By Eric Schmidt

As a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan since 1976, I have been treated to some pretty poor football. In the Hugh Culverhouse days, things were done on the cheap. The players were given sparse training facilities. Fans were forced to sit on hemorrhoid inducing aluminum bench seats in the old Tampa Stadium. Good players were run out of town, see Doug Williams.

Then we get new ownership, it’s a New Day in Tampa Bay. Tony Dungy is brought in and he turns the mentality of losing around in the locker room. A perennial losing team is now knocking at the Super Bowl door in a few years. Dungy doesn’t have the passion to push his talented team over the edge and is eventually fired to be replaced by Jon Gruden. Gruden brings home the goods and it looks like the Buccaneers are locked in for a few years to come. Well, the franchise had to give up a king’s ransom in order to get Gruden and the team, quickly missing top draft selections, was now also swimming in salary cap hell in years following the franchise’s only Super Bowl win. When it appeared that the Buccaneers would get some salary cap relief after the 2008 season, and the team had a December meltdown, the current co-host of Monday Night Football was fired.

Tampa has gone through a litany of coaches following Gruden. Raheem Morris (17-31) Greg Schaino (11-21) and currently, Lovie Smith. Smith is a modest 4-18 in his time in Tampa again and has just one win one his record in Raymond James Stadium. His time should be limited.

After the hire of Morris and then Schiano, the Buccaneers were faced with an even more dwindling fan base. They needed to hire a coach which brought some credibility to the franchise after the previous two failed experiments. Smith took a Chicago Bears team to the Super Bowl and was a disciple of Tony Dungy,  and he was going to bring the gravitas back to the Buccaneers and relive the days of the middle 1990’s. Lovie is a defensive genius, he knows the Tampa-2 defense. He had some early pieces in place. Gerald McCoy as the next Warren Sapp. LB Lavonte David as the next Derrick Brooks. But the pieces have fallen apart.

Smith has had two years of an open checkbook to bring in free agents. The players he has brought in aren’t working out. His old, tired, Chicago Bears players are underwhelming on the field. CB Chris Conte could have sealed the game in Washington this weekend and dropped an interception.

Lovie is supposed to be a defensive genius. So exactly how do the Buccaneers, and his hand-picked defensive unit surrender the biggest comeback in Washington Redskins history, say 1100+ games to a quarterback that hasn’t started a full season of games in his career, yet posted a career best 124.7 passer rating? Let’s review a few things here.

The Buccaneers had 479 yards of total offense against the Redskins. They had 190 yards rushing versus just 50 for Washington. Rookie QB Jameis Winston was 21-29 -289 yards and two touchdowns in his second game without a turnover. And the defensive genius head coach let the Redskins march right down the field as if Washington was conducting a scrimmage.

Gee, wasn’t that what Marcus Maroita did in Week One against this vaunted defense?

Lovie Smith is now 4-18 with the Buccaneers and has only won one home game.  Tampa only has five home games remaining. I don’t see any home games that this team can win with the exception of the December 27th game against the Chicago Bears, and even that is up in the air. The Buccaneers, making ordinary quarterbacks look extraordinary since 1976. (With the exception of that period from 1998-2003).

Tampa is now on pace for a NFL record 158 penalties. Is this a sign of well coached, disciplined team? 16 penalties for 142 yards on Sunday.

The Buccaneers look to be headed to another top-10 or higher first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft next year. Given the failed choices in free agency in the last two seasons, does the front office really want to surrender yet another failed season to Lovie Smith and his minions?

If the Buccaneers finish 4-12 this season, Smith will have compiled a 6-28 record in Tampa. Sam Wyche was 23-41 from 1992-1995. Ray Perkins was 19-41 from 1987-1990. Let that sink in a bit. If Lovie is retained for the 2016 season, he’d have to go 13-3 next year to reach the number of wins Ray Perkins had in four seasons with the Bucs. Ray Perkins. Ugly.

Smith needs to go. He needs to take his lackluster motivational skills somewhere else. Along with his defensive prowess. I find his defensive prowess to be quite offensive. I find his lackluster demeanor on the sidelines to be offensive. I find his description of the games in his post game pressers to be offensive. I’m not stupid Lovie, I watched the game. Start packing your shit and get out of town.

And a memo to the Bucs front office- I was a huge Tampa Bay Rays fan. When they couldn’t get a deal done with Joe Maddon, I was out. And I mean out. I never watched one Rays game this year, I used to watch about 80 a year. If you don’t make a significant change this offseason, I will be out of the Buccaneers just the same. Your franchise has become an embarrassment since 2008. I used to have season tickets, now it’s not worth the money or the drive to come watch this sorry product on the field.

Until this franchise makes a strong decision towards a serious coaching and General Manager change, I will no longer support the franchise. I can no longer get behind local professional franchises which gut the core of the winning mechanism to save money in a market where the teams struggle to put fans in the seats.

 

 

 

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