The Buccaneers have found their head coach in Lovie Smith, and soon his staff and the front office will be set too. Now that the head coach position is filled, the Bucs franchise can now look ahead to the other big issues they face this offseason.
The Plan of Attack
Perhaps the biggest challenge that Lovie Smith will be facing is how to get the Buccaneers offense up to speed. This past season Tampa Bay ranked last in total offense, passing yards, yards after catch, and first downs. Given his defensive philosophy, Smith will have to surround himself with keen offensive minds and creative play callers that former coach Greg Schiano didn’t have. While getting back impact players like RB Doug Martin and WR Mike Williams will help, there needs to be a new offensive approach that is dynamic and puts more points on the board, and not to be a burden on the defense.
Is Mike Glennon the guy?
This is an issue that could be resolved as early as free agency in March, or as late as Week 1 of the 2014 regular season. Mike Glennon showed his ups and downs last season, as every rookie quarterback does in their first year. But Lovie Smith is not tied to Glennon, meaning he can be as aggressive as he wants in finding his signal caller. And given Lovie’s track record in Chicago, don’t be surprised if we see a change. In his nine seasons as head coach of the Bears, Smith had ten different quarterbacks start at least one game, including four in his first season.
Room for Revis Island?
Similar to how Lovie Smith is not married to Mike Glennon as his quarterback, the next general manager of the Bucs will not be tied to the contract of cornerback Darrelle Revis. When Mark Dominik brought Revis Island to Tampa, he did so under a series of one-year, $16 million dollar contracts and no guaranteed money to acquire the best lock-down corner in the NFL. Cutting Revis would be a nightmare scenario with the risk of giving another team–perhaps a division rival–the chance to upgrade their defense. Whoever the new general manager will be, he will have to meet with Revis and perhaps a re-negoitiation will be in the works.
Lock up Gerald McCoy
With Tampa Bay’s premiere defensive tackle Gerald McCoy now a two-time Pro Bowler, the Buccaneers should take measures to sign him to a long-term contract. McCoy is coming off his best season with Tampa Bay, recording 50 combined tackles and 9 sacks. In addition he is a locker room leader and a fan favorite. This will be a big priority for the next general manager. But it should be dealt with this offseason, and not risk the chance of losing McCoy to free agency in 2015.