Tampa Bay Buccaneers

10 Takeaways From Smith, Licht Pressers

Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht spoke to the media on Monday.

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WATCH: MONDAY'S PRESS CONFERENCES1. Licht believes this draft is one of the biggest in team history.
How big is this draft for the Buccaneers? "It's huge," Licht said. "Personally, I think it's probably the biggest draft in the history of the organization. We've got a real chance to really put us over the top and get us there, get us to a level that we think we're going to be at this year, competing. It's a great draft to have the No. 1 pick."

2. It's an exciting week for Smith.
On Tuesday, the Buccaneers' 2015 schedule will be released. Less than two weeks later, the team will be picking No. 1 in the NFL Draft. Smith said that he was excited for both. "I'm excited about the schedule, can't wait for the schedule to come out, to see exactly who we'll end up with when we play, how our division opponents – when we play them," Smith said. "There's a lot of excitement with this week. A lot of excitement for the Draft coming up too – we've done a lot of work with the Draft."

3. The Bucs held more private workouts this year than in years past.
Licht was asked if the team had changed their pre-draft approach since last offseason. He said that the team brought in significantly more players for private workouts than in previous years. "This year we worked out a heck of a lot more players in private workouts than we did in years past," Licht said. "A lot more. We really amped that up. Our coaches and our scouting department, they did a great job."


  1. Smith and Licht are in "total agreement" on the No. 1 pick.**
    Smith was asked if he and Licht were in agreement on their draft strategy. "Yes, we are in total agreement as a staff," Smith said. "Jason and I, go back to the first pick of the draft, you bring more people involved, make sure we can all come to an agreement and that's definitely the case."

5. Licht would be comfortable making the No. 1 pick today.
Although he said that the team will take their time in choosing a player with the first overall pick, Licht said that he would be comfortable selecting a player today if he had to. "Going back all the way to Indy, we said we had a leader in the clubhouse. We still do. If we had to pick today, we'd feel very comfortable making the pick. With that said, we'll wait. We'll use the majority of our allotted time." 

6. Smith has a role for George Johnson and "hates" that he ever left.
On April 15, the Buccaneers acquired defensive end George Johnson in a trade with the Lions. Johhson began his career with the Buccaneers as an undrafted free agent. Smith said he wished Johnson had never left. "Sometimes some players are kind of Tampa Bay Buccaneers and you just kind of hate that they ever left and I definitely say that's the case with George," Smith said. "I know he's excited. We have a role for him and we can't wait to get him on the field.

7. Being the face of the franchise is a title that's "earned".
Licht was asked if he was comfortable making a rookie the "face of the franchise". He said the title is something that must be earned. "I've gotten this question a lot,  'Is this particular player… are you ready for him to be the face of the franchise?' I think that term, 'face of the franchise', that's a title that's earned. I don't think any player walks in here and is the face of the franchise. Right now, Gerald McCoy is the face of the franchise. We've got several faces of the franchise – Vincent Jackson, Logan Mankins is going to have a big part of it this year and Mike Evans."


Check out photos of the Buccaneers' current roster.

  1. Bringing in free agents familiar with Smith's system has the team a step ahead.**
    This offseason, the Buccaneers signed Chris Conte and Henry Melton, both of whom had played for Smith in Chicago. The team also signed Sterling Moore and Bruce Carter, who played in a similar system with the Cowboys. Smith said that having players familiar with his system has the team a step ahead of they were at this time last year. "We're a lot farther ahead in what we're trying to do this year than last, just based on that experience of them being in the system. So that helped a lot. Wasn't the only factor that we took into consideration, but again, it helped a lot."

9. This draft is a good match for the Bucs' needs.
How does this year's draft class match up with the Buccaneers' needs? "It matches up pretty good," Licht said. "It's a good O-Line draft, a pretty deep O-Line draft. From a defensive side, there's good defensive line depth there too. In terms of that, it matches up pretty well."

10. Smith spoke to the team about "moving forward".
When Smith met with the Bucs for the first time on Monday, he spoke about changing the team's mentality and moving past last season. "As I talked to the football team this morning, I talked to them about going forward," Smith said. "We're not going to talk a lot about what happened last year. We didn't meet our goals last year. It's just about going forward. Right now we are at the same place everyone else is, so it's kind of what we do from here on out. We have to change our mentality, get more of a championship mentality. You get that through hard work, starting off in the offseason."

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