The Buccaneers have fired general manager Mark Dominik along with head coach Greg Schiano following the team’s disappointing 4-12 season. Dominik compiled a record of 28-52 during his five-year reign as Tampa Bay’s general manager.
“The results over the past two years have not lived up to our standards and we believe the time has come to find a new direction,” the Glazers said in a statement released by the team. “Mark has been a valued member of our organization for two decades and we respect the passion he showed for the Buccaneers during his time here. We thank Greg for his hard work and effort the past two seasons, but we feel these moves are necessary in order to achieve our goals.”
The Glazers will begin looking for a new general manager immediately and may look inward towards director of player personnel Shelton Quarles or director of college scouting Eric Stokes, or to former capologist Kevin Demoff, who is the chief operating officer in St. Louis. Arizona director of player personnel Jason Licht, Pittsburgh director of business and football administration Omar Khan, Green Bay director of college scouting Brian Gutekunst and Denver director of player personnel Matt Russell are other hot names that could be possibilities.
After a 3-13 season in 2009, his first year after replacing former general manager Bruce Allen, Dominik helped produce the only winning campaign of his tenure in 2010 as the Bucs went 10-6, but failed to make the playoffs. The Glazers fired head coach Raheem Morris the following season after the Bucs plummeted to a 4-12 mark, but Dominik survived, as Morris was the coach he inherited rather than hired.
After failing to lure Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, Dominik got to hire his own coach in 2012 with former Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano, who signed a five-year, $15-million contract in late January. But like Dominik, Schiano was also fired on Monday, following Tampa Bay’s 42-17 loss at New Orleans.
The organization was affected by an outbreak of staph infections and MRSA this year, and Dominik came under fire with how he handled the containment of the infection and situation of kicker Lawrence Tynes, who contracted MRSA in his foot in August and may never be able to play again. Pro Bowl left guard Carl Nicks, who was signed in 2012, also contracted MRSA and was limited to just two games in 2013 due to MRSA after missing the final nine games of 2012 due to a toe injury. The underachievement of Tampa Bay’s overpaid offensive line was a big reason for the team’s woeful record this year.
Dominik, who has risen up the ranks through the pro personnel department since he arrived from Kansas City in 1995, has had a mixed bag of success with player acquisition during his stint as general manager. While Dominik worked in the pro personnel department, he discovered Quarles playing linebacker in the Canadian Football League and played a role in signing him to the Buccaneers in 1997. Quarles would win a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers in 2002 and join Dominik in the front office, working as the team’s pro personnel director years later.
In 2006, Dominik insisted the team sign undrafted free agent left Donald Penn off Minnesota’s practice squad. After making his debut in 2007, Penn has been the Bucs’ starting left tackle for the last seven years, and has over 100 career starts in red and pewter. Dominik also re-signed Penn and Pro Bowl right guard Davin Joseph to contract extensions, keeping both in Tampa Bay. Those moves panned out well until this season as both players struggled in 2013.
In his first season as the Bucs general manager, Dominik traded for Cleveland tight end Kellen Winslow, who would break several Tampa Bay records for tight ends in terms of catches and yards per season. He later fortified the special teams with the addition of kicker Connor Barth and punter Michael Koenen, and re-signed long snapper Andrew Economos.
But some of Dominik’s biggest moves have come recently in free agency. He was able to land Pro Bowl wide receiver Vincent Jackson and Nicks in 2012 and lured both to Tampa Bay to play for Schiano, who hadn’t coached a down in the NFL yet. This past season, Dominik signed Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson and traded for four-time Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis, who also earned a Pro Bowl berth in 2013.
After failing in his first draft as general manager in 2009, Dominik landed defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, a two-time Pro Bowler, in the first round of the 2010 draft. His best draft came with Schiano two years later as Tampa Bay selected strong safety Mark Barron in the first round and then traded up to get running back Doug Martin near the end of the first round. Dominik then traded up in the second round to draft linebacker Lavonte David, who has been the team’s leading tackler and best player the last two seasons.
The 2013 draft saw the team land a starting cornerback in Johnthan Banks, a starting quarterback in Mike Glennon, who broke several Tampa Bay rookie records this season, a starting nose tackle in Akeem Spence, a starting defensive end in Will Gholston and a promising running back in Mike James.
But as promising as all of that talent is, it wasn’t enough to prevent the Bucs from finishing better than 4-12 and saving Dominik’s job.
Dominik had his share of costly misses in the offseason that played a part in his dismissal. There is not a single player remaining from the 2009 draft, and Dominik’s first-ever pick, quarterback Josh Freeman, never panned out and failed to keep his starting job in Tampa Bay this season. After completing less than 50 percent of his passes during the team’s 0-3 start, Freeman was benched and ultimately released during the bye week.
There were also misses in free agency where Dominik re-signed wide receiver Michael Clayton to a lucrative, wasteful, five-year, $26 million contract in 2009, in addition to signing running back Derrick Ward to a four-year, $17-million deal. Ward and Clayton were both busts and released a year later.
In 2012, Dominik added cornerback Eric Wright in free agency, signing him to a five-year, $37.5-million contract. Wright missed several games due a PED suspension and injuries and was released the next year.
Dominik also failed to find an adequate replacement for losing defensive end Michael Bennett in free agency this year. Bennett, who signed with Seattle, led the Bucs in sacks last season with nine, and the combined sack total of every defensive end on the roster was only 10. In 2011, Dominik selected defensive end Adrian Clayborn with the team’s first-round pick over pass rusher Cameron Jordan, who just made the Pro Bowl for the Saints with 12.5 sacks, who selected Jordan right after the Bucs in the first round.
Outside of drafting McCoy, Dominik has tried and failed to upgrade the talent on the defensive line. Defensive tackle Brian Price, a second-round pick in 2010, was a bust, as was defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, the team’s second-rounder in 2011. Aside from David and linebacker Mason Foster, who was a third-round pick in 2011, the Bucs have drafted poorly in the second and third rounds under Dominik, with names like wide receiver Arrelious Benn (2010 second round) and cornerback Myron Lewis (2010 third round) joining the ranks of Freeman, Price and Bowers as high-round draft busts under Dominik.
Scott Reynolds is in his 22nd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: email@example.com
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