Lovie Smith has a winning pedigree from his time as both an assistant and a head coach. He returns to the team that gave him his first big job after spending a year out of football.
This year the annual NFL coaching carousel landed on seven coaches getting new head coaching positions. Some have coached before and are getting a second chance, while others are getting their first chance as a head coach.
In this series we will look at the head coaches that are starting with brand new teams and what they are getting themselves into. This edition focuses on one of the veteran head coaches getting a second chance with a new team:
Lovie Smith (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) – Outside of Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy, there may not have been a more qualified candidate to be the Buccaneers’ next head coach. As the Bucs’ linebacking coach from 1996 to 2000, Smith helped mold the team into one of the premier defensive units – remaining a Top 10 scoring defense during his tenure. A successful stint in St. Louis from 2001 to 2003 earned him a Head Coaching job with the Bears in 2004. During his 9-year tenure he led the Bears to three division titles, two NFC Championship games, and a Superbowl appearance in 2006. Smith was also named NFL Coach of the Year in 2005.
Smith takes over a Buccaneers team has some considerable talent on the defensive line, will get injured RB Doug Martin back and recently drafted Top receiving prospect Mike Evans. The curious move that Smith made was the signing of QB Josh McCown – a backup from his Chicago days – and immediately named him the starter over incumbent Mike Glennon.
In a division with arguably the group of QBs in the NFC, Smith will need to get the defense to play to their talent level out of the gate, or they may fall behind very quickly.