Mark Dominik SpeaksNovember 20th, 2013
Tuesday, Bucs rock star general Mark Dominik spoke with popular sports radio and TV personality Adam Schein on “Mad Dog Radio,” heard exclusively on SiriusXM Radio. The conversation was wide-ranging dealing with a myriad of Bucs topics. Joe transcribed every one of the 3,550 words of the conversation for your reading and dancing pleasure.
Adam Schein: Joining us now on the line, friend of the radio program, the general manger of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Mark Dominik. Mark, its Adam Schein and Schein on Sports, how are you?
Mark Dominik: Adam, good, how you doing?
Schein: I am outstanding. By the way, can you get fined for commenting about the officials concerning another team? Can you go on a nice passionate rant about officials? Can you get fined? Will you get a call from Roger Goodell if I ask you about [Monday] night?
Dominik: I don’t know what you are talking about. What happened [Monday] night?
Schein: [guffaws] That’s why I love ya’ Mark, that’s why I love ya.’ Hey, in all seriousness, I mean, congratulations on the Bucs, on the last two weeks after what I have to imagine as difficult of a stretch for you professionally and personally since the beginning of the year.
Dominik: Yeah, it was a very long first half of the season. And frustrating. There were a lot of opportunities in front of us that we didn’t quite close or capitalize on. It’s led to a long season but I have been very proud of the players and the coaching staff. They have persevered hard through some adversity and the changes that have gone on through this organization and watching guys break out and watching guys really stay with the program and stay with the plan. And that’s paid off the past couple of weeks and as we sit around here now, it’s on to Detroit week as we prepare for the big Lions.
Schein: I could give you some names; I’d rather here it from you. Give us some guys who have been under that umbrella who you really are impressed with as far as staying the course and really achieving over the past couple of weeks.
Dominik: Yeah, I think a few of them on the defensive side of the ball to start, I think Lavonte David is a guy, if you haven’t seen our games or haven’t seen him play, to me, he is one of the best linebackers in the National Football League right now. He is making plays in the run game and in the passing game, sacking the quarterback. He has really been just a stellar player. He came off of a great rookie season and has built upon it. Same with a Gerald McCoy who, obviously, had a really great game against Atlanta, notching three sacks and his sack total is the highest it has ever been. He has been playing very hard and very productive for us. Our safeties have been playing at an elite level and Darrelle Revis, right now, has the biggest challenge or one of the biggest challenges you can ever have in the National Football League in Calvin Johnson this weekend. It will be a great matchup in the National Football League. On offense, Adam, I have been really proud of our young rookie quarterback, Mike Glennon, who has just kind of stayed the course and played even and consistent and our offensive line is gelling and playing really well together and that is how the Bobby Raineys and the Mike James – unfortunately with his injury and certainly Doug Martin’s – our guys have really been running the ball well behind a strong offensive line.
Schein: Mark, you said a lot there and I agree with a lot of it. I would like to go piece-by-piece because it is so important. I am with you on Lavonte David. I think he is one of the most superb linebackers in the game. And he obviously had that huge penalty in Week No. 1. I felt so bad for him because I know the effort he puts in. I know what kind of guy he is, what kind of player he is. How does he put that in the rear-view mirror and then have the season that he has put together for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Dominik: Yeah, that is a great question. It is a shame because it happens to one of our best players on our football team overall in Lavonte David. But I think he has that mentality that you have to have in this league where you have to realize you have to move on to the next play and you can’t live in the past in the National Football League. You have to move to the future and Lavonte is a guy, I am sure he regrets that play but at the same time, he has made up for it with a lot of big plays over these 10 games. He has been a big factor in us staying competitive for the past 10 games and getting a couple of wins in a row. As Coach [Greg Schiano] has said and I feel the same way, that’s a guy you want on your football team and are proud that he is on your football team regardless of what happened in the past.
Schein: How would you evaluate Darrelle Revis’ season? Is he 100 percent healthy? Is he the right fit in this defense?
Dominik: Yeah, I think it has been great. It’s one of those things where, you know, if you go back and look at the past few weeks he’s gotten more and more confidence in himself and being 100 percent. You know, it is different for a corner. A lot of people look at Adrian Peterson and just go, “Geez. He came right back.” And that’s one of the things we talked about before we made the trade with our doctors and internally. Just how long does it take a corner to come back from an ACL as opposed to a running back? What is the difference? It’s really hard. Every body, every player responds differently. But Darrelle has done everything he can and I think he is in elite form right now. I think he has done a really good job over the past few weeks. I think he is hitting his stride. The player we traded for is the player we’ve got right now.
Schein: There was some conversation early in the year, is he the right fit for what Coach Schiano, [what] Coach [Bill] Sheridan wants to do on defense? Maybe are they doing things differently? What is your take on the fit for Darrelle Revis in the system that you guys run in Tampa Bay?
Dominik: I think Darrelle is a great fit for what we do. I think him coming here – just last week, he diagnosed Adam, he just sees and feels the game at an elite level. He had one [play] on a wide receiver screen that he read and snuffed out for a tackle and a four-yard loss. He was right there in position to seal the game against the Miami Dolphins on a deep interception where it looked like he was the receiver on the play. So Darrelle is a great fit for us – and just about any defense in the National Football League – but certainly, we are happy to have him here, I can guarantee you of that.
Schein: Mark, I have to say this to you because I said this to you after the draft. And I meant every word of it. And I said this to you after you drafted Mike Glennon. I thought you drafted a guy who was an absolute steal. You know I do a television show with Phil Simms, Rich Gannon, Steve Beuerlein, CBS Sports Network. They thought Mike Glennon was the best quarterback in this draft. They really did. Thought he was going to be a star. My whole take on it was, “Alright. You got your guy. I think Greg Schiano knows what Josh is; what Josh isn’t. “ Do you have regrets about not starting Mike Glennon from Week No. 1?
Dominik: No, there were no regrets here. We went into the season with a plan in place, organizationally. And we stuck to the plan. And performance dictated the change and that is why we made the change. And we are very happy. Sometimes, you know, it’s even good for young quarterbacks to see it from a different perspective for a couple of weeks instead of just jumping out there for Week 1. But that was part of the reason why we started Mike Glennon when we did, Adam. We put him in before the bye so we had time to look at some game film over the bye week and learn from it. But Mike has been a guy, a guy that you probably saw and a guy who we were happy was there in the third round and selected him. He is extremely professional, extremely intelligent worker at the game and he takes pride in it. You are always happy when you even pull in [to One Buc Palace in the morning] and you look to your left and you see Mike Glennon’s car already in the parking stall. …
Schein: Aw, that’s great!
Dominik: … So that is one reason why we are excited. A lot of guys know that position, that guy has to be the hardest-working guy on your football team and Mike Glennon is doing that. It’s good to see him get rewarded because this game is so hard and so fast for your quarterbacks. To see him be consistent week in and week out has really been impressive.
Schein: I believe you have your quarterback of the present and the future. Do you believe you have your quarterback of the present and of the future?
Dominik: I am very happy with what he is doing, I can tell you that. I think the term “franchise quarterback” gets thrown around loosely in the National Football League because it is so hard to evaluate and decided just what is a franchise quarterback and what is not a franchise quarterback and what makes a guy a franchise quarterback. Is it Super Bowl rings? Because I know some great, great quarterbacks who have played through the decades who would disagree with you. I tell you what: With a guy like Mike Glennon, I know he knows what to do and where to go with the football. I know our older veteran players respect him because of how hard he works at it and it’s just good to have him here. I will also say at the same point, it is a long season. There are six big weeks to go and going to Detroit now this week and seeing how he plays on the road and how he bonds, it is important in his building his resume, I guess is the right way to say it. But he has done a great job with the opportunities he has had so far.
Schein: Let’s talk about Coach Schiano and you know that I really like Greg Schiano and I thought that was a great hire. I thought he had a very good first year. I think with Greg, because of his personality, there is always going to be perception and reality. You know, I find it laughable when I hear that players don’t like playing for Greg. Well, you know, if there isn’t a penalty Week 1 against the Jets and you beat the Jets, and you start the season 1-0, maybe there is a different refrain on what the players think about Greg Schiano. You‘ve seen the reports. You are the general manger of the team. Take me through Greg Schiano this season: The good, the bad, and what you might want him to work on. What do you see when you evaluate your head coach?
Dominik: Well, I know the work ethic and the determination are top-notch. The time he has put into this building. How important it is to him. How much he loves coaching, the passion that he has, the passion that he has for coaching the way he coaches on the football field. I think every general manager would be proud with the way he works and prepares the way Coach Schiano does. I will tell you this: It has been a tough season. As we all know, the head coach and the quarterback get most of the blame and the majority of the glory when things go right. The one thing that we have here in Tampa Bay is a guy with tough skin in Coach Schiano. He stayed the course. He believed in his fundamentals and the team has stayed with him. That is the most important thing you can say. Certainly, Coach has made some adjustments from Year One to Year Two. Every coach does that as they get more comfortable in the National Football League or in any situation. But I think our players are playing at a really high level for him. They believe in him and they know he is doing everything under his power for us to get out from under where we were and continue to stay in the win column.
Schein: I think that is a really intelligent and honest answer, Mark. What has he done – and frankly, your opinion matters the most – how has he changed maybe for the better from Year One to Year Two?
Dominik: Oh, I think it is a lot of little things. The one thing that I don’t think people know from outside the organization is how much time he actually spends one-on-one with each one of our players and really has an open-door policy and really develops a relationship with them as a mentor and a head coach; both. I think that is the thing that is hidden and that is why [perception] on the outside had us on the inside scratching our heads saying, “That’s not who he is.” I think our players, because they are around him, have a better feel for who he is and what he is about. And I think that is the one of the main things that people don’t get to see about Coach.
Schein: I think that is a very interesting point. And I also think it goes noted that how the Buccaneers and Coach Schiano – hey, you’ve got billboards saying “Fire the Coach. Team is Winless” – starting with the Seattle game, I think this team, and a short-handed team playing without Doug Martin, has really played hard these last three or four weeks and been able to win some games. That tells me something about Greg Schiano.
Dominik: No, that speaks volumes about not only him but his coaching staff because everybody in the organization feels it and including myself, feels it when you are not winning. But it also speaks volumes to the players in terms of their belief in what is going on and to be able to rally up and play and I think that has been one thing that has been important. Certainly 2-8 is not where we want to be. But the reality is you can get into next week’s game and continue to grow off of what you are. It’s been a tough season. I think we have 13 or 14 guys on injured reserve. We have gone through some guys but at the same point we are all working here together, coaches and front office and that is why we are getting the Bobby Raineys of the world and coaches get the guys prepared to go out there as well as they can, and [Rainey] can have a game like he did [against the Dixie Chicks]. And with Mike Glennon, you spend some time with him and you understand that in the short time he has been a starter in this league from the time he was drafted that the coaches have done a great job with him by putting the time in with him. That’s a good combination between the two, the players and coaches and you are starting to see the results in the win column a little bit.
Schein: From where you sit, what does that mean for you when you see Rainey have the type of day that he put in [against the Dixie Chicks]?
Dominik: Oh, you are proud for him. Here’s a guy that has battled his way to the National Football League and been released and has a Super Bowl ring which is a nice start to your career. Having been around players for so many years and been a part of this organization for 19 seasons, it’s all about the opportunity to play and once you get that opportunity and that chance, what do you do with that opportunity? You get very happy for young players that when the opportunity is sitting right in front of them they take advantage and he did such a good job of it. I think Bobby really showed that not only was he able to take the lanes that were there, but he created and broke tackles and caught the ball well out of the backfield and pass protected. He showed everything you would want to see out of a young running back. He’s going to have a lot of games in front of him, hopefully here to help us and get us to stay in that win column.
Schein: What was your take on the Dashon Goldson suspension?
[Editor’s note: The interview took place just a couple of hours before the Bucs learned Goldson’s appeal was denied by the NFL.]
Dominik: [snickers] That’s like how you started the entire conversation about the New England Patriots and the Carolina Panthers…
Schein: Ah, ha.
Dominik: … event last night so I have no comment other than he can go through the entire appeals process and see what happens. But I believe in Dashon Goldson as a football player and I believe he is known as a heavy hitter but I believe Dashon never goes into a game looking to hurt somebody. He knows he is a safety. He knows he is a last line of defense. This game happens fast. Big hits happen all the time. He was part of one this week with Roddy White. We’ll see what happens.
Schein: Now, do you sit down with him, do the coaches sit down with him because you want him to still be aggressive. Possibly – I can say this if you don’t want to – I don’t think he was suspended for the hit as much as he was suspended for the hit in conjunction with his reputation. Whether that is fair or unfair, I think that is the reality when you look at it from a Goldson perspective. You know, how do you manage that if you are Greg Schiano? Because you want him to be aggressive, but you need him on the field.
Dominik: Well, I think the main thing is, sitting with the player. That’s what the coaches do. What Coach Schiano does, what the defensive coaches do is we continue to talk about aiming points. They continue to stress it. We continue to do tackling circuits everyday. We talk about seeing the ball, hitting the ball. We are talking about heads-up football here. Making sure that we get our head up. Making sure that we don’t have anyone injured not just on our team but the other team. It is very stressed here as an organization in terms of the way to tackle and the way to hit and lowering the aiming point and understanding the rules are in place to protect the players. We have to understand that. We want all of our guys protected just like the other team wants their guys protected. You just have to play within the rules. Dashon has done a good job of lowering his aiming point. But, he does have a history and we understand that. At the end of the day, I am very happy he is part of our football team.
Schein: What are you looking for with Coach Schiano and the Buccaneers the rest of the season, Mark?
Dominik: Well, we take the mantra here Adam that it is one season at a time, one game at a time. Competitiveness is very important but so too is the development. I will continue to watch Mike Glennon and see how he plays. Certainly the defense coming together and the way they are playing. But how are we playing against Detroit is how I am looking at it. Everything is a one game, week-by-week situation here. We have been happy with what has happened the past week but we have moved on to this week and certainly Matt Stafford and the Detroit Lions coming off a tough loss I am sure and having to play in Detroit. It’s a tough place to play. You are going against some of the best in the league at their positions. So, we will be ready to go.
Schein: Mark, we appreciate the time. I know it has been an up and down season at times tumultuous and you answered all the direct questions and we appreciate that and I know the listeners do as well. Have a happy Thanksgiving and we will talk to you real soon.
Dominik: You got it, Adam. Go Bucs.