TAMPA — It’s the Summer of Lovie.
It’s time for Bucs training camp.
There is really nothing left to say.
The Bucs might have had that exact thing in mind when they recently unleashed Bucs senior writer/editor Scott Smith’s all-access opus on Lovie, “The First 100 Days: An exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the transformation of a team during Lovie Smith’s first hundred days as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.”
Smith’s story has taken some ribbing, since it is 22 chapters and runs more than 30,000 words. But I enjoyed it. It contains loads on Lovie I didn’t know. Another thing I didn’t know: When reading 30,000 words in one sitting, you lose sensation in your legs at 23,246.
And now a few (more) words about Lovie’s first camp as Bucs head coach.
This time last summer, Greg Schiano was rechecking the thermostat, Darrelle Revis was explaining what Revis Island was and Josh Freeman still seemed a lock for a long NFL career. A year later, Schiano is doing some TV, Revis is playing for Bill Belichick and Freeman didn’t even make it to training camp with the New York Giants.
Davin Joseph and Donald Penn are gone, too. And Mike Williams has been shuffled off to Buffalo, but if you listen closely, you can probably still hear his house parties.
Here’s Lovie, quiet and confident, back with the Bucs and out to reset a franchise coming off of 4-12.
It’s time to watch him work.
It’s time to find out if this new offensive line can block and if this new defensive line can sack.
Can newcomers Anthony Collins and Evan Dietrich-Smith mend a creaky O-line?
Creaky update: How many games will guard Carl Nicks play? He has been in nine games in two years.
Will Michael Johnson and Clinton McDonald help deliver that long lost pass rush?
Is Doug Martin, startling as a rookie, about to be a mere puzzle piece in a crowded backfield?
Is quarterback Josh McCown, Lovie’s choice, about to prove that standing on the sideline all those seasons kept him fresh?
Can the Dunk-a-neers, long, tall Vincent Jackson and his similarly angular receiving mates, rookies Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins, give McCown bigger bull’s-eyes?
And can we get a few more guys with hyphens around here?
Is this the season when Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David bring the Tampa 2 back to life, harkening to Sapp-Brooks days?
Sapp hyphen Brooks. That’ll do me.
Is McCown the real deal?
If Mike Glennon is the future, when do we run for the hills?
Will Michael Clayton rebound? (I’m sorry. That was from a 2006 training camp preview column).
How much will this secondary miss Revis, who in his only season in Tampa helped the Bucs from seven wins to four?
Alterraun, is there a Verner Island?
Will Mark Barron become a star safety? I’m still not sold on him, or on Dashon Goldson, for that matter.
Will the mysterious Jeff Tedford disguise his offense, or even himself, until the season opener against Carolina?
What day of camp do the Bucs trade for David Price?
Da’Quan Bowers? Really?
Did we ask already if McCown is the real deal?
That’s all for now, 548 words. More to come.
A lot more.
It’s the Summer of Lovie.