TAMPA — The newest member of the franchise’s Ring of Honor said the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made the right choice at the right time by hiring Lovie Smith as their new head coach.
Derrick Brooks said his former linebackers coach in Tampa will provide structure and purpose for a club that has gone six consecutive seasons without making the playoffs.
“I think he is the right guy where our franchise is now, outside of the ‘X’s’ and ‘O’s,’ ’’ Brooks said Tuesday. “That’s where I feel good about Lovie. You talk about consistency and a way of doing business. That’s gotten lost over the years, it really has. The sense of direction, how you go about doing it – all those things have really gotten lost and can’t be defined. What is the Buccaneer Way?’’
Smith coached Brooks from 1996-2000 before joining the Rams as their defensive coordinator. In 2004, Smith began a 9-year tenure as head coach of the Chicago Bears, posting an 81-63 record that included an NFC championship season in 2006.
“Now I think you can have an answer and you can get a visual,’’ Brooks said. “That’s what I think he (Smith) brings. Is that going to turn into Super Bowl championships or 12-win seasons? ... I don’t know. But I think Coach Smith, being the right guy at the right time, gives us a good start.’’
Smith was coaching defensive backs at Ohio State when Tony Dungy arrived in Tampa and gave him his first job opportunity in the NFL.
“He brings a lot more experience in this situation than what Coach Dungy did in 1996, and he has a better football team,’’ Brooks said. “He has shown that my yes is yes and my no is no. There’s no guessing game with him.’’