The Trial of Lovie Smith: What’s your verdict?

by Gary Shelton on November 10, 2015 · 4 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Coaching an NFL team is always about evidence./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Coaching an NFL team is always about evidence./ANDREW J. KRAMER

Tuesday, 6 a.m.

Lovie Smith stands accused.

The court of public opinion has gathered, and they have a list of endless charges against Smith, the coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs. They charge him with 19 counts of underachievement. They allege that an endless spin that promises that success is just a side-straddle-hop or two away. They accuse him of false hope.

Smith? He pleads not enough time. Just that.

Yes, the Bucs have been a lousy team for a very, very long time. They are recidivists of the worst kinds. It has been a lifetime since this team was in the playoffs, longer since they won a post-season game. But Smith's

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Nick Houllis November 10, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Penalty Flags- Yes the Bucs are 2nd worst. Were Sandwiched in between Rex Ryans Bills and Sean Payton’s Saints. Are those bad coaches?

Clock Management- Clock Schmanagment. One game Lovie goes for it and crosses the 50 but is called back by a flag and is now 1st and long inside Buc 30 with 28 seconds left. With the lead. Why go for it again? The next game Lovie goes for it because he has better field position. If the ball is inside the 30 with under a minute, and you have the lead, Why bother. Not every coach has to be River Boat Ron.

Wasted Time Outs- could use some improvement here.

Sitting on Leads- One game readers complained Lovie didn’t go for it instead of a FG. Next week they complained he didn’t kick the FG and not go for it. Fans are fickle, if you win your decision was heroic, if you lose, your an idiot.

Failure to get into the Red Zone- How many games have all the Dunkaneers played together? ASJ, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans…all together? Thats why the red zone isnt doing good. Besides, Koetter runs the offense. We don’t want to fire him too do we?

Repeated Free Agent Failures?- No one criticized the picking of these free agents in March/ April. Free agency isnt guaranteed, there is a gamble to it. But you only need free agency when your drafts go bust. This regime has been drafting pretty darn good, besides, Lovie and Jason Licht share the Free Agency talent scouting, Lovie may have final say on the final 53 but picking players is always agreed on, at least as long as I was aware of. The release of Jeremy Zuttah and Connor Barth were mistakes. Picking up Howard Jones, Gosder Cherilus, Joe Howley, Danny Lansanah hasn’t gone too bad has it?

Regression of last years best players? -We had players last year we could call best?? LOL Mike Evans has one of the worst games any WR can have, and still gets 150 yards. Guys having a sophomore slump, its obvious. Mankins is doing better. David is almost pushing too hard, and McCoy is hurt he pretty much admitted that yesterday. Its very obvious this team has IMPROVED by leaps and bounds from last year.

3-5 record, Lost to Tennessee who just beat the Saints, Lost to Washington who held off New England for some time, more than most teams did, Carolina who is undefeated, Atlanta at home? There are no easy schedules in the NFL.

Smith is not 5-19..he is 3-5. We can’t bring in his Chicago Bears stats, we shouldn’t count a year where he is the first year coach and his first year Offensive Coordinator has a heart attack after the 3rd preseason game trying to install a new offense. Marcus Arroyo was given the job because he was the only guy who spoke the same language. I may be the only person reading this who can write some Greek. Doesn’t mean I can write this post in Greek.

We’ve spent the last two years drafting for the offense, which from a lack of mentioning in this article we can assume is doing pretty good. Lets give Lovie this draft to bring in some great defensive talent and then we can grade him on his defense.


Gary Shelton November 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

Nick, you’re my friend, and I like you. But you’ve always been willing to see greatness on the rise when the rest of us see the Bucs struggling. I suppose my standards are higher. You can accuse them of being too high. We’ve debated this before. But this is an underachieving team, period. Sad that it is, but it is. I’ve covered too many good teams to not comment upon it.

Look, it isn’t just the penalty flags, or the red zone, or the regression of stars, or the clock management, or the schedule. It’s all of it in a blender. Do you look away from all of it? Do you think the guy is doing such a great job you want to give him an extension? Not me.

I actually thought this was a reasoned discussion of the shortcomings. I didn’t call for Lovie’s head. I merely pointed out shortcomings that seem fairly obvious. If you want to argue he deserves more time, or that everything is based on Winston’s growth, well, maybe. But there ARE too many penalties, there ARE too many red zone failures, they ARE playing a weaker schedule of the NFL teams.

Losing teams lose. They can always spin it with slumps and injuries and bad calls. But it’s universal that teams find a reason for losing instead of way to win.

Want to discuss some of your protests?

1. Penalty flags. Yes, Ryan and Payton’s penalties count against them. And neither of them is exactly a coach of the year candidate this year, are they? Great coaches have disciplined teams. (Don Shula’s team led the NFL in fewest penalties 12 of 16 years). How many defensive tackles are offsides so often?

2. From his days in chicago, smith has been criticized for his clock management. It’s not a strength of his. (Some coaches work around that by having a clock guy in the press box). I’m surprised you even defend it.

3. Sitting on leads. Not a good point for you to argue after the Bucs surrendered leads of 24 and 17 in a two-week span.

4. Failure to get in the end zone. Most teams have not had all of their stars together at once. An excuse that Lovie doesn’t even use.

5. So what if no one is criticizing free agents in march? Fans always want to believe things will work out. But the Bucs’ bosses are paid for foresight, not hindsight. This team signed Anthony Collins AND Michael Johnson AND Josh McCown. That’s unforgivable, in my opinion.This isn’t about popularity. If every person in Tampa Bay loved the Collins signing, he was still a lousy player. You don’t get a pass for that.

6. It is inarguable that David, McCoy and Evans have had lesser years than last year. Inarguable. Yes, McCoy is hurt. But if he’s going to be on the field, fans have a right to expect more than four tackles in three games. McCoy said he expects more himself.

7. The schedule is one of the NFL’s weakest. Inarguable. Except for Carolina and Atlanta, the six teams have won 19 games.

8.. Yes, Smith is exactly 5-19. First year stats count, whether you want to admit it or not. Some coaches have only gotten one year. (Cam Cameron, for instance). Think he wants a pass for his first year?

9. I know you’re a lot more positive about things than I am. And that’s okay. But most of these stats are cold and solid. You can argue for Smith if you want. But there are a great many things wrong with this team. Compare them with a good team and that’s obvious.


Cecil DeBald November 10, 2015 at 7:17 am

I truthfully don’t know what I want – I don’t have a great deal of confidence in Lovie, but I dread the thought of another new coach, new GM, clean house, start over, etc. Maybe if Lovie would get a DC on par with our OC and let him actually run the defense rather than Lovie calling the shots… I do think Lovie has what it takes to be a head coach if he’d let his coordinators do what they do best.


Gary Shelton November 10, 2015 at 11:32 am

If you’re undecided, I think you have to stick with it. You have to have a conviction before you fire a guy, because it’s expensive to pay two coaches at a time. If he’s going to add a defensive coordinator — and don’t forget, he made a run at Marinelli — then it will happen in the offseason.


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