Welcome to another installment of SR’s Fab 5 Reaction where every Tuesday I take the time to answer your questions and respond to your comments from the previous week’s SR’s Fab 5 column. Due to time constraints from my responsibilities as publisher, I am unable to respond to every reader comment each week, but I do read every one of them.
Now on to your comments.
The topics in this week’s SR’s Fab 5 include: Jurevicius’ Big Catch Almost Didn’t Happen; Bucs See Sims Having Bigger Role; Buccaneers’ All-Time Coaching Staff and Fountain Of Youth Resides In Tampa Bay.
Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
I would agree on Jon Gruden as the best all-time coach only because he was able to take us to the mountaintop. Tony Dungy did turn us around from being a nobody to being a somebody and I will always have a respect for him for that, but he had no idea how to fix the offense, whereas Gruden came in and transformed the offense into a productive and successful one.
While people will say “Gruden won with Dungy’s team,” I will also say didn’t Gruden take the Raiders from nobody and turn them into Super Bowl contenders and transforming journeyman players such as Rich Gannon to the league MVP?
A lot has happened in the transformation of this team from the 2002 team to the 2015 team we, or as I will say, some fans overhype mediocrity now, which was never done in the 1996-2002 era. I can’t recall fans saying how important Ken Dilger was to the offense like some fans and PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook have said about Luke Stocker is to the offense. It’s just a shame to see the acceptance of mediocrity now. I guess when you have a mediocre team you reach on player evaluations. Who knows?
I live in Arizona and follow the Cardinals and you would never hear such drivel like “Well, we couldn’t have went 13-3 without our blocking tight end in Troy Niklas.” Lol. – jongruden
It certainly took two coaches to build Tampa Bay into a Super Bowl champion with Tony Dungy building the defense and Jon Gruden building the offense. You could even say three coaches if you mention the fact that superstars John Lynch, Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp were all drafted on Sam Wyche’s watch. I think you make a valid point in mentioning the fact that Dungy had no idea how to fix the offense. The Bucs had a Super Bowl window open from 1999 until 2003 and if Gruden had come in and completely transformed the offense in 2002 Tampa Bay may have never gone to a Super Bowl – much less won one.
I’ve never subscribed to the theory that Gruden won with Dungy’s team. Tampa Bay had 17 new players on offense under Gruden alone, including backup quarterback Rob Johnson, running backs Michael Pittman and Travis Stephens, fullback Darian Barnes, wide receivers Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell, Joe Jurevicius, Reggie Barlow and Charles Lee, tight ends Ken Dilger, Rickey Dudley and Casey Crawford, offensive linemen Roman Oben, Kerry Jenkins, Lomas Brown, Cornell Green, Russ Hochstein and Todd Washington.
Looking at the Bucs’ starting offense, there were two new starting wide receivers in McCardell and Jurevicius when Tampa Bay went to three-wide receiver sets. Both of the Bucs’ starting tight ends, Dilger and Dudley, were new. Two of the five starting offensive linemen, Oben and Jenkins, were new, in addition to moving Kenyatta Walker from left tackle to right tackle. Pittman was the new running back and Barnes was the starting blocking back as a rookie in short yardage and goal line packages when Mike Alstott was inserted as the tailback.
That’s eight new starters, folks. That’s an overhaul. Factor in the fact that Johnson wound up starting a few games at quarterback in 2002 in place of injured starter Brad Johnson and that’s nine different starters on Tampa Bay’s offense at certain points in the season.
Tampa Bay’s defense was largely intact from the Dungy era, but there were eight new defensive players on the roster, including defensive tackles Buck Gurley and DeVone Claybrooks, defensive ends Greg Spires and Corey Smith, linebackers Ryan Nece and Jack Golden, safety Jermaine Phillips and cornerback Tim Wansley. Spires was a new starter throughout the year, and due to an injury to Anthony McFarland, Gurley was a new starter at nose tackle in the Super Bowl.
The Bucs also went through three long snappers due to injuries in Mike Solwold and Morris Unutoa and Ryan Benjamin in 2002. That makes a total of 28 new players on offense, defense and special teams, which is more than half of a 53-man roster. Did Gruden win with Dungy’s team? Only if you admit it was less than half of Dungy’s team.
As for Luke Stocker, he’s a role player, but as a blocking tight end and a part-time fullback, he certainly plays his role well. Ask Doug Martin how valuable Stocker was last year – not to mention tight ends coach Jon Embree or head coach Dirk Koetter.
Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden – Photo by: Getty Images
Nice SR’s Fab 5 for a quiet week. I can still remember the Philly game like it was yesterday. Great story on the play Joe Jurevicius play, it’s always the little things and seconds that define us.
That’s a little challenge on who is the best head coach in Bucs history. No question Jon Gruden won the Super Bowl (I loved that guy), and no question Tony Dungy turned the “Yucs” into the “Bucs”, but what about Tampa Bay’s first head coach John McKay? He took an expansion team that went winless its first year to the doorsteps of the Super Bowl in just four years. He also had some of the best quotes from a coach ever.
Gruden still wins, but McKay deserves at least an honorable mention. Enjoy your vacation. Go Bucs, in Jason Licht we trust, and God bless! – knight
Thank you, knight. John McKay was enshrined into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor. He did wonders for an expansion team without the benefit of free agency in building the 1979 Tampa Bay team that made it to the NFC Championship Game. But he only had one double-digit winning season (10-6) in 1979 and six seasons with double-digit losses. Add in the fact that McKay’s overall winning percentage is a dismal .331 percent and he is a distant third behind Gruden and Dungy in the Bucs’ all-time coaches ranking.
That was another good SR’s Fab 5 during the slow season. I’ve always been a Joe Jurevicius fan and I will always remember his double tap-catch, when he tipped the ball to himself in the end zone. I can’t remember what game it was but the catch was awesome. Dealing with what he had to deal with regarding his son’s medical conditional and still playing is some tough stuff right there.
The fact that Brad Johnson almost changed that play is a great little tidbit to hear. I like how Jeff Christy was like, ‘Hell no dude! You don’t second-guess Mr. G (Jon Gruden).”
As for greatest head coach, I would take Gruden all day. He got us a Super Bowl, which Tony Dungy would not have gotten. My only knock on Gruden was that he loved veterans and wasn’t a guy that liked developing younger talent, especially at the quarterback position. But as for his fire and stuff, I loved it.
To be a fly on the wall during a conversation between Gruden and Warren Sapp would’ve been epic. The dialogue would be killer.
I can’t wait to see more of Charles Sims this year and you could see he was a lot less “dancy” behind the line last year and more of a hit-it-and-go runner. As for catching passes, he will be in the slot a good bit this year I see, especially when we do our two-back sets.
I love the youth on our team. We are finally being built the right way. Enjoy the vacation, Scott. I can’t wait to see some real meat and potatoes stuff once training camp gets under way. It’s so close, yet so far away. – cgmaster27
The double-tap touchdown and the touchdown where he tipped the ball to himself were in fact two different TDs in the same game, which was the 2003 season opener at Philadelphia on Monday Night Football. Head coach Jon Gruden and the Buccaneers took great pleasure in shutting down old Veterans Stadium with a win in the 2002 NFC Championship Game and another victory in the first game of Philadelphia’s new Lincoln Financial Field.
From what former Bucs players have told me, Joe Jurevicius had to endure some of the nastiest comments from the stands from some disgusting Philly fans that were actually mocking the death of his son during that Monday Night Football game. Truly repulsive and even better that Tampa Bay kicked Philadelphia’s ass to start the 2003 season.
Warren Sapp has some epic tales. You want more? I’ll see what I can do. Look for some more interesting tidbits and perhaps a few more revelations like Brad Johnson’s near audible, which I found shocking.
As for Charles Sims, I agree wholeheartedly. He put on some size prior to the 2015 season and I think that boosted his confidence and his tackle-breaking ability. Sims really improved as a running back and was able to go more north-south due to his ability to break tackles.
Bucs RB Charles Sims – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Great SR’s Fab 5 and terrific new intel on “The Catch To Joe Jurevicius.” Since Charles Sims doesn’t seem to have a fumbling problem, only the ficklest fans would dog him for dropping the rock a couple of times during the season.
Besides the quarterback, the running backs touch the ball more often than anyone else, so of course, the number of fumbles they have will be greater. The degree and severity of hits they take also add to the numbers.
I can’t argue with the coaching selections and always thought Rich Bisaccia should have gotten the head-coaching gig instead of Raheem Morris. Still, with the way Mark Dominik was drafting, it probably wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
Finally, while jongruden praises his namesake’s acquisition of Ken Dilger, as I do as well along with my all-time favorite receiver Keenan McCardell. He also takes the opportunity out of leftfield to take another jab at Luke Stocker. Remember jonguden, it was your namesake who brought in Anthony Becht, another blocking tight end, but I am sure that is something you wouldn’t want to acknowledge.
As I have said before jongruden, no one, least of all Mark Cook or Scott Reynolds have tried to make Stocker into anything he isn’t, which is a hard-nosed tight end who does the job he is called on to do. Just remember the vaunted Bill Belichick’s credo, “Do your job,” which from what everyone in a responsible situation says he does and more. – drdneast
I think Charles Sims won over some skeptical fans last year and I’m anxious to see what he does for an encore in 2016. I think Rich Bisaccia would make a very good head coach at any level, but I think it would likely happen in the college ranks first. Bisaccia’s energy and past victories on the recruiting trails would give him an edge, as would the fact that he has a Northern background growing up and has coaching success in the South at Clemson and Ole Miss.
I’m not sure why Luke Stocker continues to take some crap from fans. He is a hard-nosed tight end that has some real value. Stocker is now on his fourth head coach – and second contract – in Tampa Bay and keeps sticking around. He must be doing something right.
I wanted to follow up on something that was mentioned in Bucs Shots. The comparison of Charles Sims to Eric Dickerson is really interesting to me. Dickerson is one of my all-time favorite NFL running backs. I just loved to watch him play. For a big man he glided like a deer when running. He was a joy to watch as a fan, though, I did not follow any of the teams he played for.
I will watch Sims more closely this year. We have a great tandem with him and Doug Martin. Go Bucs! – Xpfcwintergreen
Eric Dickerson is a Hall of Fame running back, so the comparison to Charles Sims unfortunately ends with just the upright running style. Sims has a ways to go in terms of production before he can be anything more than a complimentary runner. I’ll be anxious to see if he can produce a few 100-yard rushing games with some big runs in his limited opportunities during this upcoming season. If he continues to improve he may prove to be a starting-caliber back in this league. Sims was a lot of fun to watch last year and I’m curious to see where his ceiling is in the NFL.
As good as Dirk Koetter seemed to be last year as our offensive coordinator, I think a strong case might be made for Joe Gibbs as the best we had all-time. Before all the injuries hit in 1978, he did some great things with our team that carried on with Washington. Wondering if you had thought about him. – revfish
Many Bucs fans might not remember the fact that Joe Gibbs was on Tampa Bay’s staff back in the day. But Gibbs didn’t do enough good things with the Bucs to merit consideration in this instance. Gibbs became the Gibbs we all know and respect from his days as Washington’s Super Bowl-winning head coach, just like Steve Young became the Hall of Famer for his days in San Francisco – not for his time running for his life in Tampa Bay.
Scott Reynolds is in his 23rd year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR’s Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds enjoys giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons’ Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]
Watching the Joe Jurevicius highlight catches in the first game following the Super Bowl victory made me recall how the Champion Bucs had to play the first game of the following season away when all of the victors since have entertained the opponent. I also remember John Madden’s comment about the Bucs status in the league. ” It’s the Bucs, then everyone else”. That lasted until that Indy game when the window that had been open from 1999 to 2003 slammed shut.
The Indy game that year, and the Detroit game with Freeman, derailed the franchise. No team can win when they’re playing against the officials too. Despicable.
Good reading Scott. I was just remembering how great the old magazine was back in the day and now I read this great Fab5 and follow up article and it feels like old times. Great work.
My take on Sims is that he can be a big time mismatch for LB’s and some safeties. His potential to produce in the passing game is the reason why he is a very good complimentary back. Unless Martin is unavailable, I would hope that Sims remains in the same role that he was so good at last year splitting time running and receiving.
First ever fan day the Bucs had a big tent on the field with a long table of players signing autographs. My son, and I waited hours on line, and when we finally made it to the table, a Buc staffer said times up, and all the players stood to leave. In walks Dungy who tells the players, these folks waited a long time, you can leave if you want but. Every player sat back down. When we got to the end of the table Dungy was there last man signing. I thanked him, and another fan used our camera to take a pic of him, me,and my son together. Picture came out great, my son sent a copy to Dungy with a thank you note. Tony sent the picture back autographed to Paul, from Tony along with an old playing card of his. After a hot practice at Disney’s wide world all the players ran to the locker room except for Ronde. He came to the ropes to the delight of a bunch of kids, and started signing. I walked over and said to him you’re a pro bowler, nice of you to take the time. He said to me, it’s hot out here thanks for coming, I’d be nothing without you fans. Didn’t ask, but he said give me your hat, and signed it. Met Gruden at another fan day. I mentioned how bad my youngest son wanted to come but was home sick. I could see genuine concern in his eyes, and he signed the football I brought personally to Mike. Finallly Bisccia. Just happened to be walking by him at Disney when I casually said hi coach. Expected maybe a nod, but what he did stunned me. He stopped shook my and, asked me my name, said nice to meet you, thanks for coming out. I have no favorites. To me they’re all great men, who’ve made me proud to be a Buc fan.
That’s awesome. Interesting how character and winning seem to go hand in hand.
Awesome! Thanks for sharing.
That Indy game was nuts. I was there and remember it well. We had huge lead! Officiating was bad, but the injuries in 4th qtr were crazy. Seemed like whole secondary was injured. Lol. I agree Dungy was a great coach, but just couldn’t get a team with Super Bowl caliber defense a super bowl. Glazers made the right call. Look at the crap we have had for coaches since Gruden though. We really need Koetter to be the coach we think he can. It’s been too long! Never was excited at all about Raheem,or Shiano,. I thought Lovie was a good hire I must admit but it didn’t take long for me to see he was just terrible. Just one mans opinion but man even first season I had serious doubts and questions. After that Redskins game last year I was like this is crazy. I was about there after game 1 and the crappy Titans crushed us! Lot of people blasted Pewter Report for saying he needed to go before season was over last year, but it was a bold statement and correct. Just pray they got it right this time. I can’t recall ever being more excited before a season started other than when we hired Gruden. He made mistakes and wasn’t perfect by long shot but again we have sucked so bad since he has been gone!
I can’t believe that was so long ago. I’m going to go cry for my youth and naivete now.
Never said Stocker is a good blocking TE but hey so what, how may good blocking Te’s does every team have? Every team has a big TE that comes in on blocking packages but when you have a TE that can actually run routes and be productive in passing game as well than you have something a Pete Metzelars type or Jason Whitten. Some Tampa Fans act like Stocker is invaluable which is funny since the guy had 60 yds receiving for the whole yr last yr and less than 300 in 4 yrs. He is replaceable and should be upgraded. Michael Clayton was a great blocking WR too and where is he now?
“Michael Clayton was a great blocking WR too and where is he now?”
Answer: Playing under the pseudonym of Mike Evens. Figure print him and it will be proven; if they can find his fingers:)
Mike Evans is a good wr so don’t get where your going with that
He drops a lot of passes just like Clayton. I AGREE He’s good. Needs to be better.
The NFL isn’t Madden. It’s situational football. The Bucs have TE’s with different skills for different situations.
Stocker is a stud at what he does. You can talk Jason Witten or Doug Olsen or others all you want, but those guys are receivers first and can’t hold a candle to Stocker at the LOS point of attack.
4th and goal at the 1, behind by 6 in the rain with no timepouts. Who would you rather have at the LOS, Witten or Stocker?.
In the NFL, all players are “starters”…or should be depending on the situation.
Cobraboy- Stocker may not make the team this yr so toot the horn all you want for him but his job is not even secured on this team. Here’s the answer to your question about 4th and one at the goal who would I want? How about an extra Tackle like Pamphile? Hmmm, make sense? No need for Stocker on the edge block teams use extra lineman all the time esp for your situational football as you call it
Thanks to all the fans who endure the heat and support the Bucs by showing up to practices and games.
Love these reaction posts and yes absolutely love more Sapp stories. As for the Eagles fans, they’ve been notoriously sickening to other teams players. The sheer fact that we had to travel the first game of that season was the ultimate sign of disrespect. Glad we closed out that shit bag stadium with a W and opened their new one with a W as well.
the beagles haven’t been the same since
Go Bucs !!!
Agree w/ you on that cgmaster27- I have reminded many Philly folk of that fact…
I miss the consistency and yearly playoffs that Dungy brought. I was at the NFC Championship game at StLouis- the Bert Emmanuel play wouldn’t have won the game for the Bucs, BUT… anyway, glad Dungy got his SB win AS WELL. Gruden got the Big Win, and he brought in a lot of new players to get it done, but it was a big advantage playing against his former team.
After that, though, they lost that play-off winning edge that they had under Dungy.
All I know is that I’m ready for a Dungy-like resurgence w/a Gruden-like SB victory down the road under Coach Koetter.
Bucs won division in 2005 and 2007 under Gruden just saying
This was when the drafting was bad and the wallet was closed— fired after 9-7 ???
Go Bucs !!!
I know Brooks was playing hurt, Kiffen announces he’s leaving Bucs in week 12 Bucs lose 4 straight and miss playoffs and finish 9-7 and Gruden loses job. When did we become the Patriots that we fire coaches if don’t go to playoffs with winning records, worst mistake this organization has ever done but Gruden gets last laugh watching us go through Morris, Schiano, Lovie and now Koetter (sigh)
I suspect there were other motives that led to the dismissal. Still shocking and in my view, not justified. Spent a lot to get him and cost much more when he departed. I’ll be forever grateful for giving me one of the best few hours of my life in San Diego.
Buck Gurley did not start at nose tackle in the Super Bowl. Chuck Darby did.
Props for giving some credit to Sam Wyche for drafting Brooks, Sapp and Lynch. I hear so many Buc’s fan say Gruden won the Super Bowl with Dungy’s team and that is so unfair if you are not going to acknowledge that Dungy was really winning with Wyche’s team. Those three players were the heart and soul of that defense!
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