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Lovie Smith is still a good head coach, but he needs to get lucky

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

David Steele of the Sporting News ranked every NFL head coach, so we can talk about that stuff. It's a slideshow (because why wouldn't it be), but I'm just linking to the relevant slide here. Lovie Smith, 22nd.

Another question of whether someone is a bad coach, or victim of a bad G.M. -- because they're the same person. Smith bombed as head of personnel in his first year in Tampa, a 2-14 embarrassment. Now he's staking everything on Jameis Winston becoming as mature as he is talented. His Bears coaching years can't be taken away from him, but 2014 put a real dent in his rep.

Lovie Smith isn't really the general manager, though. He doesn't have final say on the draft or free agency, just on which of the players he'll eventually keep at the end of the offseason. Although to be fair, Smith and Jason Licht have consistently maintained that they do everything collaboratively, and the assembly of personnel is a team effort -- as it probably should be.

22nd is probably around fair, but the ranking itself is a lot less interesting than the point raised: that we don't really know whether last year's performance was indicative of Lovie Smith. Certainly he's never had a performance remotely like it in Chicago, but it's not like his final years there were dominant. He fielded good teams with dominant defenses and crappy offenses -- something that may happen here, too.

The other point here is that if the Bucs succeed this year, that may have more to do with Dirk Koetter than Lovie Smith himself. A good leader delegates and finds the right people to delegate to, of course, but Smith has failed plenty of times in doing so over his career with offensive coaches. If Koetter and Jameis Winston succeed, is that really Smith's accomplishment, or just him getting lucky on the umpteenth try?