The Tampa Bay Buccaneers gave away a very winnable game to the Chicago Bears yesterday, losing their third straight game as they continue to plummet from the heights of being a legitimate playoff contender, to the depths of a top ten draft pick. Not surprisingly, the chorus of #FireLovie chants has swelled over the past month -- and not without merit.
After all, the Bucs put up their worst record since 1986 last year, and while there's been improvement this season, there have been plenty of problems too. A 6-9 record certainly isn't worth bragging about, and the Bucs defense is on track to allow just about as many points this year as they did last season. That's particularly concerning given Lovie Smith's heavy hand in the defense -- his field of expertise after all. And while the defensive issues can be blamed on talent, that's still talent collected by Lovie Smith and Jason Licht, who claim to make every roster decision collaboratively.
Making matters worse is the fact that the Bucs had a real chance at playing themselves into a playoff spot with games against beatable teams in the past three weeks -- and instead the Bucs produced three losses in increasingly disappointing fashion.
Now, there's one problem with all of this: the fans don't get a say in whether or not Lovie Smith is fired. That's a decision the Glazers make, and they have little reason to fire their head coach. He has two years left on an expensive contract, they're still paying off Greg Schiano's relatively inexpensive contract, and while the team has disappointed in recent weeks it certainly has shown signs of improvement. In addition, the problems appear fixable: on defense, the issue is mostly a lack of talent. On offense, a lack of experience. A good offseason could turn this team into a contender with Lovie Smith at the helm.
None of us know which way the Glazers are leaning, and we've seen them make unexpected decisions before. All we can do at this point is make some educated guesses.