All the relentless MD bashing is really pretty petty in my book, but as I can't keep up with all the comments I'm making this forum to ease my conscience. So let's see. First of all I will certainly admit that MD made plenty of mistakes and had various decisions that didn't work out. But no one hits on every decision so I don’t think that means anything. Maybe my view is colored by all the years with Bruce Allen. Compared to Allen, MDs win percentage (in terms of successful decisions) is through the roof.
On the other hand there no question what so ever that the team is in better shape now than it was when MD took over. There's no question that in terms of cap and a core of young talent that the roster hasn't looked this good since...when? 1998?
So let’s take a look at the arguments. The Revis trade looks terrible considering the way things are working out over the last few days. The team never did very well while he was GM. He let Bennett go, he tried to sign Haynesworth, he traded a 2nd round pick for Winslow, various draft picks didn't pan out (Benn and Price in particular), and his signature move of drafting Josh Freeman has gone down in flames. He never built enough depth. He didn’t draft any O Linemen. He said he was going to build through the draft then went on several spending sprees on expensive Free Agents, many of whom didn’t work out. Feel free to add additional arguments.
Now let’s look at the other side: Most of us agree that MD was promoted into an impossible situation. He had to contend with the Glazers’ limitations, which he did without ever turning on them or anyone else. The Glazers never let him hire his own coach. They promoted a cheap option from within, and then brought in an overcorrection candidate who was a disaster. Then MD was cut loose.
Let’s not forget that the MD years were a product of the Economic Collapse, so let's recap for the 100th time: The Economic Collapse of 2008 had a hugely detrimental effect on the already heavily leveraged (Manchester United) Glazers. The Glazers' wealth is based on real estate and the collapse of the real estate market put them in severe financial straits the full extent of which we probably don't even begin to realize. In retrospect I think the Glazers would have held onto Gruden if they had to do it over again. The credit crunch and Gruden's guaranteed salary left the team in "spend as little as possible mode". The roster purge went to bloodbath mode and we were left with what? Let's count the even reasonably Ok players on the 2009 team. Talib and Ronde (Trouble maker and old man) Joseph, Penn, and Zuttah (decent O Line options one of whom Domenic discovered and signed), Gaines Adams? Stylz White? Over the hill Hovan, Graham, Bryant…
So that's 3 O Linemen and 2 pretty good corners. No QB, no skills players, no defense (let’s go one further and say Worst Defense of All Time) and the Glazers won't let him spend. He unloaded Gaines Adams for 2nd round pick and in that first draft moved up for Freeman and took a few D Linemen to plug glaring holes. Then he got some value in Stroughter and Biggers. 2009 season was a Bloodbath as expected. But Freeman gave us reason to hope. 2010 was our bright spot year highlighted by MD using the double/double down maneuver to fill empty position groups. Two DTs and Two WRs. In each case one worked out really well and one was a bust (though the busts were both related to injuries). I call that a creative and successful strategy for rebuilding a roster that is currently devoid of talent. Sure Myron was a bad miss but there was further value with Cody Grim, Eric Lorig and Dakota Watson (best wishes to Dakota).
2011 we doubled down again on DEs. It’s still too soon to tell about them for sure but both have shown their talent and when healthy Clayborn has looked really scary at times. Remember in 2010, with McCoy out for the season our D got steam rolled by everyone’s running game? Especially down the stretch. People now feel like Clayborn was the wrong pick, but he brought a physical, power presence to our line which we sorely needed. Bowers was a risky/value pick and we’ll see how he plays with a real coach. Again, one has been productive and one hasn’t. Foster was good value and Stocker was a clear miss.
In 2012 (when the DOW was returning to pre-2008 levels) we finally spent some money on primo free agents. Jackson has been terrific and Nicks has been hurt. Turf toe and MRSA? I don’t see how you blame that on MD. Nicks is clearly a quality player when healthy and those weren’t preexisting injuries. The 2012 draft was a piece of brilliance. We had no corners or safeties so everyone expected us to double down on corners starting with Claiborne. MD zigged instead of zagged and traded back, took the top safety and used the extra pick as ammo to trade back up for Martin and David. A safety and maybe the best coverage linebacker in the NFL helped address our secondary and no one saw it coming.
And in his final draft MD gave us Banks, Glennon (who is admittedly Schiano’s boy), a reasonable value starter for Schiano’s scheme in Spence, value in Gholston, a creative shot with Means, and more value with Mike James.
He gave away our 1st round pick for Revis and gave Mr. Island the kind of contract the guarenteed he would never hold out on us. He also paid an additional premium to ensure that we didn’t have to give him a signing bonus and could unload him at anytime (RevInsurance). This is the big issue people are having right now but it’s not MDs fault the Schiano’s defense didn’t use in Revis in a reasonable way. It was a need position, we had the cap, and he brought in the best in the game.
So in conclusion I just want to ask my fellow Bucs Fans to the Ease the F Up on Mark Dominik. He put together the first healthy talent and cap roster we’ve had in at least 12 years and that has given us the draw to bring in a guy like Lovie and set him up to succeed. Licht’s spending spree is based on MD’s roster management and discipline over the last 5 years. Thank you.