Yardbarker Horiz

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Is Butch Davis The Turk for Tampa Bay?

There is one thing and one thing only at the top of the list of Bad Things in the minds of all Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans about the 2011 season:  the team played worse going down the stretch.  This is completely unacceptable for paying fans watching professional football players.

There is no doubt the downward spiral played a large choice in the firing . . . no, housecleaning . . . of the coaching staff at the end of last year.

I do not expect the changes to end there; Albert Haynesworth is the first to go (consider the timing, before any Organized Team Activity sessions).

Which brings me to thoughts I had watching the Butch Davis press conference last week.  Butch Davis was brought in to assist new Head Coach Greg Schiano as he gets his program installed.  But I think there is another possible role for Davis to play this offseason.

Put yourself in the General Manager's chair: your team softened down the stretch, clearly not responding to your coaching staff anymore.  Perhaps you have that sick feeling in your gut some players actually gave up on the team, the season, and the fans.  And you have the youngest roster in the NFL, so you don't want this to become a part of the fabric of the team.  You clean out the coaching staff because you see the relationship has gone toxic.  So you're sitting at One Buccaneer place with a solid young coach and some experienced position coaches making the transition to coordinators.

But there is still that sick feeling in your gut.  You've got to cut the rot from the roster after it stunk up the State of Florida last season.

You and your rookie coach can go through the film.  You can be pretty sure you know who needs to go.  But you want to be sure, absolutely sure.  And you want your new coach to have the respect of the players so there better be reasons the veterans on the team understand.

Enter experienced NFL coach Butch Davis. Davis spoke at his introductory press conference about his extensive experience in talent evaluation.  Remember, Davis has a couple rings from time with the Dallas Cowboys as coordinator under Jimmy Johnson, so this is a guy who knows what championship players are all about. You want a rubber stamp on who did and who did not give up last season?  Roll tape with your Pro Personnel Director Shelton Quarles, your new Head Coach, your new coordinators, and Butch Davis.  Now you have a room which can give you a bright light on the harsh decisions needed.

Make no mistake, Dominik will find many ways to make it perfectly clear to his team that last season was unacceptable.  He has to, and there is no doubt he knew it before the season ended.  Coach Schiano has already talked about T.B.A. (Trust, Belief, Accountability) and his plans to instill these core beliefs in the roster (press conference, 3:30 in).  Any player which "gave up" last season does not and will not fit this mold.  Those players have to go.

Butch Davis will help find them.

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