline with headphones on and stare at the Jumbotron. Just like always.

    Have fun with that Illinois.

  16. Yet another great example of why you shouldn’t hire a coach before you hire the GM, although I’m not sure Licht is really calling the shots in Tampa anyway.

    Here’s hoping the Bucs have finally figured out who they want to have coaching the team. Morris, Schiano, and Smith were all supposed to be the new saviours, and none of them lived up to the hype. Maybe Koetter will succeed where others have failed, but only if the front office gives him enough time (2 years isn’t enough unless the guy is an absolute train wreck like Schiano).

  17. The fact you were ever hired again to be an NFL head coach after your stint with the Bears is a miracle. So funny how full of themselves these people are. You are a very average coach and the game is passing you by. You hired Les Frazier to coach your defense. Ummm…NEWS FLASH – Les Fraizier was a good D coordinator 10 years ago when the “Tampa 2” was relevant. The previous 2 seasons Mr. Frazier coached one of the worst defenses in not only the league, but in the history of the Vikings franchise! You were given 2 years too long. If you wouldn’t have had a great, and also very lucky, defense in 2005, no one would even know who you are. Go have a beer with Rex Grossman and you guys can talk about how great you both are but never got enough time to build your vision….just wow really.

  18. Funny Chicago sucked before Lovie got there and were in the conversation while he was there and now suck again. Last year the Bucs were in most of their games.

    Fans are tough to please unless you win it all.

    Why coach in the NFL? Winning coaches get fired all the time and its worst if you are in a project faze of turning a team around.

  19. The Bucs are one of the perennially horrible franchises they would have been better off staying the course keeping stability and seeing what happened. Schiano and Morris were more than wins and losses they’d lost control of the team. Lovie did not appear to have lost control things were looking up.

  20. Honestly I think a lot of people panning the move on here want the Bucs (as well as teams who’ve struggled for a while) to keep being bad. It’s weird how a franchise that’s had one legit run of success in their 40 years of existence generates so much hate.

    The pro game passed Lovie by, it happens to a lot of coaches. Schisms was a second choice after Chip Kelly backed out at the last minute (thank god he did) and Morris wasn’t ready to be a head coach.

    The Glazers have made plenty of mistakes, but if anybody really believe Lovie was going to lead the Bucs to a respectability again, you’re either fooling yourself or you want the Bucs to be bad.

    I’m thinking more of the second since a lot of people these days derive more pleasure from bashing other teams then they do rooting for their front runners and barely better then mediocre teams.

  21. I’m a Seahawks fan I can’t speak on what happened in Tampa. I do know that Lovie Smith will develop those boys at the University of Illinois into upstanding young men.

  22. The biggest reason that Lovie was fired was because of the horrible and questionable personel decisions he made. In his first year, nearly every major signing he oversaw failed. Wether the player was bad or the coaching didn’t sink in, it just didn’t work. Most notably, DE Michael Johnson, OT Anthony Collins and QB Josh Mccown. All three were terrible in Tampa, and the former two commanded a big salary. And all three were off the team in less than a year. In the case of Mccown, many felt that backup Mike Glennon gave the team a better chance to win, which I definitely agree with. What may or may not be true is that Lovie stuck with Mccown because Lovie already knew Mccown. Whatever the reason, it was inexcusable. If your bringing in Josh freaking Mccown to be your QB, the rest of your team better be not just dolid, but damn near perfect.
    Then last year, rookie Jameis Winston brought us a level of competence under center, thus every facet of our offense improved. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was probably the best hiring the Bucs have made in over a decade, so thank you Lovie. But that defense. In pre season Lovie took over play calling duties from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. I applauded the move. I thought it would help our defense. But no. In our house, the Tennessee Titans lead by rookie QB Marcus Mariota just back handed us in our house in front of our fans on national T.V. Our defense looked terrible! No, shameful. As a coach, you have months to set your depth chart and schrme around this week one opponent. And you get whipped by a spread offense rookie QB and a head coach that would eventualy be fired before Halloween? And this game really started a revolving door at cornerback. We started with Alteraun Verner and Johnathan Banks as our starters. Then we kept changing our starting combination by putting in scrubs like Mike Jenkins, Tim Jennings, rookie Jude Abjaye-Barihmah, Sterling Moore who was pretty good actually. But it was a mess! There was no continuity, no fluidity on defense. Local media hinted at frusteration in the locker room due to the lack of direction. And in the last four games, it just died. Our directionless defense just quit. Just blew a chance at a wild card at 6-6. And I know, theplayershad a

  23. The players had a role in the December failure, but im surw they get frusterated when they work hard all season just to get torn apart by guys like Ryan Mallett, Marcus Mariota, Kirk Cousins, Blake Bortles, 40 year old Matt Hasselbeck, and who ever the hell the Rams QB is. Guys that aren’t all that good just sit back and tear our defense up. No pass rush, yet we have Lavonte David who made an all pro team by blitzing the QB. Alteraun Verner made a pro bowl by playing press coverage and Lovie might have called press coverage three times in his two years in Tampa.
    So it’s not about scheme, and it’s not racial. There is alot of misinformation out there from the natiinsl media, and from Bucs fans that just had it out for Lovie. But bad decisions on and off the field led to Lovie being fired, and so did going 8-24. Im sorry fir the long, two part comment but it’s been on my mind for a long time.
    Also, in regards to “patience”. Before the 2014 season began, Lovie Smith, Ken Whisenhunt, Jay Gruden, Mike Zimmer, Jim Caldwell and Bill O’Brien were all hired as a head coach. Four of those six made the playoffs in either 2014 or 2015. The two that did not, were both fired. And of those six head coaches, only one came in with nine years of head coaching experience.

  24. Jason licht had a plan in place, not you sir. The fact that everyone wanted to resign with the Bucs shows that you aren’t that important!

  25. Funny…Cover 2 scheme is still used in every NFL team defense , so to say the cover is old or it’s a defense scheme of the 90’s is flat wrong.

    If you wanted to say Lovie is too stubborn and reliant on TAMPA 2 or cover 2, then I think you have an argument.

    Tampa as a franchise is slightly less bad than Cleveland…really it’s Tampa and weather that make it better than Cleveland.

  26. The Bucs won some games last year despite Lovie Smith and his defense.

    Like someone said in an earlier comment… How many of the 7 or 8 open coaching jobs even considered Lovie? Not one!

    It was dreadful to watch the slants over and over against Lovies defence. Other teams made it look easy.

  27. I didn’t watch Bucs games, so I can’t comment on Lovie as a coach of that organization, but I just wanted to point out that you don’t even have to look out of the division to see how another organization was patient with their struggling coach and they made it to the Superbowl. Remember Rivera was on the hot seat for a few years, but they stuck with him and they are glad they did.

  28. Jason Licht undermined Lovie every step of the way.

    Everyone thinks Lovie was in charge, and yet…Jason Licht is said to have made the draft picks. Think about that.

    If Lovie was really in charge, don’t you think he would have insisted on drafting at least SOME defensive players? Since he is a defensive minded coach?

    Jason Licht even admitted on several occasions to being the one who crewed up the free agencies for the Bucs.

    But no…Lovie gets all the blame, even though Licht did most of the bad moves. (McCown was on Lovie)

    Licht even admitted to the two Johnson signings (Michael and George) being all his fault…along with the offensive mess ups in free agency.

    Lovie had zero control. HE was told one thing, and they did something else altogether.

  29. Tampa bay is the Niners in disguise kinda like a mirror image of management. On the other hand, Lovie was the Chicago coach for a long time and really didn’t set the world on fire over there. I think he was just too nice for too long.

  30. I agree that Lovie was too nice for too long. But again, one year with a rookie QB is just never enough time when a team is not even close to being ready to contend. He just should have been given a little more time is all I was saying. I really do hope things work out for both parties concerned. I have no ill-will toward either, seriously.

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