Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Lovie Smith: Bucs not looking for quick fix
By Pat Yasinskas
I thought Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht made a very nice statement last week when he said he didn't think it was fair to ask fans to be patient.
Licht was talking about why the Buccaneers have been so active in free agency. Coming off a 4-12 season, change is necessary. But I think those who believe the Bucs simply are trying to buy a winning season are off target.
"We're not trying to put a dream team together or a quick fix," coach Lovie Smith said at the NFL owners meeting last week.
Smith's right. What the Bucs have done has been to take a calculated approach toward improving their roster. But it's important to note the Bucs mostly have been adding complementary players to their existing nucleus. Of all the players the Bucs have signed as free agents, I'd say defensive end Michael Johnson and cornerback Alterraun Verner might be the only ones that qualify as core players.
"We're trying to improve our ball club and we addressed some areas. I'm going to piggyback on what Jason said. One of my first statements was that I couldn't wait for the day when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were relevant again. It's all on the same line. There's no rebuilding," Smith said.
No rebuilding, but there definitely is some building going on. The Bucs have added a slew of role players to go along with core players such as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, linebacker Lavonte David, receiver Vincent Jackson and running back Doug Martin.
"You look at every position and you evaluate every player on your team and see if you need to improve that position," Smith said. "If we think we do need a lot of improvements in a lot of areas I think you do owe it to your fans -- and not just our fans, but everybody who loves the Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- to do that. That's what we've done. We're going to do the same thing in the draft. Right now we have the seventh (overall) pick. We could move up. We could move back. We're going to add some more football players that will be new. I'm not afraid of new.”
New can be good. There's no question the Bucs have a better roster today than they did at the end of last season. With the exception of quarterback Josh McCown, 34, their biggest additions have been in their 20s. The Bucs are building to win now but they're also doing it with a goal to stay good for the foreseeable future.