Lovie Smith won't be fired this year, but he'll be under heavy pressure to do significantly better next season. And a rookie quarterback could stand in the way of success -- we've seen that scenario before. But Lovie Smith isn't concerned about that.
Asked in his season-ending press conference about having success with a rookie quarterback, Lovie Smith said that that was "absolutely" possible. "I've seen the Andrew Lucks and Peyton Mannings - there have been guys who have come into the league that were able to play. This past year we had a couple I think. Oakland, Minnesota both started rookie quarterbacks and they were able to [play well]. So for a football team, if they choose to go that direction, I think you can get that."
The Bucs head coach also noted that having the first overall pick would be pretty attractive for an offensive coordinator. So there's another hint that Tampa Bay is at least going to look at quarterbacks with the number one pick. Another hint? Lovie Smith didn't think there was any offensive lineman worth drafting at the top of the draft.
But all of that is contingent on who the Buccaneers sign to be their offensive coordinator this year. Lovie Smith said he was looking for someone to create a balanced and productive offense. That doesn't tell us much, though he did note specifically that he wasn't looking for an offense that was dominated by running the ball -- just balance. He also called the read-option a "good offense", though he did talk about most read-option quarterbacks getting hurt. "You want to try to protect your quarterback as much as possible, but to occasionally have a couple of those in your offensive attack is a must nowadays."
The Bucs have already started the process of finding an offensive coordinator, but we can't really say anything about where they'll go based on Smith's quotes today. We could see anything from a college-based, read-option guru to a pro-style, ground-and-pound offensive coordinator at this point.
Other press conference notes
- Lovie Smith praised both Evan Dietrich-Smith and Logan Mankins, noting that the former is part of the Bucs' future. He also said he thought Demar Dotson played well at left tackle and could be their left tackle going forward.
- They'll be active in free agency again.
- Lovie Smith discusses all his big decisions with the Glazers.
- Smith was non-committal on coaching the Senior Bowl, if they're offered that opportunity. Should be noted that he turned down this option in 2005 when he was with the Bears, while he was searching for an offensive coordinator.
- Mike Glennon will "have a future", but it didn't sound like that future involved starting for the Buccaneers.