Lovie Smith, seen here coaching for the Chicago Bears in 2012.
(USA TODAY) -- Right coach, right time.
Barring any last-minute negotiating snags, former Chicago Bears coach Lovie Smith will become the tenth head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history, replacing Greg Schiano, who was was fired Monday after two seasons on the job.
The Bucs and their owners, the Glazer family, didn't need to embark
on a lengthy coaching search or interview a multitude of candidates.
They wanted Smith, who worked as the team's linebackers coach from 1996
to 2000, and moved quickly to get him.
It's reminiscent of the Kansas City Chiefs' pursuit of Andy Reid
after last season. Like Smith in Chicago, Reid had been consistently
successful in Philadelphia, amassing winning records in nine of 14
seasons. Both coaches made one losing Super Bowl appearance during their
tenures with their previous teams. And while we'll find out Saturday
how Reid will fare as a playoff coach in Kansas City, he's turned around
a Chiefs team that has plenty of talent, but needed the right person
running the show.
After three up and down seasons with a relatively inexperienced
Raheem Morris led to the tyrannical two-year tenure of Schiano, the
55-year-old Smith will bring a certain level of calm and maturity to a
team that has certainly needed it.
There's a decent amount of talent on the Bucs. Rookie Mike Glennon
exceeded expectations in the second half of the season and a healthy
Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson aren't bad offensive weapons to have.
But on defense, Smith's specialty, the Bucs are already stacked. There's
a Pro Bowl defensive tackle in Gerald McCoy and a should have been Pro
Bowler in linebacker Lavonte David. If the team keeps Darrelle Revis
around, he and Dashon Goldson certainly could provide quite a potent
secondary in a Lovie Smith defense.
After the Bears fired Smith following a 10-6 season in 2012, his
former players spoke up in his defense, with Bears linebacker Lance
Briggs announcing he was "upset and hurt" by the move. Briggs was one of the first to congratulate Smith on his new job via Twitter on Wednesday.
If Smith can lead the Bucs from 4-12 to their first winning season
since 2010, plenty of his current players are going to feel the same