Lovie Smith said he would be comfortable making Jameis Winston the face of the franchise. He has also said he ignores the media reports and instead looks at the facts when judging Winston. Many have said this is "Classic Lovie" by saying one thing but will eventually do something else.
Those who suggest Smith is lying reference how he handled the Darrelle Revis situation. During his introductory press conference just over a year ago, Smith said there was "a place for a great cover corner" on the defense and they were excited to get their hands on him. Fast forward almost two months later and the team released him.
Another situation people have commonly referred to is he has handled Mike Glennon. Glennon was labeled the "quarterback of the future" way too often by Smith and general manager Jason Licht and it basically programmed many into believing it.
But in both cases, people are forgetting what happened during the two instances where people are holding Smith to his words.
On Revis, the team was serious about keeping him. The problem wasn't Smith lying, the problem was his salary. When the Bucs hired Licht, the first order of business was not to ignore the team's salary but to address and Revis was on the top of the list. Here is Licht addressing Revis' contract on ProFootballTalk.com on January 25, 2014.
“It’s a premium position. He’s a premium player,” Licht said. “He’s obviously a very, very good player that can take a good defense and make it excellent. [Revis' contract is] one of the first things we’re going to talk about with Lovie but right now we’re excited to have Darrelle Revis on our roster.”
There you have it. The contract -- which then called for $16-million each season -- made Licht a little uneasy. When approached about restructuring, Revis didn't want any part of that discussion. The team tried to trade him but with no one wanting to take on that kind of salary, Tampa Bay ultimately released him.
On Glennon and the always-will-be-popular "quarterback of the future" quote, at the time it was truthful. But again, Licht was involved in that situation as well and mentioned how heavily scouted Glennon was by himself and his previous employer, the Arizona Cardinals.
Both agreed on their opinions about Glennon but something happened. Glennon was called on to take over the starting job due to an injury to veteran Josh McCown. With good performances the first couple weeks, Glennon started his slide and when he had the chance to bring his team back against the Browns in Cleveland, he did not connect with rookie tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins which would have converted a fourth down and extended the drive in Cleveland territory with under two minutes left to play.
That throw would be his last of the season and quite possibly his last as a Buccaneer.
So now we have the Bucs going all out on a massive public relations campaign selling everyone on the idea on the potential selection of Jameis Winston. But everything Smith has said has led people to call him a liar referencing the Revis and Glennon situations as examples to back up their theory.
But that theory is flawed. They fail to realize what occurred to change his mindset. In the case of Winston, he could very well be telling the truth. The only thing that can change his mind if Winston slips up from here until April 30.
And one last thing to note. Let's not forget about Licht who has also been involved in the team's decision-making process. He has been on record saying how much he loves players from Florida State. That's where Winston is from. That's why Licht was seen smiling from ear to ear on several shots as he took Winston around One Buc Place. Follow?
So has Lovie changed his mind? Absolutely. But is he really a liar or throwing up smokescreens? I'd say no.
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