People have suggested that head coach Lovie Smith has made poor decisions on evaluating talent which has led to a 1-6 record. Some have gone as far as suggesting he hasn't gotten the best out of his players. Both go hand in hand. That leads us to the questioning of the Mark Barron trade.
It was a bit of a surprise when Barron was reportedly being offered up in a trade by several credible reports. The trade would eventually be made, one that sent the 2012 seventh-overall selection to St. Louis for a couple late round draft picks. While that may be the market for someone like Barron, that wasn't the biggest surprise. Instead, the surprise was the fact he was traded to begin with.
Yes, Barron did not play as well as many expected him to. But it's not his fault. It was his (now former) head coach Lovie Smith. Here is why:
“Does the system play to his strength? Absolutely. I’ve heard [the media] talk a lot about Lavonte David and Gerald McCoy being compared to two Hall of Famers. But we had another great safety here in John Lynch also. Mark Barron – he looks the part. Very pleased with him. I really like what he did at Alabama when he came out. He had a good season last year. But it’s ahead of him. What we need: we need a big, strong safety. He’ll be down into the box. He went three days and had interceptions on three days. He has good hands for a big guy. I could talk about Mark for quite a while, as you can see, but we like the direction he’s going.”
Those were Smith's words following a training camp practice in August. He said that Barron would be "down into the box" to play into his strengths as the system allowed him to do so, yet that approach was altered to have him play more in coverage. Why would a head coach alter his vision for a player to no longer be his strengths? Perhaps injuries played a role along the way, but shouldn't it have been handled differently so that the Buccaneers don't lose the strengths of one of their starters?
Barron confirmed yesterday via the St. Louis Post Dispatch that Lovie Smith did not put him in a position to succeed with the Tampa-2.
“Yeah, it is passive,” Barron said. “That’s kind of the only thing I didn’t like about it a lot of times. I had to sit back and I couldn’t really be as aggressive as I wanted to in that system. So yeah, I would most definitely say that.”
So there you have it. Barron says what many have suggested, the coaching -- or just the coach -- is not putting the players in a position to win.
Smith initially saying one thing about how they will play Barron and later changing that validates bad judgement and decision by the head coach. It also makes you question what other players are being affected by Smith's philosophy on how they should be used.
At 1-6, the record suggests there could be a lot more of that going on. When players are not utilized to their strengths and the right personnel was not brought in, that falls on coaching. That falls on head coach Lovie Smith.
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