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Glazers sign off on Bucs drafting Winston or Mariota

Joel Glazer said he trusts Bucs coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Light to make decisions.
Joel Glazer said he trusts Bucs coach Lovie Smith and GM Jason Light to make decisions.
Published Mar. 25, 2015

PHOENIX — They're okay with Jameis Winston's past. They're confident Marcus Mariota has a bright future.

The Glazer family, which owns the Bucs, has signed off on both quarterbacks who are waiting for a coronation as the team's No. 1 overall pick.

Despite a 2-14 record in the first season under coach Lovie Smith and general manager Jason Licht, co-chairman Joel Glazer has not lost faith in either man to make "one of the most important decisions'' in franchise history.

All that said, they had better not mess this one up.

"Absolutely, this is critical, one of the most important decisions we may make in a long time," Glazer said Tuesday at the NFL owners meeting. "But fundamentally, we believe in letting Lovie and Jason do all their ground work, and their staffs, come to their conclusions, discuss it with us, talk about their reasoning and as long as it makes sense, we're supportive. But at the end of the day, whatever decision we make, I see us all being on the same page, agreeing and moving forward.

"No question, having the first pick in the draft is a huge decision for the organization and a huge opportunity for the Buccaneers … doing everything we can to get that choice right is going to be critical."

For 15 minutes Tuesday, Glazer gave his annual state of the Bucs address during an interview with the Tampa Bay Times.

From the despair of 2-14 in 2014 to the hope and hype of a No. 1 overall choice, Glazer gave his take on expectations for this season and the need for improvements to Raymond James Stadium to attract a Super Bowl. He also explained the role the family will have in selecting the face of the franchise.

What led to the 2-14 season?

Obviously, last year was disappointing. It's not the type of season you ever want to repeat again. When you look back, you can try to point to a lot of different factors, but the bottom line is we were 2-14. You know, there was a little adversity with the offensive coordinator's position (which) was difficult, no question about it. And when you look back, there were a lot of games that were actually pretty close that didn't go our way. But it's in the past. Our goal is to never be there again and that's what we're focused on. We have great confidence in Lovie and Jason.

Do you still have faith in Smith and Licht as decision-makers?

We look at everything as live and learn. So if there was an experience that happened and certain things didn't work out, to us it's more important to look into why it didn't work out and make sure we don't repeat the errors of the past. That's an area where I've spent a lot of time with Lovie and Jason and there is no doubt, they're two people who would, A, admit a mistake if there was a mistake and move on rather than dig a deeper hole. And B, work to find out why this thing happened and correct it going forward.

You've met Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Are you comfortable with Jameis' background and can one of these players be the face of your franchise?

With anybody we're looking to draft, we do an extensive amount of work on their background, history and all that. We spent time with Jameis and Marcus and went into everything into their background. After everything we've done and where we're at right now, we're comfortable where Jameis is at, we're comfortable with Marcus or whoever else it could be.

After Jason and Lovie present their recommendation, what happens next?

At the end of the day, whatever decision we make, I see us all being on the same page, agreeing and moving forward.

What are your realistic goals for 2015 from a won/loss standpoint?

Ultimately, you want to build a sustainable, winning franchise. So if we don't get as far as we want the first year, but it becomes sustainable and we're competitive every year competing for playoffs, we'll happily be more patient to get to that point.

Any upgrades at RJS you can announce?

There will be nothing major this year. I think the next step will be a more major approach with the entire stadium to bring it up to a first-class status that can compete for any big events in the NFL, Super Bowls and such. I think when the other owners look at presentations and where to hold the marquee events, they want stadiums up to date.

Contact Rick Stroud at rstroud@tampabay.com and listen from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-AM 620. View his blog at tampabay.com/blogs/bucs. Follow @NFLStroud.