Who Now?

american-football-wilson

I didn’t plan to talk about pro football for three of my past four blog entries, but sometimes current events change the best laid plans.

Late last night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers put out a press release to announce that Lovie Smith had been fired despite their record improving from 2-14 in 2014 to 6-10 this season. The search may or may not be on to find the 11th head coach of the franchise as we speak.

I say “may not” because the move to fire Lovie wouldn’t make sense otherwise. While there is something called a “Rooney Rule” where at least one minority applicant must be interviewed, I suspect the Bucs already have their man.

If I have to guess who’ll be the new head coach of the Bucs would be at this point, that’d be tricky, as they’ve recently tried all the roads that “lead to Rome.” They tried an established assistant in Raheem Morris, which didn’t work. They tried a big name college coach in Greg Schiano, which also didn’t work. Then they tried a big name former pro coach recently in Lovie, which Bucs management has now also declared a failure by letting him go.

My thinking is that Dirk Koetter will be the new head coach, as he was both an established assistant in college and a pro football, and a former head coach in college football at Boise State and Arizona State. But the timing of the firing of Lovie Smith suggests this may not be the answer. It very well could be a bigger name.

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The Bucs Find Neverland…Again

Jameis might want to consider playing baseball as opposed to the NFL...

Jameis Winston might want to consider playing baseball as opposed to the NFL…

I’ve been a Bucs fan a long time, and I am hard pressed to find an opening game that could make me more discouraged than the 42-14 blowout they suffered at the hands of the Tennessee Titans, who went 2-14 in 2014.

The game wasn’t even THAT close. It was 35-7 at halftime until Tennessee called off the dogs early in the second half and cruised to victory.

To their credit, I thought the Titans played very well. They built their offense around their first-round NFL draft pick, Marcus Mariota, flying around the field like his college team, the Oregon Ducks.

The Bucs on the other hand are trying to fit Jameis Winston into an offense for a head coach who has never had great offenses in Lovie Smith, either here or in Chicago when he took the Bears to the Super Bowl nine seasons ago off of a good defense and a special teams weapon in Devin Hester.

The Bucs don’t have a good defense, nor good special teams. Wherever Lovie is staying in this great Tampa Bay area, I hope he’s merely renting property, not owning it. It was an extremely disappointing way to start the 2015-2016 campaign that doesn’t conclude until they play Carolina in Charlotte on January 3, 2016. That date seems a long, long ways away now.

Upset

The Rays season came to an end yesterday. They finished 77-85, their worst year with the “Rays” nickname that they’ve had since 2008.

Their finale with Cleveland’s Indians ended so quickly that I caught the tail end of the Bucs-Steelers game. The Bucs were embarrassed 56-14 at the hands of Atlanta a week ago Thursday night, and no one expected them to win in the ‘Burgh.

But lest we forget that the NFL often stands for No Freaking Logic, so naturally the Bucs put up an inspired effort and hung tough against the heavily favored Steelers.

Sure enough, they get the ball in Steeler territory to initiate a drive in the final minute of the game, enough time for a quick drive and touchdown to win the game 27-24 with 7 seconds to go, good enough for the win.

Great job, guys. Lovie, don’t type up that resume just yet.