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May 11, 2012 @ 7:00 am
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2012 Bucs Draft Review

The Glazers Delivered Big Time This Offseason

WRITTEN_BY Mark Cook Mark Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

Editor-In-Chief
The Glazers had one last chance to win back the Buccaneers fan base, according to Pewter Report's Mark Cook, and they came through in a big way with the hiring of Greg Schiano and opening up the checkbook in free agency.

The week before free agency began my Pewter Report digital magazine column was about the Glazer family needing to make a commitment to the Tampa Bay community and to the fans of the Buccaneers by spending money in free agency. To stand pat one more season would, in my opinion, be a disaster they may never recover from.

Two months later, the Glazers have in fact done exactly that in showing a commitment, and now it is time to give credit where credit is due. And while a segment of fans remain somewhat cynical, and maybe rightly so, it is hard to believe how the entire organization has made a complete 180-degree turn from where they stood January 2, the day Raheem Morris was fired.

When the 2011 season ended with a 45-24 drubbing by the Atlanta Falcons on New Year’s Day, it was maybe the low point of the franchise. The Buccaneers were down 42-7 by halftime and a member of the organization told PewterReport.com recently, he was actually so distraught over what was taking place on the field that he began looking up the NFL record for most points allowed. It was that bad.

The following day the media gathered at One Buccaneer Place and awaited what was supposed to be a Morris press conference at noon. Most felt the chances of the Morris press conference taking place were slim, and the thought proved to be true. Just before 11 a.m. on January 2 a member of the public relations department entered the media room with a two paragraph statement announcing that Morris and his staff had been relieved of their duties.

Two hours later, as co-chairman Joel Glazer stood at the podium emphatically stating the Buccaneers would do whatever it takes to bring respectability back to the organization, it was met with predictable cynicism by the media and the fans, who were watching the press conference, which was carried live by most of the local television and radio stations in the market.

As the coaching search began things were still looking bleak. Re-tread names like Mike Sherman, Brad Childress and Marty Schottenheimer were being bantered about, and the long, drawn out process of the search provided even more fuel to the fire for skeptical Bucs fans.

While in Mobile, Ala. for the Senior Bowl, PewterReport.com received a text from one of our sources inside the organization that Oregon’s Chip Kelly was close to being named head coach. Two hours later in the middle of the night, the deal fell apart and Tampa Bay had to turn to Plan B, C, or D, depending on who was counting.

A few days later, when the name Greg Schiano was leaked to be close to being named the ninth head coach in franchise history, it was met with a lukewarm – at best – response from most. But as Schiano stood in the media theater at One Buc Place a few days later and talked about his vision for the “Buccaneer Way,” it seemed to gain the attention and respect of fans and the media. But just naming a coach who has a catchy mantra was still light years away from giving many much hope. It was, however, a start.

A little more respectability was earned as Schiano began to assemble his staff. Highly respected Giants QBs coach Mike Sullivan, an Army Ranger and owner of two Super Bowl rings, was brought in to lead the offense. Former Browns, Hurricanes and Tar Heels coach Butch Davis was brought in as an advisor, as was 30-plus year NFL coaching veteran Jimmy Raye.

Bob Bostad, one of the nation’s top offensive line coaches, was added along with former NFL star players-turned-coaches, Earnest Byner and Bryan Cox.

But the best coaches wouldn’t provide much more than the four wins in 2011 without a serious upgrade in talent. As free agency was set to begin in March there were some rumblings coming from One Buccaneer Place. Would general manager Mark Dominik get the go-ahead to open up the Glazers’ checkbook and actually be a player in free agency after Tampa Bay had basically sat the previous three years out?

That answer came quickly as free agency opened. Not only were the Buccaneers players – they were big-time players. Chargers free agent receiver Vincent Jackson received an average of $11 million per season to come to Tampa. The Buccaneers soon thereafter added a starting cornerback in Eric Wright, who signed a five-year, $37.5 million deal. Then Tampa Bay made another splash by adding the best free agent offensive linemen available, inking Saints free agent Carl Nicks to a five-year, $47.5 million deal.

Suddenly, many fans and members of the media had to believe that the Glazers were indeed serious about reconnecting with their fan base. Cynics still abound, claiming the Glazers had to spend money, as the league’s salary cap floor will soon go into effect, which is true. But if the Glazers were so cheap, why not wait until the last possible minute to spend?

If the Glazers genuinely didn’t care about the franchise they could have sat tight and waited for the new FOX TV deal to kick in 2014, spend the bare minimum, never need to sell a ticket, and still rake in record profits.

Did the Glazers take their eye off the ball for a period of time with too much attention being focused on Manchester United and other interests? Probably. Did they just assume the 60,000-seat waiting list for tickets would continue? Most likely.

To their credit, the hiring of Schiano, who will make over $3 million per season, and the recommitment to the franchise, has been a huge boost to the morale of Buccaneers fans. That is something that many, including myself, wondered if it would ever come back. It all started with the hiring of the head coach.

Schiano fits Tampa Bay area perfectly. Although he is a New Jersey guy, his blue-collar style fits the region perfectly. Make no mistake, the Tampa Bay area – despite the beaches and palm trees – is a blue-collar community.  From the strawberry farmers in eastern Hillsborough County, the phosphate workers in Polk County and the boilermakers who work in the shipyards at the Port of Tampa, Tampa was built on the backs of hard working, God-fearing folks who appreciate the same thing in their coaches. Schiano is one of them – and will connect even more so, especially if the wins follow.

Just like in 1996 when the attempted hires of Jimmy Johnson and Steve Spurrier fell through, and like the ill-conceived plan to bring in Bill Parcells to take over for Tony Dungy in 2001, the Glazers seemed to have struck gold with their second or third choice with the hiring of Greg Schiano.

Like a child who brings his or her grades up for one semester after years of struggling, it will take more than one report card from the Glazers to satisfy the fans. But you have to admit, going back to January 2, not many people could have envisioned the turnaround from then to today. Hopefully the commitment is a long-term plan and not a stop-gap measure to just appease the fans. But you would have to believe Schiano would not have left a program with the lifetime security he had at Rutgers without a genuine belief the commitment to win was real.

Hats off to the Glazers for making the effort to make the Buccaneers relevant in the Tampa Bay sports market once again. Now about those blackouts…

Last modified on Saturday, 12 May 2012 10:19

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Mark Cook

Mark Cook

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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Very good Article and thank you Glazers for spending some money on Free Agency. In return I have kept my promise that I would become a season ticket holder if you did spend some money and I am now proud to be a season ticket holder once again. Go Bucs!
  • avatar


    This is what we've been asking for-- hopefully the non-die hards will start buying tickets. I will say I have noticed more people / cars sporting bucs logos. I have always loved this team, but it's a lot easier to be a fan after an offseason like this
  • avatar

    Very good article Mark. I thought it was the best article of the whole issue. The Glazers did just about everything they could this offseason. Schiano was a head scratcher at first, but has hit a home run with every word that comes out of his mouth. After being disgusted by reading the Fab5 about how the players acted in the locker room, I am interested to see how Schiano can turn these guys around.
  • avatar

    Hey glazers thank you but I have one more favor sign london fletcher
  • avatar


    Living in Big Ten country, I love the hire of Bob Bostad. What a great hire. You all are going to love this offensive line.
  • avatar

    Great article Mark, but i gotta say that I wasn't really surprised with the FA signings.From the time Dom became GM he told us what the game plan that he and the Glazers had.They cleaned house of the older players and started rebuilding thew the draft.They told us they wouldn't be active in FA for a few years.They were building the base of the new Bucs (Rebuilding) Once the base was built than they would be active in FA with the right players not signings just to please fans.They knew there would be a lot of judgement thrown there way but they stuck to there rebuilding plan.They told us pretty much everything they were gonna do but fans didn't want to hear it and didn't really listen to what they were saying blaming it on the ManU perchase but if fans go back and actually listen to what they were saying instead of getting mad they wouldn't be that surprised like I wasn't.Yeah Raheem hiring wasn't the smartest move but the did what they said they were gonna do if you were really listening.Like I said if you don't believe me go back and listen to everything Dom and Glazers were saying. GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar

    Very good article. With all of the potentially great player additions that the team has made, I had temporarily lost sight of the new talent we brought in at the position coach level. Bostad is a very respected O-Line coach and I think Byner and B. Cox will bring some intensity to their respective positions too. It may take some time to climb all the way back up to the mountain top but I'm very confident that we, as fans, won't walk away from this season as disgusted as most of us had to be when last season drew to a disgusting close.
  • avatar

    Yes, I am impressed that the Glazers spent money this offseason. Unfortunately, it never should have gotten to the point it did before they HAD to make a show of goodwill, just so the stadium wouldn't be half empty. They've still got work to do.
  • avatar


    Each move the Glazers made in the past was an attempt to better the team. From the release of the true builder of the team's foundation Sam Wyche, the hiring of the steadying hand of Tony Dungy, the release of Tony Dungy, the stealth hiring of "offensive genius" Jon Gruden, the release of Jon Gruden , the hiring of in-house rising star Raheem Morris, the release of Raheem Morris and finally the hiring of disciplinarian Greg Schiano; the Glazer boys sought who they believed was the best coach to lead the Buccaneers. Looking back, promoting Raheem Morris was their only true failure. But even that move looked to be the right one for a while. The problem for me has been the failure to have players on the roster worthy of the high salaries. From the loss of high draft picks to acquire Gruden and the Championship, the failure of our drafted players to reach Pro-Bowl caliber status and the reluctance to hire "high pay but poor play" free agents; the payroll was understandably near the bottom of the league. Without having the "stars" to askew the salary totals the Glazers looked "cheep." The myths about their finances were bellowed to the masses by people like J. P. Peterson. Fans who didn't really analyze the situation were led to believe that owning the most valuable and profitable sports franchise in the world was somehow a drain on the Buccaneers. If the Glazers have a failing it is that they are such private people, who have no Jerry "Facelift" Jones urge to be on camera, that they seem distant from Buccaneer Nation. One time I'd like to see Bryan and Joel do as Howard Cossell would say, " tell it like it is" or perhaps have a Ronald Regan "fireside chat" with a select group of fans to set the record straight on a number of misconceptions. Maybe then, the family would be embraced by the community.
  • avatar


    Stratobuc - well said. It not nearly over. They now need to keep the Bucs above the average salary cap for the league for a while to make up for their years of pilfering. I'm thrilled so far but still not totally convinced. Time will tell. In the mean time, i will still spend my money with my team.
  • avatar

    Well said Scubdog!
  • avatar


    Idiotic article. Similar to grading a draft in yr 1. We don't know if coach can coach, nor if the free agents hired on to fill personnel gaps from yrs of poor drafting, will deliver, nor whether we've blundered not nailing down the LB position by falling in love with a Safety, etc. Where's the beef, PR?
  • avatar

    Credit where credit is due - the Glazers answered the bell and showed this community they remain committed to fielding a winning team in Tampa Bay. Obviously, wins and losses will ultimately tell the tale - but Coach Schiano and staff, along with Mark Dominick and the front office...appear to be doing all the right things thus far. I'm encouraged about the future of Buccaneer football.
  • avatar


    I see the true Bucs Management that came thru with the big money to make fans from long ago to believe that Tampa Bay will just show up but will produce-go bucs glh
  • avatar


    I can't blame the Glazers for bringing in Gruden to get the super bowl. you can never take the super bowl victory away. I believe some of the other options after that were somewhat ifiy, but I think ownership truly wants the Bucs to be successful. Thanks to the Glazer family for correcting the ship, feels like when Coach Dungy was hired.
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