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April 21, 2011 @ 4:22 pm
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Dominik Pre-Draft Q&A

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


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Bucs GM Mark Dominik weighed on a number of topics including: the draft changing free agency, the Bucs spending in free agency, the Bucs schedule, playing abroad, drafting a defensive end, what NFL teams he admires, and the NFL lockout. Click here for the Q&A.
On Thursday Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik held a meeting with the press to answer a number of questions surrounding the Buccaneers. In a separate story Dominik discussed the arrests the team has experienced with cornerback Aqib Talib and some staff members in the football operations. Dominik also revealed that long-snapper Andrew Economos injured his Achilles.

Below is a transcript of Dominik’s quotes surrounding the Buccaneers. The questions or statement from the media appear in bold. 

Is there a strange feeling about this because you are going to draft kids and bring them in and say, “hey welcome and please leave the building.” It is an unusual scenario.
“It is unusual. It is going to be unusual to ever have the draft prior to free agency it is a bizarre situation. I think all 31 other clubs are going through it right now. It certainly is unusual not to have college free agency after the draft when it can be very busy. It is certainly a time where three or four hundred guys get contracts. You are in there negotiating with agents and trying to convince the player that this is the right spot and you got to wait until after the last pick is in before you can even start that process. It was a three or four hour event upstairs that was organized chaos is what you try and make it and to not have that is another bizarre feeling that when that seventh round compensatory pick goes in for the Bucs everybody goes home. That is going to be a lot different feeling, but other than that you prepare for whenever that day comes with college free agency and certainly pro free agency.”

How does not having free agency and not knowing if players like Barrett Ruud, Cadillac Williams, Jeremy Trueblood are even going to be back affect you a week from today?
“I think it opens up the draft board for the organization. Certainly there are still questions to be answered on this roster. Again we are at the beginning of this process for our football team. We like the success we had last year, but we didn’t make the playoffs. We didn’t win a playoff game. We really haven’t accomplished much and we are just getting out of the starting gate with where we are at. It opens it up and you just look at the board and be honest with yourself where is the right talent for this football team in 2011 and 2014, 2015. It doesn’t change it actually opens up my board even more or our roster even more to make sure our pick is the best player on the board.”

Would drafting a player push your decision on re-signing a player like Barrett Ruud?
“I say it this way and an easy way to answer that is in 2009 when I first got here I made the trade for Kellen Winslow. I wasn’t going to draft a tight end in the first or third round of that draft because I filled that spot, even if I felt there was a tight end there that I was like wow this is a really talented guy that could be good. It just didn’t make sense because I just filled it with what I felt was a Pro Bowl caliber tight end. It is inverted that way right now because I haven’t filled those spots even though there are players that will be or could be unrestricted free agents. You have to assume that you have none them and work from there going forward.”

Is the draft an inexact science because undrafted players like LeGarrette Blount and Chris Ivory have more success than some drafted players? 
“No I think for me it is the opposite. It is the amount of work you put into it at the front end to take advantage of the first day where you have the chance to draft the players. Take advantage when the draft is over to sign college free agents, and make sure you carry that over to when players get cut, and when players are placed on practice squads. The more familiarity you have the easier the transition is to say that is the guy I want to claim, or that is the guy I want to try and convince to come off their practice squad to help build our football team. There are countless hours. I’ve spent more time with Dennis Hickey than I have my wife clearly over the last many months just watching tape trying to get prepared for this draft class. Some of our scouts have spent tons of time trying to prepare our organization to make sure that when draft day comes we are picking the right players to help us that time. We are not going to hit on every player even though when you turn that card in you feel like we did. But I think over the past couple of years we are really hitting our stride, but we are continuing to really push our scouting department and make them think in different ways to keep them fresh and to make sure we don’t get complacent. No more than our football team wants to be complacent at 10-6 and not make the playoffs. I don’t to walk up here a week from now and have a bad draft because I’ve had good drafts before. It is all about internal drive.”

Why do you think that you guys have hit arguably better on undrafted free agents than your drafted guys?
“I don’t know. I would say that again I think we’ve spent a lot of time on those. I think we’ve hit really good on our drafted guys and I think we really did on not just the first-rounders. I know Gerald [McCoy] was an unfortunate injury but I think we all agree he was playing better and really starting to get into a groove. Certainly Josh Freeman any time you get a franchise quarterback in the middle of the first round or any time really in a draft, it’s a hit. You take our seventh-rounders the past two years and we are five for five on guys that are legitimate contributors to our football team. They aren’t just making it because they can play some special teams, they are making it because they can play a position too. I think that is something that has been really important to us. I think we’ve hit pretty hard and pretty well. At the same point if the pick doesn’t work for us, we move on.”

Last year you knew this draft would be rich on defensive ends and the team obviously is in need of an improved pass rush, are pass rushers the hardest thing to evaluate going from college to the NFL?
“For me I look at a lot of individual traits in each player rather than the sum of the production. There are times where you might see a guy that gets four sacks in college or six sacks in college, and you feel like he’s not going to help your pass rush but when you go back and watch the tape and you say this guy could have had five more sacks because the quarterback got rid of the ball at the last second, they didn’t call him in the grasp or something like that. So you have to go back and look at the tape, and find out what could he have had and then also how does he get the sacks. Again I think there is a different way to look at that two when you are breaking down players and what are their moves to get to the quarterback. The guys that have certain types of pass rushing moves for me internally are the ones that I think are going to translate that to the football field faster, and so I got a certain group of traits that I look for in our defensive ends and our defensive linemen that I think are going to play out and I hope it gives us a competitive advantage on that position because it is a tough position to draft historically. I want to sit there and say that I’d like to think that going forward with our organization over the last couple of years that we are going to continue to push ourselves to make sure that we draft the right guys at any position and specifically if and when we choose a defensive end in this draft that will be a guy that can help us in 2011.”

You’re comfortable with people saying your biggest need is you got to find someone to get to the quarterback?
“I would say that I don’t disagree with that but again it doesn’t mean that is what our first pick is going to be. If, when we have our draft day party over at the stadium if our first pick isn’t a defensive end that doesn’t mean we can’t get to the quarterback ever again, so I would say certainly we are aware of it. That’s why they put on TV for everybody to watch it and tune in and see who are the Bucs going to pick.”

What does it say for the organization to have games back in prime time?
“It is really exciting for us and I’d like us to live up to it because I’d like to have more. But I was very thankful. I was excited that the league put us at 4:15 against Atlanta to have a chance to be a Fox doubleheader game. It is a rivalry that has gone their way the past two years, but also the fact that they gave us two prime time games at home for our season ticket holders is fantastic. It is nice to be back and it is almost fitting that we are playing the Colts again in a way on prime time on Monday night and just hoping for a different out come as we all know. I think it is great. I think it speaks volumes as to what we are trying to do here in Tampa. The talent pool we are trying to put together here and the direction we are trying to head as an organization to get to start to the playoffs to where you want to be a long-term and lasting contender.”

How hard is it to hit on three straight first-round picks?
“I think the pressure that goes with the number one makes it that much more difficult for the number one. I think that is a big part of it because there is so much scrutiny, so many people have their opinion and the NFL draft is becoming almost as popular as fantasy football because there are so many websites of people that have their opinion, which is great. It has helped the draft grow in its popularity. Certainly everybody has an opinion. No matter who I take at 20 there is going to be hundreds or thousands of people that say I didn’t like him I liked the other guy and so it is going to put more pressure on a first-round pick.”

Which teams have hit on three straight first-round picks?
“I will say a team that I admire for their more recent history is Ozzie Newsome [the Baltimore Ravens] and how great they’ve been with their first-round choices. I just think they are an organization that I’ve studied who lately has done such a great job with their first-round selections. I’ve looked at what did they do? Why did Todd Heap? Why did these players continually hit? Ray Lewis. There are so many players that have hit in Baltimore in the first round. Terrell Suggs. Haloti Ngata. You are like whoa how are they doing this? You look back at the reports and dig back into the character of the guys and what is it about those players. As a historian to help learn from history like anything we do to try and get better that is a team I’ve been focused on.”

You look a head to next year’s draft what do you see for some of the strengths of that draft?
“I see wide receiver being a really strong position in the draft next year. It feels like cornerback is going to be strong as well. And quarterback will be strong again next year. Those are the three I see as being strong. We’ll see if it holds true a year from now, but I think we were right last year.”

How will you approach free agency this year? Will you try and find a missing piece or two to just get over the hump?
“I think we will take an open approach. We don’t shut down free agency in general. I just know that as we were talking about teams we like to follow, the Colts have bought Adam Vinatieri and that’s it, and they’ve been perennial playoff contender and Super Bowl contender on top of that. Obviously the Packers don’t dive deep into free agency. They certainly did with [Charles] Woodson. Obviously we did with Simeon Rice and Brad Johnson. Then you have the Pittsburgh Steelers who nibble at it. That’s where we’d like to be because that is a sign of a team that is developing their own players and drafting well. Clearly Ted Thompson has done that in Green Bay. They got over the hump and fought through all those injuries and still got to the Super Bowl and win it and I think that was a great learning lesson for our young team to watch the Packers win the Super Bowl last year.”

How do you feel about the London game from a competitive standpoint?
“A lot of you guys went over to London and saw the stadium, the thing that I loved about London was it was a playoff atmosphere mentality there even though we were an 0-7 football team playing the New England Patriots. I’ll remember London for Josh Freeman and that infamous phone call that got us in trouble. The 0-7 phone call I guess. What I like about it is it creates a different atmosphere. When you end up being a playoff football team having been a part of this football team when we were in the playoff hunt and specifically on the road it is a different atmosphere than a regular home or away game during the regular season. I loved that about the London trip because there is a great contingency of Buccaneer fans there that cheer very loud even though we were 0-7, but there is also a lot of other football fans, so it creates that atmosphere for our young football team and a little uncomfort and at the same point it teaches them how to play in different environments so I’m looking forward to the London trip and I’m excited we are playing there.”

At the same time you want to win and you are giving up a home game?
“You should go you’d be surprised how many Buccaneer fans are there. I’m not saying that as a thing against our fans here in Tampa but it is a good Buccaneer fan base there and I think it does challenge our football team and helps us. I think the other thing that helps make up for the perception that we only have seven home games is the fact that we have great prime time games. We have four o’clock kickoffs so it is not as hot. The one Detroit kickoff is at one. There are two 4:15 games and prime time games so we have an attractive home ticket as well.”

~ by Charlie Campbell and Scott Reynolds
Last modified on Thursday, 21 April 2011 16:47

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  • avatar

    I agree with you Scubag. The private sector works much more effectively and efficiently. You get a job out of college making $10/hr, which doesn't even cover your student loans. Every even numbered year you get a raise, and every odd numbered year they take it back back because the company is allegedly losing money. You can't get a promotion because your not banging the boss and you can't find another job because you are working 70 hours a week and don't have the time or energy to do anything but work, eat and sleep. Finally, after 20 years you start thinking you may finally be getting ahead, then they outsource your job to India. You can't get another job because no one wants to hire anyone over 40, and you can't retire because the company has been dipping into the pension fund and your 401k is in the toilet. Whose hand is in someone elses pockets? That would be the CEOs of Ford, GM and Wachovia, who got more welfare in 2009 than all the single mothers in America combined. I can't wait until the republicans finish busting the unions so we can ALL live like medieval serfs.
  • avatar

    Horse: No more politics. I think we are on the same page. I'm just over the mega-taxing and income redistributing ways of our political "bleeders". Some of the state workers with whom I interact could be replaced by a cardboard cutout. Many of these people go from one state agency to another and all the while build up a resume to earn a higher paying position without ever having to achieve anything except longevity. Eventually they go on the drop program and retire and start the double and triple dipping since many of these people breed with each other. Some even return to their former position as an even higher paid consultant. Confess Horse, you know their secret handshake don't you? You know the one where their other hand is in someone elses pocket.
  • avatar

    Scubog, I've got to agree with most of it.
  • avatar

    Horse, my comment was sarcasm. There are probably a lot of state employees who work very hard but there are just too many of them. I've never thought of you as the defender of the poor downtrodden state employees with whom you have aligned yourself. But since I'm in the over 30% tax bracket and am penalized every April for having the gall to have graduated from college with honors and been able to secure a fairly good job; I find it particularly troublesome that there are so many government run agencies that operate as if the money were someone elses. Why? Because it is. My job requires me to work with several state agencies and I can assure you that they spend my tax money and yours far differently than they would if it were their own. At the end of each fiscal year they actually attempt to find ways to spend your money so their budget isn't cut the next year. One need only look at the new courthouse right there in your neighborhood as an example. No more politics, just football.
  • avatar

    Scubog, I hear you, but that's not most of the state employees fault. It's the leadership and especially our government elected officials that allow this to happen. Hey I am right there with you that many of these employees would never be at a pay level there at now if they were in the private sector. Most of us that were in the private sector were encouraged to be creative and take risks. You and I grew up in the private sector. My parents and grand parents all had to be creative. We have no fear of starting over because that word is not in the private sector vocabulary. That's not the way government operates, but it doesn't mean that most of these employees couldn't adapt after a couple years.
  • avatar

    Scubog, You very correct that any government organization will find ways to spend every penny and have the nerve to ask for even more the following year. That's because there are no incentatives to spend less. The biggest problem I have is with our elected officials from city up. It appears to me that elected officals use to be public servants because they wanted to help make a difference; now we have career servants with the goal to please enough voters so they can get elected over and over and retire with pensions and of course acquire other income via their consulting/lobbyist/family bussiness/ and kick backs/special donations. It really is not about the state employees. Here's another agenda I support for state employees? Fire no one, take a 10% pay cut, no COLA's; no Drop Program, employees pays 50% of health insurance/state 50%; Employees contibutes 10% towards retirement 401/403 and state contributes 5%; there is no Pensions; there are penalties if you retire early. Does that sound like I have "aligned myself" with state employees? One thing I do know? Cutting jobs is a big mistake anywhere; reducing the pay makes more sense in these times. Better to have a job than no job.
  • avatar

    I like Gerald. He's a good guy. He is not angry, he has good manners, he expresses himself well, and he has a great smile. You can't help, but to like the man. I think he can have a career in communications. The world could use more Gerald McCoys. Sometimes people interpret evaluations that they may not agree with as that person giving the evaluation has a dislike for that person and they are out to get them which really makes no sense to me at all. To sum it up. I like Gerald McCoy, he's a good man. He has lots to be proud of for what he has accompolished. Just my opinion. Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Isn't the description of "luck", opportunity meeting preparation? That's the sense I get from Mark Dominik. He's prepared. If he doesn't do all of the homework on Freeman, Williams and Blount perhaps he takes the tact the other 31 general managers did and pass on who may become the Buc's own version of the "triplets". Horse must have received his moniker by beating a dead one with his continual chiding of Gerald McCoy. He immediately declared McCoy a "reach" and now, after only 13 games, has already classified him a "bust"; but he's no BF47. Horse is respectful of other poster's opinions and never insults anyone. I do question his logic from time to time but I have to cut him some slack since he went to Clearwater High and now lives in Tallahassee with all of the social parasites and bureaucrats interfering with his cognitive processes.
  • avatar

    scugog, that's a good one. Even though I have never been a lobbyist, state/county/city/government worker I do have to defend these workers because they are good honest working people. Most of them are also very giving and are not selfish. It's not their fault that the people we elect as our government officials have their own careers and agenda's and has allowed this image to be created out of their lazyness to do very little. You knocking the small guy and like most of the other citizens in Florida have decided to take it all out on these types of workers. We have the mess we are in because everyone wanted everything now and didn't care how they got it as long as they got their part. The greatest generation has screwed us royally and that's why we are in such debt. I'm for not raising the debt ceiling, making the commodity buyers have to have some type of storage facility before they are allowed to invest in futures like oil; everyone contributes into their 401's and insurance coverages. Oh yes one more thing? If we all took 10% less on our wages, social security, VA and other pensions and used those funds it to pay down our debt; we would be out of this mess.
  • avatar

    I am confident we'll get good picks. If there is a run on QB's to start the draft, then we'll have our choice of very good DE prospects,and if DE's go as well then a great CB, or a top notch RT, or TE etc. It will all work out. It doesn't really matter what position they get, they'll get a very good player. The new CBA will have a salary cap floor this year, so they'll have to spend money on a FA or two. We could certainly get a decent DE or two that way and maybe they'll trade JJ away and get a good MLB.
  • avatar

    I like Dom, but let's be honest. The Freeman pick was masterful. The jury is still out on McCoy. And, while he gets praise for signing Blount as a FA, if he liked Blount, why didn't he pick him with one of the 7th round picks, or much sooner? That was pure luck. Luck, too, that Mike Williams was still there in the 4th. That was no guarantee. I hope that kind of luck continues.
  • avatar

    I am consistantly impressed by Dominik. Basing my opinion on his actions, and the press conferences and radio interviews I've seen/heard. (that's as many as I can find) He takes pride in his work, and in the Tampa Bay area. He takes risks (calculated) and when he decides on a course of action he does it. Nobody was happy when he first cut most of the vererans--but he did it. He said we're going in this direction--and did it. He's up front. No, he won't tell you who we're drafting--but if you listen, watch and remember what he says--he gets as close to laying it out as is wise to do so. He's cerebral. He collects information, learns as much as he can on a topic, and challenges the people around him. So he's a data first, resources second, gut third--kind of guy. He doesn't let the media bait him. The London game question was a probing question and it seemed like the reporter was looking for a Glazier connection so he could write yet another "cheap owners" piece. Instead he gave a very thoughtful and detailed answer on a topic that's rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. I am very glad the Bucs' got a contract done now. I think this guy is very good for the team, and the rest of the league is starting to notice because of it.
  • avatar

    What I have seem in a different draft senarios is this. Tampa may stay at #20, But they may move down to get more draft picks. I am very interest to see if NE would give up two draft picks to move up from their lower tier pick to Tampa pick at Number 20. with 2 picks in Rd-1 and Rd-2. I say Tampa gets No#28 and also gets NE #60. While NE would have #17,#20,#33, and switches 3Rd pick with Tampa. Tampa would get #92 and NE gets 84. Maybe with these moves tampa could give NE their 5 rd (151) Then Tampa would have quality picks in the first 4 rds. Refresh TB gets #28,Rd-2 TB#51 and NE #60, plus in Rd-3#84 and RD-4 get #125. If that went down Tampa still could get OLB/DE Justin Houston from Ga at #28, At #51 gets OLB/DE Akeem Ayers from UCLA, and a added bonus they could get at #60 CB Davon House from N Mex St or CB-David Brown from Texas or ILB-Quan Sturdivant from NC, and in 3rd Rd they could get TE from Wisc. If Tampa and NE make those moves. GO BUcs
  • avatar

    Horse I would have to say that with each post your starting to sound more and more like the old BF47... how you can persistantly proclaim McCoy a bust after just 13 games is very.... unfair at the least. We all wanted Suh but to expect those results from any and every high first round pick is just absolutely unrealistic. theres no way you can say McCoys a bust just yet.. at times he played very well as a rookie. I have no idea how your level of expectations of him is set so high. It's starting to sound more like you have a personal vendetta against him that is affecting your judgement. I would go as far as to say Freeman looked worse than McCoy during his rookie year. Is Freeman a bust as well?
  • avatar

    SilenceTheCritics, We all don't agree on everything. You're right about enough said about McCoy. I'll let others say it later. I do not want to be a bucfan47 clone.
  • avatar

    Mccoy a bust (please) stop the ignorance
  • avatar

    Uhm?? How hard does it feel to hit on three straight 1st round draft picks? Let's see here ? Freeman was a BIG HIT. McCoy is a bust! Who's the third? Please folks. Dominick has learned to talke the Allen way? Not really much to say.
  • avatar

    "There are times where you might see a guy that gets four sacks in college or six sacks in college, and you feel like he’s not going to help your pass rush but when you go back and watch the tape and you say this guy could have had five more sacks because the quarterback got rid of the ball at the last second, they didn’t call him in the grasp or something like that. So you have to go back and look at the tape, and find out what could he have had and then also how does he get the sacks." . . . Are we being conditioned for when he drafts Clayborn?
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