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BucsGuru

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: October 30, 2006, 11:45:07 PM

After winning the Super Bowl in 2002, Jon Gruden's Bucs finished 7-9 in 2003.
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

By Don Banks
We're not interested in kicking Jon Gruden when he's down just for the fun of it. But sorry, his fingerprints have been all over the slide that his Bucs have been on in the 20 months since they won the Super Bowl. And it's a classic case of not being careful what you wish for.

Granted nearly unchecked sway in Tampa Bay after he delivered a title to the Glazer family, Gruden has since gotten the players and the general manager that he wanted. Everyone he didn't want (see Keyshawn Johnson and Rich McKay) is gone. Like it or not, this is his hand-picked mediocre roster.

True, Gruden inherited a team that was aging in some key spots. But he has only made it older. With few draft picks to work with, Gruden has impatiently gone out and snapped up veteran free agents like they were lottery tickets. And he's still waiting for the win-now payoff.

Tampa Bay left training camp with 16 players aged 30 or older, tied for second-most in the league. To no one's surprise, the Bucs have the NFL's oldest roster this season, with an average age of nearly 28. And they're showing it, too.

It's also fair to quibble with Gruden's reputation for offensive football. Consider: Discounting returns and safeties, in 2002 the Bucs scored 300 points. In 2003, that number dropped to 273. In 2001, the year Clyde Christensen was the Bucs' vilified offensive coordinator, Tampa Bay put up 296 points. In 2000, Les Steckel's Bucs offense scored a team-record 337 points. There's a case to be made that the offense has actually regressed under Gruden.

Gruden's a good coach and he won't be down forever. But the truth is few of his decisions have worked out since early 2003. Since the Super Bowl, his Bucs are 7-11. Which come to think of it is open a lot more these days than Tampa Bay's receivers.



He is right; they won't be down forever.  if you don't count 2004 or 2006, he hs bounced back.  What a great article!!!!!!!

BucsGuru

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#1 : October 30, 2006, 11:52:18 PM

I do like Maya.
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