The Buccaneers knew when former offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford was granted a medical leave of absence back in September that they would be in the market for a new coordinator once the season ended. Head coach Lovie Smith told the media on Monday he didn’t wait until Monday to get a head start.
“Since we didn’t have an offensive coordinator throughout the season, I knew – as the year went along, the plan initially was to have an offensive coordinator on our staff,” Smith said. “So I’ve been looking throughout. Of course evaluating coaches on my staff and, of course, I’m a football fan, just looking what’s happening in our profession too. Of course after the season, that’s one of the first orders of business, to see who all is available. It’s just not as simple as that. There are a lot of people I’d like to talk to. I want to talk to as many people as I possibly can to get the right fit for us. But we have coaches in the playoffs that can’t talk and different things like that. But I’ll just say the process has begun.”
Smith told the local media he would like to get the coordinator in place sooner rather than later.
“Yes, as soon as possible,” Smith said. “I mean, that’s it as far as the timeframe. We’re not playing a game tomorrow or anything like that, but I’d like to get the staff in place really as soon as possible. But at the same time, not rushing anything – we have time. So I’m going to take my time and use this opportunity, as I said, to talk to as many people as I possibly can and go from there.”
Tampa Bay securing the overall No. 1 pick in next May’s NFL Draft helps in numerous ways. For one, the Bucs don’t have to worry about a team jumping them in a trade. And if the Bucs are leaning towards a quarterback with that first pick, they can look to hire an offensive coordinator that fits the strength’s of that player, particularly if it is Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Smith agreed that it could play into who is hired.
“That will definitely be a part of it,” Smith said. “Again, if you have to be down where we are right now, to have a chance to – I mean, we start the domino effect as far as the draft is concerned. To me, it should be an attractive job for guys out there and that will affect it a little bit, but it’s not like we will reinvent how football is played or anything like that. There are certain parameters that I’m looking for in an offense coordinator and I think we’ll be able to get those.”
After the debacle of Jeff Jagodzinski and Jeff Tedford, both of whom came from the college ranks, Smith was asked if hiring an offensive coordinator from the pros would be a priority.
“I would like to get the best offensive coordinator,” Smith said. “I just don’t think you put yourself in a box. You look and you talk to as many people as possible. Every guy in the NFL was once in college, so I don’t think you can close the door on that. So I’m just going to – all available guys that I think we should talk to that would give us a chance to be successful offensively, I think I owe it to our organization to talk to them.”
Some question how involved Smith is with the offense itself, even to the point where some fans have speculated that Smith may have created friction with Tedford leading to the nasty divorce earlier this season. But on Monday Smith was clear he most certainly has some parameters of expectations, but doesn’t meddle with the game plan.
“Of course I’m going to give him specific things that I want him to do,” Smith said. “Do you want to know those specific things? We want to have balance and we want a productive offense. That’s a pretty wide variety, direction of range on what we want to do. Contrary to public opinion, for some, I don’t want to run the ball out of a 100 play game, I don’t want to run it 99 times from there, and we just want balance. As I look for once, I’m keeping all options open, from spread looks to – again, I just want to be able to run and pass the football when we need to and when we want to. It’s kind of as simple as that and as we mold this Tampa Bay Buccaneers offense together, it’s not like I’m going to be over the guy’s shoulder saying ‘Hey, do this or do that.’ I’ve given offensive coordinators that I’ve had a lot of full range to implement their system.”
Finally, Smith was asked if others will directly be involved in the choice of the Bucs next offensive coordinator.
“In the end, I’m going to make all the decisions on that, like I’m responsible for everything in our program,” Smith said. “I would like to, yes, get the coordinator in position, and then from there we go forward. So it’s pretty hard for me to talk about what we’re going to do offensively and things like that without getting – that’s the first order of business: to get that in place and then we’ll take the necessary steps from there.”
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at email@example.com
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