New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith took to the podium on Thursday and spoke to the media at the NFL Combine about the state of Tampa Bay's franchise. Smith commented on a number of subjects including Mike Williams, the Bucs offensive line and his thoughts on the NFC South.
The coaching staffs and front offices from every NFL franchise have converged on Indianapolis for the yearly NFL Combine and several coaches, including Lovie Smith addressed the media on Thursday. Below are the highlights from what Smith had to say.(Opening statement)
“Really excited to be back out on the sidelines. Can’t wait to get started. I have a history with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, getting my first start there. We have kind of hit the pavement running. Really excited about the staff I was able to put together, most of the guys I have had a chance to work with sometime during my career. Being off this past year I had a chance to catch a lot of football so I knew a little bit about some of the players. And there is a great foundation in place led by guys like Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David. Got a chance to watch them play a little bit during the course of the year. So I kind of realized where we are – we are a 4-12 team in a tough division – but we just feel like we can gain some ground. Having that year off. I had a chance to really see what our football team would look like wherever I ended up going this coming season. And just had a chance to confirm some of the things I believe – how you play football – a tough running game with a big-play ability in the passing game. Every year I have been in the league we have played the same defense. We won’t veer off from that too much. And just had a chance to confirm how much I believe in winning games with the special teams. I am excited to be in Tampa, we have a lot of work to do, we started the evaluation process of looking at our current roster, looking at free agency, and of course starting some of the draft preparations as far as I am concerned with the combine this week.”
(On his evaluation of the offense)
“Well offensively is like our football team – a 4-12 team right now. We didn’t have enough production on the offensive side. I like what Mike Glennon was able to do being a rookie quarterback stepping in, that is tough to do. Running back wise we had a lot of injuries starting with Doug Martin, but it seemed like it was the next guy up. They did a great job with it. We didn’t play as well as we need to on our offensive line. We have a lot of money in our offensive line and we should have better production from it. Right now we didn’t play as well as we need to in order to compete on the offensive side of the football, and again that evaluation process in going on.”(On Mike Williams’ injury and his focus off the football)
“Yes I have, we have watched all of the players, so I have had a chance to evaluate what Mike has done, in the league not just this year. I am disappointed in some of the off the field issues that have come up. We just won't put up with it, it is as simple as that. Coming in new you have to set your program up on how you are going to do things, and that takes a while to get that done. But just him as a football player? He was like the rest of the team, I saw some good things that he did, but also some things we need to improve upon also.”(On being better prepared this time then when he started in Chicago)
“I think any time you are in a place for nine years, the next place should be easier. Starting the new job with the Buccaneers is not like – there really hasn’t been anything that has caught me off guard. Having a year off helps. I strongly recommend it. If you get fired take a year off like I did. It will help you a lot. But it has helped. Had a chance to evaluate everything I believed in and came to some of the conclusions that I thought.”(On if the core in place is better than when he took over the Bears)
“That was a long time ago in 2004. But as I recall, I think Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Charles Tillman, some of those guys were a pretty good foundation. And I know right now Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson, there are a few guys in place, so a great foundation in both places.”(On if Lavonte David reminds him of Lance Briggs)
“He does remind me of Lance. Being from Tampa, people will compare him a little bit more to our new hall of famer Derrick Brooks, which isn’t fair of anyone. But Lance Briggs was a great player and it is good for Lavonte to see what Lance was able to do in our system, both great players, and it was a privilege to coach Lance Briggs, and we cant wait to get our hands on Lavonte David.”(On how he establishes discipline with the Buccaneers)
“I don’t know it is the law of the land, but we are bringing in our program, how we deal with disciple, what we expect from our players, so that is what we are going to do. I haven’t had a chance to meet with all of the players, some have come through to introduce themselves, we start up our offseason program April 7 and get a chance to really set the tone on how we are going to do things then. You have a starting spot and you start putting things in place then and I can't wait to get started to do that.”(On if the Miami situation will affect his philosophy)
“No, what happened there will have nothing to do with what we are doing in Tampa Bay. The locker room has been there all along. You have to have strong veteran leadership in the locker room. As a head coach I have to have a pulse on what is going on in the locker room and rely on a lot of people, have a relationship where information comes to me. So no, we ar going to do what we have done. Our program has always been about acceptance and everyone feeling like they are a part, and everyone feeling good about coming to work every day in an environment where they can perform their best.”(On if he felt he got a fair shake in Chicago)
“It’s a Bucs life for me now. My focus is definitely on that. I have worked a lot of different places in the past. If you want to talk Big Sandy High School I used to work there too. Great experience there. Excited about Tampa, and what we are doing. I have had an opportunity to work at a lot of great places and Chicago was one of those.”(On the running backs)
“With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I have always thought you need more than one good running back in today’s time. And Doug Martin of course can carry the ball, carry the load as the lead back, but it is about more than that. Last year, as I mentioned, four or five running backs they went through, so the type of football we are going to play we are going to need that. Doug Martin’s rehab is coming along well. I know he is excited about getting back on the football field. He has an excellent running back coach in Tim Spencer that will be tutoring them.”(On his evaluation of the NFC South)
"I think as you look in the league, and not just in our division, there are some quick turnarounds that happen. There is no such thing as a rebuilding year. People want to see immediate improvement and success. I will just say we have a plan in mind and philosophy that we are going to bring in and there is a good foundation there and our plan is of course to go from 4-12 to becoming relevant again and where it matters at the end.”
Copyright © 2011 Pewter Report, PewterReport.com and Pewter Insider. All rights reserved. PewterReport.com, the official site of Pewter Report, is an independent source of news and commentary and is not affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or the NFL.