TAMPA, Fla. -- Ever since word came out that new Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith would have final say over the 53-man roster, there has been concern about what kind of power the new general manager would have.
Now that the Bucs have a general manager in place, we’re starting to get some clarity.
“It’s going to be a partnership," general manager Jason Licht said during his introductory news conference Thursday.
Licht was hired from the Arizona Cardinals, where he served as director of player personnel. The Bucs are the sixth NFL team Licht has worked for.
“Every place that I’ve worked, especially the successful teams, the GM and the coach have to work together," Licht said. “It’s a partnership, and at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it’s Ron Wolf, Bill Polian or Jason Licht. Our job is to serve the coach.
“He has to tell us what kind of players he wants, and my staff and I have to bring those players to him. We have to find the right fits. Just like I think I’m a great fit for this family and for this coach, we have to get the right fits on the field. Otherwise it just doesn’t work."
I don’t think Smith and Licht are going to run into problems. Smith has a history of working well with others, and he’s onboard with Licht’s hiring.
“He’s not a yes-man," Smith said. “We were looking for the best possible general manager we could get, a guy that knows personnel and has been in a lot of different situations. This is an environment where everyone can speak their mind. And, in the end, you have a chance to state your case and we’ll come to the best conclusion. It’s really just as simple as that.”
I’ve seen the coach-general manager dynamic work in many different ways. The most successful ones have been where there is a system of checks and balances. Smith might have final say, but Licht is going to have a say, and that’s important.
“I told Lovie during the interview process that if he doesn’t like a player, I’m going to be in his office 20 times trying to prove why my player is the guy we need," Licht said. “And I’m sure he’ll do the same thing with me. If we don’t come to an agreement, the answer is easy -- we won’t take that player.”