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Lovie Smith a strong candidate for Buccaneers job

Just hours after Greg Schiano was ousted in Tampa, former Bears coach Lovie Smith emerged as the top candidate to take over the Buccaneers.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Bucs will make Smith their first interview, per a source informed of the team's thinking.

League executives informed of the Bucs' process had told Rapoport the previous day that there is talk of bringing together the old Tampa Bay group, including former Bears general manager Jerry Angelo, former Seahawks general manager Tim Ruskell and others.

Angelo and Ruskell spent over a decade together in Tampa, helping to turn the franchise around in the late 1990s. That period also coincided with Smith's run as Buccaneers linebackers coach from 1996 to 2000.

The same trio ended up in Chicago, overseeing the Bears operation until being ousted last season.

Smith also has interviewed with the Houston Texans, though Penn State's Bill O'Brien appears to be the front runner for that job.

If Smith is indeed hired in Tampa, he is expected to recruit former defensive lieutenant Rod Marinelli. However, the Cowboys are unlikely to let him out of his contract as defensive line coach, per Rapoport.

As Marc Sessler pointed out earlier in the day, the Buccaneers' roster is far from devoid of talent.

Although Smith, Angelo and Ruskell have an almost impeccable record of building stout defenses, it should be noted that they have demonstrated an utter inability to unearth a true franchise quarterback across nearly two decades with the Bucs and Bears.

To that end, sources close to Smith have told Rapoport that the plan is to bring in former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford as offensive coordinator.

One of the NCAA's most respected quarterback gurus over the past two decades, Tedford has had a hand in the development of Aaron Rodgers, Trent Dilfer, Kyle Boller, Joey Harrington and Akili Smith.

With Mike Glennon's future at stake, the pairing of Smith and Tedford is an intriguing one.

Update: Smith is also a candidate for the Washington Redskins' vacant head coaching job, the Washington Post reports, via a person familiar with the situation.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped all of the Week 17 action.

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