NFC South: Jason Licht

Buccaneers need to focus on future

November, 24, 2014
Nov 24
CHICAGO – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a game Sunday, 21-13 to the Bears. But the amazing thing is they didn’t lose any ground in the NFC South standings.

They’re 2-9 and, believe it or not, they remain in playoff contention. That’s what happens when you play in the worst division in football. The Bucs are only two games out of first place in the win column.

New Orleans, which hosts Baltimore on Monday night, is 4-6. Atlanta, which lost to Cleveland on Sunday, is 4-7. Carolina, which had a bye, is 3-7-1.

Then, there are the Bucs, who squandered a first-half lead at Chicago. If they can somehow win a few games down the stretch, they could make the playoffs.

But, then again, what makes you think the Bucs are capable of winning the majority of their remaining five games? Nothing they’ve shown us this season brings any confidence that this team is ready to go on a roll.

Coach Lovie Smith keeps saying his team is improving and, in small portions, it is. But this is a team that needs another offseason to get the roster up to speed.

That brings up another point. There are bound to be some fans out there that say the Bucs should tank the rest of the season to get the earliest draft pick possible. I disagree with that.

The Bucs should continue to try to win as long as they’re mathematically in the hunt. Besides, they’re perfectly capable of playing their way into the No. 1 draft pick even if they stick with the status quo.

But it’s time for Smith and general manager Jason Licht to start thinking about next year. Long before the draft, they’ll need to decide who stays and goes from the current roster.

They should be looking to see who still is playing hard and who fits in Smith’s system. There obviously are some veterans that don’t appear to have much of a future.

But it’s all about the future for the Bucs. They need to focus on next season while still hanging by a thread in the NFC South race.

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TAMPA, Fla. -- The Lovie Smith era has started about as poorly as possible. Smith and general manager Jason Licht came in saying they were in a "win-now" mode because they didn't feel it was fair to ask Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans to be patient. They were aggressive in free agency, but none of those signings has made a major impact so far. Injuries have played a part in the slow start, but they're not a valid excuse for what has happened. This team has struggled in every area, and there haven't been many signs that things are going to improve.

Midseason MVP: Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy has been a bright spot on a team that hasn't had many. Despite drawing constant double-teams and playing part of the time with a broken hand, McCoy has been a disruptive force in the middle of the defensive line. He has played the run very well and has been the most consistent pass-rusher the Bucs have. That's why the Bucs recently signed McCoy to a seven-year, $98 million contract extension.

Biggest disappointment: The defense. This unit was supposed to be a strength under Smith, who is supposed to be a defensive guru, with McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David forming the nucleus. McCoy and David have done their parts, but the rest of the defense has been a disaster. The Bucs are ranked last in overall defense, and a lot of people are wondering whether Smith's Tampa 2 scheme is outdated. Defensive end Michael Johnson, who was brought in to bolster the pass rush, hasn't been a factor.

Best moment: There's only one choice here, and that's the Sept. 28 win against Pittsburgh. It came on the road and was easily Tampa Bay's best overall performance of the season. Quarterback Mike Glennon was making his first start of the season, and he threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns. The Bucs trailed late in the game, but the defense came up with a huge stop. The offense got the ball back with 40 seconds left, and Glennon led the drive to a game-winning touchdown.

Worst moment: You can take your pick of several, and the blowout loss to Atlanta is a strong candidate. But I'm going with the 48-17 loss to Baltimore. That was the worst because it came at home after a week in which the coaches and players were promising an improved performance. Instead, the Bucs turned in their worst performance of the season. They fell behind quickly and trailed 38-0 at halftime.

Key to the second half: Playoff hopes disappeared a long time ago, but the second half of this season is important on several levels. Although it would be unusual to fire a coach (especially one on a five-year contract) after only one season, it's not unprecedented. Smith needs a few wins and some signs of improvement to fully secure his job. This season still can turn out to be a success if the Bucs finish strong and build some momentum heading into next season.
TAMPA, Fla. -- They talked like they were drafting the second coming of John Lynch.

Instead, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of a past regime might have hit on a second Sabby Piscitelli.

The current regime was only too happy to give up on 2012 first-round pick Mark Barron on Tuesday as the NFL's trading deadline approached. Barron was shipped to the St. Louis Rams for fourth- and sixth-round picks in 2015. The Bucs also traded reserve linebacker Jonathan Casillas to the New England Patriots. The Bucs will get New England’s fifth-round pick next season and send their 2015 sixth-round pick to the Patriots.

But it's the trade of Barron that's most significant. The current tandem of coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht obviously didn't share the same high opinion of Barron that former coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik did only two years ago.

Hindsight is always 20-20, but the Bucs could have taken linebacker Luke Kuechly with the seventh overall pick in the first round in 2012. Instead, they passed and took Barron. Kuechly won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 and Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 while playing for Carolina.

Barron hasn't been a total bust like Piscitelli, but he has produced only three interceptions in three seasons. Barron never has come close to playing up to his potential.

Barron became expendable in part because the Bucs have a trio of mediocre safeties in Bradley McDougald, Major Wright and Keith Tandy. None of those safeties has as much natural talent as Barron. But Barron's talent wasn't showing in the current system.

Barron also became expendable because he just wasn't as good as advertised. Maybe Barron turns into a force in St. Louis. But he was nothing more than mediocre in Tampa Bay.

Anybody else think the 2012 Bucs should have gone linebacker and drafted Kuechly?
TAMPA, Fla. -- Give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers credit for finally getting something right.

The team has struggled through a 1-5 start and hasn’t made the playoffs since last decade. But Saturday, the Bucs made the best move they’ve made in a very long time.

They signed All-Pro defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to a seven-year contract extension worth $98 million. That makes McCoy the highest-paid defensive tackle in the league, but he deserves every bit of it. He’s the best defensive tackle in the league and still has upside.

But McCoy is more than just a defensive tackle. He’s the leader of this franchise on and off the field. He recently has called himself out for not playing up to par and called the Bucs’ defense "soft." Those words mean a lot from McCoy because he has the résumé to back them up.

The McCoy extension is also a sign that coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht are going forward with their plan on how to build the Bucs. Smith has made it clear he wants to build a defense like the Bucs had in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

That’s when the Bucs had Warren Sapp at defensive tackle and Derrick Brooks at weakside linebacker. The new Bucs are in great shape at both of those positions with McCoy filling the Sapp role and Lavonte David drawing favorable comparisons to Brooks.

David is likely to get his contract extension after this season, and that will lock up the Bucs’ nucleus for the long term. Despite the team's record, Smith and Licht are going about things the right way. They’ve made sure their best player doesn’t get anywhere near free agency.

They still need another offseason of personnel moves to really be competitive, but the Bucs have made sure they’ve secured their main building block. McCoy is a leader on and off the field, and, if the Bucs can fill in some of the holes around him on defense, they can truly be like the Bucs of old.

Honeymoon has worn off Lovie Smith

October, 12, 2014
Oct 12
TAMPA, Fla. -- The summer of Lovie is over.

It ended Sunday afternoon as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost, 48-17, to the Baltimore Ravens. If you want to get even more specific, you can point to when the Ravens made the score 28-0 with one second remaining in the first quarter as the breaking point. Or maybe it was when Baltimore reached its high-water mark with a 38-0 lead in the second quarter.

Whenever, it now is safe to say Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith no longer is the most popular guy in town. Many of the same fans that applauded Smith’s hiring back in January were booing him as Baltimore’s lead got out of hand.

[+] EnlargeLovie Smith
Cliff McBride/Getty Images"We're not a good football team," coach Lovie Smith said. "It's kind of as simple as that."
Smith’s honeymoon period is over. The guy that was supposed to turn the franchise around has it off to a 1-5 start and the natives are getting restless. You could hear it in the noise coming from the stands.

“[A record of] 1-5 says we’re not a good football team and we're not a good football team," Smith said. “It’s kind of as simple as that."

Even the die-hards that point to the fact that Tony Dungy got off to a miserable start in his first season in Tampa Bay have to be starting to wonder if Smith really is the answer. Take the 56-14 loss to Atlanta in September and put the Baltimore loss on top of it and you’ve got convincing evidence that the Bucs are a bad football team.

It’s significant to remember that the Bucs were very aggressive in free agency. Smith and general manager Jason Licht said several times over that they were aiming to win right away because it wasn’t fair to ask the fan base to be patient any longer. That made fans think the losing was over. But the Bucs on Sunday didn’t look any better than the product former coach Greg Schiano put on the field the past couple of years.

"We're not as talented as we need to be in some areas," Smith said. “But, at the same time, in the areas where we are talented, it’s all kind of snowballed a little bit. We're taking our moments not to play our best ball. It's a combination. It starts with coaching. It starts with how we’re playing, but you don’t change course. We have been very disappointed in two football games that we’ve played, where we just haven’t looked like ourselves. Besides that, there still are good things looking at the overall picture."

Yeah, but it’s hard to get excited about close losses to Carolina, St. Louis and New Orleans and a victory against a Pittsburgh team that got shellacked by Cleveland on Sunday. It’s hard to get excited after you’ve seen Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco throw for five touchdowns and barely get touched by the Tampa Bay defense, which was supposed to be a strength under Smith.

"We took a step back today," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said. "Just being honest, being one of the leaders, here’s the thing, people are going to try to say it’s this or it’s that. No, no, no. We have to stop thinking and being one way. We have to just say what it is. We’re just not as good as we should be at this point. That’s the facts. We’re just not as good as we should be."

No, the Bucs aren’t as good as they should be. They’re not even close. It doesn’t help that Smith spent much of the past week talking about how improved his team was. He still stood by it even after the loss.

"I can’t explain what happened today," Smith said. "I’m going on what I’ve seen in practice, how we played last week, how we played the week before. That said, we’re getting better. Today, we didn’t take a step forward."

The Bucs better take a step forward soon or else Smith’s autumn is going to turn to winter in a hurry.

Bucs not in 'win-now' mode yet

October, 6, 2014
Oct 6
TAMPA, Fla. -- Remember back in the offseason and the preseason when Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht talked continually about how they expected to win now?

Those days are long gone with the Bucs at 1-4 and it seems like the Bucs are singing a different tune. It sounds like they're asking for more time for a young football team to come together.

A day after losing 37-31 to New Orleans in overtime, Smith was singing the positives of his football team.

"We had an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter against a good opponent," Smith said. "Start with that. Everybody contributed to that."

True, an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter in New Orleans is an accomplishment, but the Bucs didn't hold onto that lead.

"Looking at the big picture, we had an 11-point lead so we're doing something right," Smith said. "You're bringing up all the negative and I am too. But the glass being half full, we did a lot of good things also. Some things that we feel are correctable, we can take care of. And we feel like we are putting a better product on the road each week."

The Bucs have shown strides since losing, 56-14, against Atlanta. They beat Pittsburgh on the road and they had the close call in New Orleans. But Smith is talking like his football team is coming to life.

"Talking about some of the negative things, though, as a football team, we're getting better," Smith said. "If that makes sense. It seems like each week we go out and put a better product on the football field. I'm disappointed, we had an 11-point lead. But you have to be a pretty good team to get an 11-point lead like that on the road, which we are. We will tighten up these things that I've talked about to a man. And eventually we'll start winning football games consistently."

Maybe so, but fans don't want to hear about gradual progress. They want to see instant success and they haven't seen that so far. But Smith is asking for a little more time and pledging a turnaround.

"For our fans, we'll have a better football team for our fans when we come back home this week," Smith said.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht and coach Lovie Smith haven’t had their personnel decisions second guessed very much.

That’s largely because the Bucs have made a lot of good moves. But, with the team getting desperate enough to bring in guard Richie Incognito for a visit, there’s room to question at least one move by Licht and Smith.

Was it really necessary to draft running back Charles Sims in the third round? The Bucs already had good depth at running back with Doug Martin, Bobby Rainey and Mike James. But the team saw a guy who had caught over 200 passes in his college career and decided to bring Sims in as a pass-catcher out of the backfield.

It was a nice idea. But, at the time, the Bucs already knew they had a bigger need at guard. Had they not taken Sims, they could have taken Spencer Long, Gabe Jackson, Chris Watt, Trai Turner or Brandon Linder -- all guards who went in the third round.

Any of those guys would have been an instant candidate to start. Sims never was a candidate to start. That job belongs to Martin. Sims was going to be a rotational player.

But he won’t even be playing for at least the first half of the season. Sims suffered an ankle injury that will keep him out 12 to 14 weeks. You can’t control injuries and you can’t blame Licht and Smith for what happened to Sims. He still might turn out to be a terrific player.

But you certainly can question why the Bucs didn’t use a third-round pick on a guard.

Bucs should trade for Alex Boone

August, 10, 2014
Aug 10
TAMPA, Fla. -- Since taking over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht have made a lot of noise about wanting to win now.

 They backed that up with the most aggressive free-agent period in team history. No expense was spared as the Bucs brought in what could be as many as eight starters.

But it’s time to get a ninth starter. It’s time for the Bucs to trade with the San Francisco 49ers for guard Alex Boone. He’s in a contract holdout, and it doesn’t look like the cap-strapped 49ers are willing to give Boone a raise.

The Bucs easily could afford Boone. They have $13.71 million in salary-cap room and could sign Boone to a bigger contract than he already has. The price tag for such a trade likely would be a mid-round draft pick.

That’s not too steep a price to pay for a guy who could straighten out the offensive line. And the offensive line certainly needs some help. That became very apparent during Friday night’s preseason opener with Jacksonville.

The Bucs are looking at four guards (Oniel Cousins, Jamon Meredith, Patrick Omameh and Kadeem Edwards) to fill two starting spots. Smith has said it’s not time to panic about the guard situation, but it might be time to do something.

Boone would be an upgrade over any of the guards currently on the roster. He could handle one starting spot. Then, the other four guards could compete for one starting job instead of two.
After drafting mega-sized receiver Mike Evans and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht suggested a new team nickname.

"We're the Dunkaneers," Licht said.

[+] EnlargeMike Evans
AP Photo/Chris O'MearaAt 6-foot-5, rookie Mike Evans is one of several tall receivers on the Tampa Bay roster.
Evans, Seferian-Jenkins and veteran wideout Vincent Jackson each are at least 6-foot-5, giving the Bucs a group of receivers who resemble an NBA roster. Seferian-Jenkins actually played college basketball for one season.

The Bucs certainly need big-time help: In 2013, they ranked last in passing offense (176 yards per game) and 23rd in red-zone efficiency. Based on his history, new quarterback Josh McCown will enjoy having tall targets.

Playing for Chicago last year, McCown connected with Brandon Marshall (6-4), Alshon Jeffery (6-4) or Martellus Bennett (6-6) on nine of his 13 touchdown passes, including five in the red zone.

If nothing else, it will be difficult for McCown to overthrow the Bucs' big three. Evans made that clear with one particular catch during June minicamp, fully extending to make a one-handed grab worthy of a highlight reel.

"You take a player that high in the draft," new head coach Lovie Smith said of Evans, the seventh overall pick, "you expect to see some spectacular plays."

The highlight show has continued early in training camp with Evans, Seferian-Jenkins and Jackson all making nice catches. If the Bucs get those big-time plays in the regular season, their fans can expect to see a significant improvement over last season's four-win disappointment.

Lovie Smith aiming high

July, 24, 2014
Jul 24
TAMPA, Fla. – It’s the start of training camp around the NFL, and no team has lost a game yet. Hopes are high everywhere, even from teams that struggled last season.

That’s true in Tampa Bay, where coach Lovie Smith said Thursday the goal for the Buccaneers is to go to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona, and win it.

“Goal wise, it’s the same goal we’re always going to have," Smith said after his players reported to camp. “From 4-12, the goal is to go to Phoenix. It’s destination Phoenix. We want to win the Super Bowl. That’s our plan. Goal-wise, we’re going to talk about winning all of our games at Raymond James (Stadium). We want to win the NFC South division and then see where we can go from there. What record it takes to do that, I don’t know."

It’s natural for any coach to aim high. But Smith knows there’s a lot of work to be done to come anywhere near his goals.

“We are a 4-12 team now," Smith said. “The first thing we have to acknowledge is this is where we’re starting, which we have. That should give us a little more motivation. The ceiling for the team, I don’t know. All I’m going to talk to them about is just daily improvement and let’s see how good we can become, how soon we can become a really good football team. It’s just about the daily effort to me."

Reaching any or all of those goals is not unfathomable despite Tampa Bay’s record last season. The Bucs were extremely aggressive in free agency and Smith and general manager Jason Licht both have said they believed it was unfair to ask their fans to be patient. They want to win now and they think they have the roster to accomplish that.

“You have to come in with high expectations," Smith said. “As I talk about what our ultimate goal is, winning the Super Bowl, it’s all a process. For our players, we have to set that ceiling high right away. We’re starting off as a 4-12 team. Judge us from there and see the improvement and let’s just kind of see where we go."
Over on, Scott Smith has an outstanding piece on coach Lovie Smith’s first 100 days on the job. The author was given unprecedented access and that led to a very in-depth piece.

It’s 22 chapters and could pass as a book. It’s a showcase of the behind-the-scenes logic that went into Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht aggressively overhauling the roster. There is all sorts of good stuff and I strongly recommend you read it all when you have time. We don’t have the space to touch on everything here, but there was one particular highlight that jumped out at me.

It was the coach saying the Buccaneers need to win now.

"We just decided that we couldn't ask our fans to be patient anymore," Lovie Smith said. "We needed to do whatever we could to win now, and we felt like we had a plan that would work. We weren't going to sit back and wait. We were going to attack this, and the fans were going to see that we were serious about making this team better right away.’’

Licht made a similar statement at the NFL owners meeting in March. The two statements should be music to the ears of a fan base that has been starving for a winner. And it’s not just lip service.

Tampa Bay was one of the league’s most active teams in free agency. The end result is that about half of the current 90-man roster was elsewhere last year. That’s a good thing because Tampa Bay needed change after a 4-12 season.

"We evaluated our roster and said, 'These are the positions we need to change,'’’ Lovie Smith said. ‘It's as simple as that, really. We felt we really needed more of an overhaul of the roster. The plan isn't for us to be in this situation ever again, but this is something that was definitely needed.’’

There’s no arguing the last part of that statement. Major changes were needed. The new regime definitely did its part, and the Bucs appear to be in line for a big turnaround this season.
Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik’s tenure did not include a playoff berth. But, in hindsight, Dominik scored a major victory in one regard.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Bucs have the least "dead money" in the league at $901,763. Dead money is salary cap space taken up by players no longer on the roster. Although the Bucs have significant turnover this offseason, it hasn’t resulted in a lot of dead money.

No other team is close to the Bucs in dead money. The Indianapolis Colts are the closest at $1.8 million. The Dallas Cowboys lead the league with $28.7 million in dead money.

The bulk of Tampa Bay’s dead money comes from one player -- tackle Donald Penn, who was released and counts $667,000 toward the cap. The Bucs, who are $13 million under the cap, are in good shape largely due to the way Dominik structured contracts. He rarely gave out signing bonuses that are prorated over the life of a contract.

Instead, Dominik preferred to pay high salaries on the front end of contracts. That eliminated a lot of dead money when the Bucs did part ways with players.

But this tactic now has become more than a Dominik trick. It’s smart business and new general manager Jason Licht followed a path similar to what Dominik did with the contracts the Bucs have given this offseason.
TAMPA, Fla. -- During the draft, one of the phrases we heard frequently from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was "catch radius."

About 90 minutes into Friday’s rookie camp, we saw exactly what coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht were talking about. During a 7-on-7 drill, first-round draft pick Mike Evans made a leaping, one-handed catch on a ball that appeared to be overthrown by quarterback Brett Smith.

Evans, who was picked No. 7 overall, fully extended his 6-foot-4 body and snatched the ball with what had to be an extra-large catch radius.

“You take a player that high in the draft, you expect to see some spectacular plays,’’ Smith said.

Evans’ catch was the highlight of the day, but he made several other nice catches.

“We haven’t been surprised by an awful lot,’’ Smith said.

Evans has been as good as advertised. He got a head start working with the veterans earlier in the week. Smith said Evans has been picking up the offense very quickly.

“Mike, of course, has great hands and the physical ability,’’ Smith said. “You can see that. It does take a lot for a rookie to come in. We’re not there. We’re not game ready by any means right now. But we like the progress we've seen since day one.’’

Evans’ size was one of the reasons the Bucs drafted him and Smith said he’s happy with what he’s seen so far.

“It’s good to see him up close going against a 5-10 defensive back,’’ Smith said. “We have some big, tall men out there making plays. He has excellent hands. We saw that in college.’’

On Friday, they started to see those hands in the NFL.
Austin Seferian-JenkinsOtto Greule Jr/Getty ImagesThe Bucs began their Day 2 of the draft by taking Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

TAMPA, Fla. -- Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith has repeatedly talked about how his year off from coaching gave him new perspective. Apparently, that's no exaggeration.

Back in his days with the Chicago Bears, Smith was known as a coach who was focused almost solely on defense, often to the detriment of his offense and the bottom line. But Smith's Tampa Bay tenure is off to an offensive start.

A day after taking wide receiver Mike Evans with a first-round pick, the Bucs selected University of Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins in the second round (38th overall). They followed that up by taking West Virginia running back Charles Sims in the third round (69th overall).

[+] EnlargeCharles Sims
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY SportsThe Bucs took West Virginia running back Charles Sims in the third round.
It might appear as if offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford was calling the shots in the draft room, but Smith has final say over personnel matters and he has signed off on three offensive players so far.

"We had a plan and that was to get great football players," general manager Jason Licht said. "It wasn't necessarily we're just going to address the offense, but it just so happened the way it fell, I've always talked about having the best player available versus need and where they converge."

They converged on offense, largely because that side of the ball was a weakness for the Bucs last season. That helped cost coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik their jobs and brought Smith and Licht to town.

The selection of Evans was no surprise at all. The addition of Seferian-Jenkins addressed a very underrated need. The Bucs had a stockpile of tight ends already, but none of them stood out. Seferian-Jenkins will likely get a chance to start right away.

"We didn't go into the draft thinking we had to get a tight end," Licht said. "But when a guy is sticking out like a sore thumb, you pounce."

Seferian-Jenkins had 36 catches for 450 yards and eight touchdowns in his final season of college. He also played basketball early in his career and he said he can give the Bucs a complete tight end.

"I'm going to bring explosiveness," Seferian-Jenkins said. "I'm going to bring playmaking ability. I'm going to bring blocking. I'm going to bring an all-around tight end that can play on all three downs and a guy that's going to work hard and chase Super Bowls and try to win as many games as possible for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization."

The selection of Sims, who excelled as a receiver out of the backfield, was more of a surprise because the Bucs already had Doug Martin, Mike James, Bobby Rainey and Jeff Demps on the roster.

"It may seem to the outside that running back was a pretty strong position, and we felt that way, but this one kind of stood out like the tight end did," Licht said. "We have a chance to get a back that has a versatile skill set that can score points for us, and we didn't want to turn it down."
TAMPA, Fla. -- I just arrived at One Buccaneer Place and am getting set to cover tonight’s NFL draft.

I can’t tell you with any certainty who the Bucs will pick in the first round. But I can tell you the protocol for our coverage tonight.

I’ll be tweeting and live blogging up until Tampa Bay’s pick. Then, I’ll do a Rapid Reaction post with my quick thoughts on the pick.

After that, the real fun starts. The media will do a conference call with the draft pick. Around the same time, coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht will come downstairs and speak to the media about their pick.

Once the interviews are done, I’ll be back with a column on whatever happens. Buckle up, it should be a fun one.