The Tampa Bay Buccaneers wasted no time finding the man to run their team.
Lovie Smith will be the new coach in Tampa, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday, according to a source. The sidesare finalizing a deal.
Smith, the former Chicago Bears coach, was the leading candidate from the start of the Bucs’ search. He will return to the team where he was the linebackers coach from 1996 to 2000. FOX’s Jay Glazer first reported that both sides were finalizing the contract.
League executives informed of the Bucs’ process told Rapoport earlier this week that there was talk of bringing together the old Tampa Bay group, including former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, former Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell and others.
Smith compiled an 81-63 record in nine seasons with the Bears. During his time in the Windy City, Smith championed solid defensive groups. His talents and leadership should mesh well with the defensive personnel currently in Tampa.
The biggest critique of Smith in Chicago was his handling of the offensive side of the ball.
To quell those concerns, sources close to Smith told Rapoport earlier in the week that the plan is to bring in former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford as offensive coordinator.
The Bucs made sure Smith never made it to that interview.