NFC South: Lovie Smith

Lovie Smith wants balanced offense

January, 22, 2015
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Dirk Koetter, the new offensive coordinator for the Buccaneers, won’t be running the exact same offense he did in his previous job with Atlanta. And he won’t be using the same system he did while with Jacksonville from 2007 through 2011.

“Dirk is running our offense, but what Dirk would say is that he’s running our Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense that we’re putting together, and it hasn’t been run before," coach Lovie Smith told reporters at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday. “We’re going to put all of our ideas together with that."

Smith said Koetter has a history of being flexible and playing to the strengths of his personnel.

“I think you can go back to everybody’s history and see some things that they like to do," Smith said. “Looking at Dirk, in Jacksonville, they had Maurice Jones-Drew and they were a running attack. And of course with the receivers, Matt Ryan and that crew, Devin Hester and those guys, they passed it more in Atlanta. That’s what we’re looking for. We feel like he can bring balance, and in order for us to win that’s what we need.”

The Bucs have many of the ingredients needed for a balanced attack. In the passing game, they have a pair of 1,000-yard receivers, Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. In the running game, there is talent with Doug Martin and Charles Sims.

But the offensive line needs some major work, and it remains to be seen who the quarterback will be. Josh McCown is the incumbent, but the Bucs could use the first overall pick in the draft on Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.

Whichever way the Bucs go, Smith said the goal will be to have balance on offense.

“To win in the league, you have to be able to run the football when you want to, not just when you have to," Smith said. "You need to be able to pass the football because you want to, not because you have to. Right now, we’re just going to be pretty broad with that."

Could Buccaneers pass on a QB?

January, 14, 2015
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TAMPA, Fla. -- There are an assortment of reasons why Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith hired Dirk Koetter as his offensive coordinator.

But let's break it down to one common belief.

"I do think in the NFL it's easier to win when you have a franchise quarterback, but I don't think it's a necessity that you have a franchise quarterback," Koetter said in a Tuesday conference call with the Tampa Bay media.

Let's keep that in mind for the next few months. The Bucs hold the first pick in the draft and the common belief is they'll take a quarterback -- either Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Florida State's Jameis Winston. That seems likely, maybe even certain. I'd take one of them because you (theoretically) should only get the No. 1 pick once every generation or so.

But let's say the Bucs aren't sold on Mariota's ability to convert from a spread offense into a more conventional pro-style system. Or let's say they're scared off by what might be red flags in Winston's background.

Maybe they don't even draft a quarterback. Would that decision, coming from Smith, surprise you?

Smith has said several times over that you win in the NFL with defense. He has said you can get to eight or 10 wins with strong defense and good special teams and whatever you get from the offense is a bonus.

Let's keep in mind that one of Smith's first moves as Tampa Bay's coach was to bring in veteran Josh McCown. He'll never be confused with a franchise quarterback. McCown is a very good backup and a border-line starter if you have a very good team around him.

The Bucs don't have a very good team. Maybe that's why they went 2-14, although McCown did miss five games with a thumb injury. But Smith has a stubborn strength (let's all remember he believes the Tampa 2 defense still works) and it's not impossible to imagine him skipping the quarterbacks and going with a defensive end or offensive tackle with the top draft pick.

Koetter's first comments didn't shoot down the possibility of passing on a quarterback.

"I mean, other people have won a lot of games and they didn't necessarily have a franchise quarterback," Koetter said. "The thing is, people have to remember, those guys aren't just out there walking around on the street. Franchise quarterbacks are hard to come by and they're few and far between. I do think it's definitely possible to win without it. But I do think your odds go up if you have one."
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TAMPA, Fla. -- The new offensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has no better idea who the team’s quarterback will be than you or I.

“Who the Bucs are going to pick with the first pick, I’m the last guy to ask that question to right now," Dirk Koetter said Tuesday afternoon. “I have no idea."

Koetter was speaking with the Tampa Bay media via conference call and made his first public comments since being hired last week. There already is a lot of speculation about whether the Bucs will take Oregon’s Marcus Mariota or Florida State’s Jameis Winston with the first pick in the 2015 NFL draft. There even is some speculation the Bucs could stick with incumbents Josh McCown and Mike Glennon and go in a different direction with the draft pick.

But Koetter wasn’t shedding any light on who the quarterback will be in 2015.

"You’re going to be disappointed in the answer because I have no idea," Koetter said. “That’s somebody else. (General manager) Jason (Licht) and coach (Lovie) Smith will be in charge of making that decision."

Despite his early dancing, there’s no question Koetter will have plenty of say in what happens at quarterback. He knows a fair amount about McCown and Glennon, but give him a little time to get up to speed on the draft prospects. As Koetter pointed out, Mariota hasn’t declared himself eligible for the draft yet, so he can’t be commented on.

“When you’re coaching in the NFL, you’re watching college football in the distance," Koetter said. “I watch college football for fun. Once we get started and we’re focusing on guys you’re going to draft, now you drill down and really watch guys and put grades on them and that sort of thing. But until then, heck, I watch college football for fun. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you."

But Koetter will have some opinions by the time the draft rolls around. He has several months to watch tape of Mariota, Winston, McCown and Glennon. Koetter is correct in saying the decision will be up to Licht and Smith, but he’s going to have a big voice in this decision.
TAMPA, Fla. -- There’s one small flaw with all this speculation about Rod Marinelli joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the defensive coordinator.

The Bucs already have a defensive coordinator.

That’s Leslie Frazier's job, and I don’t see the Bucs parting ways with him. Much of the speculation about Marinelli comes because of his close friendship with coach Lovie Smith. That’s all true and they have plenty of history together.

But Frazier and Smith also have a strong relationship. In addition to the one year they already have coaching together, they developed a healthy respect for each other back when they were head coaches in the NFC North.

Smith isn’t the kind of guy to dump someone he respects to bring in his buddy, and Frazier didn’t do a bad job in 2014. The defense ended up ranked No. 25 overall, but it showed dramatic improvement over the second half of the season.

If Marinelli leaves Dallas, I still could see him ending up with the Bucs. But I don’t think it would come at Frazier’s expense.

I can see the Bucs bringing in Marinelli as something like a senior defensive assistant. Or maybe Marinelli returns to his roots and coaches the defensive line.

But it’s tough to see him coming in as the defensive coordinator.
TAMPA, Fla. -- There are conflicting reports out there about Rod Marinelli perhaps joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' coaching staff.

Marinelli
Pro Football Talk reported that Marinelli is expected to become Tampa Bay's defensive coordinator. That makes plenty of sense because Marinelli and Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith are close friends.

But a league source told ESPN.com that the report was "pure speculation." Smith told The Tampa Bay Times that he had not spoken to Marinelli and there was no validity to the story.

In an interview with 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the team wants to keep Marinelli, whose contract is expiring.

"I know Rod Marinelli has done a fantastic job for us since he's been here," Garrett said. "He's done a great job coordinating our defense this year. We have every intention of keeping Rod Marinelli in his current role as defensive coordinator. We'll take care of the business things after we take care of the business of today, but Rod's a helluva coach and has done amazing things with our football team this year."
Maybe this time around, we'll see the up-tempo offense Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith promised when he was hired in January 2014.

The Bucs agreed to terms with Dirk Koetter to be their offensive coordinator Thursday night. Koetter has considerable experience as an NFL play-caller and has been a college head coach at Boise State and Arizona State.

This hire should solve what was a very big problem for the Bucs this season, when they were 30th in total offense.

Tampa Bay tabbed Jeff Tedford to be the offensive coordinator in 2014, but he had heart surgery just before the season and did not return to the team. Quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo called the plays with help from the offensive staff, and things didn't go well. The Bucs never really got into an offensive rhythm and the up-tempo scheme was scrapped, except for at the end of games.

With Koetter, the Bucs are likely to run that up-tempo offense. The past three seasons in Atlanta, he mixed in a no-huddle offense to keep defenses off-balance.

Inserting an offensive scheme might not be Koetter's only challenge. The Bucs hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and they could use it on Oregon's Marcus Mariota or Florida State's Jameis Winston, so Koetter might have to get a rookie ready in a hurry.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The more I watched Marcus Mariota in Thursday night's Rose Bowl, the more convinced I became that the Oregon quarterback can fit nicely with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

I went into the game thinking Mariota was a product of Oregon's up-tempo, spread offense. I came out of it thinking Mariota can fit in with just about any type of offense.

Mariota can do more than run, which he does quite well. He showed signs he can be a good pocket passer as his team shredded Florida State.

Mariota is no Tim Tebow, and that’s a wonderful thing. Mariota showed all sorts of signs he can succeed at the NFL level.

That’s where the Bucs come in. They hold the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft and there’s an excellent chance they’ll use it on a quarterback.

Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston are the highest-rated quarterbacks by virtually all the draft experts. Despite the score, Winston didn’t play all that badly. He showed signs he can succeed in a pro-style offense.

But, with Tampa Bay general manager Jason Licht in attendance, Mariota moved ahead of Winston in the pecking order.

The scouting combine, private workouts and interviews will come in the future. And the Bucs certainly should look closely at tape of all of the games played by Mariota and Winston before making a final decision.

But, at the moment, Mariota has the edge. There are skeptics that say Mariota can’t thrive in a pro-style offense, but I saw evidence to the contrary. But I’m not sure Mariota needs to play in a pro-style offense in the NFL.

Conventional wisdom says there’s no way conservative Tampa Bay coach Lovie Smith would go with a spread offense. But Smith went 2-14 last season and the offense was dreadful, so conventional wisdom goes out the window.

Why not bring in an offensive coordinator like Rob Chudzinski? He had a lot of success running the spread offense with Carolina and Cam Newton.

Who says the Bucs have to make Mariota fit in their system? If they build a system to take advantage of Mariota’s strengths, they might end up with the first true franchise quarterback in team history.
TAMPA, Fla. -- It's unlikely that what happens in Thursday's Rose Bowl firmly will make a decision for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it's going to be a piece of the puzzle.

As you may have heard, the Bucs have the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft. As you may have concluded by watching them play this season, quarterback could be a priority.

The Rose Bowl features the top two quarterbacks of the players expected to enter the draft. That's Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston, and the Bucs will be watching closely.

Bucs general manager Jason Licht will be at the Rose Bowl and he said earlier this week that coach Lovie Smith may join him.

"It's two powerhouses, in the Rose Bowl, vast amounts of NFL talent on the field, two Heisman guys," Licht told The Tampa Tribune's Martin Fennelly. "It has everything. I can't wait. I'm pumped. It'll be like when I was a kid, going to my first college game with my dad."

Licht can't comment directly on Mariota or Winston because they're underclassmen and have yet to declare for the draft. The Bucs certainly will be looking at some other players in this game, but it's obvious their main focus will be on Mariota and Winston.

Over the next few months, the Bucs have a huge decision to make. They have to decide if Mariota or Winston can be a franchise quarterback or if they should go in another direction.

There will be the scouting combine and individual workouts and the Bucs will be looking at film of what happened during the season. But the Rose Bowl is the first major step in the scouting process.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers season report card

December, 31, 2014
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video » AFC: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into the 2014 season talking optimistically about a fast turnaround under new coach Lovie Smith. The Bucs were aggressive in free agency, and the company line was the team didn't want to ask fans to be patient any longer.

In reality, the patience of the fans was put to a strong test during a 2-14 season.

Smith's system didn't take hold right away and defeats piled up. Blowout losses to Atlanta and Baltimore were ugly, and there were painful, close losses along the way. The defense showed signs of improvement as the season went on, but this team didn't do much to build optimism for the future. Major personnel moves will have to come in the offseason.

Team MVP: Gerald McCoy. The defensive tackle was a constant on a team that didn't have much consistency. He finished with 8.5 sacks in a season cut short by a knee injury. McCoy was strong against the run and pass, and he also provided strong leadership. The team rewarded him with a big contract extension at midseason. That assures the team has at least one building block in place for the long term. The Bucs could use a bunch of other pieces as solid as McCoy.

Best moment: This season didn't have many highlights, but the Week 4 victory at Pittsburgh definitely was the shining moment. It came with second-year pro Mike Glennon filling in for an injured Josh McCown at quarterback and provided early-season hope. It showed Smith's system could work. The Bucs weren't able to build anything positive off the Pittsburgh win, but it showed they could be competitive on the road against a good team.

Worst moment: You could go in any number of directions on this one, but I think there's a hands-down winner. That was the Nov. 30 home game against Cincinnati. The Bucs seemed to do everything they needed to get a win. They drove the ball into field-goal range in the closing seconds for what seemed like a certain victory. But the play was called back because the Bucs were penalized for having 12 men in the huddle. They wound up losing 14-13.

2015 outlook: The good news is things probably can't get worse. The honeymoon is over for Smith, who needs to show positive results quickly. Despite the losing, Smith talked repeatedly about how his team was improving. You could see that in small portions, particularly on the defense. But the improvement needs to become much more obvious in Smith's second season. His team has the No. 1 overall draft pick and is likely to be active in free agency, and the Bucs need to start winning games or else Smith will end up on the hot seat.
TAMPA, Fla. -- They walked out of the locker room carrying their belongings in thrash bags, which could have been symbolic.

But none of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were calling their 2-14 season garbage. Instead, they were looking at it as a step toward much better things. They saw enough bright spots in coach Lovie Smith's first season to believe that this team can be a winner.

Perhaps more importantly they saw sanity and stability in their coach. That alone puts them ahead of where they were during the tenures of former coaches Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano.

McCoy
McCoy
"Last year was madness," defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said after cleaning out his locker Monday morning. "This year it was losing. I can handle that. I'm serious. Last year everybody was walking through the locker room and nobody knew what was going to happen. I didn't know who my teammates were going to be, my coach, GM. I didn't know anything. This year, I know all of that. We just lost this year. Seriously, compared to last year, 2-14 ain't bad."

But they're not planning on staying at 2-14.

"Things will change," McCoy said. "I guarantee that."

The reason for the optimism, the players said, is because they have faith in Smith and general manager Jason Licht.

Dietrich-Smith
"The team, in my mind, is headed in the right direction," center Evan Dietrich-Smith said. "Obviously we have some very high draft picks coming up here. I trust that upstairs will get that all squared away."

They also pointed to the fact there weren't any major distractions or controversies despite the losing.

"We fought as a team all year," Dietrich-Smith said. "We never really laid down. There wasn't a lot of disarray or a lot of bad reports of grumblings. Guys came to work, fought hard and were pros about everything."

Players said Smith's final message to the team was positive.

"He didn't mention much negative, if any," McCoy said. "It was all the positives. One thing he did that was awesome was he told all the guys that were on the team this year thank you. He told us this thing will turn around and a championship is coming and everybody who was on the team this year played a part in setting the foundation. Whether they're here next year or when we do win a championship, they played a role in it with setting the foundation. Stuff like that is why I believe in him."
TAMPA, Fla. – Finding an offensive coordinator will be the first offseason order of business for the Buccaneers, coach Lovie Smith said Monday.

“As soon as possible,’’ Smith said, when asked for a timetable on filling the job. “We’re not playing a game tomorrow or anything like that, but I’d like to get the staff in place as soon as possible. But at the same time not rushing anything. We have time. I’m going to take my time and use this opportunity to talk to as many people as I possibly can.’’

The Bucs went through a unique situation in the 2014 season. Jeff Tedford was brought in to be the offensive coordinator and he installed his system in the offseason program and training camp. But Tedford needed heart surgery at the end of the preseason. Initially, it was thought Tedford would return quickly. But he ended up taking a leave of absence and the team eventually let him out of his contract in December.

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Mitchell Layton/Getty ImagesLovie Smith says his next offensive coordinator will have 'full range to implement his system.'
In the meantime, the play-calling duties fell on quarterbacks coach Marcus Arroyo with input from the rest of the offensive staff. The offense struggled all season, finishing 30th in the league.

Smith said the process of hiring an offensive coordinator already has begun, although some coaches he might want to talk to are off limits because they’re in the playoffs. Smith said he isn’t locked into getting someone with NFL experience as a coordinator.

“I would like to get the best offensive coordinator,’’ Smith said. “I just don’t think you put yourself in a box. You look and you talk to as many people as possible. Every guy in the NFL was once in college. I don’t think you can close the door on that. All available guys that I think we should talk to that give us a chance to be successful offensively, I owe it to the organization to talk to them.’’

The Bucs hold the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and they could end up taking a quarterback. Smith said, if his team goes that route, the offensive coordinator needs to be someone who can develop a quarterback.

“That will definitely be a part of it,’’ Smith said. “If you have to be down where we are right now to have a chance to – we start the domino effect as far as the draft. To me, it should be an attractive job for guys out there. That will affect it a little bit. But it’s not like we’re going to reinvent how football is played or anything like that. There are certain parameters that I’m looking for in an offensive coordinator and I think we’ll be able to get them.’’

Smith said he will give his offensive coordinator freedom.

“Of course I’m going to give him hard, specific things that I want him to do,’’ Smith said. You want to know those specific things? We want to have balance. We want a productive offense. That’s a pretty wide variety of range on what we want to do. Contrary to public opinion, for some, we don’t want to run the ball out of a 100-play game, we don’t want to run it 99 times. We just want balance.

“We’re keeping all options open, from spread looks to – we just want to be able to run and pass the football when we want to and when we need to. If we mold this Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense together, it’s not like I’m going to be over the guy’s shoulder saying do this, do that. I’ve given a lot of offensive coordinators that I’ve had a lot of full range to implement their system.’’

Josh McCown realistic about his future

December, 28, 2014
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TAMPA, Fla. -- At the conclusion of a 2-14 season, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown had no illusions about his future.

With a 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints, the Bucs secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. That means there’s a good chance the Bucs will draft a quarterback.

“You guys know my history and where I’ve been in this league,’’ said McCown, who has been in the NFL for 12 years.

I wouldn’t expect any other answer from McCown, who has been a starter and a backup while bouncing around the league. He’s a team player and he realizes that his age (he’ll turn 36 before next season) prevents him from being a long-term option.

Especially for a team that has a chance to get a franchise quarterback. McCown said he supports whatever coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht elect to do at quarterback.

“Whatever we decide to do, I trust those guys,’’ McCown said. “I trusted them when they brought me here. You can’t all of the sudden when they make a decision that doesn’t favor you go, 'I don’t trust them anymore.' I know that they’re going to make a great decision to help this team moving forward. Regardless of what that is, I want to help that guy help our team win football games.

“If that’s a defensive tackle, whatever I can do to help him. ... If it’s a quarterback, so be it. My mindset doesn’t change. I said when I got here that I want to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers be successful. That’s my goal and I want to see the quarterback position play efficient football and we didn’t get that done this year. That’s what my five months will be about is how can I improve that as a player for myself and then help our group do that as well.’’

McCown’s bright enough to know that Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston are the two highest-rated quarterbacks in this year’s draft and there’s a chance the Bucs will take one of them.

“There’s a whole crop of guys coming and then the next year there’s going to be a whole crop of guys coming again and again and again,’’ McCown said. “That’s just part of this game. How you approach the game and being a pro is what keeps you in this game. I don’t really get caught up in where we’re picking and all those things. I know this: You’ve got to build your team through the draft and you’ve got to hit on your picks.’’

Bucs need franchise QB with No. 1 pick

December, 28, 2014
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WinstonUSA TODAY SportsJameis Winston and Marcus Mariota haven't announced plans to enter the draft, but they likely will.
TAMPA, Fla. -- The most important game for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week might not be their season-ending 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Instead, it might be the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.

General manager Jason Licht will be there. Coach Lovie Smith might join him. More importantly, Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State’s Jameis Winston will be playing in Pasadena, California.

Those are the two quarterbacks the Bucs might be choosing between in May. That much became certain Sunday as the Bucs secured the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft with a loss to the Saints at Raymond James Stadium.

The way the Bucs cemented the pick is up for conversation. They had a 20-7 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Then they inserted a whole bunch of young players. That led to questions about the Bucs trying to "tank" the game in order to get the No. 1 pick.

"In the second half, we wanted to look at some more football players," Smith said. "We're not going to the playoffs and we have a comfortable lead and we're going to run the football. The guys we had out there fought right up until the end. [The Saints] made some plays to win the game at the end."

In the final analysis, debate of whether the Bucs were playing for the No. 1 pick doesn't matter. What does matter is they have the No. 1 pick, and the debate about Mariota and Winston is only beginning.

More than anything the Bucs have done in years, they have to make the right call with this pick. Sure, there's a chance they could decide to go with a defensive end or an offensive tackle. But the Bucs, who finished 2-14 and were dismal on offense, have to at least consider a quarterback with the first pick.

"Right now, we’re going to evaluate it all," Smith said. "Our play at the quarterback position hasn't been good enough, as it hasn't been good enough at any position, starting with my position. It's a total evaluation of everything."

It's pretty obvious the Bucs already have evaluated their current quarterbacks, Josh McCown and Mike Glennon. It also is pretty obvious that neither one of those guys is the long-term answer. McCown will turn 36 before next season starts and the coaching staff's refusal to take another look at Glennon late in the season shows he is not in the plans.

The Bucs have a chance at a potential franchise quarterback in Mariota or Winston. In theory, you shouldn't have a chance at a franchise quarterback too often because you shouldn't always be at the top of the draft.

Even the Bucs, who have a .385 winning percentage all-time, haven't held the No. 1 overall pick since 1987. That year, they drafted quarterback Vinny Testaverde. Things didn't work out as planned, but that had more to do with the shortcomings of Testaverde's supporting cast than it did with the quarterback.

This situation is different. The Bucs have a defense that showed promise as the season went on. They also have an excellent pair of receivers in Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.

It's not much of a leap to say all the Bucs need to turn things around is a quarterback. They just have to pick the right one.
TAMPA, Fla. -- Observed and heard in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' locker room after their 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday:

Smith
Coach Lovie Smith and multiple players took offense to suggestions the Bucs might have tanked to make sure they secured the No. 1 pick. But the Bucs did squander a 13-point lead during a fourth quarter in which they were playing a lot of backups, so that's going to lead to questions.

"I don't think anybody tanked it," quarterback Josh McCown said.

As he came off the field, wide receiver Vincent Jackson gave the No. 1 sign to fans. I don't think he was saying the Bucs were No. 1, since they finished their season 2-14. It's obvious Jackson was making reference to the draft, which could bring him a new quarterback.

Smith said he is eager to put 2014 behind him and pledged that it won't be long before the Bucs are winners.

He also said linebacker Danny Lansanah did not start because he violated an unspecified team rule.
TAMPA, Fla. -- At the end of the preseason, it didn’t seem like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers thought very much of wide receiver Louis Murphy. At the end of the regular season, it’s obvious the Bucs value Murphy significantly.

Murphy
What happened in between? Murphy earned playing time and respect. He emerged as Tampa Bay’s third receiver and collected 31 catches for 380 yards and two touchdowns.

Not bad for a guy who was released at the end of the preseason. But the Bucs quickly brought Murphy back and he began carving out a role. His season ended a little early due to a knee injury, but the Bucs wanted to make sure Murphy stuck around.

Murphy was signed to a three-year contract extension Friday.

“You want to reward players that take the long way and earn it the right way," Bucs coach Lovie Smith said. “We like him. When he was healthy and ready to go as our third receiver, he did some positive things as our third receiver. He’s somebody that we want to keep building with."

Murphy, who grew up in nearby St. Petersburg, said he wanted to stay with the Bucs instead of testing free agency. Despite the team's 2-13 record, Murphy said he believes the Bucs are heading in the right direction and he wants to be with them for the turnaround.

“I believe in this team," Murphy said. “I believe in Coach Lovie. I believe in the organization. I believe in all the guys that are in that locker room regardless of what the record says. I believe that we’re going to be contenders in the future, and I want to be a part of it. I want to see it turn around."

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