May 4, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano talk during rookie mini camp at One Buc. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last changed their regime in 2009, it was clear to everyone involved that they were entering a rebuilding year. They jettisoned a number of key veteran players, declared that they were building through the draft and talked about building a lasting contender - in time. There were some half-hearted attempts to win early, as no one wants to lose games, but the signing of Byron Leftwich and the trade for Kellen Winslow were more or less the extent of the "win-now" efforts of the 2009 Bucs. Unsurprisingly, that team won just 3 games as they started a plan to win more games over the next years.
So when the Bucs went through another regime change in 2012, perhaps some expected more of that approach. Overhaul the roster, build for the future, win in time. And while new head coach Greg Schiano has on occasion hinted at building a lasting contender and the difficulty of building a winner, it is clear that this team wants to win - and they want to win right now.
That simple fact should be obvious to anyone watching the Buccaneers this offseason. The Bucs have been extremely aggressive this offseason - arguably more aggressive than at any point since they won the Super Bowl in 2003. They signed two premium free agents in left guard Carl Nicks and wide receiver Vincent Jackson, and added a quality second-tier cornerback in Eric Wright. They shored up depth at multiple positions in free agency, signing backup quarterback Dan Orlovsky, backup wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, backup tackle Jamon Meredith, backup defensive tackle Gary Gibson and tight end Dallas Clark. The Bucs then added three potential three-down starters early in the draft to top it all off.
That's not the slow building of a 'perennial contender' we saw under Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik. It's the swift overhaul of a roster to be able to compete early and often. In that sense, this regime change is more reminiscent of the move from Tony Dungy to Jon Gruden than the move from Sam Wyche to Dungy.
But this kind of mentality brings with it a different set of expectations. Whereas you could hardly fault Dungy or Morris for failing to win many games in their first years of head coaches given the quality of their rosters, you can't say the same for Greg Schiano. The Bucs want to win now, and that means that anything other than a winning record must be considered a failure in 2012. Can the Bucs deliver on those expectations?