Even with “Matty Ice” clinching Friday night’s preseason game against the Dolphins with a 48-yard field goal, there were penalties to talk about, weak offensive line play and even some clock management issues at the end of the first half. There were some in-game execution issues, but not the execution of general manager Jason Licht’s contract extension.
The relationship Licht and Bruce Arians had from working in Arizona were what got the Buccaneers foot into the Arians door.
Licht was vice president of player personnel for the Cardinals. Working with Steve Keim, they would put together a team that Arians would lead to a 10-6 record in 2013, and an 11-5 record in 2014.
These two have a great working relationship. One can see why the Buccaneers retaining Licht as general manager would have been one of Arians’ demands going in.
Timing Is Everything
Three things were agreeable to Arians that would lead to his becoming the 12th head coach in Buccaneers history.
His ability to hire his own staff, the chance to work with Jameis Winston, and his relationship with Licht.
Licht’s new contract is the same length as coach Arians’ four years with an option for a fifth. Their fortunes are essentially tied to each other.
Licht played linebacker, guard, and defensive tackle at Nebraska Wesleyan University. The biology/pre-med graduate would start with the scouting department of the Miami Dolphins in 1995. Twenty years working in player personnel and scouting positions prepared Licht to be an NFL general manager.
The Buccaneers’ philosophy has been to build through the draft, dabble in free agency and stay away from cap trouble. Drafting has been somewhat solid, the dabbling has found some frigid waters. The cap has been stretched.
In football, as in life, winning cures all ills. Tampa Bay is hoping for a clean bill of health in 2019.