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Lovie Smith not fired for now, "We still have a ways to go"

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Lovie Smith held his end-of-season press conference at noon today, noting that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers still "have a ways to go." He was generally disappointed with the 6-10 season, especially on defense, with good omens for the future on offense. Smith pointed to Jameis Winston as a player to build the team around, and supported his statement yesterday that some players didn't want to win badly enough.

With Lovie Smith holding his end-of-season press conference as scheduled and no indication that he's even controversial within the building, it seems the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach will stay on for the 2016 season. That could still change -- the Glazers have done surprising things before -- but that seems exceedingly unlikely.

That's not an uncontroversial decision, given the fact that the Bucs lost the last four games of the season, finished 2016 with a 6-10 record and went 2-14 in his first season. In fact, one could argue that most of the improvement from 2014 to 2015 was the result of Jameis Winston, Dirk Koetter and personnel changes on offense -- not something that Lovie Smith was primarily responsible for, though he was involved in those decisions.

On the other hand, Smith has been hampered by a lack of talent on defense (also partly his fault), and there's a good chance he could engineer a turnaround on defense with a good offseason. If Jameis Winston can continue to progress under Dirk Koetter, the Bucs could have a very good team next year. Firing Lovie Smith would disrupt that and force the Bucs to adjust their personnel to the new head coach's schemes.

Plus, the Bucs are still on the hook for the last year of Greg Schiano's contract. I'm sure the Glazers don't want to pay three head coaches in a single year.

This is likely Lovie Smith's last chance, though. A third losing season would almost certainly spell the end for Smith, given the talent on offense and the opportunities he's had to revamp the roster. 2016 is going to be very interesting.