The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hiring of Lovie Smith came as no surprise to those who were closely following the rumor mill, as there were several strong reports linking the former Chicago Bears coach to the Buccaneers. There was plenty of mutual interest, as Smith was clearly the Buccaneers top targets, and Smith was also very interested in the organization; one reason is his affinity for the Tampa Bay area.
Smith seems like the perfect hire for the Buccaneers, and he will instill the kind of credibility into the organization that they have been lacking for quite some time. As Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon stated, via the Tampa Tribune, Smith is excellent at working with players, and he knows how to run a disciplined squad without turning things into a farce (unlike Greg Schianio).
The Buccaneers really wanted to hire Smith and viewed him as their top candidate, and it looks like one of their own players also wanted Smith more than any other head coach on the market. Left tackle Donald Penn has been a solid starter on the Bucs for quite some time, so his opinion on a head coaching hire isn’t to be taken lightly. Nothing but good things will be said by players when it comes to new head coaching hires, but I found Penn’s comment to be interesting.
He said, “He’s the first guy that I wanted to get and I’m excited that it came true. I’ve heard a lot of great things from guys throughout the league — I even had some guys that have played for him text me after they found out, telling me how good of a coach he is and how much he will help our team, how much he’ll improve our team. I think it’s going to help us a lot, especially having a young team, an experienced coach like that coming in who’s been there. As a coach, I don’t think you can ask for a better situation with the talented players we have on our team. From what I’m hearing, he’s the right man for the job and he’s going to take us in the right direction. That really makes me excited.”
Penn sure isn’t the only person who is excited about this hire, and I have yet to find someone who isn’t. Well, other than fans of other NFC South teams.