The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have certainly caused a ruckus with the sudden and unexpected firing of Lovie Smith after two seasons with the team. Smith took over the Buccaneers after the 2014 season, where he guided the team to a 2-14 record, then coached the franchise to a 6-10 mark. There was reason to believe there had been solid improvements to the team, especially on offense.
The Glazers, who own the franchise, thought differently and fired Smith over the phone earlier this week.
For whatever the reasons for the change at the top, the Buccaneers are in a quandary of sorts. Quarterback Jameis Winston and the offense looked explosive at times this season and will continue to improve if the right coaches are brought in or retained from last year’s staff. It is believed that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter is the leading candidate to replace Smith. Koetter had been the offensive coordinator in both Atlanta and Jacksonville before moving down south.
There are other candidates, should Koetter not get an offer from management. On tampabay.com, Greg Auman outlines several candidates, which include former Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly and Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson. One name that had been discussed on sports talk radio in Jacksonville was the reunion of Jimbo Fisher and Winston.
Forget it, because that won’t happen.
Koetter should be offered the job and will continue to oversee the progression of Winston, wide receiver Mike Evans and running back Doug Martin. But if the team goes in another direction, Kelly might be the leading candidate.
The Buccaneers tried to hire Kelly before they hired Greg Schiano. Smith replaced Schiano in 2014.
LIONS HIRE GENERAL MANAGER
Bob Quinn, the director of pro scouting for the New England Patriots, has been hired as the general manager in Detroit. He replaces Martin Mayhew who was fired during the season.
According to NFL.com, Quinn has been with the Patriots since 2000, first entering the league with the Patriots as a player personnel assistant under Belichick. He climbed the ladder to his most recent position as director of pro scouting, which he held since 2012. Quinn is one of few that has been in the Patriots’ draft room with Belichick. In his time in New England, the Patriots won four Super Bowls.
Quinn’s first move as the new man in Detroit may be to decide the fate of head coach Jim Caldwell. The Lions did play better in the second half of the season, posted a 7-9 overall record. Caldwell has been the subject of being fired all season long. While management made changes in the front office and with the coaching staff, Caldwell continued to be spared.
The Ford family said it would not make a decision on Caldwell’s future until a general manager was hired and that person would make the call.
MACK NAMED ALL PRO AT TWO POSITIONS
Khalil Mack made history on Friday when he was named to the All-Pro team at two positions – the first time a player has accomplished that feat.
The second-year Oakland Raiders defensive end and outside linebacker drew enough support Friday from a panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the league to make the squad in both spots. The report came from ESPN.com.
“I do whatever I can to help the team win. I’m a team guy,” said Mack, who had 15½ sacks (five in one game), behind only Watt in the league. “Whether it’s dropping in coverage or rushing the passer. I can do either. I think they [the voters] saw that.”
Mack was the fifth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.