The other day I decided to test Child 1. Around lunch time, I offered this choice: you can have either grilled chicken, or ice cream. You have a football game today, and the chicken will give you strength for the rest of the afternoon. The ice cream will taste good, but you won’t have any energy for the last game of the season. Child 1 looked me right in the eye and replied, "the Buccaneers need to stop trying to play a two-gap system with Tampa two personnel. Something’s got to give. I’ll have the grilled chicken." A father couldn’t be prouder….I get teary eyed just thinking about his good decision making ability. As prophetic as we are in bucsfandave’s household, we cannot see the future. However, we can learn from the past. So, after the jump, let’s run down the decisions of the Dominik/ Raheem regime, assess our mistakes, applaud our successes, and look to our future.
BAD IDEA JEANS DECISIONS:
BAD IDEA JEANS DECISIONS:
This group of decisions are indefensible. They derive their name from the Saturday Night Live skit that mocked the early 90’s Dockers ads. They featured a group of guys talking to each other with lines like "Normally I wear protection, but I figured hey, when’s the next time I’ll be in Haiti?" You get the idea.
BAD IDEA JEANS DECISION #1: "We have small quick guys, but I figured hey, this Jim Bates guy is cool, and his system worked in 1994 when I was in 8th grade, so I‘ll pick him as my defensive coordinator." This falls along the same lines as accepting a job in the media when you have repeatedly bashed them (I’m looking at you Bobby Knight). This move made no sense from the very beginning. If you plan on making the switch, then the defensive linemen or linebackers for your system need to be in the first draft, even if they are lower round talent. If they match your system, you’ll improve during the year. Another avenue to pursue is other teams’ practice squad players that match your profile. Bad idea.
BAD IDEA JEANS DECISION #2: "We drafted our future quarterback and plan to sit him behind a journeyman veteran, but I figured hey, I love this Leftwich guy, he’s a great leader, let’s have him compete for the journeyman quarterback place holder position and make our franchise quarterback fourth on the depth chart." At the time, I hated this decision, HATED IT! I remember the vocal Bucs fans that repeated the Raheem mantra "Leftwich gives us the best chance to win". I know hindsight is 20/20, but follow me on this. You draft a tall, mobile quarterback to be your franchise guy. Don’t you want to acclimate your line, receivers and backs to a philosophy where the quarterback breaks the pocket and makes plays? Who fits that profile better, McCown or Leftwich? All you did with the Leftwich signing was create a needless quarterback battle. Was either much better than the other? No. But, you wasted a $2.5 million signing bonus and started your season long stretch of waffling. If anything made the fan base question Raheem’s ability to make logical, unbiased decisions, this certainly got the ball rolling in a huge way. Bad idea.
BAD IDEA JEANS DECISION #3: "We installed a new zone blocking scheme and spent the whole offseason implementing this system, but I figured hey, not enough attention to detail, so I’ll just fire the offensive coordinator." Again, I understand that someone can talk themselves up in an interview as more than they are. So the guy didn’t call the plays, so what? You are the head coach, sit down and practice calling the plays, it can’t be that hard: "Byron, let’s run the play where you overthrow the receiver by twenty yards and Raheem complements your leadership skills." Or, go with "Byron, run the play where you wind up to throw, get stripped, tell everyone that’s your style, and Raheem tells everyone you are such a great person." See, I learned that on the fly. At any rate, you promoted to coordinator someone with a new offensive playbook. Bad idea.
I’M DR. GALAZKIEWICZ DECISIONS:
This group of decisions derive their name from the mid 1990’s Bud Light commercials where a passenger deboards a plane, sees the limo sign for Dr. Galaciewits promising Bud Light, and tells the driver "I’m Dr. Gala-ka-cha-wizits." The limo driver asks "YOU’RE Dr. Gal-e-a-wits?" To which the phony emphatically replies "YES I AM!!!" I love this commercial, and these gutsy decisions to which, if asked if he made them Raheem could respond "YES I DID!"
I’M DR. GALAZKIEWICZ DECISION #1: "Did you draft Josh Freeman?" "YES I DID." I’ll admit, I’m a little biased because I changed Child 1’s middle name to JOSHFREEMAN. The paperwork on that is tough, and it required stimulus money, but we got it done. At any rate, Freeman is the real deal. If you have questions, just replay that touchdown pass to Clayton and you’ll have your answers. As his supporting cast improves and the defense develops, he’ll start quarterbacking a winning team. This decision will define the Raheem tenure and negates all other bad decisions. We knew Raheem would go through some on-the-job training (see above section), but nailing this pick is like getting a venereal disease prevention pill just prior to Spring Break- any bad decisions has no lasting effect. YES YOU DID!
I’M DR. GALACIEWITS DECISION #2: "Did you trade for Kellen Winslow?" "YES I DID." Winslow is maturing as both a player and a leader. I personally don’t understand the media’s problem with athletes referring to themselves as "soldiers" or calling a big game "going to war". When they call themselves soldiers, that complements soldiers as members of a team that pull together to accomplish a common goal. Why is that bad? Why do they mock Winslow and then turn around and call Kobe Bryant an "assassin" or talk about a team’s "War Room" during the draft. Double standard much? At any rate, the trade for Winslow was great! YES YOU DID!
So, here we are. Three bad decisions, two great decisions. Let’s get this thing heading in the right direction. Raheem and Dominik have some growing pains, and hopefully they are working out the kinks during a bad 1-15 or 2-14 campaign. Next year, with Ndamakung Suh under contract, we’ll have our building blocks in place for the three defensive levels: Suh on the line, Ruud at linebacker, and Tanard Jackson at safety. If we enter the 2010 campaign with those pieces and Josh Freeman in year two, I like our chances. That’s the thing about the NFL, you can redeem yourself so quickly. As for me, I’m having ice cream for lunch. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. Thanks to all those serving abroad during the holidays.