The Lovie Smith situation caused great debate. Was he given enough time? The Buccaneers decided to hire Smith, and then hire a general manager. What the situation does prove is that hiring the coach first simply doesn’t work.
After two unsuccessful years with Greg Schiano at the helm, the Buccaneers turned to Lovie Smith. He arrived with a strong resume, with a Super Bowl appearance to go along with an 81-63 record in nine years with the Chicago Bears. Despite that strong work, Smith also lasted only two years, receiving his walking papers following the 2015 season. With Jameis Winston in the fold, Smith did improve the Bucs’ record from 2-14 to 6-10, but it wasn’t good enough. At 8-24, the Glazers had seen enough.
We can debate for hours, whether or not Smith was given enough time. But, there is a point about the scenario that has been ignored, which is a major factor as to why things didn’t work out.
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The Buccaneers decided to hire Smith, and then include him in the process of hiring the general manager, Jason Licht. Licht made the decision to fire Smith and hire a new head coach, Dirk Koetter.
Hiring a coach, followed by a general manager, is a recipe for disaster. It just doesn’t work.
No matter why the scenario played out that way, the positions don’t lend themselves that way. The visions of each individual don’t match up. The two of them must be on the same page, and the general manager needs someone coaching his team that has the same vision. If the coach brings in the general manager, his coaching ideas will differ even with the best intentions at heart.
The same scenario played out recently in New York with the Jets. Following the 2012 season, the Jets fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum, but retained Rex Ryan as the head coach. Ryan was a participant in the general manager search that ultimately unearthed John Idzik. The two had clearly separate agendas, and now the Jets have neither one of them.
How long did it take? Two years. Sound familiar, Bucs Nation? I’m sure it does.
Any organization has a chain of command, a clear line of power and direction, from the owner down to the players. The general manager reports to the owner, and the coach reports to the general manager. If the coach helps choose the general manager, there are problems with the chain of command, as well as the vision for putting together a football team.
It just doesn’t work.
Thank goodness that the Glazers figured it out, and are allowing their general manager to pick the next coach. Bucs Nation, this is a great sign for the future.