Greg Schiano never lost the locker room, but he lost his job. Both Schiano and Bucs general manager Mark Dominik were fired today as the Glazers clean out the front office.
Schiano's firing is a bit of a surprise, because of three factors:
If you are looking for reasons Schiano was fired, it took more than just an 0-8 start. Empty seats were a big factor; Buccaneer fans never seemed to buy into Schiano's style.
The former Rutgers coach had the loyalty of his players, but not the loyalty of Buccaneer fans. And because of that, the team took a big hit in ticket sales.
You have to give the Glazers credit for stepping up and buying up tickets, guaranteeing no TV blackouts. They did that to create a buzz in the community, a way for the fans to follow the team and build a bond with the players -- it never happened.
Schiano only won a total of 11 games in two years. He was brought in to change the Club Med culture that seemed to exist under Raheem Morris, and the Bucs cleaned out some problem players -- Aqib Talib, Tannard Jackson, Kellen Winslow.
But tough rules don't create instant respect, and it's not discipline that drives players -- it's wins that motivate a team and Schiano and his staff couldn't create enough of those.
Mark Dominik, to me, was always a surprise choice for general manager when he got the job in 2009. He spent his entire career with the Bucs working his way up the ladder. But his draft picks were simply not good -- plus the GM is also tagged with the coaches he hired and Dominik was the man who brought in Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano.
But it was the way he worked the draft that spelled the end of his career as a GM. His player moves and draft picks are littered along his career timeline. Hired in 2009, he brought in Kellen Winslow , signed off on the drafting of Josh Freeman. There isn't one draft pick on this team right now from that 2009 draft.
In 2010, names like Brian Price (a medical question mark when he was drafted, never panned out), Arrelious Benn, Cody Grimm, and Myron Lewis were all Dominik draft picks.
In 2011, the misfires continued with Bowers, Stocker, Ahmad Black, etc.
The team under Dominik the last five years has won only 28 games -- hasn't won over the Bucs fans in the last five years, and the moves certainly aren't selling seats.
So the search is on. Earlier this fall I tweeted the hot rumor that Lovie Smith had sat down with the Glazers and talked about the position. He would be my top choice.
I don't want to see another college coach trying to make an NFL transition. Smith worked for the Bucs as part of Tony Dungy's staff; he's known as a very strong organizational guy and had a great run with Chicago. I think the perfect combination would be Smith as head coach and Tony Dungy as team president, and they bring in a cap expert.
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