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August 3, 2011 @ 6:00 pm
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Dominik's Plan Involves Keeping Core Players, Not Signing Free Agents

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik addressed the local media about the team's plans regarding free agency, which involves re-signing Tampa Bay players more than signing other team's free agents.
Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik surprised a few members of the media Wednesday morning when he sat down for an impromptu, state of the team question-and-answer session before the afternoon practice.

Asked about the overall impressions of his young team and dealing with the chatter from some Bucs fans that feel he hasn’t taken advantage of a deep and talented group of free agents, Dominik was candid with his answers.

“I think the entire organization has been extremely excited about the new members that we have brought onto this football team whether we drafted them, or claimed them, or signed them,” Dominik said. “I think they have brought a lot of energy and juice into the organization. “

Putting a foundation in place and sticking to a game plan is something Dominik said was important to him personally, but also to the organization. Tampa Bay’s general manager talked about how his pieces of the puzzle are beginning to reap rewards.

“Obviously, 2009 was important because of Josh Freeman, and the foundation of the entire football team,” Dominik said. “2010, as we talked about prior to the draft, through the draft and all through the season, we wanted to take advantage of that class and those young guys stepped up and played valuable time on the field. They were productive and really set a new tone in our locker room for who we were [and] in terms of who we are.”

Dominik has taken some criticism for not spending money on high-profile free agents this offseason, but said his goal and plan has been to build through the draft and take care of re-signing players that the Buccaneers selected and have developed. 

Looking at the sheer amount of money Tampa Bay has committed to re-signing its own players, the team has spent over $100 million dollars in free agency on the contracts for Joseph (seven years, $53 million), linebacker Quincy Black (five years, $29 million) and punter Michael Koenen (six years, $19 million), in addition to deals for right tackle Jeremy Trueblood (two years, undisclosed), linebacker Adam Hayward (three years, undisclosed) and others, according to a league source.

“Guys like Freeman and Gerald McCoy are what we want to be,” Dominik said. “And as people continue to see them grow, along with their respective classes, there are going to be hopeful we re-sign most guys to long-term deals.”

The 132-day NFL lockout changed little in the Buccaneers’ approach to free agency.

“I still think we would have stayed with our own plan, and re-signed our own guys,” Dominik said. “I don’t think a lot would have changed from our perspective. We still wanted Davin Joseph prior to the draft and post-draft.  Obviously, you can’t predict who will be at [number] 20 [in the draft]. You have to look at that a little different.”

All practice, preseason, and regular season games are filmed, and the coaches and Buccaneers management spend hours reviewing the film, looking for the little details that might make a player standout. Dominik explained how the process of evaluation takes shape behind closed doors at One Buc Place.

“Every decision we make is based off of tape at the end of the day at the end of the day,” Dominik said. “That’s how we do everything. We step back, watch the tape again, and evaluate our players and what they are doing. And so when you get done you can say, ‘Hey, we really like how we use Quincy Black. I really see him as an up-and-coming player and being more productive, and is a guy I don’t want to really lose.’”

While the PewterReport.com message boards and sports talk radio audience have been mixed in their reviews of how the team has spent money, Dominik has had a lot of good feedback when interacting with the fans on the street and at training camp.

“I hear from fans that talk to me and they are really excited about what we are doing,” Dominik. “For the most part, I think our fans understand the plan and get it. We want to get that core together, and keep the core. Our goal is to keep as much of that core together, understanding we have to bring in the right players in the draft. Those guys have got to come in and be productive players for us, and over the last couple years they have been. And in 2011 it is going to have to be the same. Those players will have to step up and be productive players for us.”

The youth movement surrounding the current group of Buccaneers is obvious, but even as the second-youngest team in the league last season, Tampa Bay still notched 10 wins and just barely missed out on the playoffs. Dominik sees this as some validation for the path he has taken in running the organization.

“I’m more proud of what our football team did, and what our coaches did,” Dominik said. “So if anything, it makes me more and more confident that we are doing it our way, and knowing we can play with young guys. Again, a couple of years ago, the Packers were one of the youngest team in the league, and they’re still one of the younger teams in the league. So it’s not like you can’t be young and can’t win.

“I’d just like to think about where we are from two years ago. That’s really the way I look at it, and I’m really excited about what we changed in two years, and what we are hopefully going to be able to do in 2011. There is no way to forecast that until we get there. But the bottom line as I look at our own football team in our own eggshell, in our own box, and say, ‘How do we look?’ And I feel a lot better than I did two years ago.”
Last modified on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 18:12
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    How is the Glazers owning the worlds most valuable sports franchise a bad thing? It's pure ignorance that some of you continue to make the connection that any of the Glazer's vast portfolio is being supported by the Bucs any more than Home Depot is being aided by the Falcons. I don't know about you but if I owned the most valuable house in the neighborhood and a mortgage for half it's value or less I would consider that a good thing.
  • avatar

    To Scubog, it's because of the nature of how the Glazer's purchased ManU (with massive amounts of debt). ManU, despite all their success, has over $1 BILLION in debt they are struggling to climb out of even with major success. That means they have to find other sources to finance that debt, including profits from their other businesses, like the Bucs. The Bucs decline in payroll directly coincides with the Glazer's purchase of ManU. If you follow the English Premier League at all, these massive ManU debts are the reason ManU fans cannot stand the Glazer family (it's not just anti-Americanism because other Americans owners who did not finance their team purchase through issuing tons of debt, are loved by fans).
  • avatar

    Just call it what it is: the Glazers using the Bucs to cover their enormous Manchester United debts. The Glazers are laughing at the few homers here who are fine with the lowest salary (yet again) in the NFL. Expect more and more blackouts because we won't be selling out RayJay. I'm sure none of our games being on TV will grow the fanbase (not). Way to think small Glazer family. And no, I'm not blaming Dominik. He has worked miracles with the minimal salary level he's been saddled with. I wish the Glazers would just sell the team because they obviously don't care about the Bucs or Bucs fans. They robbed us blind to fund their stadium, then abandoned us for a bigger franchise (ManU). No wonder the Brits can't stand them.
  • avatar


    Although it does seem sort of pathetic, that other teams grabbed the big name guys and the Bucs got nobody (I actually think the punter/kicker was a great pick up, just not sexy). However, you guys who want more free agents probably don't have to worry. Dominick will be scouting all of the cast offs that get cut from other teams and get some of these guys to sign on the cheap to fill the weaknesses and provide depth. Don't dispair, some of these players that will be cut are actually pretty good, but that just didn't fit the scheme of the team they were on, but would fit very well here. Keep the faith, it ain't over yet.
  • avatar

    Josh Franchise is the man and we're lucky that our front office finally selected a young QB we can build around. He has a few things to work on but definitely showed he's an elite QB. God knows I loved him in colleague he started every year at Kansas - I was high on him coming into the league so I was elated when we moved up to take him. While he has a few things to work on he's ahead of the curve. I beg and implore him to stay in Tampa Bay despite what he's seen from our front office. PR has done countless stories on players we could have had versus players we took that flopped in past drafts so theres no need for me to highlight guys. I'll just say that this phenomenon of drafted prospects that pan out is fairly new and was on hiatus in between the Sapp and Joseph and eventually Freeman drafts. My issue remains with the front office. I'm sure Freeman can't be happy with them. No help to address issues on our offensive line. We sign no guard to compete with the likes of Zuttah/Larsen. No tackle to compete with Lee/Trueblood. No playmaker at RB and may lost Cadillac to the Rams. Regardless of whether or not we kept him I felt we needed a dynamic playmaker to play in spots in the offense - Cadillac could have remained the 3rd down back. So no D. Williams, Bush, Sporles, or Norwood they're all gone... Also don't hit me with this youth movement bull... I feel it but the approach to acquiring talent shouldn't be exclusive to the draft. No we have no one to pass protect for Freeman on 3rd down or pass catch - goal line sitations... all weaknesses of a great player in Blunt... Last year when I said we should sign help folks on these boards underated our team and said "the team isn't good enough to sign talent". "Only playoff teams do that to get over the hump". Well thats not an excuse this year. No we don't need to sign old guys but younger talented free agents would have worked. No help for Freeman at WR aside from the guys on our roster who are young and developing. We could used the likes of Steve Breaston, Sidney Rice, Mike Sims-Walker, and even guys on the market like Steve Smith (NYG) and Malcolm Flyod. Even a playmaker like Laurent Robinson would have been a nice addition... No help on the defensive side of the ball either. Talib has issues and we do nothing at corner but depend on Mack, Lewis, Biggers, and Gaitor to start this year and after Barber's gone? While they all have some talent - none are elite. So no Asomugha, Joseph, or Marshall... guys who all fit our scheme... I understand passing on Asomugha because of costs and corners not being forced to do too much in the Tampa 2 but those other guys would have only improved our team... We do nothig at LB and let Rudd go depending on guys who have 5 career tackles between them in McKenzie and Foster. Both guys have talent but signing someone to compete with them would only drive them or expose them. So Ernie Sims and Thomas Davis would have been great fits. Donte Witner is out there and could help us at S. I know people love Grimm and say he's assignment sound but he's not athletic - a former LB who gave up three touchdowns in coverage last season. With uncertainty surrounding Jackson and Jones being decent and aging we need help at S. It's one of the most important parts of playing Tampa 2 as they could end up on islands... Signing our own was smart but we missed on Rudd. All I can say is I hope the holes in our team aren't exposed this coming season... Our hole in the front office continues to be apparent. 60 million in cap space and with the new CBA we must spend more - which means we may end up paying more for subpar players... Don't tell me about the Bruce Allen days when we signed over the hill players every player I mentioned fits our scheme, character, and youth/age requirements... Dominik is just Glaziers puppet and we'll never invest in our team adequately under his reign... I'm a Dodger fan and I'm so happy we're losing McCourt because I had the same frustrations - can we get the NFL to look into why the Glaziers sit on cap space year after year? Their assests and how that interwine with Manchester United's? I'm puzzled... This internet GM would have done a lot better - check the message boards... I deemed signing our own a priority but we could have provided competition and young talent for our draft picks...
  • avatar

    Dominik is using the blueprint that has worked so many times before by other organizations. It's the same blueprint that was used when Dungy came to town. Build through the draft and develop your core players. Once the foundation is in place then a free agent or two to fill holes is OK, but by no means do overpriced free agents build your foundation. The fans that are screaming for the high priced free agents can look no further than the Redskins organization for a good example of how overspending on free agents doesn't work. The Eagles are also trying to change their postseason fortunes by spending big. They might be learning the lesson as well. Dominik has his plan and he's sticking to it. As a Bucs fan, it's a plan I support and it's a plan that has me more excited than an overpriced free agent.
  • avatar


    Gotta love the psychics who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that signing a high priced UFA last year or this year would absolutely put us in the playoffs and beyond lol. Glazers are good business men they have been burned in the past and now are taking every precaution necessary not to lose a ton of money on an unworthy investment. A good product for a minimal amount of money equal a nice profit... isnt that what every business owner dreams of?... I'm a bucs fan and as long as they are winning I could careless who they pay or how much they pay them. (With obvious exceptions, such as Haynesworth, etc.. etc..) Go BUCS!!
  • avatar

    I DONT MIND THE FREE AGENCY NOW, WE ARE DOING WHAT WE WERE DOING BEFORE IN THE 90'S. WE MIGHT NOT CONTEND FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP UNITL MAYBE 2014.
  • avatar


    I've expressed my opinion on free agency many times on this board. Stop putting a dollar value on a player. Higher salary doesn't mean better player! Different player isn't better player. It's as if some of you want to go on a player shopping spree just for the sake of doing it so the Bucs can be on Sports Center like the Redskins have been the last few pitiful off-seasons and the Eagles are now. Look at the Colts, Steelers and Packers. Please tell me, cyber GM's, who on the projected starting line-up are you going to replace and with whom are you replacing them? Why doesn't it count, in some of your minds, when Dominik signs one of our own free-agents? Why does it only count for some of you if the player was cast off by his other team and gets a big check? Doesn't that seem stupid? You scoff at signing the punter but wasn't punter a glaring problem last year? This isn't our 2002 Superbowl ready team that was at the end of a rapidly closing window evidenced by the sharp decline in 2003 in what became an old team, devoid of young talent and draft picks that had no choice but to try to fill the gaping holes with other players who were essentially one and done. That group of free agents that helped win the championship couldn't sustain it. You complained about Gruden/Allen bringing in all of those free agents and complain now when Dominik wants to build through good drafting.
  • avatar


    How many can we carry on the active roster and on the scout team roster? Has any of that changed?
  • avatar

    Flippin Cry babies. Wahhhhh!!!! I want Free Agents Wahhhhhh!!!! Won't buy tickets cause you won't sign Free Agents Wahhhhhhh!!!!! Get a clue. Who ever said we didn't add anything is an idiot. What do you think Clayborn, Bowers, and Foster, and Black are????? 10-6 and getting better. Either your on the ship or walk the plank cry babies. Dominick is not gonna do what you want because you cry for Free Agents that don't gel with the way this team is being built.
  • avatar


    Christmas Carols. It's that same old familiar song at the same time of year, every year. They aren't particularly good songs. In fact they get repetitive and annoying, but the kids love 'em. So sing on kids. "On the first day of Free Agency the Glaziers gave to me, nothing." Man that one never gets old.
  • avatar

    Im just saying with aquib facing suspension and ronde up there in age we should have added a corner, and i think a couple of big name free agents would help the bucs get back to selling out games
  • avatar

    Seriously, some people sound just plain stupid. 10-6 record with 10+ rookies starting and people want us to change that and go pick up "big names." How can you not believe this team is on the right path and want to see our young core grow into a championship team? Championships are not built through FA. We have some of the greatest young talent in the league and Im glad we are still sailing under the radar and not trying to go out like Carolina, New oldies, and Aintshita trying to make believe we have a good team just because we make a couple moves. I love the punter/KO specialist pickup. Like many have said, if you know football, you know this was a must and a good one at that. I love me some Tampa Bay Buccaneers football!!!
  • avatar

    Mark Dominik is steering this Buccaneer ship into the correct position!! He has this team playoff bound. Trust your captain!! GO BUCS!!
  • avatar

    More of the same comments as last year, I don't get it, I really don't. At 3-13, we didn't make any significant moves, but I was willing to have faith. My faith was rewarded by a 10-6 season with more injuries and folks I'd never heard of stepping seamlessly into starting positions than I can ever recall. I believe we were third youngest team to start last season, youngest to end it and the only 10-6 team to start 10 rookies if I recall correctly.... My faith was justified and it remains strong. Free agents from other teams have to accomplish two things: A) be better than the man they replace and B) be a better team player on THIS team than the man they replace (ie, he has to FIT). After last season, you're going to argue that they don't know what they're doing? Dom is essentially saying "I've looked at what's available and don't see anyone who's a better fit or a better player than our own". I'm not going to doubt him. I have one word for the doubters: BELIEVE. Two words for the fans: GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar

    I don't post much on this board but after reading some of the other posts here i have to say something. A few years ago this team was in shambles. They were signing free agents, some of which were over the hill, to massive contracts and forcing the future to take a back seat to our aging stars. Since then this team has changed a great amount and I believe that Dominik and Morris have shown their ability to not only find good talent but develop them. This front office finds players they want and they go after them, especially in the draft with people like freeman and benn. Through this they have been able to find a great deal of talent in the late ends of the draft and with undrafted free agents. There is a difference between spending wildly to get big names and spending wisely to try and build for the future. Investing a good amount in a punter, who is also a tremendous kickoff specialist, changes field position. This is something the team struggled with last year and if they had someone like Koenen they probably could have saved some of the games that they lost. This year you will see the difference in field position and it could turn from a major weakness in years past to a strength. I understand the need to criticize what you don't understand but maybe letting it play out, instead of assuming that the Saints and Falcons moves will make them much better than our bucs, will show you just how smart our front office is. If things don't go as planned and the team regresses then the criticism is very much warranted. But right now, before any games have even been played, try and just enjoy the fact that we have football again and that we will be able to follow a team that should be good for the near future. I know that I am very excited to watch them as I trust Dominik and Morris and the decisions they make and I am interested to see how we do going forward. I hope just as much as anyone else that we succeed and Go Bucs!
  • avatar

    Wow some of you guys just dont get it you have to have a house before you can go out and by a 70 inch flat screen and that's what Dominik is doing building a house just like we did when we drafted brooks lynch sapp alstott and barber we didn't pick up big free agents till a few years later and im sure Dominik will if these picks don't work out which I have a good feeling they will
  • avatar


    I would rather we do it the Dominick way because if we do on a draft pick or two, is better than what washington and the Jets have done lately. At least there is less contamination by doing it the Bud way. Good article.
  • avatar


    We can complain all we want, and it is true that to a certain extent Dominicks hands might be tied, but he has done a terrific job. And we are a better team for it.
  • avatar

    Missed opportunities Mr. Dominik. Maybe a couple of minor additions last year and the Bucs make the playoffs instead of Green Bay. This year the Falcons and Saints get better via draft AND Free Agency. The Bucs stay pretty much the same. I hope your reading this Mr Dominik. This is my last year as season ticket holder. I just can't invest in 10 games a year any longer. I'm all for building through the draft but you must also build through free agency with key acquisitions.
  • avatar


    Mr. Dominik and Coach Morris has shown they know what they are doing. They have earned my trust. When something isn't right, they take steps to change it. The Glazers are far better owners than Culverhouse. They are better owners than Snyder and Jones. The Bucs are a good, young team, they will be fine. Relax, have a beer and enjoy the Bucs!!!!
  • avatar


    rudyrudy888, sounds like you need to learn how contracts work before you comment. It's 6 years 19 million 6.5 million guaranteed. The PUNTER will make about a little over a million a year, with the INCENTIVE to make 19 million TOTAL after his contract is up if he meets the criteria for said incentives. Raheem and Dom have said they are building through the draft...if they miss on draft picks they have said they will look to FA to fill that miss. They missed on a Punter last year in the draft and did what they said they would by going out and getting a proven guy in FA.
  • avatar


    What is wrong with some people on this board? Look what cann happen if you spend big bucks on fgree agents you don;t win a championship. Look what Bruce and Gruden did brought in broken down players through free agency and still lost. Same can be said about Dalls. So some of you guys need to back off what Dominick has done. He's done a very good job. But know matter what he does you guys wouldn't like it anyway. you would find something to complain about. Go BUCS and DOMINIK
  • avatar

    I agree we spend 19million on a damn punter not even a real good one at that. Saints gettin better the Falcons are gettin better hell even the Panthers making more noise then us. This all go come back an bit him in the you know .This Joesph signing go be far worst than the clayton an ward signing by far.An you gave Black 29million for a SLB a two down player when you could have had Ray Edwards for the same thang the Falcons an Saints at the top of our div for a reason GMs I can see Dom on the hot seat again next yr mark my words
  • avatar


    Just heard Caddy signed with the Rams.
  • avatar


    No free agents? Why did we spend 19 million on a free agent punter? That is a free agent. Forget spending money on a player that will help us win games, spend 19 million on a player that only helps us when we are losing games. I am not too fond of Dominick. He originally said that he will sign players who can help us win and are in our youth movement.
  • avatar


    The plan is to spend the minimum they can get away with - hope the team remains semi - competitive, and blackout all the home games - while not actually giving a damn because ManU-re is their real baby. Go Glazerhouses!
  • avatar


    Damn. I was hoping Dominiks goal was to improve this team every chance he gets. I guess the Glazers like it better this way...
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