The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished dead last in the league in offense last season, and a large portion of the blame can be placed on offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, whose awful system didn’t allow Josh Freeman or Mike Glennon to flourish.
So when the Buccaneers cleaned house this offseason, adding a new offensive mind to turn things around on that side of the ball was a priority, yet the hiring of Lovie Smith did nothing to help the struggling offense. So Lovie Smith tasked former Cal coach Jeff Tedford with running the offense, and it provided some hope that a QB-friendly offensive coordinator could do a better job than the previous regime.
As Patrick Daugherty of Rotoworld points out in an article ranking the coaches in the NFL, Lovie Smith’s “downfall was his utter inability to find competent hands on offense.” And while Daugherty admits that Jeff Tedford is a bit of a gamble, he also brings up a valid point about Tedford’s potential success.
- “If Tedford can whip up a good offense — and not get plucked away in the process — Smith should be in for a long stay on the gulf coast of Florida.”
NFL teams are constantly looking for an offensive guru, especially considering the offensive production from Marc Trestman and Chip Kelly’s teams this past season. If Tedford is able to quickly turn around the Tampa Bay offense, how quickly would another team pounce and name him head coach?
Lovie Smith’s weakness has always been offense, so keeping a good offensive coordinator will be incredibly important. So while an improved offense in 2014 will be a welcome sight to Bucs’ fans, it’s not a sign of long-term success for their new head coach.
The unfortunate reality of life in the NFL is that success brings about change as often as failure. A bad player is cut, but a good player outplays his contract and goes elsewhere for a payday. A struggling coach is fired, but a successful coordinator becomes the most valuable commodity when coaches are fired on Black Monday.
An improved offense is the goal for Jeff Tedford and his staff, but can Lovie Smith replace Tedford with a coach of equal skill should Tedford be stolen away?
It’s too early to assume much at all about Tedford’s time as an NFL coordinator, but in the event that he does succeed, it might not be all good news for the Buccaneers.