Enjoy the playoffs while you can, who knows when we will see meaningful football after the Super Bowl. The lockout has been discussed from just about every angle possible and how it could affect both players, owners, fans, and the sport in general. We know the fallout and we're all dreading the thought of a lockout/strike and watching reruns of Saved By The Bell (or any other show that you might watch that is in syndication).
But while most of the league is watching the playoffs and wondering who will be crowned Super Bowl Champions for 2011 (sidenote, I always thought it should be Super Bowl Champs 2010, the season they just finished), the Glazers and the Bucs are getting down to business. Coming off of a successful season that ended within sniffing distance of the playoffs, rather than rest on their laurels, they've been active in the coaching markets.
Unfortunately, RIch Bisaccia is leaving us for the San Diego Chargers (enjoy the 1-4 start next year) which leaves us with huge hole to fill as Special Teams Coach. Dwayne Stukes will take over, but those are some big shoes to fill. But the good news is, the head coach, general manager, and defensive coach are all sticking around for the foreseeable future. The Glazers picked up Raheem Morris' option, keeping the 2010 (or is it 2011) Coach of the Year candidate around. I've heard some back and forth on this, but I am 100% behind this move. Whether you think he is the answer or not, the option was cheap and this gives him a chance to prove his mettle against a more difficult schedule. If he isn't worth it, it's not expensive to let him go. If he's the real deal, he's signed for cheap and we save money on the defensive coordinator. For the record, I think he's here for awhile.
Next is Mark Dominik, the architect of a successful 2010 draft and lead author in the 3-13 to 10-6 turnaround. His one year deal gives the Glazers a chance to work towards a long term deal, one that he has earned. He's taken a scrappy, young, pretty much-devoid-of-talent team and turned them into a team that competes every week. And he's done it with very little veteran leadership.
And now, we're going after Karl Dunbar, the Vikings defensive line coach. Sure they had a down year this year, but I choose to see the monster year that Jared Allen, the Williams Wall and Ray Edwards had in 2009. Lets hope he brings that magic to us, assuming he gets hired.
So the coaching search is all but over for the Bucs, leaving the Glazers plenty of time to evaluate the free agent market pricing and discuss strategies with Dominik and company. With the foundation in place and leadership pointing us the right way, it should be a fun offseason.