Here's what new Bucs coach Lovie Smith had to say about a number of issues facing the team during Monday's introductory news conference:
What kind of impression has rookie QB Mike Glennon made on Smith?
It's too early to know how the Bucs' quarterback situation will play out for 2014, but Smith said Monday that he's pleased by the attitude he's already seen from Glennon, who started 13 games as a rookie in 2013. "As a quarterback, you have to command respect … the guy who commands it by his actions. Mike was one of the first guys here early," Smith said. "Walked in, looked me straight in the eye and said 'Hey, coach, I don't know about the rules. When can we get started?' He wants to get started right away."
Glennon, who reset most Bucs rookie passing records and led NFL rookies with 19 touchdown passes, could face competition through free agency or from a top draft pick, but Smith likes the physical attributes he has seen in the former North Carolina State quarterback.
"What I like from him, first off, he's a little bit taller than a prototype quarterback. Strong arm. He had great pocket presence to me," Smith said. "Mike's not going to win a 10-yard sprint, probably, maybe not a 40-yard sprint, but he can move around in the pocket good enough, make smart decisions. There's nothing like having that experience he was able to get his rookie year. I'm excited about going forward with him."
That said, Smith added that once his coaching staff and front office are in place, they will evaluate every position on the roster and assess what the team has and any need for change.
How will CB Darrelle Revis fit in the defensive plan?
Very well, Smith said. While there were some questions — ill-advised or not — how Revis would mesh with the "Tampa 2" zone coverage, Smith went out of his way to say he can't wait to use the five-time Pro Bowl player. Smith said they "don't play Cover 2 every snap," and "we have a place for a great cover corner that's physical and can do all things. ... There's a reason why Darrelle Revis is one of the best football players in this game. … And I'm excited — we're excited — about getting our hands on him and putting him in position to make plays."
Why Leslie Frazier as defensive coordinator?
Smith said he always has wanted to work with Frazier, the recently-fired Vikings coach whom he got to know while competing against him in the NFC North. "He's a great man, just a great leader," Smith said. "It was a no-brainer." The popular thought was that former Bucs defensive line coach Rod Marinelli might come aboard. But while Smith considers Marinelli a "big brother," he's under contract with the Cowboys and Smith said he won't seek permission to interview him.
What will Smith's offense look like?
Smith's offenses in Chicago often struggled to match their top defenses, though his philosophy doesn't seem to have changed. Smith says the Bucs are going to have a balanced attack with a power running game, and big-play ability in the passing game. He wants "athletes at every position." Smith believes they have some pieces in place, from RB Doug Martin to WRs Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Smith likes QB Mike Glennon, but wouldn't commit going forward.
How close are Bucs to hiring a GM?
Sounds like it might be a little while. "I'm here as the head coach, I'm going to be part of the process," Smith said. "We're working through a lot of different things. Keep in mind I got into town (Sunday). So it's going to take a little while, but we're still ahead of the game right now and in due time we'll have someone in." Smith, who reportedly will have final say on all personnel decisions with the 53-man roster, downplayed his control, saying he considers it like a marriage and a "big group making the decisions." Chris Ballard, the Kansas City Chiefs director of player personnel, is thought to be the frontrunner.
How does Smith motivate players?
Smith, who has coached at every level from high school on up, said the easiest players to coach are NFL players. "Most of them are making a lot of money, they like their life, and they want you to continue to help them. … They will do whatever you ask them to do if you look them in the eye and they feel like you know what you're talking about and you have a plan."
What was the reaction of former Bucs who attended Monday's introduction?
Former Bucs linebacker Shelton Quarles, who played linebacker under Smith, watched the introduction and is hopeful of being able to continue in his front-office role as director of pro scouting.
Ex-Buc Mike Alstott, who was a rookie in 1996 when Smith was a first-year NFL assistant, also attended Monday's announcement and said he likes the choice. "I think it's a phenomenal hire," Alstott said. "As a young coach and a young player, we grew up in a great atmosphere and learned from the best. … It's nothing but win-win-win. It's exactly what this organization needs and exactly what these young and talented players need."