Posted in General News

Joel Glazer: Free Agency=Dark Path

by Roland Johnson on March 24, 2009

Rick Stroud, of the St. Pete Times got great insight into what Joel Glazer has been thinking when it comes to free agency & the draft. While the team that won the Superbowl was made up of mainly home grown talent. It still had an infusion of free agent talent to get it over the hump along with a coach that cost more then any player the team has ever acquired in the history of the organization.

Joel Glazer, gave what can only be summarized as a state of the union address, but in this case it was a state of the Bucs address.

“When the season ended this year, usually it takes a little while to recover,” Glazer said. “It took a long while to recover this year. We were 9-3. We had everything in front of us, home field advantage and a Super Bowl at home. Then we were up by 10 points with nine minutes to go (against Oakland). Those are tough pills to swallow but we’re finally putting it in the rear view mirror and looking forward to next year.”

‘Really, it wasn’t just one thing. You kind of look at the totality of the situation, where the team was at, the make up of our team, when you kind of have to make some of these decisions. When you put it all together, it just felt right to us that this was a natural time to make that change because a lot of player decisions were going to have to be made this off-season and directional decisions. Once you cross a certain line, things become a lot tougher to make those kinds of changes.”

“Our core belief is you’ve got to be patient. You’ve got to draft well,” Glazer said. “It all starts there. If you don’t draft well, you’re just going to be piecing it together every year. If you look at the teams that have had success the last several years, Super Bowl teams, they aren’t huge, splash free agency teams. They draft, develop and exercise patience.

Reason number one why Gruden & Allen were fired, while many a fan wanted the inside skinny on why they were fired it is beginning to come out in bits and pieces.

“That is definitely a focus of ours. When we take a step back and we look at our franchise, that’s something we had for many years. I think a little of that was lost. But the only way you get that is to be patient, draft, identify young players, watch them grow and people will go on the path with the player together. It’s just a natural process and I know it’s also our core belief in winning. I think they go hand in hand.”

Sure it was lost, becuase Gruden wanted the band aid or patch job rather then developing the players they had drafted, he was in favor of playing veterans as he did not have the patient.

“Around the league, there’s no question we are feeling the effect like a lot of other teams are feeling the effect,” Glazer said. “We’re currently going through our renewal process, but we are definitely seeing people that are affected by this economy and having an effect on their ability to renew. And what we’ve done and will continue to do is kind of roll up our sleeves and figure out ways to be a little more creative to help people in these tough times. But we are seeing an effect and we’ll know more as we get closer to July. But I think there are a lot of people being forced to sit on the sidelines because of the situation in the economy.

“I think it’s too early to tell about (blackouts). We have great fans in Tampa, so whatever tickets aren’t sold to season ticket holders, we’ll work very hard to make sure the stadium is always full and the fans will be there.”

“There’s competition in the market place but I’m also a big believer that people want to see a winner,” Glazer said. “If they’re winning, they’re going to want to see the Rays. If we’re winning, they’ll come and see us. I think it’s helping. I would never shy away from a challenge and I want nothing but success for the Rays because I think it adds excitement to the community and people are excited. That’s good.”

“The thing I would say about that is we’re as committed to success in Tampa as we’ve always been,” Glazer said. “The losses still hurt today as much as they did from day one. The wins still feel as good as they did in the beginning and we’re going to tirelessly work to build another championship team in Tampa.

“That hasn’t changed, it won’t change, we have a plan. We’re going to be disciplined and we’re going to be patient. We’re going to stick to it and do what we think is in the best interest of long-term, sustainable success. I come back to the draft. You’ve got to succeed in the draft. Free agency is not going to solve all our problems. You have to always be in the position that once we’ve identified good players, that we’re in a position not to lose those good players and that’s the key. Winning in March in free agency, very rarely do you see those teams in the headlines in January. You have to be disciplined to resist what can lead you down a dark path.

A reference to the salary cap hell the team had to dig there way out of for several years after hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

“Absolutely. We have a lot of other businesses, but they’re not as high-profile,” Glazer said. “So it’s not easy to make connections and draw lines and all that kind of stuff. We’ve brought championships to Tampa and we’ve had successes elsewhere. But one thing that drives us day in and day out is we have one Super Bowl ring but we’ve got many more fingers.”

While it is a lot to take in and digest, it would seem that the whole idea of the team actively pursuing DT Albert Haynesworth might have been nothing more then media spin or an agent leaking information to get the Redskins to up the antty.

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