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Uncle Stan

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: December 16, 2006, 08:03:22 AM

Glazers Should Jettison Gruden From Rapidly Sinking Bucs Ship

Published: Dec 16, 2006

During the euphoria following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' only Super Bowl championship nearly four years ago, head coach Jon Gruden held the Lombardi Trophy high for more than 65,000 fans who had welcomed the team home to Raymond James Stadium after lashing the Oakland Raiders in San Diego.

"This is for you, Tampa," Gruden declared. "You ain't seen nothing yet, Tampa."

What Bucs fans have seen since then is a lot of losing. And this season the once-mighty Bucs are playing as ineptly as any team in the league.

The Bucs, entering Sunday's game in Chicago against the Bears, are 3-10 and will finish with a losing record for the third time in the last four seasons under Gruden. Those three wins were all squeakers, so the Bucs could easily be winless.

Winning a Super Bowl is a great accomplishment but it shouldn't be a lifetime pass.

Moreover, the 2002 Super Bowl team was largely constructed by Gruden's predecessor, Tony Dungy, the modest man who transformed the Bucs into consistent winners.

The Glazer family fired Dungy because he couldn't get the team to the Super Bowl. They should be no more patient with Gruden, who has managed only one winning season and no playoff wins since that first season with a team he has mostly dismantled.

Gruden may be a motivator, but he and his hand-picked general manager, Bruce Allen, have shown no evidence they can field a championship team.

They've banished talented popular players who have gone on to excel elsewhere. They've drafted poorly, particularly in the later rounds, where an eye for talent is critical. They've failed to fully tap the potential of the players they have signed.

A key personnel blunder this year was the failure to secure a veteran backup quarterback in the off-season. When starting quarterback Chris Simms was lost to injury, Gruden turned to rookie Bruce Gradkowski, a sixth-round draft choice who was pushed into a starting role much too soon.

Gruden has been hailed as an offensive genius, but the Bucs' offense is breathtakingly incompetent. The Bucs have managed only 16 touchdowns, including two by the defense. San Diego star running back LaDainian Tomlinson has scored 29.

And Gruden's treatment of Mike Alstott, a six-time Pro Bowl fullback, is bizarre. Alstott, a fan favorite and still a strong runner, is rarely given the ball. It's almost as if Gruden wants to show his contempt for Bucs fans.

The team's decline isn't entirely Gruden's fault. The Bucs gave up two No. 1 draft picks, two No. 2 plus $8 million to the Oakland Raiders so they could hire him.

It was an enormous investment and amounted to mortgaging the team's future. Although the move paid off with an immediate Super Bowl victory, the loss of such high draft choices surely has handicapped the team.

Still, the bottom line rests with the head coach. Gruden's overall record in Tampa is 41-40. This includes 38-39 in the regular season and 26-35 since the Super Bowl. For the first time since 1977, the team went winless in its division. Dungy's overall record with the Bucs was 56-46, including 54-42 in the regular season, and he got the ax.

Off the field, Gruden, whose contract expires in 2008, is personable, and he is probably the team's biggest promoter.

His fiery personality may have been what was needed to spark the Bucs to their Super Bowl championship. But since then there have been few sparks and a lot of ashes. The Bucs are a bad team and don't look to be getting any better.

It's time for Gruden to go.





Learn to disagree without being disagreeable-Ronald Reagan circa 1981

JavaBuc

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#1 : December 16, 2006, 08:45:02 AM

It's easier to sell papers with controversial articles.   If they said keep Gruden and things will work out since he's a good coach, that wouldnt sell any papers.

Boid Fink

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#2 : December 16, 2006, 08:48:00 AM

I sent the editor my opinion on that article.

I doubt it will be appreciated. 

Signed, Boid Fink.


MiltonMack21

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#3 : December 16, 2006, 08:50:15 AM

Probably not Boid... lol


flyinbuc

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#4 : December 16, 2006, 10:06:48 AM

Was there a byline to the story?

mjs020294

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#5 : December 16, 2006, 10:13:19 AM

I sent the editor my opinion on that article.

I doubt it will be appreciated. 


I doubt he will give a damn quite honestly Boid.  From what I hear and see around Tampa I would guess that over 80% of Buccs fans want Gruden out now.


JavaBuc

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#6 : December 16, 2006, 10:20:13 AM

I would guess that over 80% of Buccs fans want Gruden out now.

I think that depends on your definition of a Buc fan.    I think if you include all the recent bandwagon fans, you would be accurate.  But if you only counted the votes of the people who migrated over from the old sombrero as season ticket holders (the long time fans), no way is it anywhere close to 80%.

mjs020294

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#7 : December 16, 2006, 10:25:38 AM

I would guess that over 80% of Buccs fans want Gruden out now.

I think that depends on your definition of a Buc fan.    I think if you include all the recent bandwagon fans, you would be accurate.  But if you only counted the votes of the people who migrated over from the old sombrero as season ticket holders (the long time fans), no way is it anywhere close to 80%.

80% was a low estimate, there isn't a lot of support for Gruden around town these days Java. 


Tampa Bay Todd

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#8 : December 16, 2006, 10:37:45 AM

Sure Bucs could be winless, but they also could have a much better record if a few things fall their way. I agree, controversial editorials are designed to get people talking and sell papers. Plus, from what all the locals here have said, the Tribune never liked Gruden anyway. Maybe they're hoping a new coach will spoon feed reporters stories so they don't have to work like McKay did.

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PewterReportSR

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#9 : December 16, 2006, 10:44:58 AM

I find it stunning and breathtaking that the Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times ALWAYS fail to mention Tampa Bay's salary cap woes over the past couple of years. The major, overriding factor in failing to keep the likes of John Lynch, Joe Jurevicius, Warren Sapp, Thomas Jones and others is that the Bucs couldn't afford to keep them and attempt to upgrade the team in other areas that needed upgrading.

The word "banished" is shameful, and quite frankly, poor journalism that implies that Jon Gruden simply didn't want those players.

Ask yourself this, Buccaneers fans. Why has Pewter Report been the ONLY media outlet in Tampa Bay to even MENTION the salary cap struggles this team has faced over the last couple of seasons that have forced the Bucs to make some unpopular roster moves? Ask yourself this question whenever you read a negative article on the Buccaneers that discusses Gruden or Allen: "Does it mention the salary cap as a factor for the team's inability to keep certain players or get certain players?"

Why haven't the Times and the Tribune EVER bothered to get to the bottom of the team's salary cap mess and figure out how the Bucs got in such cap hell? Where are those articles? Perhaps you should contact the papers and demand answers as to why neither paper has neglected to even find out why the Bucs were $19 million over the cap in 2004 and question why that happened.

Why is Pewter Report the only media that has even bothered figuring out why the salary cap has been such an issue for this team during its rebuilding? You would think two major newspapers would actually take a stab at figuring it out. Maybe they don't because it would point a finger at the previous regime for some questionable contracts and extensions that have gotten a pass from the Times and Tribune because of their cozy relationship with the person who signed those deals and a person who is still conveniently used as an "unnamed league source."

Also, it's just too easy and convenient for the papers to just blame Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen and keep rehashing the mantra of "Steussie, Deese and Garner." While the Tribune does make several valid points in its editorial, its convenient and egregious omission any reference of salary cap struggles is quite shoddy.

Allen and Gruden deserve a hell of a lot of blame for the shortcomings of this terrible, 3-10 football team. And it would be hard for Pewter Report to argue the Glazers' decision to make a change – if in fact they do. However, the coverage of the Gruden-Allen era of Bucs football has not been near as fair and balanced by the newspapers as it has been by Pewter Report. That is disappointing.

And for the Tribune to short-change Gruden with the wrong theory that he won with Dungy's team is a myth that is easy to debunk when you consider that the following EIGHT players started on offense (remember, you only have ELEVEN players on offense on the field at the same time) at one time in the 2002 season:

RB Michael Pittman
TE Ken Dilger
TE Ricky Dudley
LT Roman Oben
LG Kerry Jenkins
WR Joe Jurevicius
WR Keenan McCardell
QB Rob Johnson (surprisingly, he was 2-0 as a Bucs starter)

...and the following FOURTEEN players were brought in during 2002 and never played for Dungy:

OT Lomas Brown
FB Darian Barnes
LS Ryan Benjamin
DT DeVone Claybrooks
TE Casey Crawford
LB Jack Golden
OT Dan Goodspeed
OT Cornell Green
DT Buck Gurley
FS Jermaine Phillips
DE Greg Spires
P Tom Tupa
CB Tim Wansley
TE Daniel Wilcox

That's a total of 22 new players out of 53 on the roster. I guess it's fair to say that Gruden won with almost HALF of Dungy's team. Consider that these players who were on IR in 2002 never played for Dungy and the number swells to 28, which is more than half:

WR Charles Lee
LB Ryan Nece
LS Mike Solwold
DE Corey Smith
RB Travis Stephens
WR Marquise Walker

It's okay for the newspapers or fans to criticize Gruden, I do it, too. He certainly deserved it in 2003, 2004 and without a doubt in 2006. I just wish that they would arm themselves with all of the facts when doing so – especially respected media outlets such as newspapers.

mjs020294

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#10 : December 16, 2006, 10:50:26 AM

Great repsonse SR....you could make an article out of that.


Feel Real Good

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#11 : December 16, 2006, 10:52:26 AM

I have no problem with people saying Gruden should be fired but it really bugs me when they do it under mostly false accusations. Does anyone outside of Tampa think Mike Alstott should be a featured back in the NFL? I would venture, no. As far as banishing popular players, there is a thing called the salary cap and in my mind only Lynch, Oben, and McCardell have played up to the money they are making elsewhere. Everyone else that left may have been popular, but none were worth the money they were paid elsewhere.

FRG is the most logical poster on this board.  You guys just don\'t like where the logical conclusions take you.

mjs020294

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#12 : December 16, 2006, 10:55:00 AM

I find it stunning and breathtaking that the Tampa Tribune and The St. Petersburg Times ALWAYS fail to mention Tampa Bay's salary cap woes over the past couple of years. The major, overriding factor in failing to keep the likes of John Lynch, Joe Jurevicius, Warren Sapp, Thomas Jones and others is that the Bucs couldn't afford to keep them and attempt to upgrade the team in other areas that needed upgrading.

I will play devils advocate a little here though SR;  They didn't have the money to match the $10 million deal Thomas Jones received from Chicago, but they had $20 million for Charlie Garner.   ???





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#13 : December 16, 2006, 10:56:56 AM

I stopped reading after the Alstott bit. That's all those idiots in Tampa care about, give A-Train the ball.

mjs020294

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#14 : December 16, 2006, 11:05:21 AM

I stopped reading after the Alstott bit. That's all those idiots in Tampa care about, give A-Train the ball.

hater  :P ::)  ;D

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