Just prior to Saturday’s annual night practice Tampa Bay Buccaneers co-chairman Bryan Glazer took a moment to chat with the local media about a number of topics pertaining to the team and the direction its headed in.
Attendance and avoiding blackouts remain key areas of concern for the organization. Glazer says ticket sales have steadily improved and he believes there will be fewer television blackouts in 2013.
“[Fans] see the offseason moves we’ve made and it is reflecting in some of the work and ticket sales that we’re doing. We have a ways to go but there has been an improvement. We’re headed in the right direction.”
He believes adopting the league’s 85% rule last season helped, along with improving the product on the field.
“The team is doing better. The community is very enthusiastic, the economy is coming together, so everything’s coming together at the right time.”
Building Through the Draft
Building through the draft remains a core philosophy for the organization. The idea is to create a foundation before acquiring free agents to bring the team to the next level.
He emphasizes that this philosophy has required patience the last several years.
“You have to put together the right football team that is gonna win year-in and year-out, and not just win one year and fall back the next year. The team we have today is built to continue to win for years and years to come.”
Acquiring Darrelle Revis
Glazer says the Darrelle Revis trade was the result of being at “the right place at the right time” as a organization.
“You don’t have the opportunity to get a player who could be the best player in this generation at a position, at a young age — those don’t come up very often. But at the same time, we had a team that was ready to put that piece in.
“If this was three or four years ago, I don’t know if it would be the right fit. But now we’re ready for a player like Darrelle Revis.”
Front Office and Coaching Outlook
Bringing in the right talent has been a key to the team’s success, something Glazer credits G.M. Mark Dominik for doing when the team brought in Greg Schiano as the new head coach.
“It’s never easy to make the transition from one team to the next. And Mark has done a very good job. One of his greatest strengths is working with our head coach — and he works very close with Greg on all the decisions that we make, bringing in the proper guys, and moving on from people that aren’t Buccaneer men on this team.”
Glazer adds, “Greg’s a great person. Greg’s a strong football coach, a strong family man, he’s got great qualities — that’s the reason we hired him. He’s someone that you would want to hang out with your kids and at the same time, is to be a mentor to these players, a teacher, and a great football coach.”
A key point of emphasis when Greg Schiano took over as head coach of the Buccaneers was ‘accountability,’ and for players to be able to hold themselves to a higher standard on and off the field.
After some struggles in previous years with his weight, left tackle Donald Penn reported to training camp this offseason five pounds under his weight requirement and passed his conditioning test outright.
It sent a strong message to ownership about a player they brought in as an undrafted free agent who eventually earned his way into a starting role at a premier position.
” I told him that I’ve never seen him so thin in my entire life. And he has worked so hard to get where he is. Here’s a guy who appreciates the position that he’s in. He was an undrafted person, came in, took the job, and he’s motivated because he knows that the team is around him.”
The Bucs have yet to extend the contract of quarterback Josh Freeman, who enters the last year of his rookie contract, but Glazer dismissed any notion of a quarterback controversy.
“Josh Freeman and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — our family and our head coach and our general manager — are all on the same page…there [are] no problems there. We are all on the same page. Josh is working very hard. We expect great things from Josh this year and I’m confident he’ll do it.”
Expectations for 2013
Glazer believes the Bucs have a tremendous group of young players, but he’s cautious about throwing out predictions for the season.
“You can’t predict other teams. Every year, teams that are supposed to be good don’t turn out to be good, they have injuries. Yes, we have a tough division, but that only represents a very few games, a handful.”
He likes their chances though.
“We have an offense that can keep up with anybody in the league…and also the defense — the players on defense are growing into their positions, we’ve added great players — we have a very good football team that is only headed in the right direction.”