If Mark Dominik was a “rockstar”, then Jason Licht just might be an “icon”.
Licht, who is enjoying his first offseason as the general manager of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has made quite a few moves that have already impressed the local fans.
His first move, the release of superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis after just one season in a Bucs uniform, was polarizing. It may have saved the team money, but it also raised a few questions and created a widespread shock that could be felt throughout the bay area.
Since then, it has been smooth sailing for Licht.
He replaced Revis with Alterraun Verner, who is a better fit for Tampa’s system.
He’s given Lovie Smith a quarterback that he is already familiar with.
He’s improved the defensive line.
He’s completely overhauled the offensive line.
And, speaking of offense, he’s put together a draft class that could become historic when it is all said and done: an all-offensive draft that included a star wide receiver, a dual-threat tight end and running back, two rawly-talented offensive linemen, and a small, but speedy wideout that was the proverbial cherry on top of the epic ice cream sundae.
It’s a sundae that could prove to be dynamic on Sundays this fall.
Even when you take football out of the equation, Licht has been charming the pants off of the Tampa Bay media.
After the all-offensive draft haul, the Bucs’ GM went to the podium at their press conference and said “If anybody sees [Bucs' Defensive Coordinator] Leslie Frazier, let me know.”
He added: “We told Lovie the draft was next weekend.”
Recently, on an NFL Network appearance, Jason Licht added to his comedy repertoire while talking about drafting sixth-round pick Robert Herron and how he doesn’t have the same basketball-like height of Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Without any hesitation after the question about Herron, he said “We needed a point guard.”
Also, in another reference to that offensive draft, he told the world that “the plan was to put Lovie in a straitjacket and throw him in a closet, and we were successful with that.”
I hear the Tampa Improv needs an opener for some upcoming shows.
You may recall former Bucs’ GM Mark Dominik having a similar type of wit. That type of relationship with the media actually worked wonders for Dominik, who’s moves were controversial at times, and who’s players struggled to develop during his tenure in Tampa.
Now, Dominik finds himself on the other side of the microphone, as a media member for ESPN.
That should serve as a reminder to the local media and fans alike: all of these moves are impressive on paper.
We should be very excited that the team of Lovie and Licht are working to bring Tampa a winning squad again, and that their relationship with members of the media should give us plenty of entertaining quotes now, and into the future.
But championships are not won in the front office.
They are not won in free agency.
They are not won in the war room on draft day.
And they are certainly not won behind the microphone at the press conference podium.
Championships are won on the field, and ultimately, Jason Licht will be judged by how his acquisitions produce, and if they lead the Bucs to many victories.
But for now, Licht has done everything right in a situation where plenty could have gone wrong. And for that, Tampa Bay, we should be grateful.