General managers usually work on a short rope in an NFL world lacking in patience. Most GM's get to make maybe two coaching hires -- if that -- when losing persists through their tenure. NFL owners usually wipe out the entire operation and start completely over before long.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Jason Licht sits as an outlier in this world, making his third coaching change since taking over in 2014. The Bucs have earned a 27-53 record in five seasons under Licht's guidance, with just one winning season (9-7, 2016) during that span and zero playoff appearances.
Tampa had been a trendy hot team the past two offseasons, only to flop on the field, finishing each campaign with a measly five wins.
Despite the disappointments, Licht survives.
Speaking with Pewter Report this week from the Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer pointed to keeping continuity as the key to building stable success.
"One thing we do know in the NFL, too much instability doesn't lead to success," Glazer said. "And we have had our share of instability over the last several years. And with Jason -- obviously Jason is not happy with what our record has been the last few years -- but when you look at our team and you look at our drafts, there have been positives. We have had a lot of players we drafted, re-sign, and we have a good nucleus of players. So at the end of the day we felt the consistency in that was important and will ultimately lead to success."
Unsaid is that part of the Bucs' instability came from Licht's hiring decisions. Perhaps his relationship with new coach Bruce Arians helped save Licht's job this time around.
Faith in patience is prudent when placed with the proper person. It can be folly to be lenient only for stability's sake.
There are examples of both kinds littered throughout the NFL. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff appeared to be on the walking plank a few years ago before Atlanta stuck through the troubled water and came out better on the other end. On the flipside, there is the infamous case of Matt Millen getting eight years in Detroit.
Glazer believes stability in the front office will have a trickledown effect on his club.
"He has put together a good personnel staff, he is good at articulating to everybody of what we are trying to accomplish," Glazer said of Licht. "He has good perspective when it comes to the team. And I think the key has been working with the head coach. I think he has had excellent ability to work with our coaching staffs -- it is partnership ultimately -- and if those two people aren't on the same page working well together than it is always flawed. So he is also a good people person."
Being a good people person might be what saved Licht in the past. Now the GM needs wins.