If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had been any more active in the last few weeks, they may have been given a prescription for Ritalin.
Under new general manager Mark Dominik, the team has made a clean break from the past and is taking a completely different shape.
Some of Dominik’s first personnel moves were to release Buccaneers icons Derrick Brooks and Warrick Dunn. He also said farewell to Jeff Garcia, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard and Cato June, among others.
With new coach Raheem Morris, he set a strategic course that represents a dramatic shift from what the Bucs have been known for. They now are using a zone run-blocking scheme, and they have put the Tampa-2 defense in mothballs under new coordinator Jim Bates.
Dominik has been with Tampa Bay since 1995 when then-Bucs personnel director and current Bears GM Jerry Angelo interviewed and hired him on the same day to be a pro personnel assistant.
“You could tell he was a bright, hard-working guy,” Angelo said. “He works very well with people.”
That Dominik has survived in Tampa Bay through different regimes is testament to that.
“This is all Jerry’s fault,” Dominik joked.
Then he turned serious.
“I learned a lot of things from him,” he said. “The biggest lesson he taught me is to make sure you understand what you are doing and why you are doing it, and don’t make a change just to make a change. Have a reason why and know how you are getting better. If you are frustrated with a player or a situation, just changing it doesn’t necessarily make it better. He was very good about being a logical thinker.”
That being said, Dominik has been very open to change and unafraid to be daring.
During the last two weeks, Dominik has pulled off a blockbuster trade for tight end Kellen Winslow, signed free-agent running back Derrick Ward, kept wide receiver Antonio Bryant by using the franchise tag and re-signed Bucs free-agent wide receiver Michael Clayton.
Oh, he also tried to trade for Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler.
“We want to have players who have had production,” he said. “That was the thought behind franchising Antonio Bryant, bringing back a Michael Clayton, trading for Kellen Winslow, signing Derrick Ward. They all have had 1,000-yard seasons.”
And Dominik is not done. He intends to acquire a QB who can compete with Brian Griese, Luke McCown and Joshua Johnson.
Dominik has taken some grief from fans who were upset to see Brooks and Dunn go.
“We wanted to have an opportunity for some of the younger players to step up,” he said. “We also had a vision of this team getting a little younger.”