TAMPA (CBSMiami) – The Tampa Bay Buccaneers fired their head coach Monday morning and by Monday afternoon a favorite had emerged to take over the franchise.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, former Chicago Bears Lovie Smith is “considered the favorite for the Buccaneers HC job, based on multiple league sources.”

Smith has a history with the franchise, serving as linebackers coach in Tampa from 1996-2000. Smith was head coach of the Bears from 2004-2012 and compiled a career record of 81-63 and won the NFC North three times and the NFC Championship once (2006).

The Bears decided to fire Smith last season despite him finishing with a 10-6 record. Chicago missed the playoffs again this season, losing on a late touchdown in Week 17 to Green Bay.

If Smith does take over the Buccaneers, he has some solid defensive pieces to work with, but needs help on the offensive side of the ball. The Bucs return Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn, Lavonte David, Darrelle Revis, Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson on defense.

On offense, the Bucs have a young quarterback since the team jettisoned Josh Freeman midseason. Mike Glennon started 13 games for the Bucs and finished throwing for 2,608 yards, 19 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions and he’ll be throwing once again to Vincent Jackson.


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