The Buccaneers have gone through few coaches in the last few years. The Glazers are hoping Lovie Smith will be the last of many hires at least in the next 5-10 years. It's safe to say any coach that keeps his job for 5 years must be doing something good in this Win Now or Get Fired days. Raheem Morris had one great season with a 10-6 record but failed the next year. Greg Schiano did a great job his first year on the job but his 2nd year wasn't too good. But one thing Schiano did was developing some of our players. I don't know if I can say that during Raheem's regime. There was tremendous improvement. Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and many more. It wasn't a coincidence McCoy and David have had their best years so far under Schiano. I know Schiano's scheme is nothing to write about, but he did some good things teaching tackling techniques, run stopping techniques, overall discipline, and most importantly players taking their job serious.
Without drafting any defensive players in this recent NFL draft, analyst still believe the Buccaneers can be a top ten defense. If Lovie thinks just a minor tweak here and there with 3 additions(Johnson, McDonald, Verner) from the free agency is what the defense needs to be great, thats credit to Schiano and his coaching staff. William Gholston, Steven Means, Kelcie McGray and Keith Tandy could be valuable contributors this year and they. were all products of Schiano's regime. Lovie recently in his press conference gave these players credit and spoke about the importance of depth on the roster.
This is where Lovie Smith comes in. The Bucs lacked direction, system, confidence and calmness in the locker room in the past but have it now because they have a coach who knows his system, who knows what he wants from his players, who knows how to get his players to be effective, a great leader, confident and well respected not just in the Bucs locker room but in the NFL. When he speaks, I'm sure no one in the locker room will doubt him.
He ran the Tampa 2 in Tampa, St. Louis, and Chicago successfully. It's difficult for a coach to find the perfect roster that fits his system. Coaches want a certain system but don't have the players for it. It's either they draft a new players who fits the scheme and let some players go or use the current players they have to fit their scheme. And one NFL draft might not be enough if an overhaul is done.
One has to consider the failures involved in drafting. Simply, drafting is not the Almighty formula. Also if the previous regime uses say a 3-4 scheme then it's really hard to change to a 4-3. Most coaches are rigid in what they believe in and will force the change to their preferred system or scheme. I would too. The nuances in one system is so much that even coaches who have been in the system for a long time are still learning because there are different variations. What and when to call a play, how to install, scouting players needed in the system and many more stuff. So it is only safe to ride and die with what brought you were you are. The NFL is no guessing game especially with owners in their win now mode. If you change to a system that you don't know, it is going to be a failure and you automatically lose the job. Losing your job by sticking to your beliefs gets a coach credibility and will definitely get you another chance. Coaches can always give reasons why it didn't work, and why it would work wherever they're heading if the right players are available.
But Lovie is a smart guy. I know the Bucs weren't the only team that pursued him but he chose Tampa because he doesn't want to be get himself in a tough situation. Having to draft or a complete overhaul can be difficult and it also takes time. Think Sapp, Brooks, Barber, Lynch. Think McCoy, David, Verner, Barron/Gholston. Sapp was definitely was the best Defensive Tackle in the league at the time. Brooks was the best linebacker and Lynch was one of the hardest hitting safety. I think McCoy is the best Defensive Tackle in the League. David is top three 4-3 Outside Linebacker. Verner is one of the best Zone/Cover 2 Corners in the NFL if not the best, and Barron/ Gholston can knock the wind out of any player. The Bucs already have on their roster the most Important pieces needed to run the system. I think it is the same reason Chip Kelly said No to the Bucs despite the fact that he was going to be one of the highest paid coach. We didn't have the right personal for him.
It was easier for Lovie to make this team better because the Bucs only focused on Offense during the NFL draft. I can't imagine having huge holes on both offense and defense, and how difficult it would be to fill those holes with just one draft or Free agency. You have to think Salary cap, and all the influx of new players can affect locker room negatively.
At the end, the Buccaneers definitely gave Lovie what He needed. He gave the Buccaneers What they lacked in Leadership,Good System, Direction, Calmness, Confidence.