USA TODAY: Lovie Smith is perfect coach for Bucs

(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 embarkon a lengthy coaching search or interview a multitude of candidates.They wanted Smith, who worked as the team's linebackers coach from 1996to 2000, and moved quickly to get him.

It's reminiscent of the Kansas City Chiefs' pursuit of Andy Reidafter last season. Like Smith in Chicago, Reid had been consistentlysuccessful in Philadelphia, amassing winning records in nine of 14seasons. Both coaches made one losing Super Bowl appearance during theirtenures with their previous teams. And while we'll find out Saturdayhow Reid will fare as a playoff coach in Kansas City, he's turned arounda Chiefs team that has plenty of talent, but needed the right personrunning the show.

After three up and down seasons with a relatively inexperiencedRaheem Morris led to the tyrannical two-year tenure of Schiano, the55-year-old Smith will bring a certain level of calm and maturity to ateam that has certainly needed it.

There's a decent amount of talent on the Bucs. Rookie Mike Glennonexceeded expectations in the second half of the season and a healthyDoug Martin and Vincent Jackson aren't bad offensive weapons to have.But on defense, Smith's specialty, the Bucs are already stacked. There'sa Pro Bowl defensive tackle in Gerald McCoy and a should have been ProBowler in linebacker Lavonte David. If the team keeps Darrelle Revisaround, he and Dashon Goldson certainly could provide quite a potentsecondary in a Lovie Smith defense.

After the Bears fired Smith following a 10-6 season in 2012, hisformer players spoke up in his defense, with Bears linebacker LanceBriggs 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 seasonsince 2010, plenty of his current players are going to feel the sameway.


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