Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith joined the Mike and Mike show on ESPN Radio July 23, the day before veterans are scheduled to report and 48 hours away from the start of training camp to share his views ahead of the 2014 season.
The defensive-minded Smith is looking for immediate contributions on offense from the team’s top three draft picks —receiver Mike Evans, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Charles Sims. The Buccaneers need the help shoring up an offense that finished the 2013 season ranked 30th in scoring and last in passing and total yardage.
“They say you have to have offense to win games, so I’m trying to learn that in my old age,” Smith said. “We just thought those were our best options. We needed some help at the receiver position. We love everything Mike Evans did in college and in our workouts. And it’s the same thing with Austin Seferian-Jenkins. You can’t have too many skilled guys.
“Our rookies have reported, we’ve started the process and I can’t wait to take the next step with these guys.”
While many players look at training camp and the pre-season as a one-month grind, Smith takes a different approach.
“I do look forward to training camp, especially this one,” Smith said. “Here in Tampa we have training camp right here at our facility. Our fans are pumped up. We don’t know our football team as coaches as well as we need to. To take the next step in pads is an exciting time.”
The Buccaneers overhauled the roster in the offseason, signing a number of free agents, including quarterback Josh McCown. Fresh off one of his most productive seasons in which he completed a career high 66.5% of his passes for 1,829 yards for the Chicago Bears, McCown signed a two-year deal with the Buccaneers and has been handed the reins to the offense.
Mike Glennon, drafted by the Buccaneers in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft, went 4-9 as a starter in his rookie year and finds himself in a back-up role this season. Glennon is considered the team’s quarterback of the future.
“I believe in a starting rotation based on the information that you have,” Smith said. “I have a lot of information on Josh McCown and what he can do as a starting quarterback. I like the potential of Mike Glennon down the line. Josh is going to take the first rep and I expect him to be our starting quarterback this year.”
The Buccaneers made some roster moves just days ahead of the start of training camp. Cornerback D.J. Moore was released on July 22, the same day the Buccaneers signed linebacker Jeremy Grable, an undrafted college free agent from Valdosta State, and offensive tackle J.B. Shugarts, who played his college ball at Ohio State and entered the NFL in 2012 as a free agent with the Cleveland Browns.
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