Lovie Smith is taking a more hands-on approach in what could be a make-or-break second season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Thursday that Smith has decided to take over play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. The move, the Times reports, is one Smith had considered since the Bucs finished 2-14 in his first season with the team.
Tampa Bay's defense struggled under Frazier last season. The unit finished 25th overall and allowed 25.6 points per game, the eighth-worst total in the league. Smith declined comment on the decision, but he took on a more active role in the playcalling during Thursday's practice. Frazier will keep the title of defensive coordinator.
The move would put Smith in a more comfortable position than a year ago, when he was forced to spend more time with the offense after offensive coordinator Jeff Tedford was forced to leave the team for health reasons. Smith built his reputation in the NFL as a defensive coordinator with the Bears.
Bucs fans are right if they're sensing some déjà vu right about now. Smith's predecessor, Raheem Morris, pulled the same move, demoting defensive coordinator Jim Bates late in a lost 2009 season.