Chris O'Meara/Associated Press
Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Tedford
Defensive Coordinator: Leslie Frazier
2013: 4-12 (4th Place, NFC South)
Here we go again.
Ever since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers opted to let go of Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden following the 2008 season, the Bucs haven’t stopped making changes when it comes to the job.
Three years of Raheem Morris and two seasons of Greg Schiano now brings Lovie Smith back to Tampa. He was part of Tony Dungy’s original coaching in 1996 and as the head coach of the Chicago Bears, he took that franchise to Super Bowl XLI.
After a year out of the NFL, Smith takes over a club that has finished last in the NFC South each of the previous three seasons. But first things first and that’s getting this club up to speed on defense, a liability for the club in recent years.
There’s new talent on this side of the ball with free-agent pickups in defensive end Michael Johnson and Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner, as well as a pretty sturdy defensive tackle in Gerald McCoy. Smith said of McCoy, via Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com:
Gerald has been just the perfect student, No. 1, to just buy into the coaching that he’s getting. He’s a great player, that’s established, he’s a great player, but what do you do from there? And he comes out every day, he’s the first guy in every drill, he’s running to the football, you can’t ask for anything more in a defensive lineman than what Gerald McCoy is doing.
Jeff Tedford is Tampa’s new offensive coordinator and he has veteran quarterback Josh McCown at his disposal. There’s a revamped offensive line, a new rookie wideout in Mike Evans, veteran wide receiver Vincent Jackson and hopefully, a very healthy running back in Doug Martin.
Expectations: While the defending division champion Carolina Panthers certainly look vulnerable, the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints look like improved football teams. Still, the arrival of Smith brings a lot of credibility and the infusion of talent on both sides of the football can’t be ignored.
2014 Record: 9-7