The Buccaneers’ firing of head coach Lovie Smith on Wednesday evening shocked the NFL world, but general manager Jason Licht explained today to reporters that he didn’t think the team had been impatient with Smith.
“I think when you have eight wins in two years, three home wins in two years, we’ve been patient enough,” Licht said, per Jenna Laine of Sports Talk Florida (Twitter link).
The Bucs GM made a few more comments of note during his session with reporters today, so let’s dive in and round up the highlights (all links go to Twitter)….
- According to Licht (via Laine), Buccaneers ownership intended to meet with Smith today to discuss his future – or lack thereof – with the organization. However, Licht warned the head coach on Wednesday night about the impending meeting, and Smith opted to talk to ownership on the phone right away instead.
- Licht called offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who is reportedly the frontrunner for the job, a “very strong” head coaching candidate, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. However, the GM added (link via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times) that Tampa Bay is obligated to allow Koetter to interview with other teams, and multiple teams have put in a request. According to our tracker, those suitors likely include the Dolphins, Eagles, and 49ers.
- While Koetter is viewed as a top candidate, Licht said there has been a lot of interest already from outside candidates in the job, per Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune. At the time, Licht hadn’t spoken to any candidates, though he said that the search process would begin immediately after the press conference, according to Scott Smith of Buccaneers.com.
- One factor that any of the Buccaneers’ head coaching candidates will have to take into account: Licht now has control over the Bucs’ 53-man roster, though he doesn’t believe that will hold the team back from pursuing certain candidates (link via Laine).