Bucs’ GM Dominik should be marked man

By Dave Lawrence, CBSTampa.com
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Mark Dominik, general manager of the Tampa Bay Bucs. -- Getty Images.

Mark Dominik, general manager of the Tampa Bay Bucs. — Getty Images.

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TAMPA — Mark Dominik needs to be out of the way. He was part of the problem for the Tampa Bay Bucs – and he remains a problem.

With a season of conflict finally and mercifully over, suddenly there’s a new conflict on the pewter horizon: the blatant conflict of interest of the team’s general manager.

Dominik survived the house cleaning early this week that sent head coach Raheem Morris and his staff packing. The truth is, Dominik was much as responsible as Morris for the disaster that was the 2011 Bucs.

Now he’s hoping to survive again, with his GM powers intact.

Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer set the troubling new game in motion this week, revealing that Dominik would assist in the process of hiring the next head coach of the Bucs.

Cue the spit-take. You’ve got to be kidding, right?

Unfortunately, the Glazers appear dead serious, once again making a colossal misjudgment regarding their floundering franchise that can’t win games and can’t draw fans.

First, the Brothers Glazer decided it was a fine idea to keep costs low heading into the 2011 season. If what Joel said is to be believed, they simply figured that the team that finished 10-6 in 2010 with a young roster could replicate the success with an even younger one in 2011. Translation: “Hey, maybe we can win on the cheap.”

They passed that edict on to their dutiful young GM, who embraced the wrong-headed approach like gospel – insisting to the media every chance he got that it made tons of sense to invest in current young roster players rather than pursue experienced, higher-priced free agents.

Did it matter that it was the best free agent market in decades due to the condensed, one-week signing window caused by the lockout? Not a lick.

Did it matter that the Bucs had finished 10-6 with the help of a soft schedule and more smoke and mirrors than a David Copperfield show? No way.

The Glazers and Dominik were bent on going young, and Morris had no choice but to go along with their bottom-line strategy. And when the bottom fell out on it to the tune of 10 straight losses – with one epic humiliation after the next in the final month – he took the blame and the fall.

That’s life in the NFL, where the fault often winds up in the lap of the head coach. And Morris certainly deserved his share of it for simply being unable to get his green, undisciplined team to respond to him. The players loved him, but tuned him out.

So that leads us to now to the latest Glazer miscalculation: keeping Dominik on board as GM to help in the hiring process of Morris’ replacement.

The problem with that is Dominik can maintain his power base only if the successor isn’t an established, heavyweight candidate like Jeff Fisher or Brian Billick – two of the few possibilities in the field with the goods to create any excitement in the fan base. The third – Bill Cowher – isn’t interested by all reports.

Dominik would no doubt love his bosses to hire former Green Bay head coach Mike Sherman, who’s apparently first on the interview list, because he could still serve as a fully functioning GM.

Forget that Sherman, despite reaching the playoffs three straight times with Brett Favre, was fired after flopping at 4-12 in 2005 (now there’s a cause for dancing in the streets for a Bucs team that just finished with the same record).

Forget that Sherman was just fired by Texas A&M after going 25-25 in four seasons. Break out the champagne, Bucs fans, another failed head coach will fit right in!

Forget that Dominik and Sherman share the same agent. Nope, no conflict there, folks.

Joel Glazer explained that the family had a good relationship with Dominik and linked to some of the positives in the season (we’re still digging through the tapes to find something). But his presence will only keep top-tier candidates who desire more control from viewing the Bucs job as an attractive fit.

What’s wrong with this picture? Dominik’s still in it.

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