Mark Dominik tackles offseason moves, Josh Freeman and other matters
MOBILE, Ala. – I had the chance, along with other Tampa media, to spend more than 30 minutes today with Bucs general manager Mark Dominik during the South practice at the Senior Bowl.
He covered a number of topics, but let's just touch on a few:
Regarding the talent level of the team and whether the roster needs more retooling, he said, "When you don’t have a winning season and don’t get to the playoffs, there’s something that still needs to get done and taken care of. And from a player personnel standpoint, that’s a part of it. Absolutely."
Simply signing Vincent Jackson and the other additions from 2012 won't be enough. So, there might be more to come.
"We knew it was a process," Dominik said. "And Greg (Schiano) knew it was a process. When I look back at the season, I say there were a lot of strides made. But we do need to get to that next step."
Of course, quarterback Josh Freeman's performance came up. Dominik recently finished reviewing Freeman's whole season. Here are his thoughts:
"You remind yourself there’s areas you’re very excited about. There are things he did this year that were as good as he’s been: Throwing the deep ball, the accuracy and some of the big plays, I thought he used his feet better this year. Obviously his completion percentage (54.8) could be higher. I know Josh wants it higher and we’d like it to be higher. We’ll work on that."
And when it comes to the notion of adding "competition" at quarterback, which was a point raised by Schiano, Dominik sort of downplayed it.
"At the end of the day, we want to increase the competition at every position,” he said. "Quarterback is certainly one of them."
As for the pass defense, which was abysmal at times, Dominik said we should hesitate to simply blame inferior personnel. In fact, he credited Leonard Johnson, Danny Gorrer and Ahmad Black for some of the plays they made. But there are sure to be changes, too.
"I think we had a lot of players who were in position and didn’t quite make the play," Dominik said. "But I think there’s a lot of room for improvement. It was also our defense’s first year in this system. Although there were some really good highs, there were obviously some frustrations with some of the yards we gave up in the passing game. That can be solved in many different ways. Look, you have to have good players in this league."
The Bucs finished 7-9, but Dominik suggested he doesn’t feel the team is far away from making the postseason. Six of their nine losses came by seven points or fewer, most the result of fourth-quarter shortcomings.
"There were opportunities in the fourth quarter," he said. "We have to continue to bolster the competition on the roster and finish off games."
The Bucs did that in their season finale against the Falcons, and that’s something Dominik is holding onto.
"The offense had to go out and respond to a score and the defense had to go out and get a stop," he said. "They did both."