As I am sure many of you know by now, former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith has taken over as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers heading into the 2014 season. The coaching change has a lot of people excited of what he’ll bring to the Bucs considering Greg Schiano didn’t exactly impress anyone with his hardnosed attitude after two years.
Simply put, Schiano was a bit of a douche. Anyone recall the infamous blitz in the fourth quarter on an obvious kneel down game ender vs. the Giants in 2012? Schiano tried to catch the Giants offensive line off guard in what I am suspecting was an attempt to cause a turnover and score. This is by a large margin one of the least likely things to happen. It still could have but it didn’t.
It was one of those moments that makes or breaks a coach. If it works, the dude is a genius. If it doesn’t, he’s a fucking idiot. The all out blitz on Eli Manning backfired and made Schiano look…well, like a fucking idiot.
Not only was it a dick move to pull in a game that was over, the hit on Eli looked dirty as many of the defensive linemen were tackling low around the knees. Had someone gotten hurt on that play there is no doubt in my mind Schiano would have been fired earlier in his short time as the Bucs coach. Obviously the intent of the blitz wasn’t to hurt anyone it was a last ditch effort to win the game. Schiano tried to implant a ‘never give up’ kind of sediment in the locker room but it blew up in his face.
Because of this, the players got overly aggressive out on the field and it cost them in games in the form of stupid penalties. The Buccaneers looked like an undisciplined mass that was lead by a stubborn, no nonsense coach. Schiano’s inability to change styles ultimately lead to his downfall and left the Bucs in a heap of misplaced talent.
Lovie Comes to Pickup the Pieces
The contrast in styles between Schiano and Lovie is obvious: Schiano is a douche, and Lovie is not. That was a joke. I don’t hate Schiano that much. I digress. Lovie Smith will bring a more poised and focused energy to the Buccaneers rather than a muddled sense of entitlement to a win with ruthless aggression that Schiano was striving for. This will most likely cause an influx of discipline on a team and that can make all the difference.
If you think that is a bunch of bullshit understand that the Bucs ranked third in penalties and lost five games by a one possession margin. These teams were the Cardinals, Patriots, Saints, Jets, and Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.
Certainly not the teams you expected right? I mean, minus the Jets of course. Five games makes all the difference and although it wouldn’t have saved the Bucs fate this past year it certainly could this year. That NFC South is TIGHT. Look for Lovie to encourage restraint in his players in order to cut back on game crushing penalties.
The Buccaneers were able to show some flashes of brilliance last year despite their lackluster overall season. After soul crushing loses to the Jets and Saints due to penalties, the franchise went winless until playing the Dolphins in week 10. All in the wake of losing feature back Doug Martin to injury, trading away the unpredictable Josh Freeman, backing the rookie signal caller Mike Glennon, and realizing the fact that they overpaid Darrell Revis fresh off and ACL injury.
Didn’t mean to lay the smackdown on them there but it happened. Since those depressing times the Buccaneers have had a stellar offseason. The most noteworthy additions to the team are quarterback Josh McCown, rookie wide receiver Mike Evans, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald, and tight end Brandon Myers. McDonald comes to the team with a Super Bowl victory and definitely adds to an already solid Buccaneer defense.
The Fantasy Value of the Bucs Offense
The Bucs newly structured offense should be able to make some fantasy noise this season regardless of who wins the quarterback battle of McCown vs Glennon. Glennon has proved he can play well and lead the team when asked to do so which makes me confident that he’ll step into the role of starter seamlessly if need be. Should McCown be named starter and continue play like he did last year in Chicago, the Buccaneers will be a playoff contending team for sure.
Adding Mike Evans and Brandon Myers made it obvious that the Buccaneers wanted to solidify their passing game. Vincent Jackson breathed a sigh of relief as he’ll finally have some other weapons out there with him. Myers is a very ‘okay’ player but can be a big presence at the goal line and should see some looks down there.
Evans will be given all the opportunities in the world to be awesome as most of the defensive focus will be on Jackson. It is truly up to Evans to transition into the NFL in order to have success. No more running into free space while Manzeil scrambles to make a play. I’m really excited to see how he handles it.
I am more concerned to see how Doug Martin plays in his return from injury. We all saw what he was capable of two years ago when he absolutely destroyed defenses but never seemed to get the ball rolling against defenses last year. Mike James and Bobby Rainey will be breathing down his neck to get the starting job. Should Martin fail to make an immediate impact this season or even training camp for that matter we might see Martin lose the starting job. Be sure to monitor Martin’s situations closely this offseason.
The Fantasy Value of Lovie Smith and the Bucs
I wasn’t always a believer in a coaching change making a huge impact when I started following football all those years ago (way before fantasy football). But after seeing coaches like Pete Carol and Chip Kelly come in and make an immediate impact I truly believe that Lovie Smith, a seasoned NFL coach with a Super Bowl appearance, will 100% be a major factor in the potential success of the Buccaneers in 2014.