TAMPA, Fla. -- As the losses continue to pile up, it’s fair to wonder if Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith could follow the path of Rob Chudzinski and Mike Mularkey.
Chudzinski lasted only one season in Cleveland and Mularkey was ousted after one year in Jacksonville. Could Smith, whose team is 2-10, face the same fate?
Nothing is out of the question, but I think Smith is safe. Smith was ownership’s hand-picked coach to follow Greg Schiano and was given a five-year contract.
Ownership obviously can’t be delighted with the early results. But I think they are smart enough to look at the big picture, due largely to trial and error in the past. Since firing Jon Gruden after the 2008 season, the Bucs have gone through constant change.
From Raheem Morris to Schiano and now to Smith, the Bucs have kept overhauling their roster but never gave it a chance to stabilize. The Bucs have some good individual talent (Gerald McCoy, Mike Evans and Lavonte David to name a few) to build around. Some complementary players are needed, and that’s what the upcoming offseason is for.
But what the Bucs need more than anything right now is continuity. Smith isn’t like Morris or Schiano, who were unproven in the NFL. Smith won in Chicago, and history is the best indicator of what is to come. Smith needs another offseason to get the roster to where he needs it to be.
Smith hasn’t panicked this season. He’s stayed the course and stuck with his philosophies. I don’t anticipate that changing. Smith is a creature of habit.
And that’s a good thing. The last thing the Bucs need right now is another dramatic change. There’s no question some personnel moves need to be made, but the Bucs need stability.
They need to stick with Smith and let him finish what he has started.