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Free agents already know Lovie Smith's system

TAMPA, Fla. -- Three of the four free agents the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed so far played for the Dallas Cowboys last season.

That’s no coincidence. Coach Lovie Smith wanted players that know his system. Defensive tackle Henry Melton, linebacker Bruce Carter and cornerback Sterling Moore have history in a system that’s very similar to the one Smith employs.

The Dallas defense is run by coordinator Rod Marinelli. He’s one of Smith’s best friends and the two worked together as assistants for the Bucs under Tony Dungy. More importantly, Marinelli runs the same defense as Smith.

That should make the transition easy for Melton, Carter and Moore. Melton should be particularly comfortable. He played for Smith in Chicago before moving on to Dallas.

After last season, Smith admitted he didn’t know his roster very well coming into the job. That may have been part of the reason the Bucs went 2-14. But that shouldn’t be a problem this year.

Tampa Bay’s fourth free agent is safety Chris Conte. He also played for Smith in Chicago.

The four free agents may be new to the Bucs, but they’re not new to Smith’s system and that means there shouldn’t be a learning curve.