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Thursday, Apr 26, 2018
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Lovie Smith's presence brings new vibe to Bucs workouts

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Mike Glennon likened his return to One Buc Place for the start of the Bucs offseason workout program this week to his first day of high school.

“You know some of the guys (from being with them in middle school),’’ Glennon said, “but there are a lot of new faces and you realize it’s going to take some time to get know everybody.’’

The Bucs have brought in 16 new faces through free agency alone this offseason, including a new face at quarterback, where Josh McCown has supplanted Glennon at the top of the depth chart.

The most notable newcomer, though, is new Bucs principal Lovie Smith, and according to the faces Bucs fans are most familiar with, Smith has already made a positive first impression.

“It’s real different,’’ linebacker Lavonte David said Tuesday after the Bucs completed their second day of work under their new coach. “There’s a different vibe from everyone. We feel like the situation here is a lot better.’’

Smith was hired in January to replace Greg Schiano, who was fired after two years in which the Bucs went 11-21 and amid reports his players were tuning him out because of his harsh disciplinary approach.

Few players ever admitted publicly to disliking Schiano’s tactics, but there is little question that Smith’s calmer demeanor is already winning over the players he has inherited from his predecessor.

“It’s awesome,’’ said kicker Connor Barth, who missed all of last season with a torn right Achilles tendon. “I’ve been through a few coaches and Lovie, he treats everyone with respect. He treats us like men. That’s awesome.’’

Glennon is already familiar with Smith’s approach. He became so only minutes after the Bucs signed McCown to a two-year, $10 million contract, when Smith called him to tell him he would start off as McCown’s backup.

Glennon said Smith told him the same thing he told the media the day McCown was introduced, which is that someone has to go out with the first unit when workouts begin and that will be McCown.

“I don’t remember exactly what I said (in return),’’ Glennon said. “I just realized I’m going to have to continue to work hard and prove myself. I mean, I know the NFL is a business and at different times you may have to take on different roles.’’

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson is beginning his 10th year in the business of the NFL. He said he’s heard a lot about Smith during that time and is already realizing that all that he heard is true.

“He’s everything I thought he would be and more,” Jackson said. “I was able to come in about two weeks after (he was hired) to meet him and some of the staff members. He’s a smart man – very thought out and well-planned.

“He does everything with a purpose. Every minute in this building is going to be useful for us and make us better as men, as well as football players. I’ve heard nothing but great things about him and now I can see why.”

It’s not just Smith the old Bucs are excited about. David said the entire staff had made a good early impression on the team and that he is hopeful that will lead to an improvement on the field.

“All the coaches are real cool, even the strength and conditioning coaches,’’ David said. “There’s a real cool vibe around here right now, and I do think that will (transfer to the field).

“I mean, I’m not a rah, rah guy, so everybody just staying calm and keeping their composure, that can definitely translate to the field to where, you’ve got a situation where the crowd is going crazy or something bad is happening and everyone is keeping their composure on the sidelines.

“That will just help us build more confidence that will help us overcome those kinds of things. So it’s cool. It’s only been two days, but it’s cool. (Smith) is a quiet guy, a laid-back type of guy. He’s all about respect and being a professional in this league.’’

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