The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had quite the early off-season following the 2013 season. They fired their general manager, fired their head coach, hired a new general manager, and hired Lovie Smith to take the team to the next level.
Not in that order.
On January 1st, 2014, the Buccaneers hired Lovie Smith to take over the franchise a short two days after former head coach Greg Schiano was fired. It took the team 20 more days to replace Mark Dominik with Jason Licht as the teams new general manager.
The Buccaneers wrapped up all of their off-season workouts last week, mandatory and voluntary, and Lovie Smith is liking what he sees.
“We like the team. We like the way they come to work every day … When I talk about the guys, this smile is real. It’s believing in the guys. When you come to work, and say, ‘do this,’ and they’re anxious to do it, how can you not be pumped up?”
“It’s a big jump,” Smith said, via the Tampa Bay Times. “We know a lot more about our football team. It’s like a college workout, you see the guys go through a lot of drills. Then you get hands on with them, get a chance to meet with them and see what they can handle in the classroom. But it’s about the physical part of the game. Putting on the pads. So we can’t get too high.”
Smith should be happy. He has almost completely retooled the team that was in place the last two years. He rid himself of the expensive Darrell Revis and could have half of his roster new to the organization come opening day.
The former Bears coach has spent the off-season workouts evaluating his players and installing new systems on both the sides of the line of scrimmage. The Buccaneers finished 4-12 last season and are hoping for a Kansas City Chiefs style turnaround in 2014. The Chiefs went from 2-14 in 2012 to 11-5 last year.