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January 7, 2014 @ 7:39 am
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5 Important Takeaways From Smith's Press Conference

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Lovie Smith was introduced as the Buccaneers' 10th head coach on Monday. PewterReport.com's Scott Reynolds analyzed his initial press conference in Tampa Bay, and points out five important things that Smith had to say.
New Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith had his first press conference in Tampa Bay on Monday, and followed that up with an interview with the Buccaneers beat writers. PewterReport.com's Scott Reynolds analyzed Smith's initial meeting with the media and came away with five things that stood out.

1. Smith Likes Tedford Because He's A QB Guru And Believes In A Power Run Game

Smith hired former University of Cal head coach Jeff Tedford to become Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator for two reasons. First, he believed in a strong running game, which Tedford produced for the Golden Bears with halfbacks like J.J. Arrington, Marshawn Lynch, Jahvid Best and Justin Forsett, among others. Second, he wanted someone with a proven track record for developing quarterbacks.

“When you have a year off, you can do a lot of things and what I concentrated on – I prayed I would be back in the league this time of the year, so I wanted to get that ideal coaching staff in place,” Smith said. “I did a lot of research, talked to a lot of different people, other quarterbacks in the league. For my offensive coordinator position, I wanted to get a guy that had been a primary quarterback guru that knew that position in and out. My research led me to Jeff Tedford. After that, I looked at his track record and what he had done, especially at Cal – what he had done offensively – and I brought him in.

“We spent a couple of days together down in my basement in Chicago and kind of merged our philosophies – and they weren’t off – on how we wanted to play offensive football. And I’m talking about a strong running game, a power running attack. I think you have to have balance with your offense. We plan on having a balanced offensive attack. But at the same time, when I say balanced with the run, I mean being able to pass the ball and have a big-play ability in the passing game. I know a little bit about Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams – some of our players here. Mike Glennon came in and introduced himself. We’re just excited about putting it all together and competing and having our offense merge with our defense.”

Like Smith, Tedford has been out of football for a year and has been revitalized due to the time off.

“The energy that Jeff will bring,” Smith said. “Jeff’s a fresh guy, he hasn’t coached in the NFL, he has fresh ideas coming through. When we started matching up what I believed in and what he believed in, I just think this is going to be a good deal. I wanted a guy that knew that quarterback position in and out and I started looking around and it just so happened that Jeff. They had made a change at Cal and I started talking to him and I did my research.

“When you have time off you have time to call around, so I started calling around. I called Aaron Rodgers. I talked to guys around and studied him, looked at video, and I knew him just being a coach in the league. I knew this could be something because I knew I wanted to do things just a little bit differently. Then when I got with Jeff, you think of him as being a quarterback guy, but he had 1,0000-yard rushers and two one year. So we really believe in the same things and we got a chance to really – instead of me getting a job now and say what do we want to do? – I had a chance to talk to a lot of coaches before to have this staff kind of ready to go and had this firm belief that I would be coaching in this league again.”

Smith said that he isn’t concerned about the fact that Tedford does not have any experience as a play-caller at the NFL level.

“No, no. No way,” Smith said. “What I look at more is his background on developmental quarterbacks. To me, if you look in college, there are pro-style offenses that you have. You have to have that. I valued his knowledge as a football coach, more than the knowledge that he hadn’t been in the NFL.”

2. It Appears As If Smith Thinks He Can Win With Glennon
With Tedford on board as Smith’s offensive coordinator and quarterback guru, the big question about Tampa Bay’s offense is who will be under center in 2014? Glennon, the team’s third-round pick last year, had a very good season, breaking most of Tampa Bay’s rookie records. Smith was impressed with what he saw from Glennon on TV.

“Just like every other position, I’ve watched Mike,” Smith said. “Mike was one of the first guys here early, walked in looked me straight in the eye and said ‘Hey coach I don’t know about the rules, when can we get started? That’s a good start right away this time of the year. What I see and what I like from him a little bit is, first off, he’s a – I wouldn’t say prototype, he’s little bit taller than a prototype quarterback. [He’s] just strong-armed, and he had great pocket presence to me. Mike’s won’t win a 10-yard sprint, probably – or maybe not a 40-yard sprint – but he can move around in the pocket enough, make smart decisions and there’s nothing like having that experience that he was able to get his rookie year.”

Smith went through several non-descript quarterbacks in his nine years in Chicago, including Brian Griese, Rex Grossman, who led the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2006, and Kyle Orton before trading for Jay Cutler.

“Do I believe in a franchise quarterback? You’d have to explain [what] ‘franchise’ [means],” Smith said. “I believe you need to have a very good player at that position. Do I think you need a Hall of Fame guy to be able to win in the NFL? No. I think you can still win with a good quarterback.”

That description might fit Glennon, who is smart and has a strong arm, but lacks mobility and athleticism.

3. Smith Wants An Athlete At Every Position, Including Quarterback
While some of the best quarterbacks in the game today are pocket passers, including Denver’s Peyton Manning, New England’s Tom Brady, New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, players like San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick, Carolina’s Cam Newton and Seattle’s Russell Wilson are athletic QBs that are taking the NFL by storm by making plays with their arms or their legs.

Ideally speaking, Smith wants a more athletic quarterback, and there are several options available in the 2014 NFL Draft, especially in the first round where players like Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles and Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel will be drafted.
“Definitely so, I think you need an athlete,” Smith said. “In an ideal world, you have an athlete at every position. Sometimes, you look at the pass-rusher on the other side. They’re athletic and they can run. So you need a guy who’s mobile enough to buy time and throw the ball or just to take off and run from time to time. That is something, but you look at the league right now, there are quarterbacks who are leading their team who aren’t as mobile as others. Michael Vick was on the sideline where the starting quarterback, Nick Foles, was different.”

Smith indicated that Glennon will get a fair chance to start in 2014 and is eager to continue his evaluation of the 6-foot-6 passer. However, one gets the sense that Smith would like to draft an athletic quarterback to create a contrast on the roster.

“Right now in the playoffs, it’s a lot about the quarterback,” Smith said. “We’re an evenly matched team, and we need that guy to do something there. So Mike’s our guy. There’s a lot expected of that position, but it’s been like that all his life. We’re going to evaluate. We haven’t sat down and hard evaluated our players yet. We’re going to get our staff in and start that process.”

Smith will also be evaluating the athleticism of every position on the Buccaneers and will be looking to upgrade the talent across the board.

“It’s about getting the personnel,” Smith said. “You can have that good coaching staff together, but in the end, of course, it’s the players out there and getting a certain type of athlete. In those old Tampa Bay days I talked about, [there were] athletes at every position, like a Shelton Quarles.”

Quarles, the current director of pro personnel in Tampa Bay, will get the chance to help his former position upgrade the athleticism this offseason.

“We’re a 4-12 team,” Smith said. “You are what your record says you are. We have a long ways to go, but we’re going to start that process. We know where we need special players.”

4. Smith Seeks A Great Return Specialist In Tampa Bay
One thing Smith stressed during his initial press conference and meeting with the Bucs beat writers shortly thereafter was the importance of special teams play.

“To me, if you play great defense, you can win eight games,” Smith said. “If you have special teams along with that, you can win 10. But in order for us to have three phases that contribute to wins, we need a great returner also.”

The Bucs had first-year player Eric Page returning kicks and punts last year with some level of success. Page averaged 24.9 yards per kick return and 10.9 yards per punt return in 2013.

But Smith might have someone else in mind in 2014.

“Special teams, we win out,” Smith said. “I, myself, worked out Devin Hester. You’ve got to have a returner. You can win games. We won games based on our special teams and having a good kicker and a good punter.”

Hester, who tied Deion Sanders’ record for career special teams touchdowns with 19, happens to be an unrestricted free agent and Smith will undoubtedly be courting him to come to Tampa Bay in March. Hester was Chicago's second-round pick in 2006 when Smith was the Bears head coach.

5. Smith Desperately Wants The Buccaneers To Be Relevant Again
Smith started his NFL career in Tampa Bay as Dungy’s linebackers coach in 1995, but was hired by St. Louis to become the Rams defensive coordinator in 2001. Smith missed out on getting a Super Bowl ring with the Rams that year and wasn’t in Tampa Bay when the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII. Smith missed out yet another championship in 2006 when his Bears team lost to Dungy’s Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI.

“I wasn’t there when you saw Bryan, Joel, and Ed having an opportunity to hold up the Lombardi Trophy with Mr. Glazer,” Smith said. “I wasn’t a part of that then, but Tampa has had a special place in my heart. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be a relevant team and I am going to take that pressure. It will be what drives all of us – our staff and our players.

“We did, as Bryan said, lay a foundation for Tampa Bay Buccaneer football. There’s a certain brand of football that you expected from us. You knew we’d be relentless, we would 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. I’m so excited about the new group.”

Smith, who owns waterfront property in North Redington Beach in St. Petersburg, knows the recent history of the Buccaneers all too well. He knows why he was brought in to replace Greg Schiano, who went 11-21 over the past two seasons, and Smith also realizes Tampa Bay has been absent in the postseason for quite some time.

“You’re 4-12, and when’s the last time we’re in the playoffs?” Smith said. “That right there tells you all you really need to know. That’s not acceptable. Believe me, there have been good teams and close (games). We have to do more than that. Again, I got fired [going] 10-6. My mind-set right now, to me, a good year is 11-5. But it just shows that we’re not where we need to be. There are some pieces in place, though.”
Last modified on Thursday, 06 March 2014 10:44

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  • avatar

    Vick is a scumbag. He is too small. He is dumb. He is not durable. He is not accurate. Bringing in a low character guy like that would immediately undo the culture cleansing Schiano accomplished. If we bring that low life animal killer in, even to hold a clipboard, I will sell this season's tickets I am already committed to, take a hiatus as a Bucs fan and not renew them until he is gone. ----- Rivers is intriguing (though I question how bright he really is) but we don't have the cap room to do anything about the QB position this season given all our other needs.
  • avatar

    Vick is a scumbag. He is too small. He is dumb. He is not durable. He is not accurate. Bringing in a low character guy like that would immediately undo the culture cleansing Schiano accomplished. If we bring that low life animal killer in, even to hold a clipboard, I will sell this season's tickets I am already committed to, take a hiatus as a Bucs fan and not renew them until he is gone.
  • avatar

    The only QB I would take in this draft is Blake Bortles, but he won't be there at #7. wnb0395 has the right ideas regarding the draft. In next year's draft, it's likely with this new coaching staff, the Bucs won't draft low enough to get any of the named QBs mentioned by other posters. Here's a thought: If I'm not mistaken, Phillip Rivers should be a FA when this season is over.
  • avatar

    If the Bucs are sold on Manziel or have plans to trade for a QB then again that is obviously the better move. Vicks sole purpose would be to push Glennon and give the Bucs a legit alternative if Glennon fails and they CANNOT land their guy this summer. There aren't 32 Qbs in the league better than Vick even with his injury risk so in the right situation I think he has value for us.
  • avatar

    We dont need Micheal Vick. Yes he is athletic and has a great arm but he is always hurt and isnt that intellegent. Our new OC offense is suppose to be complicated. Do you guys really think Vick can come in and learn it quickly enough to start the season as our QB? I think next years draft will have the same quallity of Qb's as this year class( Mariota, Winston, Petty, and Mannion). Draft Watkins, Mathews, Clowney, or Barr with our 7th pick. One of them will be there. If avaliable draft Watkins first round, a DE 2nd round, and a TE third round. Then pick up OL in free agency. There are a lot of good OL if FA this year.
  • avatar

    There seems to be some question as to whether Tedford is an NFL ready QB guru. I certainly don't see him as that. Not even sure I think he is the best choice for OC IMO, we need OL more than we need to draft a QB this year. Especially at LT and a guard. Don't remember the offense being the ones who caused those 4 loses. IIRC, it was individual players screwing up one play at the worst possible times and it started in game one with David. One of the things Schiano did do well was finally get rid of the crap and now some are suggesting we bring in Vick? Can't believe it. Trust PR will give us a detailed run down on all coaches hired. Some of the suggested names, I know zero about.
  • avatar

    Why not draft Johnny Manzel? He would be the perfect complement to Glennon. Yes, he's got some growing up to do but he's a great athlete and a freakish play maker and he will probably be there at #7 when we draft. Just an idea. That being said, so happy that Lovie is here. He looks and sounds terrific. Great hire, Brian and Joel. Now go and get Richie McKay and we can really get back to business.
  • avatar

    There's a big difference between an athletic enough QB who can move around in the pocket with the intent to pass, one who is always looking to run at the first sign of pressure and one who is so stiff he's a virtual sitting duck. Please end the comparisons of Glennon to the two Hall of Fame QB's who are quite the exception. When you cant even convert a third down you're not destined for a bust in Canton. I'm willing to give Glennon a chance but if I'm responsible for putting together a roster I'm going to at least bring in some legitimate competition.
  • avatar

    How about picking up D.Hester & J.Allen and then snagging Sammy Watkins in the draft...and then a 2nd Rd OL? Food for thought.
  • avatar

    Dream BIG!
  • avatar

    bigyeti21, If we are going to draft Watkins no need to spend money on Hester. Watkins is dynamic on KR and PR also. Would rather have fresh young legs returning kicks then Hester. Use the Hester money somewhere else. Just a thought
  • avatar

    sign vick and use the pick wisely, vick can throw a rope and can run yeah he isn't durable or the smartest but he has talent no lose proposition
  • avatar

    the bucs bring in schiano to clean up all the crap, and get rid of bad character players, and u guys talk about bringing in a BIG PIECE OF CRAP like VICK!!!!!!!!!!!!! REALLY!!!!!!! Lets get real...whats vick ever won!!!!! hes dumb as a box of rocks!!!!!!!!!
  • avatar

    I took Lovies comment about athletic QB's as someone that has a little more speed than Glennon as he runs like he has lead shoes on. I thought it was a polite way to say that Glennon is not the total package and they will look for competition in all positions.
  • avatar

    Athlete QBs; moble; athlete QBs; moble. I want to barf. Do you mean athletes like Payton manning and Tom Brady? Out of all the hyped QBs last year only Wilson and Luck are in the playoffs. RGIII was pathetic. Look at the Pro Bowl QBs: Tom Brady; Payton Manning; Drew Brees; Philip Rivers; Cam Newton; Russel Wilson. Only Newton and Wilson would be considered athletes. Ben Roethlisberger had one of his best years off the radar. Wow what a speed burning athlete he is.
  • avatar

    76Buc; I agree with you. I would prefer a straight drop back QB that can fake a handoff. Brees is excellent at that part.
  • avatar

    Good points 76. Super Bowls are won from the pocket.
  • avatar

    Someone mentioned Michael Vick to me as an option and I immediately thought it was a terrible idea. The more I have sat back and thought about it, it actually makes some sense. At 7 our best value would be in adding a player like Sammy Watkins or Clowney if he were to fall. Vick would give Glennon legit competition in camp, definitely would be an upgrade athletically and I think with more balanced offense I think he might have something left in the tank and definitely something to prove. If it doesn't work it will be an easy/cheap deal that won't hurt us financially and we can move forward with Glennon. Not saying this is an ideal move for us and if we have an option to get a legit franchise QB im all for it but if that doesn't work, Vick should generate some interest if for nothing more than to push Glennon all camp, all season and give us another option if he continues to regress like he did in the second half of the season. Happy days ahead go Bucs!
  • avatar

    I agree that makes some sense Stlbucsfan. If we don't get him somebody like the Bengals should for the same reason. Low risk, medium reward.
  • avatar

    stibucsfan; I thought about Vick too, but I kept remembering that the guy has hardly ever played a full season due to injuries. I am willing to give Glennon a chance and bring in a veteran QB as a back up. I would also draft a QB in the 5th or 7th round. Rounds 1,2,4, should be for a DE, OL, WR and assuming that we don't trade down; just my opinion.
  • avatar

    Geez , everyone has a different opinion. I think bucs should go all in for a qb as Glennon is not accurate on the long ball can't throw to his left while running and is not mobile.. We have top qb's in our division which Glennon will never be equal too.Do the bucs settle for 4th best .I want the bucs to be willing to move up in the draft or get a qb in free agency. Lets have a playoff team for years to come!
  • avatar

    Would not waste a pick on a Quarterback this year as 2015 looks to be a good year for quarterbacks. Would get a stop gap veteran for this year and get speed and OL help in draft or FA.
  • avatar

    Takeaway #3 and #4 are music to my eyes. Glennon not only is too slow to avoid pressure but he also panics and runs backwards, making the worst of a bad situation. We do need a better athlete at the QB position in today's NFL. As for return specialists, I ask every 2 or 3 weeks why we don't have one. I just hope Tedford can give us a top 10 offense because Smith is definitely going to give us a top 10 defense and special teams.
  • avatar

    " We are going to be a physical team" music to my ears. When it comes to Mike Glennon I see the glass as half full, maybe even two thirds. I can't wait to see this kid under Tedford's coaching. I have no problem with taking a QB in the middle rounds of the draft. Taking one at #7 would be a mistake. The Bucs have other holes to fill.
  • avatar

    Sorry man, appreciate the past, but I'm a fan of the future. THEY ARE ALL ATHLETES. and who are these THEY you are talking about?? We NEED an offense. THEY are breaking records going to the waterfountin. SHOW ME an athletic WO. Mike can't beat coverage. JAX only shines for brief moments. Did you see AJ with an AVERAGE QB?? Bengles/Bolts?!!? I NEED points. Figure it out.
  • avatar

    I don't like the tedford hire and wish we had someone with experience. The paker organization is on record saying rodgers was a complete mess mechanicaly when they got him ( however tedford did pull him from the juco ranks). Looking forward to lovie developing a lethal return game!
  • avatar

    I know that we all want to see a dynamic offense. But the truth is that it was defensive lapses that really cost the team this year. The Bucs had a lead and allowed a game winning score in the following games: Jets, Saints, Cardinals and Seahawks. There is a reasonable chance that we could have been at least 8-8 with a dominant defense. If Lovie can put the defensive pieces together to create a top 5 defense and we can block and protect on offense, this could be a winning football team.
  • avatar

    a-bomb; I agree with you.
  • avatar

    I thinkn Coch Lovie Smith is a winner period. I would love for Tampa to trade down pick up a 3 and a 5. In the 1st round I would the CFL QB,
  • avatar

    Geaorgehicks, I dont know about trading back. Depends on who is drafted where. Most Mock drafts have 3 QB's being drafted before we pick. If we can get OT Mathews, DE Clowney, DE/OLB Barr, or WR Sammy Watkins we should take them. All would be great picks at needed positions. I really like Watkins. He is a game changer not only at WR but also special teams. I think we should wait until next year to draft a QB. Next year will have Winston, Mariota, and Mannion from Oregon ST, and Bryce Petty. All should be good QBs.
  • avatar

    Oh ya, I haven't been this excited for quite some time. I miss the days of sold out crowds and great defense. I have no doubt in my mind that Lovie will make us "relevant" again. On a side note, the idea of getting Devin Hester really excites me as I cant remember off the top of my head of the Bucs ever having a true return specialist like him.
  • avatar

    Nice job Scott, good to hear what Coach is thinking. Some of what I've read so far, "power running game" and taking shots down the field sounds familiar, does it not? I really look forward to seeing what Coach and Shelton Quarles come up with concerning our OL. Many, including myself, saw our OL as a strength going into the fall last season. Obviously it did not work out as well as we thought it would. I also believe the Bucs will bring in another QB but see Glennon as a guy who Tedford can work with. Tall and smart fits the bill, doesn't it? Hester makes sense but for his age, already going into, what, his 8th season? And I have to believe improving the pass rush at the DE position is something they'll be looking at. Keep bringing it Pewter Report! It's nice to be looking forward again.
  • avatar

    I'm sure we'll be drafting a Q.B. who's more athletic then Glennon in 2014. Even if we use our first pick on one, Glennon will be light years ahead of the kid. With the draft being in May Mike will have four and a half months to study what's supposed to be a complicated playbook. He'll also have an extra OTA in April to put it on the field. No way a rookie catches him before the start of the season. Don't really see a free agent out there who's much better the Mike either. We're stuck with Glennon to at least start the season. If we up grade the O line with some vet F.A.'s, get one or two skill guys on O, I think we'll all be supprised how well Glennon can do.
  • avatar

    Couldn't agree more Surfer.
  • avatar

    This makes this Spring and Summer once again exciting for Buc Fans.
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