Lovie Smith on Bucs' hot seat? Not really

Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith during practice at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp at One Buc Place in Tampa on Monday, August 17, 2015. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith during practice at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp at One Buc Place in Tampa on Monday, August 17, 2015. OCTAVIO JONES | Times
Published Oct. 11, 2015


A rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston, has thrown two games away. A rookie place-kicker probably cost the Bucs another win.

At 1-3, with losses to underwhelming teams such as the Titans and Texans, the Bucs play the 1-3 Jaguars today for a chance to break their 11-game home losing streak at Raymond James Stadium.

Regardless of the outcome, Lovie Smith will continue to be the Bucs' coach.

Contrary to what a few fans may believe, Smith's coaching seat isn't getting warm. Not even tepid.

Why? When you take a quarterback No. 1 overall in the draft and plan to play him right away, you commit to the process as an organization, which is what the Bucs have done.

Troy Aikman went 0-11 as a rookie. Peyton Manning threw 28 interceptions. John Elway threw 14 picks in his first 11 games. It goes on and on. Two are Hall of Fame quarterbacks. The other will make the Hall. But what if they hadn't been allowed to grow from their mistakes?

"Even though there is disappointment behind this, that doesn't have anything to do with us going forward," Smith said. "Again, we just finished up the first quarter of our season, and we're behind, and we're disappointed. One win, but an opportunity to get a lot more the second quarter (of the season), starting with Jacksonville."

Smith is not blameless. He and general manager Jason Licht have made their share of mistakes in free agency. Some positions in the secondary and on the defensive line still are a revolving door. Any time Smith says the Bucs are 1-3, fans counter that they are 3-17 under Smith.

Not that the rants on sports talk radio and calls for action on social media and Internet chat boards aren't noticed in the owner's suites, along with dwindling attendance.

But the Glazer family is not naive. The Glazers knew Winston, who threw a pick six to start each of his first two games at Raymond James Stadium, could struggle. As a result, the Bucs have been outscored 38-6 in the first quarter. But it's the path they agreed to travel.

As Smith would say, simple as that.

PRESS HERE: LB Lavonte David is, by his standards, off to a slow start this season. He has 34 tackles, but only 13 solo tackles, to go with two tackles for loss and a forced fumble. By contrast, David had 31 solo tackles at the same point a year ago, along with eight tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

David uncharacteristically probably has missed a half-dozen tackles for loss. And he failed to secure an easy interception at the goal line last week against the Panthers.

There could be other reasons for the dropoff. Rookie Kwon Alexander is second on the club with 27 tackles, 15 solo. He may be the fastest player on the team and at times has beaten David to the ball. And some defensive linemen, particularly Clinton McDonald, are off to a better start.

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Here's another theory: David is pressing.

"I know it's possible," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "I don't know if that's the case with him. "There are some plays that we all know he can make that he didn't quite make those plays. I don't know if that's the reason, but we're hoping that this week he is making some of those plays that we know he's capable of making and the consistency that we have seen throughout his career will show up again this weekend."

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: From WR Vincent Jackson, a captain and a strong voice in the locker room: "We love Jameis. We're going to rally behind him. He's our guy, and there's not going to be a blink in that locker room about that. We can do better things to make his job a little bit easier. There are things that are done that may seem like it's his fault, but there's plenty of things that we can do to make him successful, and we all take the accountability for all those plays, those turnovers. It's never a one-man show. Jameis is a young guy. He's going to continue to learn."