TAMPA, Fla. – It’s the time of year when coaches get fired, which means it’s fair to at least wonder about Lovie Smith.
In his first season as coach of the Buccaneers, Smith is 2-13. That kind of record in recent years has been enough to get Rob Chudzinski and Mike Mularkey fired after only one season.
Could the Bucs sack Smith after only one season?
Every indication I’m getting is that Smith is safe. He has a five-year contract. More importantly, ownership still believes Smith is the right man to turn around the franchise. And the thoughts of ownership are really all that matter.
The Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, isn’t all that involved with day-to-day operations on the football side. But the three Glazer sons that run the team (Bryan, Joel and Ed) are more invested than people realize. They’re paying close attention to everything involving the organization and they care deeply about winning.
They can’t be pleased with Smith’s first season, especially after opening the checkbook and being very aggressive in free agency. But the Glazer brothers are smart enough to realize continuity is a must if this team is going to turn the corner. They went through Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano in a very short time.
If they were to fire Smith, the Glazers would be starting over again. Despite the record, Smith’s team has shown some progress, mostly on defense.
It’s the offense that needs work. The Glazers know that and Smith should know that by now. The offense has gone through the season without a coordinator (after Jeff Tedford’s health issues). Tedford has left for the Canadian Football League and Smith needs to bring in a coordinator with some imagination.
Smith also needs to bring in a quarterback, either through the draft or free agency. He needs to overhaul the offensive line and get more out of a talented group of running backs.
Smith doesn’t appear to be on the way out. But he’s going to have to make some changes on the offensive side of the ball to keep the Glazers happy.