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What do Glazers think of Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season? Well, it's anyone's guess

Say this much for Tampa Bay sports fans. They'll let you know what they think.

They will tweet, and they will text. They will vent, and they will vex. They will boo, they will blog, they will e-mail, and they will call radio talk shows. Ask them for their two cents, and they will give you a quarter's worth.

Except for the guys who count, that is.

Except for the Glazers, the ownership family where everyone is a silent partner.

As always, theirs is the only opinion that counts, and, as always, the Glazers are not sharing. They are Tampa Bay's Secret Society, the owners who live in the cone of silence, and they could turn a thousand mind-readers into illiterates. Whatever they may be thinking, they are not sharing.

Yet, as ugly as this season has been to your eyes, you cannot help but wonder how the Glazers see it. The Bucs will probably finish with the worst record since they bought the team and perhaps with the greatest number of empty seats. For owners who have talked about how much losing hurts, it's hard not to wonder how a 1-10 record is sitting with them.

Could Bucs coach Raheem Morris survive a 1-15 season? A 2-14? A 3-13? Nobody knows.

Could Bucs general manager Mark Dominik survive if Morris does not, or are they as linked as Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen were? Nobody knows.

Are the Glazers unhappy about the misfires with the offensive and defensive coordinators, or do they attribute it to growing pains by two men in their first seasons at their jobs? Nobody knows.

With the Glazers, nobody ever knows. Their offices should be inside giant Rubik's Cubes, and their business cards should be pieces of jigsaw puzzles. There are no clues. There are no codes.

Want to know how hard the Glazers are to read? Consider the case of Gruden, a former Bucs coach. In 2007, he finished 9-7 … and it was good enough for a contract extension. In 2008, he finished 9-7 … and it was bad enough to get him fired. Now, you can spend most of a day arguing either decision but not the degree of secrecy involved.

Do the Glazers regret that firing now? No one knows.

How much of this disappointment do they think is because of the lack of talent, and how much of that is because the previous regime didn't do a good enough job with drafting or development? No one knows.

Do they view the Bucs' play over the past month as improvement, and, if so, is it enough? No one knows.

Let's face it. At this point, the Glazers probably don't have the final answers themselves. For instance, this time last year, the Bucs were 9-3 as they headed into December, and Gruden's job seemed fairly safe. Then the last month was spent falling off a cliff — with four straight losses that were worse than any four-game stretch in team history — and the Glazers made a change.

Will they do it again? The gut feeling is no, that for all of the angst, Morris and Dominik are safe for a second season.

Look, when the Glazers hired Morris at age 32, they had to know it would take some time for him to grow into the job. What did you expect — Bill Belichick in a can? Microwavable Mike Tomlin?

And when they purged most of their veterans, they had to figure it would affect the won-loss record. It's doubtful anyone envisioned 1-10, but no one should have been thinking about playoff tickets, either. In other words, Morris deserves a better chance than this.

Remember this: The Glazers fired Tony Dungy, but not when he went 6-10. They fired Gruden, but not when he went 4-12. Historically, they seem to be more patient in losing seasons than in those seasons when the franchise feels like it is stuck in a rut.

"I don't like 4-12 seasons," Joel Glazer said after the 2006 season. "But I'm willing to endure a 4-12 season if it means we have a chance to get to the top of the hill."

Even now, that's a telling quote. And what it should tell the players, coaches and front office workers is to treat the last five games of the season as if they are an audition for next year. Show some growth. Win a game or two. Most of all, indicate to the owners that next season won't look anything like this one.

And guess what? The Bucs have a chance to be better. Really, they do. Josh Freeman will have a full offseason, and the Bucs will have a chance to build around him. The Bucs will get three high draft picks, thanks to the second-round pick they got from the Bears for Gaines Adams (if they chose today, it would be three of the top 42). And the schedule is infinitely better next year with games against St. Louis, Seattle, Cleveland and probably Detroit and Washington.

So what are the Glazers thinking? I don't know, either. But my guess would be they are disappointed beyond what they were braced for. My guess is they would like a few things — the firing of two coordinators, for instance — explained to them one more time. My guess is they want to believe this team will get better in a hurry.

Also, a victory or two wouldn't hurt. Since 1990, 19 teams have finished 2-14 or worse, and 15 of those have fired their coaches. (If you research further, there are success stories. Pittsburgh's Chuck Noll and Dallas' Jimmy Johnson each won one game their first seasons, and Bill Walsh won only two.)

Ah, but when the Glazers look at Morris, do they see Noll or Rich Kotite? Do they see Johnson or Rod Rust? Do they see Walsh or Leeman Bennett?

At this point, nobody knows.

At least, no one who is talking.

What do Glazers think of Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season? Well, it's anyone's guess 12/05/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 6, 2009 12:20pm]
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