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January 19, 2012 @ 11:34 am
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PR REACTS: Are The Bucs Changing Their Approach To Scouting?

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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The headline of Tampa Bay Times Bucs beat writer Stephen Holder suggests that Tampa Bay's approach to scouting has changed because there is no head coach in place. In this PR Reacts story, Scott Reynolds offers up his opinion on whether the lack of a head coach has caused change in the scouts' player evaluation or not.

Tampa Bay Times Bucs beat writer Stephen Holder wrote how the Buccaneers scouting department has had to adjust their approach when it comes to evaluating draft prospects because the team is currently without a head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators. The Times’ headline betrays what Holder is essentially saying, and for those Bucs fans that just skim headlines for news, Pewter Report felt it was important to reinforce the point Holder was making in the story.

Source: Stephen Holder, Tampa Bay Times
Because the Bucs are still without a head coach and coordinators, scouting future Buccaneers becomes a bit trickier. Right now, it's less clear which players are better suited for the types of offensive and defensive schemes the Bucs will run. We don't yet have an idea what those schemes will look like and what elements will be emphasized. Therefore, the team is having to cast a wider net in its scouting efforts, at least for the time being.

To be clear, we should point out that the Bucs' regional scouts do this anyway.

PR Reacts: The headline of the story suggests that the Bucs are adjusting their college scouting approaching because they don’t have a coaching staff, but the reality of the situation is that the college scouts are responsible for evaluating all players – not just defensive personnel for 4-3 defenses and players that would be a fit in a West Coast offense. So there really is no adjustment going on right now. Tampa Bay’s college territory scouts annually evaluate 3-4 linebackers and defensive linemen – not just players that fit in a 4-3 defense, despite the fact that the Bucs have run that scheme for the last 20 years or so. That’s what Holder meant when he said, “To be clear, we should point out that the Bucs’ regional scouts do this anyway.”

Sure, while evaluating players in their territory, Tampa Bay’s college scouts could probably mentally hone in on ideal 4-3 defenders because that’s what the Bucs have been used to working with for decades. But they are just as familiar with the 3-4 defenders – even though the Bucs haven’t drafted those types of players in some time. Director of player personnel Dennis Hickey has made sure that there is no added emphasis on targeting and scouting 4-3 players over 3-4 players.

In case you didn’t know, the Bucs’ college scouting reports aren’t just used for the 2012 NFL Draft. The Buccaneers use those scouting reports years down the road in free agency to serve as background information about the players’ character and work ethic, as well as injury history and college-level production.

Even though Josh Freeman is considered to be the team’s franchise quarterback, the Bucs will still interview and evaluate Stanford signal caller Andrew Luck, who will likely be the first overall pick in April. The reason? If Freeman falters or has a career-ending injury in the next few years, the Bucs may be interested in Luck years down the road in free agency and they will have a foundation of information on which to continue the evaluation process.

It’s doubtful Luck would ever end up in Tampa Bay, but this is just a scenario to illustrate how the Bucs’ college scouting reports are used in free agency down the road. Suppose the Bucs hire a new coach and he’s fired three years from now. Then the next head coach wants to implement a 3-4 defense. All of the scouting reports done on this year’s crop of 3-4 personnel in the draft will be of use when free agency hits in 2016.

So in reality, the Bucs’ scouting approach hasn’t changed much at all while evaluating prospects at the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl. When it will change slightly is when the next head coach is hired and the types of players he is looking for on offense and defense becomes known. But Tampa Bay doesn’t really begin building its draft board until March anyway, so there is plenty of time for Hickey and the scouts to become familiar with what the new coach is looking for and targeting specific players, while eliminating others.

Last modified on Thursday, 19 January 2012 11:57

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  • avatar

    The scouting department doesn't need to change any thing bc they get there orders from Dom. Never got them from Morris. Dom and Hickey are boys. This is their team. Whoever the headcoach is will be just a puppet. Just like raheem was. they wont go 3-4 bc Dom has invested in 4-3 personnel.
  • avatar

    I agree with you this time Nick. Some of us are far too quick to write off a player as a "bust". The fact is, Dominik and his sidekick Hickey have only been in charge since 2009. Let's stop blaming them for Bruce Allen's choices. Most agree that a draft class shouldn't be evaluated for three years. We just passed that point for the 2009 group whom Mel Kiper graded a 'B'. Say what you will about QB Josh Freeman's good 2010 season and poor 2011 season; he still is a NFL starting QB who exhibits vast potential as the team around him elevates its' play. DT Roy Miller is a decent back-up. CB E.J. Biggers has been a starter by default but he's not the caliber needed. WR Sammie Stroughter is nothing more than a back-up. If TE Winslow is added to the evaluation as the 2nd rounder; I would grade 2009 as average. Nothing special; but if Josh Freeman returns to his 2010 showing when he looked like one of the best young QB's in the league then Dominik/Hickey should be commended for taking him over DT Peria Jerry and having QB Luke McCown behind center as some of our resident GM's would have done.
  • avatar

    scubog, I hope I can take this back and say to you and other fans later that McCoy is not a bust; right now he is a bust at the No. 3 Spot where he was picked. If we had drafted him in the 2nd round I would have had patience with his lack of strength and rushing technique, but we didn't pick him there. McCoy was paid a lot of money to be "an impact player" and he has not proven that at all. His injuries are his own fault for not having the arm size that ALL other defensive tackles have. Their arms have to be big enough to swat the offensive linemen arms away and also able to be strong enough to grab a running back who is passing by the side of him. McCoy needs to get much stronger in his upper body. Of course he is no Sapp nor has that type of body, but he could get the body of a younger Haynesworth, Reggie White type. Just my opinion. Now Freeman is no bust at all, because we have history on him; I think his biggest problem was the offensive coordinator not adjusting to what Freeman was seeing on the field. As far as I am concerned I am happy to see playesr perform as focused types, not angry types because I don't know of anyone who gets angry and still think clearly.
  • avatar

    Its amazing how many people are incapable of formulating their own opinion without relying on the flood of other peoples voices, which usually stems from a results oriented fan base that we have. In 2010 Mark Dominik and Hickey are all stars. Now they are terrible and in truth the Bucs have holes all over the team? Really? They didn't have those holes when they were 4-2. Dom and Hickey were good guys back then weren't they? Truth is there is no real lack of talent on the Bucs like we think. The team quit. Watch the game vs Green B ay, or the games from week 6 past. One last question. If the Bucs under a new coaching staff go 10-6 next year and a playoff birth, will you still think Dom and Hickey "Must Go"? No you won't. so give people more than one season of results before making up you mind by following the masses.
  • avatar

    Great read PR. After reading this and watching the Bucs decision-making criteria in the past it's evident that their front office is very underwhelming in regards to player acquisition and drafting impact players. It's time to turn the heat up on Dominik and Hickey.
  • avatar

    Fire anybody involved in Michael Clayton's and Quincy Blacks's $25,000,000 plus contracts. Everyone!
  • avatar

    This team needs a new approach~one without Dom or Hickey...
  • avatar

    I have been saying for years, we have to fix the scout dept. before the Buc's can improve. If you cannot evaluate talent you are going to be an also ran in the NFL for years to come. The Buc's say build through the draft but that does not work when you can't pick winners. The Buc's drafts have been terrible for the last ten years. The common person in that area have been Dominik and Hickey!
  • avatar

    KINDERRT- I'll just pick on you... Were you saying this in 2010 too? Were you saying this in October when the Bucs were 4-2? Don't let the results of 10 games formulate how you feel about talent evaluators. That takes a LOT more time, YEARS in fact. Will you feel the same if the Bucs are 10-6 next year? Your just falling into the trap of everyone over reacting after Bucs players quit on their coaches. This team has plenty of talent, and it will show next year when the new staff is on.
  • avatar

    While the drafts haven't been stellar, they haven't been that bad either. The biggest problem hasn't been the draft, it's because it's only been the draft!
  • avatar

    The Bucs won't fire Hickey for the mere fact that he is Dominik's best friend. Any other organization would have sent him packing long ago.
  • avatar

    Thanks Scott, good reading. I am not quite ready to throw Hickey under the bus yet until we have a new coach and a draft under that coach. So far I haven't seen any wild miss information. Most scouts thought McCoy would be a hit; it was just our miss fortune that we had the No. 3 spot that year and was kind of forced to take him. That's where a stronger HC and DC come in to play and they might have listened to Warren Sapp when he challenged McCoy technique that it wouldn't work in the NFL.
  • avatar

    Horse I thought Sapp was in McCoys corner pre draft.
  • avatar

    If you watched the o interview (I think it was the NFL Channel) where Sapp showed McCoy why his "three step method" would not work. So Sapp walked him thru and showed him why it wouldn't work. Guess what was the first thing Sapp showed him? McCoys arm swat wouldn't work because of the size of McCoy's arms (that's why I have said from day one that he had to have bigger arms) and Sapp showed McCoy what the OL would do to block him. Sapp basically said it wouldn't work. Sapp was in his corner and was trying to help him and I know that Sapp liked McCoy (I do to as a person). So far I haven't seen much adjustment from McCoy and maybe that is why his arms have injuries. I was shocked last season that he lost 30 lbs to get quicker; heck he needed to stay at 295 and build up his upper torso. I don't think McCoy can play a complete Season. I sure hope he stays here in Tampa off season and work with the Buc Trainers and their off site personal trainers. Just my opinion.
  • avatar

    Horse- you have been against McCoy since day 1. We know you have a vendetta against him, but please just shut it already. Its really annoying. You declared him a bust after his first few games and just have not quit. Funny that you dont mention how the Bucs were a top-10 defense with McCoy this past season (we all saw how the defense played without him). And to top things off, Matt Stafford was hurt his first 2 years also but just had a pro-bowl year so giving up on a guy after 2 years is ridiculous. So please quit with your personal attacks against him.
  • avatar

    The Bucs may not be changing the way they scout players, but they should consider changing the personnel in charge of scouting players, namely Dennis Hickey. I know he's not the one ultimately making the decisions on who to draft, but the drafts he's been a part of haven't been stellar. Some evaluation needs to take place.
  • avatar

    Good to know.....thanks Scott.
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