The Glazer family didn’t sit on the fence very long on Black Monday.
Rumors ran rampant on both sides of the argument of whether or not to keep Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. That’s been the case for the majority of the season after his team started 0-8, rebounded for a few weeks and then lost four of its last five games.
In a statement released by the team late Monday morning, Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer announced the dismissals of Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik.
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. 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.
Dominik had been general manager since 2009 and Schiano head coach for the past two seasons. The Buccaneers posted just one winning season and never made the playoffs during Dominik’s tenure and went 11-21 in the two seasons Schiano was at the helm.
Ridding the franchise of its general manager and head coach at the same time initiates an attitude of change. The Glazers swiftly and harshly came down on Dominik and Schiano and now must bring about their pirate ship.
In what direction will the Glazers go?
Help Wanted, Experience Desired
Prior to landing as Tampa Bay’s head coach, Schiano was a college head coach at Rutgers and spent some time in the NFL working at the coordinator and positional coach level with the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins. He was never a professional head coach.
Dominik spent eight seasons with Tampa Bay in various positions. He worked his way up to director of pro personnel, handling scouting, recruiting and a few details involving contract negotiations prior to becoming general manager. He was never an NFL GM prior to his gig with the Bucs.
The Glazers will probably want both a coach and a general manager with some NFL experience.
After this franchise has floundered around with a losing record (the Bucs were 28-51 during Dominik’s tenure as GM and 11-21 in the final two years with Schiano present), how can the ownership group in Tampa not want to bring in someone who's had some experience building something at the professional level in the past?
Former head coaches and front-office stars with experience don’t grow on trees, but there are a few options out there. If the perfect fit can’t be attained, the new head coach and general manager will surely have more experience than did Schiano and Dominik.
Solve the QB Conundrum
Both Josh Freeman and Mike Glennon took snaps under center for the Bucs in 2013. Neither is likely the answer moving forward for a franchise in repair.
Schiano hosted a press conference Monday and said Glennon was “ultra-intelligent” and that he could make every throw. He also stated that he felt the team got it right by switching to Glennon early on, according to Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.
The numbers don’t completely agree.
Glennon finished the season with a 59.4 percent completion rate and threw for 2,608 yards and 19 touchdowns in 13 games. He also was picked off nine times. But he faded toward the end of his rookie campaign.
Even though he threw for more yards in the second half of the season, Glennon’s completion percentage went down, his sack rate went up and he threw twice as many interceptions.
|Mike Glennon 2013 Splits|
|First 8 Games||204||1,165||60.3%||8||3||13|
|Last 8 Games||212||1,443||58.5%||11||6||27|
The first decision made by the new general manager and head coach will be to continue with Glennon as the team’s quarterback of the future or bring in someone else, either through the draft or via free agency. It’s growing tougher in the NFL to win without a capable quarterback.
Get Tougher in the Trenches
Tampa Bay needs to start winning more battles on both the offensive and defensive lines, and that may be where the new regime in Tampa Bay focuses its attention after solving the quarterback conundrum.
According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), only one quarterback in the NFL was under pressure more often than Glennon this season. Glennon was pressured 43.2 percent of the time he dropped back to pass. That’s no way for an offensive line to protect any quarterback, much less a rookie.
But that was life for Glennon with a target on his back.
The Tampa Bay offensive line must get better at protecting its quarterback, and that likely means some personnel or scheme changes up front, possibly both. The Buccaneers rank last in the NFL with only 176.3 passing yards per game. To say the quarterback and offensive line problems need to be addressed is an understatement.
Schiano’s coaching style was one of the furthest away from a “player’s coach” as you can get in the NFL. His almost militaristic rule over every aspect of the team and facility was a bit too much for professional players, who were in some cases making a lot more money than the guy screaming “Toes on the line!”
On the flip side of that coin, former Tampa Bay head coach Raheem Morris was so “pro player” that he lost the locker room during his final season with the team and squandered a 4-2 start to finish with a 4-12 record in 2011. Morris’ combined three-year record was 17-31.
Neither coaching style worked for the Buccaneers. It’s time to move away from the rigid rule of Schiano while staying far from the playground atmosphere Morris allowed.
Head Hunting Ideas
Names for both vacant positions in Tampa have been tossed out feverishly already. But the two that are being screamed the loudest and most frequently are Rich McKay for general manager and Lovie Smith for head coach, as reported by Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports.
McKay is currently the president and CEO of the Atlanta Falcons, but he spent 12 seasons as general manager of the Bucs from 1992 to 2003. During his stay in Tampa, his Bucs went to the playoffs five times and won the Super Bowl in 2002. He was also responsible for hiring Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden as well as drafting talents like Warren Sapp, Ronde Barber and Derrick Brooks.
Not only is McKay a proven leader, his track record for being one that can attract and uncover talent is top-notch.
Smith was head coach with the Chicago Bears from 2004 to 2012 where he led the Bears to four playoff appearances and a losing trip to the Super Bowl in 2006. He’s known as a disciplinarian who motivates players well and works to build positive relationships in the locker room. Smith was also a positional coach with Tampa Bay from 1996 to 2000.
Other names of note that could be considered in Tampa Bay: Kansas City director of player personnel Chris Ballard, former Bears general manager and Tampa Bay director of player personnel Jerry Angelo, Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell.
Unless otherwise noted, all quotes and statements were obtained firsthand.