Questioning “The Plan?”

December 27th, 2011

After firing their first two coordinators, changing their defense and then deciding to shun free agency, the Bucs’ plan for this regime became very straightforward.

In short, the goal was to stay young while building around Josh Freeman and loading up on top-tier draft picks on the defensive line, and all that would happen while the coaching staff grew together, players would gel, leadership would evolve, and time would show what young players could play and dictate what holes to fill via future free agency and drafts.

It sure seemed like the plan — agree with it or not — was on the mark after the Bucs starting winning at the end of 2009, went 10-6 last year, and came out with impressive wins against New Orleans and Atlanta this season en route to a 4-2 record. (Imagine that, 4-2 after no OTAs.)

Then the wheels fell off and players stopped playing hard and clearly tuned out their coaching. But does this mean the plan itself was bad, or just the coaching? Joe has written many times that the failures of the coaching staff far outweigh the problems with the plan and the talent level.

But Bucs beat writer Rick Stroud, of the St. Pete Times, seems to have a different view, so he said on The Dan Sileo Show today.

“When you watch what’s gone on, you realize that the plan was never a great one,” Stroud said.

Joe realizes the plan vs. coaching debate is likely to rage on through the Bucs offseason. But Joe really doesn’t get how one can blame a plan on players quitting on their coaches and a team collectively being unresponsive to its coaching.

As Joe has written numerous times, the essence of coaching is to get the most out of your players regardless of their talent. It’s 100 percent clear that Raheem Morris has not done that.

What’s not clear is that “the plan” — the one since mid-2009 — is bad. Have there been bad decisions? Absolutely. But Joe’s hardly sold on the Bucs’ plan being worth throwing overboard with the coaching staff.

27 Responses to “Questioning “The Plan?””

  1. Meh Says:

    The plan is a failure. Dominik is escaping the fury of the fans only because he is keeping his mouth shut and leaving Morris hung out to dry. They both deserve to be canned. We are on year three of a rebuild, and we are historically bad.

  2. Macabee Says:

    The question now is will a high profile coach buy into it? Or will any coach who has a reasonable chance to make a difference buy into it? How long will an infuriated fan base wait for results. Gary Shelton Believes the next coach is going to need steel-cage determination and a fire retardant suit!

  3. FIRE RAH! Says:

    Im starting to wonder if malcom was the key to real draft success long ago. Seems it was a lot better back then. Just a thought.

  4. Bobby Says:

    This is the same plan being implemented in Pittsburg, New England, and Green Bay. Yeah….it’s a failure….bad idea. It’s only a bad idea if you expect instant success.

  5. Meh Says:

    No, it’s only a bad idea if you are worse at identifying talent than Pit, Ne, and Gb.

  6. Meh Says:

    And this is year three of the rebuild. Year three. That is hardly expecting instant success, and nobody was expecting a super bowl. A wildcard spot or just missing out on the playoffs was the expectation from most people. We didn’t even come close to that.

  7. eric Says:

    Hasnt Dom crowed about he brings in “high character guys” and “team captains”?

    Do high character guys and team captains quit playing for their coach?

    Now if the plan is “build through the draft” and play young players, nothing wrong with that. Provided some vets are brought in the mix. However, the Dominik mentality that all FA’s are “fools gold” and only using FA if there is a “draft mistake” is foolish.

    As a matter of fact all 32 teams participate in the NFL draft every year. The Glazer boys did not invent it. The good teams utilize it in conjunction with other methods of getting talent, with people that know what the hell they are doing. Most even bring in competition and depth!

    Not Mark Dominik. He is way to closed minded to be effective and the team he assembled has been exposed and humiliated.

  8. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    The plan included a cheap, no experience head coach – which is why the plan failed so miserably.

    the plan with a legit coach would have been more successful.

  9. Chiman Says:

    Don’t think it’s DOminik’s draft guys that have quit, but his FAs Black and Jones sure have, along with Trueblood.

    Can’t ever argue with depth, though. Team’s not that far away with good coordinators, another draft and an impact FA on both sides of the ball.

  10. Kevin Says:

    So, after week ~12, when it was pretty clear that a post season berth wasn’t in the cards for 2011, was the plan to start tanking for a better draft position? It’s easier to build through the draft if you’re picking in the top 5. I’ll get out my tinfoil hat now…

  11. Brad Says:

    Totally disagree with you Joe. The plan is the number one reason for this debacle. The players aren’t ready to play and some aren’t talented enough. I think Morris deserves the blame but in no way should Dominiks plan be ignored. He let the veterans go that would have helped. He ignored FA that would have helped. He didn’t do anything to help Freeman out. (Stocker was no help). He signed bad contacts. He also approved the coaching staff that clearly aren’t getting the most out of these players. If Dominik is not part of the firing I won’t be back no matter who the coach is.

  12. crazy Says:

    The plan is a perfectly reasonable one for an NFL team to rebuild with. The current front office and coaching staff haven’t proven to be particularly skilled in executing it.

  13. Jake Says:

    For that type of rebuilding plan to work, you have to draft really, really well at the front, middle and back of the draft. The reason Green Bay and Pittsburgh have done so well building through the draft is that they have done really, really well over several years drafting in the front, middle and back of the draft. There have been far too many misses and mediocre picks over the past few years here in Tampa and that is what your seeing on the field right now. That doesn’t even factor in the incompetent coaching. Time to rebuild the rebuild.

  14. AtlBucsFan Says:

    Keep the plan. Move on with a new coach.

  15. Bobby Says:

    The reason other teams have done so well with it is that they haven’t completely gutted the vets off of the team like we did. We should have drafted for youth but given them a year to make the transition. Rogers had the benefit of watching Favre for three years before he played. It will still work for us but the learning curve is more steep because you have to figure out who the leaders are going to be. It’s baptism by fire. Rookies like Foster get thrown into MLB position without even prior college experience at that position. Should we have kept Ruud to mentor him? NO! It wan’t like we could have offered Ruud a 1 year contract. Better to just let him go and realize that Foster is the future even though it will be rough for the first year or two. People…three years into a rebuild is hardly a long time, especially when you essentially start from the ground up at nearly every position except the O-line. Our entire starting D-line is made up of two rookies and two second year players and both of the second year players have missed more time with injuries than they’ve played. Where do you think we should be in the scope of things? Both of our WR’s are second year players and we have a second year RB and essentially a second year QB. Hardly a seasoned group wouldn’t you agree? Cam Newton comes into a deal with Steve Smith, Williams and Stewart and we’re surprised he’s doing well but Freeman’s struggling? Youth can be an excuse but in our case it’s also a reality. Players mature and so do coaches if given time. I don’t know if Morris is the answer or if firing him is the answer but I do think it’s way too early to expect much either way.

  16. Dave Says:

    Said it before and I’ll say it again: I have no problem with “the plan”

    The plan is simple, get the building blocks of the team through the draft and based on what I have seen over 2 years, many of those pieces are here.

    They obviously need some vet leadership on defense ( MLB ANYONE?) and move Foster to outside IMHO.

    The issue right now is coaching.
    Everything we have seen comes back to:
    Lack of discipline

    off field stuff
    missed tackles due to being out of gap
    bad execution

    It is all discipline, which falls on the coaches.

    I think they would give Morris another year with a new DC… BUT… because of his contract situation, I do not see it happening.
    I say this because he had a good year and they exceeded expectations and then this year (I throw year one away because everything was gutted). Add to that no offseason… I think he deserves another year but because of his contract and the ticket sales, he may not get it.

    Of course, who is going to replace him? No one that will sell tickets. Fisher is the most likely and he has already been contacted by 8 teams. Cower is done and not going to coach. Anyone else will not sell more tickets, only winnning will.

  17. AtlBucsFan Says:

    I’ve said it before that this young team needs leadership and with that void in the current crop of players only means that the only for teaching those skills must come from the coaching staff. And they have failed at this aspect of their jobs. Can you see Raheem sitting in his office mentoring a player? Can you see him being a leader figure on this team? He’s a cheerleader and that gets old. When they players get beat up week after week and the coaches can’t develop in them the skills needed for this level of play then let’s change coaches and move on. I’m just hoping that bad habits haven’t been so instilled that the players will suffer long term in their careers.

  18. jarrett Says:

    If the plan is to concentrate on the draft, then why do we have less college scouts than any other team, why do we basically have only dom and hickey when it comes down to draft. The actual plan is to be as cheap as possible, and the glazers are executing it perfectly. IF your plan is to only build thru the draft than why dont we spend more money on scouts, so that we may actually have a good draft and maybe start to build.

  19. Thomas 2.2. Says:

    The “plan” is an artful way of saying budget. You rebuild with draft and vet free agent parts. When you are going to draft and cut high vet salaries – you are budgeting.

    The fatal flaw in this plan: hiring the absolutely worst no experience coach.

  20. FloridaGirl Says:

    The plan is solid and will work eventually. The issue with this team is the real and perceived lack of effort. As a fan I always hate to see the team lose, but with a young team all you can really hope for is improvement every week and a solid effort – read doing their job. But you have to lose after trying to win; laying down on the job and just giving up is inexcusible for anyone in any job. SO as a fan, I’m all on board with building a team for the long term but I really need to see some progression in the players to make me ‘buy-in’ that the ones they’re hiring are the best fit for the job.

  21. eric Says:

    The Panthers have destroyed us in two games and have zoomed past us. They are young too. The third place team in our Division has outscored us 89-26. We are -186 in points differential.

    Were firmly entrenched in last place.

    By all statistical measurements we have one of the worst defenses in the league. May set an NFl record for Yards per play given up. Ranked 30th.

    And, the plan has been primarily focused on rebuilding the defense.

    What plan????????????????????

  22. Bobby Says:

    This is where the business aspect escapes any fan who has never started or owned a business. The average business takes 5 years before it show a profit. Business people go into it knowing that it’s gonna be a struggle for awhile. Same with a rebuild. It’s going to take time…not the playoffs in year 3, sorry.
    The Glazers are patient people, that’s why they’re billionaires. They’re not stupid and I don’t think they’re cheap. They just don’t believe caving in to the every whim of fans is sound business doctrine. If it were the Bucs would be composed of aging FA’s. I believe they will spend money when the time is right and the money will have an immediate impact. Once we’ve gotten all we can get out of the draft and they feel the FA’s will take us to the next level and the balance of FA vets to youth is proportionate. Right now there are just too many holes to fill with FA alone. I’m sure we’ll be bringing in some vets in the offseason but I still want to see the major players come in through the draft. We need some leaders and that is where veteran presence is essential but I don’t want to see us filling all the holes with players who couldn’t get their own teams to resign them because they were asking too much money. Just because the Glazers won’t sign them either doesn’t make them ‘cheap’. In a lot of ways it makes them smart. Timing is everything.

  23. Thomas 2.2. Says:


    February 25, 2009 AP article Rah Rah Morris said “this is not a youth movement,” while commenting on the release of Brooks, Dunn, June etc.

    He later said that there were guys behind these players that are ready to take over – obviously saying that his evaluation was that they (black and hayes) were quality NFL caliber players. Bad, bad analysis.

    This “the plan” argument is a convenient 180 degree reversal from what Rah was saying before 0-7 in 2009. Rah was initially saying that he was making moves to improve the team – now it is “growing pains due to a plan to go young and suck.”

    Also, last year he said “we are the best in the NFC” now he says they are young and not talented. This guy is changing gears and you guys should be calling him out.

  24. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    The “plan” assumes you can draft successfully, and even then, it is Iffy w/o veterans to play until your rookies learn the system.
    Let’s take a look at the Talent Mark Dominik has given us, so far.
    He has signed Koenen, but only after the punter he drafted flunked.
    He got us Blount, and I admire him for that.
    I was told he IS coming back next year (Morris will be released)
    I was told the new Tampa Head Coach will have final say in all draft decisions and free agent acquisitions. I HOPE we also improve our scouting department as well.
    Here is Mark Dominik’s draft record, not exactly stellar, is it ?
    This is all both Raheem and Jim Bates had to work with, neither were able to field a successful team with this lack of talent.

    Has Mark Dominick really done a great job in the draft ? You decide.

    RD1 Josh Freeman: Horrible 2/3 seasons
    RD3 Roy Miller: ZERO production
    RD4 Kyle Moore: ZERO production
    RD 5 Xavier Fulton: ZERO production
    RD7 EJ Biggers: isn’t a starter in this league on ANY team other than TAMPA
    RD 7 Sammie Stroughter: ZERO production

    RD 1 Gerald McCoy: injured more than he plays…looks like a bust at this point
    RD 2 Brian Price: Decent starter but nothing special, injury prone
    RD 2 Arrelious Benn: number 3 starter at BEST
    RD 3 Myron Lewis: ZERO production
    RD 4 Mike Williams: no. 2 WR at best…not a number TRUE number 1 option
    RD 6 Brent Bowden: ZERO production
    RD 7 Cody Grimm: Decent starter, would be a backup on most teams
    RD 7 Dakota Watson: ok backup nothing special
    RD 7 Eric Lorig: backup FB at best

    RD 1: Adrian Clayborne: quality starter
    RD 2: DaQuan Bowers: quality starter
    RD 3: Mason Foster: quality starter
    RD 4: Luke Stocker: backup at best
    RD 5: Ahmad Black: Zero production
    RD 6: Allen Bradford: Zero production
    RD: 7: Gaitor: Zero production
    RD 7: Hardy: Zero Production

    I don’t see ONE pro bowl player drafted, do you ?

  25. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    That list looks terrible Apple.

    I hope your sources are accurate. If so lets all get behind the reclamation project: cut: Rah Rah, Winslow, Talib, Biggers, THC Jax, Jones and the twin terrible Linebackers.

    Sign Free Agents: speed at skill positions, size at tight end and OLB (especially Sam, not so much Will). Need a ball hawk safety and a box safety. Need to make Mccoy s situational player.

  26. eric Says:

    Nobody with any credibility has played this horrible in the third year of a “rebuilding plan”.

    Heck in Sam’s third year for the bucs they won four of last five. And the man had Trent Dilfer!

    This is not by any stretch normal “rebuilding” blues. Its a horrific disaster.

  27. Bobby Says:’s like a posting virus..