Buccaneers introduce Lovie Smith
TAMPA, Fla. -- Pledging to bring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back to the glory days he helped usher in, Lovie Smith was formally introduced as the 10th head coach in franchise history on Monday.
Smith, 55, reflected on his time as an assistant to Tony Dungy and said that brand of football is what he expects to bring to a franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs since the 2007 season and hasn't won a playoff game since winning its only Super Bowl more than a decade ago.
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"We did lay a foundation for Tampa Bay Buccaneer football," Smith said. "There's a certain brand of football that you expected from us. That would be relentless, you play hard, physical, but there was a brand of football that you did get from us each week at Raymond James Stadium. It was hard for opponents to come in and win.
"We have gotten away from that a little bit. And it is time, as we go to the future, for us to become a relevant team again."
The Bucs went 4-12 last season under coach Greg Schiano, who was fired along with general manager Mark Dominik last week.
Smith's hiring represents a homecoming, as he kept a home in Tampa even after he left the Buccaneers and visited as often as he could. He was the linebackers coach for the Bucs during the Dungy years and went to the St. Louis Rams as defensive coordinator for 2001 and 2002 before becoming the head coach of the Chicago Bears in 2003.
With Chicago through 2012, Smith's teams went 81-63 and advanced to two NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl.
Lovie's Teams Win
The Buccaneers want to win more games, and that's one thing Lovie Smith's teams have always done in his three stops as an NFL assistant or head coach.
|Bears head coach,
|Rams defensive coordinator, 2001-03||.688|
|Buccaneers LBs coach,
|-- ESPN Stats & Information|
"As amazing as that winning pedigree sounds, what resonates even more is Lovie's high character and personal integrity," Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said. "As we talked to people around the league about him, we heard things like 'man of high principles and values,' 'master motivator,' 'great teacher,' 'calm and steady leader.'
"We are confident he is the right man to get the absolute best out of our team."
Smith, who previously had hired Jeff Tedford as his offensive coordinator, also confirmed the hiring of former Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator.
Smith, whose defenses primarily have used Tampa 2 coverage schemes, said he is "excited" to coach Bucs star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who has excelled in man-to-man coverage throughout his career.
"No one should ask me if we're a 3-4 team," Smith said. "We're a 4-3 team. There's a reason why we have Tampa 2 associated to one of our coverages. But I just want you to know -- and especially Darrelle Revis -- that we don't play Cover 2 every snap, all right? We have a place for a great cover corner that's physical and can do all things."
There had been some speculation that the Buccaneers might release Revis this offseason.
Mike and Mike
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"There's a reason why Darrelle Revis is one of the best football players in this game," Smith said. "We're excited about getting our hands on him and putting him in a position to make plays."
The Bucs still haven't named a general manager, but that's expected to come soon.
"I look at it as a marriage," Smith said. "There's a big group making the decisions. Of course, as the head football coach, most things do stop at your doorstep.
"We don't have a general manager in place. Once our owners decide who will be in that role, I look forward to getting with them and making decisions together that are going to lead us to a championship."