Let the snore-fest begin in Tampa Bay, where former Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith was officially named as the Bucs head coach. It was a typical Lovie Smith press conference. He stopped short of naming “Mike is our quarterback” but he alluded to “getting off the bus running” when talking about his offensive philosophy. Let’s look at some of the highlights from Lovie’s homecoming presser:
“We did lay a foundation for Tampa Bay Buccaneer football,” Smith said. “There’s a certain brand of football that you expected from us. That would be relentless, you play hard, physical, but there was a brand of football that you did get from us each week at Raymond James Stadium. It was hard for opponents to come in and win.
“We have gotten away from that a little bit. And it is time, as we go to the future, for us to become a relevant team again.”
Referencing the past glory and appealing the meatballs? Check.
Don’t bother asking Lovie about what kind of scheme they’ll run or how cover corner Darrelle Revis fits in:
“No one should ask me if we’re a 3-4 team,” Smith said. “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 — and especially Darrelle Revis — that we don’t play Cover 2 every snap, all right? We have a place for a great cover corner that’s physical and can do all things.”
On what he’s been doing for the last year.
“When you’re off for a year, you get a chance to watch a lot of football games. And I really like the foundation that’s here,” Smith said. “I’m excited about being here, excited about taking the next step and improving our ball club to get back to where we belong.”
While we know that he’s hiring Jeff Tedford as his offensive coordinator and former Chicago Bear, the recently fired Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator, Lovie was asked about the rest of the staff:
“Stern teachers that can relate to players,” Smith said of what he’s looking for in his staff. “After you get that staff together, then it’s about getting the personnel. In the end, it’s the players out there and getting a certain type of players, athletes at very position.
“And then just day-to-day keeping a positive attitude in the building where everyone feels good about coming here.”
The Bucs still don’t have a GM in place, but Lovie is eager to get one in place:
“I look at it as a marriage,” Smith said. “There’s a big group making the decisions. Of course, as the head football coach, most things do stop at your doorstep.
“We don’t have a general manager in place. Once our owners decide who will be in that role, I look forward to getting with them and making decisions together that are going to lead us to a championship.”
At least he didn’t say that their number one goal is to beat the Packers, er, Panthers.
Lovie faces a tough challenge with a difficult division in the NFC South. Two of his division rivals are still alive in the playoffs, with both the #2 seed Carolina Panthers and #6 seed Wild Card New Orleans Saints still in action as playoff teams. The Atlanta Falcons, who were the top seed in the NFC last season but hit hard times this season with injuries, will be looking for a bouceback season.
The Bucs head to Soldier Field in 2014 to face the Bears.