Bucs GM Licht Says He Sees Similarities Between Bucs and Cardinals

New Bucs General Manager Jason Licht held a press conference today to address his new position with the Tampa Bay franchise.


“Good afternoon. I want to thank everyone for coming today to welcome Jason Licht as a new member of the Buccaneer family and Tampa Bay community. When we set out a few weeks ago to look for a new general manager for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, really the number one thing we were looking for in our next general manager was somebody who was all about football, scouting and [someone with] a strong football background. That was number one. Number two was someone who was going to work closely with [Head Coach] Lovie [Smith] in a partnership and work very well. Going through this process, it became more and more clear after meeting with Jason several times – he’s actually the only person we met with three times – that his background in football has been just tremendous. He’s been around so many different winning organizations. If you look at where he’s been, whether it’s New England, Philadelphia, Arizona, when they were in the Super Bowl and went 10-6 last year, he’s been around teams with a history of winning. He has seen firsthand what it takes to build a winning organization, a winning team and work in an environment that produces winners. With all that, I’d like to welcome Jason Licht and his family to Tampa.”


“Thanks, Joel, and the entire Glazer family. I’ll get more into that in a second here, but, first of all, I want to thank my amazing wife, Blair, and my family, for being here in such a special moment. Four moves in less than six years on this journey and never a complaint. I know there have been a lot of times when there hasn’t been any communication for a few days, but never a complaint. I’ve been part of some very good teams, been to the Super Bowl four times, and besides winning the Super Bowl, this has been the most memorable day I’ll have had in my career. I want to also say the same [thanks] to my parents back home for giving me the foundation and the confidence and the courage to get to this point in my career. I want to thank the Glazer family, particularly Joel, Bryan and Ed, for having the faith to hire me in this position. As Joel said, I had several meetings with them over the last eight or nine days. We had really informative, productive conversations. I knew at that point that I was just a candidate, that I wasn’t a frontrunner. At least I didn’t know [that I was]. This was just their way of finding out and weeding out who those candidates were going to be and who the next general manager was going to be. But I had a great job in Arizona – probably my favorite job that I have had in my career – so I, too, wanted to flip it in my mind and make sure this was the right opportunity. It didn’t take long, maybe 20 minutes, to figure out that this was the perfect opportunity where I could become a GM for a team with strong ownership, with a strong foundation of players and, frankly, people who want to win. I can’t go any further without mentioning Lovie Smith.

“I met Lovie a couple of years ago in an interview with the Chicago Bears. Lovie wasn’t picking the GM, unfortunately, but I was part of the process with talking to Lovie. I knew then that this guy was a man of integrity. His record speaks for itself. He’s hired an outstanding staff here. He weeded through the process and passed me along to the Glazer family, along with some other candidates, and I really want to thank him for putting me through that process and checking the box that I would be a viable person that he could work with. We share the same beliefs. Our main goal and vision, along with the Glazer family – we all meshed with our vision – was to win a championship. And not just win a championship, but sustain that championship success year-in and year-out. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’re going to reach that goal, especially working in this partnership [between] the GM and head coach with Lovie. Like I said before, the foundation here at this team was a very appealing part of this job. There’s building blocks here in place, we have a lot of core players on this team that I’m excited about: Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson, just to name a few – Doug Martin. I’ve met a few of the players right now. It’s still an evaluation process with Lovie and myself on how we’re going to move forward with some of the players, but I’m very excited about some of the core players that we already have here in place.”

“Our philosophy is going to be to build through the draft, that’s where we find our stars, that’s where we find the next generation, but also in the short term and long term we’re going to supplement our roster through free agency but we’re going to look for value. We’re going to spend wisely. The better teams in the NFL that compete in the playoffs year after year are the teams that draft the best, and that’s what Lovie, myself and our staff is going to do. I’ve worked with some great men – Bill Belichick, Scott Pioli, Mr. Kraft [in] New England, Nick Cesario; Andy Reid, Tom Heckert, Howie Roseman, Mr. Lurie in Philly. I could go on and on, but I want to put a special thank you out to the Arizona Cardinal organization for putting me in a position that has me here today, with Michael Bidwill, Bruce Arians and Steve Keim. I’ve been fortunate, but I’m also fortunate to be here today and together we’re going to build a championship team and bring winning back to this community. Once again, thank you to the Glazer family for putting me here today. Thank you.”

(On if he sees any similarities between the Buccaneers and the 2013 Arizona Cardinals)

“Yeah, absolutely. Strong defense, a lot of very good players on that side of the ball. Some questions that a lot of people have on offense; need to put the right people in place there, put some complimentary players out there, but definitely – I see a lot of similarities. It’s actually one of the first things that popped in my head when this interview process started.”

(On his role in deciding the roster and personnel)

“I’ve been on three interviews for a general manager position and all three of them are the same, really. And also, every place that I’ve worked, especially successful teams in those eras, the GM and the head coach have to work together. It’s a partnership, and at the end of the day it doesn’t matter if you’re Ron Wolf, Bill Polian, or Jason Licht, our job is to serve the coach. He’s got to tell us what kind of players he wants, and we’ve got to bring the players. My staff and I [have to bring] the right fits. Just like I think I’m a great fit for this family, for this coach, we’ve got to get the right fits on the field, otherwise it just doesn’t work. It’s going to be a partnership.”

(On what he’s seen that makes him believe this team can make a quick turnaround)

“Just the positive energy that I see in this building when I walked in. I mean, it really was amazing. I told my wife last night when I got back to the hotel after she sent me to Walmart to get diapers – I’ve got to keep my priorities in line here – that it was an amazing experience. And of course anybody in this position is going to think everything’s amazing the first day, but it truly was. Everybody’s positive, they’re excited, the coaching staff is amazing. Lovie’s track record speaks for itself. I’ve never met a player in my 19-plus years of doing this, run across a player that’s played for Lovie that hasn’t said such great things about him, and like I said, it’s just the synergy and the energy that’s in the air. I have strong belief this is going to be a successful season, and it starts with the optimism

(On how last season with the Arizona Cardinals prepared him for salary cap management his new role)

“Last year was a tremendous experience for me. I had a little bit of background in the past. Of course, you have to know the parameters of your salary cap and how you can fit things under it, but last year being Steve [Keim’s] first year as a general manager – and promoting me two days later to his vice president – I got a front-row seat to all the ups and downs of a first year GM’s experience… It really makes you realize that it’s not always about signing the best players – it’s about signing the right players for your team. That experience, I think, was probably one of the best experiences I could have had to put me in this role today.”

(On his impressions of quarterback Mike Glennon)

“I got to see him up close going into the draft last year, at the combine, workouts – we had a lot of information on Mike Glennon at Arizona as well. Playing in person, he’s obviously a big guy, he’s a deceptive athlete, he’s an accurate passer, he’s very smart. I got a chance to meet him just yesterday morning. Smart players usually come around when the head coach and general manager are hired. I had a great impression of him. I think he’s got a bright future. We’re going to put competition in place at every level on this football team, but we see a bright future for Mike Glennon.”

(On whether he or Lovie Smith will have the final call on who the team drafts)

“To me, that’s easy – on draft day, we’ll have all the answers figured out. We’ll know who we’re taking. There will be no arguments on draft day. Going in to the draft – arguments are healthy. I’ve had arguments with every coach that I’ve worked for, and every GM. Some of them would be happy to tell you about them, I’m sure. We’ll have arguments on players. I’m going to plead my case. I told Lovie, during the interview process, that if he doesn’t like a player, I’m going to be in his office 20 times trying to prove why my player, that I like, is the guy that we need, and I’m sure he’ll do the same thing. If we don’t come to an agreement, the answer is easy, it lies in itself – we won’t take that player.”

(On how important it is to lock up core players to long-term contracts)

“It’s one of my core philosophies. You’ve got to lock up your core, within reason. I’m sure every one is an individual situation where you’ve got to look at the finances, but you need to protect your core. You need to draft great players and then you need to keep them on your team.”

(On what goes in to trading a draft pick)

“You go through all the scenarios with your staff and obviously with Lovie, well before the draft. I’ll tell you right now, we’ll be open to anything. We’re not locked into one player, we’re not locked into one pick. Right now we’d be open to do anything. We just have to explore all those opportunities. We’ve got to make decisions that are best for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It sounds simple, but it is what it is.”

SOURCE: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Media