Yardbarker Horiz

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tampa Bay's 2009 Cuts Head For History Books

In 2009 new General Manager Mark Dominik and Head Coach Raheem Morris made swift and bold personnel moves before the 2009 Free Agency period started.  One message sent loud and clear was that the Buccaneers were going to get younger.  This plan was emphatically put into place with the release of a large number of veteran players.  That group contained Phillip Buchanon (CB), Jeff Garcia (QB), Cato June (LB),  Joey Galloway (WR), Derrick Brooks (LB), Kevin Carter (DE), Warrick Dunn (RB), Brian Greise (QB), and Ike Hilliard (WR).

Of that list, only a handful were put under contract in 2010 (as previously reviewed), and of those who were signed only Joey Galloway, Phillip Buchanon, and Jeff Garcia generated statictics with play on the field.

With the final game of 2009 in the books, Joey Galloway was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Just before free agency started for 2010, Phillip Buchanon was cut by the Detroit Lions.  Jeff Garcia appeared only briefly with the Philadelphia Eagles before he also was released.

So, at this time, none of these men are under contract and in fact all are basically retired whether they think they are or not.  There is, of course, a chance that one or more may get phone calls before the 2010 preseason, but with over 200 young men being drafted into the league at the end of April, it appears the opportunity for these players continues to diminish quickly.  It is hard to find fault with the new GM and Coach for making these moves when 31 other teams appear to agree with the decision.  In fact, it appears this move was indeed long overdue.  While I'm quite positive the Tampa Bay area media will not give any credit for these bold but correct moves, it is my opinion that these moves were crucial to make the most of the 2010 Draft, so I give Dominik and Morris all the credit for starting their plan swiftly and decisively and not slowing down the progression of the team by keeping popular players on the roster past their prime.  And there can be no doubt that these players had indeed achieved all they could achieve in the NFL.

Certainly several of these men will have their name mentioned in five years on a ballot for Canton, Ohio.  But the net result for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is that, while an unpopular decision at the time, the move did what GM Mark Dominik said it would do.  Cutting these players allowed a group of talented but inexperienced players to take their knocks on the field in 2009 and become a young core offense and young core defense for the Buccaneers to build around for the next few years.  No stone on the roster was left unturned for playing time.  And so, going into the 2010 offseason, the team can see exactly where they are strong and where they are weak.  And that should provide a clear vision for one of the most significant drafts in Buccaneer history.

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