The biggest difference between the failures of Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has been the support of the players. It's no surprise that Greg Schiano was not a liked man by many folks within the walls of One Buc Place. While Lovie Smith has a dismal record of 4-18 as Bucs head coach, he still has the support of prominent players within the Bucs lockerroom.
Appearing with Drew Garabo Live on 102.5 The Bone in Tampa, Bucs wide receiver Vincent Jackson jumped at the opportunity to defend his coach.
"I have the utmost confidence in Lovie," Jackson said. "I think he's doing all the right things. Lovie doesn't go out there and line up and play. Players do have to take some responsibility for it."
I find it difficult to say that Lovie Smith is "doing all the right things" when his team has lost 18 times in his first 22 games, and find different ways to lose each week. I do not find it surprising that anyone that played for Schiano would absolutely adore Lovie Smith. Schiano was a drill sergeant and Lovie Smith is much more laid back and lenient with his players.
The defense has been unbearable and the worst at giving up points this season in the NFL, but the offense is progressively improving with each week. The major reason behind the offense's recent success has been the play of rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston is a player Vincent Jackson is very excited about.
"He has all the physical tools, but what has impressed me more about this guy since he has shown up back in the spring time is the fact that he has the mental IQ," Jackson said of Jameis Winston. "From the shoulders up, this guy is very bright. He makes great decisions, he's a great competitor, and he's a leader."
At 2-4, the Buccaneers game against the Falcons is a crossroads for the team. A win would put the Bucs at 3-4 and returning home for two games. A loss puts the Bucs at 2-5 and pretty much ends all hopes for this season.
"We are held to a standard and a level we're expected to perform at," Vincent Jackson said when asked about the heat on Lovie. "Unfortunately, thus far in the season we haven't quite done that. There's still quite a bit of season left, and we expect to turn this thing around."
Hopefully, the Bucs will turn things around starting with the Falcons in Atlanta.
Be sure to listen to Justin Pawlowski on with Drew Garabo Live every Monday at 5:30 talking Buccaneer football.