Bucs players 'shocked' by coach Lovie Smith's firing
News of the firing of Bucs head coach Lovie Smith didn't come down until about 10:20 p.m. Wednesday, but there was immediate reaction from his players on social media, expressing their surprise even after a season-ending four-game losing streak.
"This is stupid," linebacker Lavonte David wrote on Twitter, later deleting the post. "We can't even have a consistent coach, 3 coaches in 5 years. ... Outside looking in, y'all wouldn't understand how great of a coach/person he is."
"SHOCKED!!" wrote rookie left tackle Donovan Smith, and rookie linebacker Kwon Alexander wrote "Coach Lovie was the truth!"
"Nothing but love for coach Lovie!" wrote rookie cornerback Jude Adeji-Barimah. "Great man! Gave the kid a lifetime opportunity #thankful."
Bucs safety Major Wright, who also played for Smith with the Bears, wrote "WOW THIS IS CRAZY," though not all his former players were upset with the move. Veteran corner Tim Jennings, who played for Smith in Chicago and early this year before being cut in midseason, tweeted "No surprise to me!!"
Smith's firing comes with speculation that the Bucs could promote offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who helped the Bucs reset their franchise record for total offense, with Winston passing for more than 4,000 yards and Doug Martin finishing second in the NFL with 1,402 rushing yards.
"Dirk has been the man since he walked in the door," tight end Brandon Myers wrote on Twitter.
Initial reaction from Bucs fans on Twitter was decidedly mixed -- more than 1,000 people on Twitter responded to a poll asking their reaction to his firing, with 36 percent saying they agreed with the move, 44 percent saying they disagreed and 20 percent saying they weren't sure.