Blame for Bucs mess starts with Glazers

Published Dec. 31, 2013


Can we fire the owners, too? After five years of paddling around the shallow end of the NFL pool and pretty much drowning, general manager Mark Dominik had to go. That was a no-brainer. After two years of mediocrity and controversy, coach Greg Schiano had to go. In the end, that, too, was an easy call. But there's no reason to think Monday's firings are the darkness before dawn.

For all we know, this darkness is the approach of more stormy weather.

That's because it's impossible to trust an ownership group that doesn't know football and apparently doesn't know anyone who knows football.

If you really want to get to the heart of why the Bucs have turned into a swamp of little hope, start with the Glazers.

This is now two straight coaching hires they've completely bungled.

They hired Raheem Morris because they were too cheap to hire anyone else at the time.

Then they hired college guy Schiano because Chip Kelly turned them down. And Kelly turned them down because he took a second look at the pitiful roster assembled by Dominik — another cheap swing-and-miss Glazer hire — and determined he could not win in Tampa Bay.

So what makes you think the Glazers are going to get the next hire right?

Hey, maybe the Bucs could get Jon Gruden to be their next coach. Yeah, that would be awesome! He's everyone's dream candidate.

Oh wait, the Glazers already loused that up by firing him.

Here's the perfect choice: Tony Dungy. He's the most respected man in football. Who wouldn't want him?

Oh yeah, the Glazers burned that bridge, too.

Ain't this a kick in the head: Two of the best candidates out there just happen to live in Tampa Bay and also just happen to be the only two people on planet Earth who would refuse to coach again for the Glazers.

Meantime, the past two coaches the Bucs have hired would have trouble getting an interview, let alone becoming an NFL head coach again.

That says an awful lot about the Glazers' decision-making. It just seems that if there's a way to botch these things, the Glazers figure out a way to do it.

So what do the Glazers do now? How do they fix this mess?

First, call Dungy and beg him for a meeting. Not to talk to him about being the next coach, but to ask for his advice and guidance. Ask former Bucs GM/now Falcons CEO Rich McKay if he wants to come back to Tampa Bay..

Then transfer money from the Manchester United bank account into the Bucs' account because this should not be cheap.

If you're an NFL team, there are two things you can't skimp on: a head coach and a quarterback.

Open up the checkbook and bring in someone who knows what he is doing.

Try to get Bill Belichick. I'm not kidding. Offer the Patriots a pile of draft picks. Offer Belichick the world. Offer him more money than he can count. Give him crazy money, like $100 million over 10 years. Give him stock options. Offer to let him be coach, GM, president, king and any other title he wants. Let him park his paid-for Maserati on the sideline during games.

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Other than quarterback, there is no more important position on the team than head coach. It's so important that the Bucs have a history of paying guys not to coach in order to bring in someone new.

So why not do whatever is necessary to get the very best?

What are the chances of getting Belichick? Probably one in a million. But why not try?

And this is the attitude the Glazers should take.

No risks. No outside-the-box gambles. No this-is-crazy hunch.

Go reliable. Get serious.

Forget rah-rah college guys. Forget taking a flier on some coordinator with no real head-coaching track record.

Go after a proven commodity.

The Bucs have reached out to Lovie Smith. Smart move. Give him a long look. He cut his teeth professionally coaching here in Tampa Bay and took the Bears to a Super Bowl.

Make a run at Bill O'Brien. He turned around Penn State but isn't just a college guy. He has extensive and successful NFL experience, having worked with quarterback Tom Brady and under Belichick in New England.

Make a call to Ken Whisenhunt. He knows offense and took the Cardinals to a Super Bowl.

Bill Cowher? Sure, why not?

Any of them would bring this franchise instant credibility. Any of them would walk in the door and have immediate respect among the players. And any of them would excite a fan base that has lost faith.

All are legitimate, proven, reliable NFL coaches. Pay them what you have to. Overpay them if you have to.

There are others, but the Glazers should start with those.

If they had their pick of the litter, it would make more sense to lean toward an offensive mind, but experience is a key here.

Bring in someone who knows what he's doing.

Because goodness knows, the owners don't appear to have a clue.