1. Bucs

Glazers bungle their way into the right move (w/video)

The Glazer brothers — from left, Ed and Bryan, and right, Joel — with Lovie Smith in a happier time: the news conference introducing Smith as the Bucs’ coach on Jan. 6, 2014.
The Glazer brothers — from left, Ed and Bryan, and right, Joel — with Lovie Smith in a happier time: the news conference introducing Smith as the Bucs’ coach on Jan. 6, 2014.
Published Jan. 8, 2016


Here's the problem with the Bucs:

It's not that they fire coaches every couple of years. It's that they hire the wrong ones every couple of years. And each change is made with all the elegance and dexterity of a toddler wielding a chainsaw.

For that, thank Joel, Bryan and Edward Glazer — the Moe, Larry and Curly of NFL owners.

Here we are again. Another firing. Another coaching search under way. Hold your breath and see if the Bucs bungle this one. Supposedly, general manager Jason Licht will be in charge of hiring the next coach. Sounds like the coach is going to be offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, if we're reading the tea leaves correctly.

Then again, when it comes to the Glazers, these yahoos can foul up a cup of tea.

But believe it or not, I'm here to defend the Glazers. Sort of. I'm willing to defend Wednesday's firing of Lovie Smith. It was a good decision poorly executed. Per usual.

I think they made the right call to fire Lovie after two seasons and only eight wins. They didn't have faith in Smith anymore, and why keep a guy you believe will never lead you to where you want to go? Why wait to see if things will improve if you know deep down in your bones they will never improve?

For the Glazers, it would have been easy to embrace the status quo. Lovie is still under contract, and there are at least 10 million reasons to have kept him. (Not to mention they're also paying Greg Schiano $3 million for one more year.) There was no uproar among fans to make a change. Once Black Monday, the day coaches typically get the ax, passed, most Bucs fans focused on next season and had accepted that Lovie would still be the coach.

Yet despite all those millions of reasons to keep him, despite no pressure to get rid of him, despite that firing another coach after only two seasons would lead more of us to think they are a bunch of bumbling buffoons trying to turn their franchise into the Cleveland Browns, the Glazers still gave Smith a pink slip.

Other than doing it over the phone, you have to respect that.

The Glazers are willing to eat all that money and have their intelligence questioned and have a few of their star players grumble all because they believed the guy in charge of the X's and O's no longer knew how to pick X's and where to place the O's.

Maybe the firing will turn out to be the wrong decision, but you can't question the motive. It is proof the Glazers really do care about winning more than anything else. That's what you want from an owner.

No one is questioning the Glazers' desire to win. It's the Glazers' ability to win that has us wondering. It's hard to believe in the Glazers. They make it so hard. It's hard to trust them. It's hard to defend them.

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That's because for starters, they don't even defend themselves. They were nowhere to be found Thursday. They fired a coach, and as of Thursday night, their only words had come in the form of a 90-word statement from Joel on Wednesday that said little more than the firing was a "difficult decision."

That can't happen. If you fire a coach — your third firing in five years — you have to show up and explain yourself. You have to tell everyone why and how and when and what's next. To hide under the covers and not face the same scrutiny that Smith and the players faced after every loss is spineless.

It was the Glazers who decided to fire Smith, not Licht. Yet it was Licht who was left standing at the lectern Thursday, looking like a teenager telling Dad about the dent in the fender.

"They've empowered me, right now, to be the face of the football operations … to lead the charge for the next coach," Licht said. "They have confidence in me and my group, my personnel people. So I should be the one talking about this right now."

No, it's a Glazer who should be talking about this right now. The Glazers should face the tough questions and explain their failures and lay out their vision.

What soured them on Lovie? Why not give him another season? What qualities are you looking for in your next coach? Most of all, what makes you think you are going to get this hire right?

By not showing up, the Glazers look weak and meek, and to some extent, incompetent. That kind of behavior gives the fan base absolutely no confidence in what will happen next.

What will happen next? Licht might be the public face regarding the new hire, but the Glazers are still in charge, and their track record on this stuff is sketchy.

These brainiacs fired Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden, and would hire either one of them again in a second if given the chance. They hired Raheem Morris and Schiano and Smith, and it would be surprising if any of those three ever gets another head coaching job in the NFL.

If I'm the Glazers, I sign off on whatever Licht wants to do. It's not that we should trust Licht much, but we've seen what the Glazers can do, and it's not good.

When the time comes to announce the hiring of Koetter or whoever the next coach is, maybe all three Glazer co-chairmen will show up. Then we will know whose heads to clank together, Three Stooges style, if this hiring goes sour, too.


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