Yardbarker Horiz

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Bucs vs Jaguars: Dominik facing another GM Classmate

Gene Smith of the Jacksonville Jaguars is not only the General Manager, he is the first General Manager ever in Jacksonville.  Mark Dominik is the fourth General Manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  The two men have very similar backgrounds, as well as paths to their current positions.

Both started in the NFL in 1994 -- Dominik with the Kansas City Chiefs and Smith with the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Dominik moved to the Buccaneers in 1995 after a year and a half of college scouting. 

Smith has only ever worked for Jacksonville, becoming director of college scouting in 2000 and director of College and pro scouting in 2008 before becoming General Manager in 2009.

Dominik started with Tampa Bay as a Pro Personnel Assistant and was promoted to Pro Scout in 1998, then to Pro Personnel Coordinator in 2000.  In 2001, Dominik became Director of Pro Personnel -- a role he maintained until 2009 when he became the fourth General Manager of Tampa Bay.

The common career paths, though, had nothing to do with what the men were handed when they got to the top of the ladder. 


Smith inherited Gavid Garrard, an established NFL quarterback who threw for nearly 3,600 yards and 15 TDs vs 10 INTs in Smiths first year.  Add in an established running game which garnered Maurice Jones-Drew almost 1,400 yards rushing and 15 TDs and you have something to build around.  Yet Jacksonville had a roller-coaster ride last year to 7-9, including a thrilling 24-22 win over the Jets (who went on to the AFC title game), but also including a 41-0 loss to Seattle, one of only five wins for the Seahawks in 2009.

Dominik used his first pick in the 2009 draft to stabilize his quarterback position.  Although he inherited running back Cadillac Williams, Williams was coming off two consecutive seasons of knee injuries and the associated surgury.  Dominik went to free agency to get Derrick Ward to solidify the running back position.  The Buccaneers suffered through a youth movement and 3-13 record in 2009, with a signature win over the SuperBowl champion New Orleans Saints on the road as the high point of the season, and a Week 2 loss to the Buffalo Bills, 33-20, as the low point.

So although these two GMs have much in common, they are at different points in shaping their teams.  Dominik released veterans and has built through the draft around a young core.  Smith inherited a veteran core, but needs to quickly build depth before the veterans start to decline.  One thing to watch during the preseason contest tonight is the mental toughness -- do the Buccaneers play mature?  Do the Jaguars play old?  Finally, both franchises (and both GMs as well) emphasize excellence on defense and physical play, so it should be a very rugged and fast game -- the best kind of NFL football!

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