Power rankings before training camp even begins is quite comical. It’s compiled of useless jargon to try and validate why a certain team belongs at the rank they were given without playing a game. But NFL.com published something different, something interesting you don’t often see.
NFL Media Analyst Elliot Harrison ranked head coaches across the league as they head into the 2015 season. Based off of a scale described as "’What have you done for me lately?' and career accomplishments,” he places Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith 18th among the 32 head coaches in his NFL coach power rankings.
Like Ken Whisenhunt, Smith endured an extremely difficult 2014 season that left him with a high draft pick but dinged his reputation. Don't misread this ranking; I'm not disrespecting Smith's overall career. Bears management was ready to be rid of Smith and his 10-6 record following the 2012 season -- and the team promptly won a total of 13 games over the next two seasons without him. What will Smith do this season? Tough to say with a rookie QB, but 86 wins in the NFL -- Smith's lifetime total -- is no joke. Though he's coming off a 2-14 campaign, Smith still has a winning record in the pros.
The 2015 season will be a challenging one for Smith and the Bucs. After a full season under Smith, many players have returned this offseason confident as ever. As the 2014 season proggressed, there was a sense that the team was starting to buy into what Smith selling. Those players who did not are no longer around.
Like Harrison writes, it’s the 2-14 record last year that hurts Smith’s rank heading into this season. But there is renewed optimism surrounding Tampa Bay with the addition of Jameis Winston alone. Mix him in with wide receiver Mike Evans, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, the emerging Jacquies Smith at defensive end, cornerback Johnthan Banks’ growth and several others, the Bucs have a growing nucleus of young talent with a potentially successful future.
I have a feeling Smith will only climb as each ranking is created.
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