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.
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.
Bucs RB Charles Sims – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
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 25th 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 spent six years 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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