Yardbarker Horiz

Friday, January 13, 2012

Rule #1: Never Embarrass Your GM

The 2011 Buccaneers entered their bye week at 4-3.  They did not win another football game.  However, it's not about the fact they lost, but how they lost which will shape the offseason.

In short, the team forced the hand of General Manager Mark Dominik, not because he was disappointed, but because it was embarrassing.  Horribly embarrassing.  And the closer the team got to the end of the season, the more embarrassing the performances on the field.

Never, ever embarrass your boss.  Never.

Dominik moved swiftly less than 24 hours after the end of the last game of the season, promptly sweeping the entire coaching staff away.  And I mean every coach, right down and through to strength coaches and assistant coaches.  And ownership stood with him in approval of the move.  Gone are the last remnants of Jon Gruden's coaching staff (most prominently in the person of Greg Olson).  The search for a replacement started quickly with coaches known for playoff appearances, discipline, and experience.  The interview list hints at what Dominik perceives to be the problem:  lack of discipline, toughness, and power.  The team lacks a fine, steel edge and the Buccaneers are looking for someone with a grindstone.

But there is another component of this housecleaning still looming over One Buccaneer Place like an approaching thunderhead:  which players will also go?  Which players embarrassed their boss on the field?  Who fell apart in the locker room?  Who was mentally unable to compete for 16 weeks come anything or high water?

The molding of this, the youngest roster in the NFL, has taken a new turn.  No longer is talent level the issue (10 wins in 2010 left no doubt).  Now it's a matter of youth growing up and veterans standing up.  Those who couldn't (it's far too late for can't) will stand out easily to an experienced, winning coach.  They too will be swiftly cut away.  The only mystery is how many and which ones.

It's going to be one of the most intriguing off seasons in many years for the Buccaneers.

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