Exit Of “Bust” Ward Not To Be Celebrated

September 1st, 2010

So yesterday the Bucs bid goodbye to Thursday-talking-only, Kardashian-chasing, baseball-hating Derrick Ward.

Joe is inclined to pat Mark Dominik and Team Glazer on the back. They recognized a mistake and decided to wipe the slate clean, not concerned over the now lost investment in Ward.

Tampa Tribune humorist Martin Fennelly believes this move is not something to be lauded. Fennelly seems to infer mistakes should not be made, rather than applauding the clean up job of a mistake.

He came, he saw, he sulked. Now Derrick Ward is a memory, as if he ever made any here. He turned 30 on Monday and unemployed on Tuesday.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik, who brought Ward here, cut him loose before the second year of a $17 million contract. Good move. When a guy coming off a lousy season reports to camp out of shape, when he is down to guaranteeing to media that he’ll have a big game … in a preseason tilt with Kansas City … it’s time to go.
The Bucs cut the cord. But, please, no standing ovations for the brain trust. That the cord needed to be cut sort of explains why the Bucs coaches and brass can’t bump chests over Cincinnati releasing receiver Antonio Bryant, just as the Bucs released him.

Bucs coach Raheem Morris and GM Mark Dominik, who brought Ward here, cut him loose before the second year of a $17 million contract. Good move. When a guy coming off a lousy season reports to camp out of shape, when he is down to guaranteeing to media that he’ll have a big game … in a preseason tilt with Kansas City … it’s time to go.

The Bucs cut the cord. But, please, no standing ovations for the brain trust. That the cord needed to be cut sort of explains why the Bucs coaches and brass can’t bump chests over Cincinnati releasing receiver Antonio Bryant, just as the Bucs released him.

Later in the column, Fennelly describes Ward as a “bust” and claimed he only talked on Thursdays.

Look, Dominik will be the first person to admit mistakes were made last year. If pressed, he may also admit he’s not one to let a mistake wallow on the roster and let pride and ego get in the way, hence the firings of former coordinators Jeff Jagodzinski and heinous Jim Bates Experiment.

This move is more reinforcement from what Joe has been writing for months: The Bucs running backs are mediocre.

26 Responses to “Exit Of “Bust” Ward Not To Be Celebrated”

  1. Gary Says:

    You cant expect every decision to be the best. The AB decision was positive and signing Ward turned out to be a negative. It was still the right move to make at that time when we needed insurance for Caddy.

    Our backs are not mediocre, its the O-line that worries me. They are not opening the holes they should.

  2. Joe Says:

    Gary:

    Our backs are not mediocre, its the O-line that worries me. They are not opening the holes they should.

    Joe doesn’t totally agree but let’s say your premise is accurate…

    The other night on the NFL Network Joe heard Marshall Faulk talk about the run game and he said something that really struck a chord with Joe.

    “A good running back can overcome a bad offensive line.”

    Then Faulk demonstrated using highlights of C.J. Spiller with the Bills avoiding tackles in the backfield.

    Food for thought.

  3. Dave Says:

    I see it as a good thing because it is a young staff (Raheem and Mark D). There are going to be mistakes and I think it is good that are man enough to admit them and move on….save for Clayton.

    They messed up the Coordinator hires and had more guts than any other coach and GM in the league by admitting it and firing both in and before the season.

    I agree that HOPEFULLY mistakes should not be made, but that is ridiculous to think there won’t be any, especially with such a young front office.

    As for a player like Ward, it is very easy to make a mistake on free agent signings. Every single coach and GM do it every year. That is no big deal to me.

    I do not take it as the Bucs RBs being mediocre. I think Ward is the mediocre one. I truly believe Caddy is set for a big year as this is his first truly healthy year in 3 years. He should be as explosive as he ever was. Hopefully they use Graham more this year and Huggins gets some touches for his playmaking ability in space.

    None of this means they won’t need to draft an RB next year, but if Huggins and either Smith or Brown show something to them then the RB draft pick will more than likely be a 3rd to 4th rounder which saves the first two rounds for DE then MLB.

  4. Tampa2 Says:

    If Dominick not one to let a mistake wallow on the roster and let pride and ego get in the way, then explain Michael Clayton! he is a much better example and he will be on the roster opening day!

  5. Radio Mushmouth Says:

    Can you really call something a mistake , when the someone (Dumbinik ) has no clue what they are doing??

    It would be like taking candy from a baby and then saying, ” The baby made a mistake of not keeping and eating that candy. ”

    Dumbinik is so ignorant and naive that calling out his mistakes seems like bad taste to me. He can not help his stupidity.

  6. sensiblefan Says:

    @ Dave

    “As for a player like Ward, it is very easy to make a mistake on free agent signings. Every single coach and GM do it every year. That is no big deal to me.”

    This is the absolute truth. Ward was the #1 RB in free agency a few years ago and he didn’t pan out. Why? It’s difficult to find young impactful free agents that 1) fit your scheme and team philosophy and 2) have the fortitude of character to remain hungry after the contract.

  7. Rob Says:

    all of you idiots who criticize Dominic forget that he wasn’t the one who spent a #2 on a kick returner who was afraid of being tackled, cornerbacks who couldn’t cover (Zemaitis, et al), or DL that couldn’t rush (Adams, RIP). How many draft picks are left from the Allen era???? The experienced Allen? Wasn’t he the same guy that signed Cato June, Luke Petigout, that old RB I can’t remember off the top of my head, and numerous other busts? Wasn’t it Allen that wouldn’t admit mistakes and kept them on the roster for years? Didn’t Saint McKay cut Russ Hochstein who wasn’t good enough for the Bucs as a backup but started in the Super Bowl for the Patriots that same year? Didn’t he also sign a ton of FAs that didn’t work out?

    Yet- look at the draft last year and this– while it’s still too early to tell, they really look promising.

    All GMs make mistakes. Every one. Shut up and let them play before you start attacking the man personally with childish name calling. If you want to pick on him go after his decisions but only relative to other GMs. Give them at least this year and next. The guy’s not an idiot, at least not any more so than Accorsi, Mangini, Pioli, Belichik, et al. On that note- how did that Belichik thing work out for Cleveland? Was he an idiot then suddenly got really smart??????

  8. javier n Wimauma Says:

    According to Rob you all have NO RIGHT to judge.

  9. Rob Says:

    no, javier, just that you don’t engage in personal attacks and name calling… that’s juvenile– and that if you criticize you understand that mistakes are made by all GMs— even the ones we turn into saints. It just looks utterly ridiculous when I read this crap. I really enjoy Joe’s articles, and his criticisms are backed up with supporting facts. While I enjoyed him referring to players by unflattering nicknames, I REALLY respect him for discontinuing that. We commenters should do the same. I mean- come on– Dumbinik? Where are we, first grade? First, the guy is not stupid. If Mushmouth or any one of us posters can do a better job, then submit a resume to any one of the 32 teams in the NFL, or the UFL, AFL, or CFL for that matter.

    We all have a right to speak our mind about the team.. granted.. but keep it civil, mature, and -if we post- we have a right to be spoken about.

  10. jesse j Says:

    Rob, i like your style…

  11. k_bassuka Says:

    @ Joe

    Faulk said a “good” HB, since Ward is not, I’m glad we got rid of the bad apples ASAP. The team is too young to have them around specially when they only play when they feel like it.

  12. oar Says:

    Rob, One of the idiots that critizes Domnik here.
    “Shut up and let them play before you start attacking the man personally with childish name calling.” Um didn’t we let Ward play last year and this? Ward is what this particular post is about. Since he did play and his production SUCKED then I can say, Dumbnik made a mistake with Ward! I always wondered why a 7th round, career back-up RB, could get a big payday and be a starter?!
    BTW you do realize this is a SPORTS blog right? This isn’t an etiqutte blog or a church blog. Relax, humor is a good thing!
    If you find that someone’s posts annoy you, then I suggust you DONT READ THEM. Their post name/moniker is right there first. It makes it easy to go right over the ones you dont like or could care less reading. Try it it. It works, I know!

  13. JimBuc Says:

    Interesting stuff. Of course Ward was a mistake. But, he was also the #1 RB free agent available when he signed, right? probbaly cannot come up with a better choice even with 100% hindsight, but try to do the real thing, try to name a free agent RB that Dom should have taken over Ward? Maybe there is someone else? Not sure really.

    In any event, curious how Eric and all the “win now” crowd feel about the Ward debacle? Ward is the classic exmaple that the Gru/Allen approach is high risk. Ward was the #1 free agent RB. The Bucs paid him a lot — to hopefully “win now” —and Ward went from “player” to “playa,” to borrow an expression from Gruden.

    I am guessing that even with the Ward debacle, there are many here that would still want the Bucs to buy, each year, the top free agent at any position of need. Strange, given the Ward lesson (and many others). I am guessing that the RB the Bucs draft next year will have a much better impact on the Bucs than Ward and certainly for a longer period of time.

    Joe, I know where you can pick up a Lamborghini cheap.

  14. eric Says:

    Mr. Dominik is the GM of the bucs.

    Like Bruce he is judged by the decisions he makes. Ward and Clayton are very poor decisions.

    Bruce made some bad ones also, but also some good ones if you are fair minded enough to recognize them.

    But, the bottom line is the field tells the ultimate story and it has spoken to verify two huge mistakes by Dom.

    You can’t criticize the hell out of Allen and Gruden and then give Dom a pass whe he makes errors. Goes with the territory.

  15. eric Says:

    Jimbuc,

    In the last three/four years when did Gruden bring in any high priced FA’s?

    Are you referring to Jeff Faine? I know they made him the highest paid center. Good pick up I think.

    Who are you talking about? If anything, Gruden brought in scrap heap FA’s often at league minimum, but who played pretty well. (like AB, Hilliard, etc.)

    My argument has been the reluctance to engage RFA like BM, or Boldin, or Santonio Holmes.

    Id like to have AB lining up next Sunday rather than Benn on the bench.

    And, he is not “win now” as he is only 26.

  16. Rob Says:

    again, OAR,- yes, you can say Dominic made a mistake with Ward. Nobody’s questioning that. Yes, I know it’s a sports blog. No I don’t expect perfect grammar, behavior, and I do appreciate humor. Sabby the Goat was hysterical- and apt. Dumbnic is something my son would have come up with in first grade.

    What I’m saying is that everyone is way too quick to bash Dominic because of his perceived lack of experience. My whole point was Allen was experienced and still made mistakes. Signing FAs is a risk — just ask the NY Jets and Washington fans. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. No way to tell. I remember Alvin Harper, too– just like I remember Hardy Nickerson.

  17. oar Says:

    JimBuc, “try to do the real thing, try to name a free agent RB that Dom should have taken over Ward? Maybe there is someone else? Not sure really.” Wow, you are not even sure if there was another or not, but you’re defending Dom and that signing. Now do you understand why some call you an apologist?

  18. oar Says:

    Rob, Exactly! Then, why do you have a problem with THIS particular post? Makes no sense. FA signing that was allowed to show what they got, but did not pan out.
    Now Dom has made some bad ones from Clayton to Leftwich to Ward to Crowell to Mike Nugent. Kellan Win-slow Jr is the only good one so far. Maybe his track record needs to be better?

  19. Rob Says:

    my problem is with the name calling and ripping Dominic because of his perceived lack of experience.

    And I don’t think Clayton’s extension was a bad business move– give the guy one chance with the support of mgt to boost his confidence; he was a home-grown guy who would get another chance elsewhere at a time when our WR staff was really thin- neither was Leftwich.. I’d much rather have him as backup than JJ. I saw him at a few camp practices and he looked awful.

    Nugent? Bomb. Crowell? Hurt. I think his drafting, though, is going to redeem his reputation but we won’t know for a while.

  20. oar Says:

    Rob, There you go, so you don’t like the name calling. Good for you. Me, I don’t mind it. Hopefully his drafting will pan out, but like you said it will be a while before we know. Ah Clayton, another one that was allowed to show what he’s got and didn’t show ANYTHING AGAIN!
    BTW Sorry about you wanting Lefty over JJ. I guess Domnik noticed his mistake in Lefty, cause he released him and kept JJ. Atleast you aren’t agreeing with and always defending him? Oh wait, or are you? LOL!

  21. JimBuc Says:

    oar — you misundersatnd. I was saying that there was NOT a higher rated RB free agent when Dom took Ward. Can you name one? How about it hindsight, can you name someone that turned out better? If a team need a RB and they decide to go the FA way and they take the best FA available, how can that be a mistake? It can not work out as intended, but hard to classify it as a mistake in judgment.

    By the way, why would you call me an “apologist,” even with my diescritpion above I say Ward was a mistake, but the mistake is in taking the “win now” approach. My comment were not as much about Dom and his mistake as about the perils of short-term thinking. If you look at Dom’s brief tenure, 2009 is not consistent with the current strategy. It’s like Dom came into the job with a “win now” outlook, but then got burned

  22. JimBuc Says:

    Eric — a freee agent is “win now” because you have to spend huge money with no guarantee. You are, by deinition, paying for past performance. A high priced FA costs picks and big money. Huge upside, but that also means big downside, as per Ward. In 2009, Ward was the RB equivalent of the guys you mention. They may all work out, but then again they may not. Lot less exposure and more control by drafting

    I did not say that Gru/Allen got high priced FA, I said that they had the same “win now” philosophy that burned Dom in 2009

  23. eric Says:

    JImbuc,

    And rookies are a guarantee? They have a big downside.

    Gaines Adams, for example.

    Wasn’t K-2 an excellent pick up? I mean surely uou have to judge a GM by FA performance and not just draft performance, right?

  24. JimBuc Says:

    rookies are not guaranteed but they have way more upside and less downside. teams might ocassionally have one high pick like adams but the majority are given reasonable contracts that a good player will outperform

  25. oar Says:

    JimBuc, No, I didnt misunderstand! You yourself said “Maybe there is someone else? Not sure really.” So you even don’t know the answer, but you’re giving props to Domink. Cause, Ward might have been? That’s an apologist for the decision at the time! Sure, in hindsight you change your mind/stance on the choice, that’s easy.

  26. oar Says:

    JimBuc,
    “In 2009, Ward was the RB equivalent of the guys you mention.” Really? Ward was a 7th roundpick, career 2nd string back-up on a team with a great o-line and got tired defenses to run against. Said it back then and still say it…He was, to me, highly overrated. Especially, to be given starter money!

 
 

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