Tampa Bay Buccaneers has hired former Bears coach Lovie Smith as their new head coach. Smith is a good head coach with a solid defensive mind who got the most out of his players on on that side of the ball. But a few other fleeting thoughts also crossed my mind:
- Who will Smith hire as his offensive coordinator? Smith never got this right with the Bears. Rumor has it that he has Jeff Tedford in mind for the job – indeed his Wikipedia page already indicates that he has it. Tedford would be a potential improvement over Smith’s Bears hires in that he has experience coaching quarterbacks and the Bucs have a young one to bring along in Mike Glennon. But Tedford is typical in other ways that are not as positive. I always had the feeling that Smith was afraid of hiring his own replacement with the Bears. Tedford has never played or coached in the NFL. His major qualification might not be so much that he is the best available guy but that he was a guy who won’t overshadow Smith.
- Who will be the general manager? It is, in my opinion, always, always, always a bad idea to hire a coach before a GM. Especially when it comes to Smith. Rumor has it that forder Bears general manager Jerry Angelo believed that his drafts were not successful partly because of compromises he made with the head coach. He couldn’t take a guy that Smith didn’t agree to and apparently Smith wasn’t shy about disagreeing. In any case it is evident that it was a constant struggle. Now, to make matters worse, Smith was hired first with the Buccaneers. That limits their choice of GM to men who agree with the Smith hire. It also give Smith and the public the impression that he was the more important hire and therefore that he holds the upper hand in the relationship. This could be very bad.
There’s good reason why Bears general manger Phil Emery fired Smith after a 10-6 season. Those reasons aren’t evident to those outside of Chicago where many are praising this hire. Buccaneer fans are excited and to an extent they should be. Smith will get the most out of the defensive talent on the Buccaneers and they might have some short term success with the guys they have. But long term, in a league where offense is king and the ability to draft young talent determines sustained success, I don’t like their chances.