Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Futures of Dominik, Schiano, Glennon on line in Bucs' final two games

Two games.

That's what the Bucs have left.

On the surface, they are two meaningless games. At St. Louis. At New Orleans. Then the season is over.

There are no playoff berths on the line for Tampa Bay. All the Bucs are really playing for is draft position.

Oh, and one more thing: the futures of the three most high-profile people in the organization.

That would be general manager Mark Dominik, coach Greg Schiano and quarterback Mike Glennon.

How the Bucs fare over the next two weeks likely will decide whether one, two, all three or none of them are back next season.

A couple of wins and all three probably will come back. A couple of losses and jobs will be lost. A win and a loss and it's anybody's guess.

It's all about appearances.

Two victories would give the Bucs a 6-10 record. Not pretty, but you can spin 6-10.

There were injuries. The old quarterback slipped off the rails, and the new quarterback is just a kid. The team never quit. The defense was decent. The games were close. It would mean the Bucs went 6-2 in the second half of the season.

All of that could buy everyone another season, especially if you're willing to throw a few assistants and an offensive coordinator under the bus.

But a 4-12 record would be harder to sell. A 4-12 record looks bad. A 4-12 record is bad.

Forget injuries. Forget how close the games were. A 4-12 record is embarrassing. And the team's owners hate to be embarrassed. It's hard to imagine the Glazers standing pat after a 4-12 season.

In other words, someone has to pay for 4-12.

The funny thing is it's probably a dumb idea to base the future of the franchise on the outcome of these final two games. If the Bucs win the last two by a hair, does that mean they're that much better than if they lose the next two? Of course not.

Put it this way: If you think Schiano has done a lousy job and can't coach a peewee team and is driving this franchise into the ground, then a 24-23 victory on a last-second 50-yard field goal on Sunday shouldn't change that.

On the other hand, if you think Schiano is a future Bill Belichick, then you shouldn't can him if the Bucs lose the next two games on Hail Mary passes.

Schiano's fate should be determined by his work over two years, not over two weeks. Same with Dominik. Look at Dominik's five seasons as GM, not the final two weeks of 2013.

Here's how I see it: No matter what the Bucs do over the final two weeks, this season has been a broken sewer line. Who cares if they go 6-10 or 5-11 or 4-12? All three records are crummy. None of them is acceptable. None indicate this team is headed in the right direction.

And someone needs to be held responsible.

Before the season, I predicted this team would go 6-10. You can look it up. I picked it to go 6-10 because I thought it had the talent of a 6-10 team. Frankly, I'm amazed the Bucs even have a shot at 6-10 considering all that has happened.

That says two things: One, the coach hasn't been that bad, and two, the GM hasn't been that good.

Schiano's record at this point is 11-19. Clearly, not good. And if you think he should go, I would have a hard time defending him.

But I'm willing to cut him some slack because I think he was saddled with a quarterback (Josh Freeman) he didn't want and the first half of the season was a mess because of it.

Giving Dominik the benefit of the doubt isn't as easy. Yes, his 2012 draft with Mark Barron, Doug Martin and Lavonte David makes up for the fact that there is no one left from the 2009 draft, including Freeman. Yes, Dominik pulled off the trade for Darrelle Revis and the signings of Vincent Jackson and Dashon Goldson, among others.

But come on. The Bucs are 28-50 since he took over as general manager. They haven't made the playoffs in any of his five seasons as GM in a league where it's practically impossible to go five seasons without making the playoffs. Defend that.

As far as Glennon? Sorry.

Good kid. Smart guy. Big arm. Lots to like.

Except I don't, not as a starting quarterback. I just think the rookie is missing that "it'' factor.

In the end, everyone, it seems, has their opinions on Dominik, Schiano and Glennon and whether they should stay or go.

But let's face it. If all three are back next season, there's absolutely no reason to believe that things will be any different or any better. The return of a guard (Carl Nicks) and a No. 2 wide receiver (Mike Williams) and a running back (Martin) isn't suddenly going to have the Panthers and Saints running scared in the NFC South. Besides, I don't seem to recall the Bucs doing much when those three were in the lineup.

The 2013 Bucs season hasn't been good enough. Something needs to change regardless of what happens in St. Louis and New Orleans.

Yet the future of this franchise likely will be determined in the next two weeks.

Tom Jones can be reached at [email protected]bay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620.

   
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