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SR’s Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, PewterReport.com publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place and around the NFL.

FAB 1. Bucs Have To Be Thinking About Gruden

I am aware that there are still seven games left in the Bucs’ 2017 season and there currently isn’t a head coaching vacancy in Tampa Bay.

But after five straight losses prior to last week’s 15-10 win over the New York Jets, the Glazers have to be thinking about replacing offensive-minded head coach Dirk Koetter, especially since his offense is averaging a woeful 9.3 points per game over the last three games, and just 17.7 points per game this season (minus two defensive touchdowns) despite a plethora of weapons in this year’s arsenal.

And the Glazers have to be thinking about former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden, who has been teasing a return to coaching since meeting with me at his FFCA (Fired Football Coaches Association) office a few days before the start of training camp. I reported that Gruden was preparing for a return to coaching in a SR’s Fab 5 column in July that made national news.

I also broached the idea a month ago of Gruden potentially replacing Koetter at season’s end following the loss at Arizona in my column, With Gruden Lurking, Koetter Needs To Turn Bucs Around Quickly.

Since then, the rumors – or “Grumors” as they are known on the Internet – have intensified with former Oakland general manager Mike Lombardi making some news two weeks ago by also linking Gruden to Tampa Bay.

“I think we can officially put Dirk Koetter on the hot seat,” Lombardi said the GM Street segment of The Ringer NFL Show podcast. “Dirk Koetter has all this talent and they spent all this money and I think Dirk Koetter is going to be on the hot seat. Could he make it through the end of the year? Perhaps. But I think you are going to start hearing – a lot of people in the NFL are telling me that the name they’re hearing is Gruden back to the Bucs job,” Lombardi said. “He’s made up with the Glazers, and the Glazers could easily bring him back. They need somebody to help their franchise out. Right now they have all of this offensive talent and they can’t score any points.

“Nobody outside the NFL is talking about it, but everybody I talk to in the NFL is talking about the Bucs job and they think it’s going to end up being over with for Dirk Koetter if he doesn’t get this thing turned around fairly quickly, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get turned around really quickly at all.”

The Gruden-Bucs talk begins at the 15:30 mark.

That’s pretty much what I said after the Arizona game.

This is not a call for Koetter to be fired, and I’m not campaigning for Gruden to take his job. Koetter will decide his own fate. But we are going to look at that scenario closely in this week’s SR’s Fab 5 from every angle.

Understand this: Koetter can make all of the Gruden rumors disappear with more wins. If he can somehow coach the Bucs to another 9-7 record with a 6-1 finish, he probably saves his job.

But with a season full of high expectations quickly turning into another losing year for the Buccaneers, the Glazers have to be thinking about Gruden – the guy that brought this franchise its only Super Bowl championships, three NFC South division titles and the most wins of any head coach in team history. (Pay no attention to the Gruden to Tennessee rumors – he’s never going to be a college head coach.)

If you think it’s too premature for me to be writing about a head coaching change in November, I’ll remind you that NFL owners don’t typically wait until the first week of January to decide to fire their coach and start the search for his replacement. They start to build contingency plans in November and December by putting together short lists of possible replacements if the losses continue to mount and they feel a change should be made at season’s end.

There are typically between five to seven head coaches that are fired or resign each year on “Black Monday,” which is the day after the regular season ends. That’s roughly one-fifth of the league. Then there is immediate competition between those clubs to interview and hire the experienced retread NFL coach, or the up-and-coming hotshot offensive or defensive coordinator – whatever one fits what the owner decides his team needs. There is no time to fire a coach at the end of the season and then start to compile a list of candidates the first week of January.

Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and co-chariman Joel Glazer - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden and co-chariman Joel Glazer – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

I haven’t spoken to Gruden since I saw him at his Bucs Ring of Honor induction press conference on August 2 at One Buccaneer Place, nor have I spoken with anybody at One Buccaneer Place about Gruden. I don’t have a solid inclination that the Glazers would actually consider re-hiring the man they fired nine years ago after the Bucs went 9-7 and failed to make the playoffs.

I just have my gut instinct and some information from other league sources that there is, in fact, interest on both sides for a reunion, especially from Gruden. Behind the scenes, this is the job he wants, although out of respect for Koetter he won’t publicly acknowledge it.

But what about the Glazers? I’ve covered this team for 24 years and still don’t know the Glazers very well. Few in the media do. The Glazers operate in a very private manner and go to great lengths to avoid talking to the media, especially during the season. Yet I’ve observed how they run their franchise over the years and the lessons they’ve learned since taking over the reins for their late father, Malcolm Glazer, who suffered the first of two strokes in 2006.

Here is what I’ve learned.

The Glazers typically handle head coaching searches on their own. Malcolm Glazer tried to land Jimmy Johnson and then Steve Spurrier following the 1995 season to replace Sam Wyche before settling for Tony Dungy, the third option, which proved to be a fantastic hire. When Dungy couldn’t pair a Super Bowl-ready defense with a competent offense that could beat the Philadelphia Eagles in 2000 and 2001, the Glazers secretly courted Bill Parcells and nearly landed him to replace Dungy in 2002.

Parcells told the Glazers to hire his former offensive line coach with the Jets, Bill Muir, which they did, and he even had Jets assistant general manager Mike Tannenbaum, who would likely be joining him in Tampa Bay in the front office, investigate the Bucs’ player contracts. Tannenbaum examined Tampa Bay’s salary cap situation and reported back to Parcells that the situation was bleak; that he would have maybe just one or two years to reach the Super Bowl before some of the team’s star players would have to be released due to the looming salary cap hell that general manager Rich McKay put the Bucs in with contract mismanagement. That wasn’t enough time for Parcells to get the Bucs a championship, so he backed out after Dungy had been fired, which stunned the Glazers.

Then they commissioned McKay to find a replacement for Dungy, and wanted an offensive-minded head coach to provide balance to a defensive-laden team. After finding out what it would take to lure Gruden away from Oakland in a trade and deeming it to be too much in terms of draft pick compensation, McKay served up Marvin Lewis, and even told good friend, Chip Carter, the former Fox 13 sports anchor, who broke the news that Lewis would replace Dungy. Only McKay didn’t clear it first with the Glazers, who were very upset that McKay brought them a defensive-minded head coach that had the same coaching style as the one they just fired in Dungy.

Jon Gruden and Bucs owner Malcolm Glazer
Jon Gruden and Malcolm Glazer – Photo by: Getty Images

The Glazers benched McKay for the rest of the search and proceeded to interview Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen and former San Francisco head coach Steve Mariucci before pulling the trigger on trading for Gruden, who won Super Bowl XXXVII.

When the team decided to replace Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen in January of 2009, they chose defensive backs coach Raheem Morris and director of pro personnel Mark Dominik to replace them. When Morris didn’t work out, the Glazers had Dominik do some of the legwork in investigating some of the candidates, but they played a big role in the hiring of Greg Schiano because they wanted a disciplinarian to tighten up the loose atmosphere that Morris created at One Buccaneer Place.

After firing Dominik and Schiano after the 2013 campaign, the Glazers hired Lovie Smith as the head coach, and then with Smith, hired Jason Licht for the general manager role. When Smith was fired two years later, the Glazers gave Licht the authority to conduct the search for Smith’s replacement, but they knew, Licht knew, you knew and I knew that offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was going to be given the job. It just seemed like a good fit and the logical conclusion to draw given his success with Tampa Bay’s offense in 2015.

With his future in Tampa Bay uncertain and the fact that Licht is in a contract year, that tells me that if the Glazers wanted to replace Koetter they would begin exploring that option without Licht’s assistance for the time being. If the Glazers want Licht to return they would likely include him in the process whenever they reached that conclusion. Otherwise, the Glazers might begin doing their homework on coaching candidates on their own, as they have done plenty of times in the past.

Any shortlist of candidates should include two men who have had previous head coaching experience and are thriving right now, Philadelphia defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz and New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, in addition to New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel.

But the name at the top of the list – especially a list in Tampa Bay – should be Gruden.

The Glazers caught lightning in a bottle in 2002 when their risky, heavily criticized trade for Gruden worked out better than anyone could have imagined as the Bucs went 12-4 that season and defeated Gruden’s former team, the Raiders, in Super Bowl XXXVII.

Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden - Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Could lightning strike again in Tampa Bay with Gruden and the Buccaneers?

If he were to be given a second chance (and join former Raiders head coach Art Shell to become just the second head coach in modern NFL history to be re-hired by the same franchise), Gruden wouldn’t be expected to take Tampa Bay to the Super Bowl in his first year. The Bucs have a young, talented roster, but not nearly the same amount of talent he inherited in 2002 with a defense that had a host of Pro Bowlers on it.

The expectation for Gruden – or any head coach hired in Tampa Bay – would be to get this team back to the playoffs – quickly. That’s something that hasn’t happened since Gruden did it back in 2008 when his Buccaneers won the NFC South title with a 9-7 record.

Gruden has had nearly a decade to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work during his seven years as Tampa Bay’s head coach. The Glazers have had time to see what nearly a decade’s worth of hit-and-miss drafts and mediocre head coaches have produced – without a single playoff season to show for it.

The Glazers are winners. They have won in the business arena. They have won in world league soccer with Manchester United. And they have won in the NFL with the Buccaneers.

Fans fret over the fickleness of the Glazers’ hiring and firing head coaches every two or three years since Gruden last coached in 2008. They lament the fact that the franchise lacks stability due to the constant turnover and worry that the Bucs are becoming the NFC’s version of the Cleveland Browns or Jacksonville Jaguars.

ESPN Monday Night Football announcers Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough - Photo courtesy of ESPN
ESPN Monday Night Football announcers Jon Gruden and Sean McDonough – Photo courtesy of ESPN

I don’t. Instead, I applaud the Glazers’ refusal to settle for mediocrity.

I do not know what level of success Patricia or Vrabel would bring as first-time head coaches. I do not know what McDaniels or Schwartz would bring in their second opportunity as a head coach. Although it took Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll a second chance to find success in the NFL.

I do know that Gruden would bring excellence.

He’s had success everywhere he’s coached from Green Bay to Philadelphia to Oakland to Tampa Bay to ESPN, where Gruden currently works as the color analyst for Monday Night Football, in addition to hosting Gruden’s QB Camp in the months leading up to the NFL Draft where he also serves as a commentator for the network

The reason why I’m writing about Gruden now is because now is when he and his agent, Bob Lamonte, are fielding phone calls from NFL and college teams about making his comeback. As I pointed out in my SR’s Fab 5 column in late July, Gruden is a year away from being an empty nester. Gruden went on the Rich Eisen Show last week and hinted yet again about a possible return to coaching.

“It’s in your blood,” Gruden told Eisen. “You get some people calling maybe to see if you’re interested in coaching again and maybe if you can help recommend a couple of guys. I’m pretty much involved in every level of football every day of the week. I try to help if I can. One of these days, who knows, Rich? One of these days … you never know. I’m just trying to hang on to the job I have. As you know, I don’t have a guaranteed contract.

“I have talked to people in years past, and I plan on keeping my options open. Like I said, I’m 54 years old now and I’m really happy to be doing what I’m doing. I have great people and I think we have a really good team. I’m looking forward to traveling with a really good team of Monday Night Football and our crew. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and if something comes along down the road we’ll take a look at it.”

Listen to Gruden at the 6:55- and 8:45-minute marks.

Speaking of Monday Night Football, if the Bucs continue to underachieve this year and the losses pile up, how awkward will that pre-game production meeting be between Gruden and Koetter prior to Tampa Bay’s Monday Night Football game against Atlanta on December 18 if the Gruden-to-Bucs rumors continue? That’s also the night when Gruden will be recognized at halftime with the Bucs Ring of Honor ceremony.

“It’s tough, especially when you get around these players,” Gruden continued to say on Eisen’s show. “You get around them and sometimes you sit there and go, ‘I wonder if I could help this kid?’ I wish I could try to help him. I wish I could do something to make a difference. But at the same time I look at my job that way in broadcasting. I get to be a part of my QB Camp with all the young quarterbacks. I feel like I’m helping them a little bit. I do get a chance to prepare every week and hopefully do a decent of informing our viewers out there on two teams that we have for Monday Night Football. Like I said here at the FFCA, I host a lot of coaches and I host a lot of players.

“It’s the Fired Football Coaches Association. We’ve got a little laboratory down here [in Tampa] where guys come from around the country and we study different situations with plays and personnel. We also try to raise money and we give it back to high school and youth sports because a lot of people are beating up the game right now and it really bothers me. It bothers a lot of people. We’re trying to save high school and youth football so kids can play in the future.”

Gruden might be called upon to save the Buccaneers next.

Shop the newest Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan gear at Fanatics!

37 COMMENTS

  1. Good morning,

    We should pursue Jim Harbaugh in earnest. A review of the last ten championship games show he had San Francisco in the mix most years. Gruden is the shiny object that’s orbiting (I thought it a little creepy the way he was fawning over Winston on Hard Knocks) around the team. Also, his reputation for misleading, formerly lying, to players has somehow evaporated. I believe in giving Koetter and his staff another year before making a change. The one change I would implement is giving Monken the reigns on play calling. If Koetter resists, that would be enough of a reason to move forward. Lastly, I would try to bring Derrick Brooks and Tony Dungy back into the organization. These men made me proud to be a Buc fan. Go Bucs!

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  2. Koetter and his staff suck as coaches. Do you really think he is going out coach Sean Payton, Quinn and Rivera? No way these guys will out coach 3 Superbowl coaches. They get out coached every week. Its over. It was over before it ever started. The offense they run is too predictable and the reason we suck on offense is the other teams have figured it out. Gruden is coming here. Don’t be a fool and let Chicago get him or possibly even someone like Jerry Jones. Gruden would take the Cowboy job even with Jerry Jones hovering over him because the talent is there to win Superbowls. Marinelli running the defense is familiar to him. You miss on Gruden and its more years of mediocrity. Remember how many coaches have left us at the altar. Its not a job people have high on their list. Gruden is the ideal candidate for the Bucs

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  3. Harbaugh wouldn’t be my first option, it would be Gruden. If anyone on the post truly followed the BUCS through the Dungy and Gruden years. Gruden was a heck of a coach for the BUCs and shouldn’t have been fired for cause. I lived the BUCS since my childhood in ’76, wore bags on head at the old sombrero (in those awful bench seats) with my dad & grandfather, lived the dream of Doug Williams, and the horrors of Culverhouse.
    >Gruden took the team to the SB (and won) when everyone close to the team knew the window was closing due to the age of the stars & the salary cap. (that is why Dungy was fired, they were running out of road) They had a 3 year window at BEST. Year 2 was on track to repeat and the BUCS were on fire when that dreaded Monday night game happened, and the BUCS lost 4 or 5 key starters to injury (alstott & lynch were 2) . The window was closed. Parcells knew this and that is why he wouldn’t take the job (as Scott pointed out).
    >He won with junk after that. Old decaying FA players as he and Allen tried to patch the team together between age, injuries, and salary cap hell.
    >He was let go when the Glazers decided to burn the house down & reboot, and they went on the cheap with Morris during that reboot.
    >He and Allen weren’t perfect, and his judgement on Veteran players was flawed. (He loved them all, even the ones that had nothing left).
    >The draft classes weren’t great during his tenure. (now how much of that was Gruden versus McKay/Allen-who really knows) If pair with meathead (who has been a pretty good talent drafter) it might be better. He did want to draft Aron Rodgers when nobody else wanted him (Rich veto’d him).

    Gruden was a great coach for the BUCS, and he was a fun/entertaining coach for the BUCS. I would welcome Chucky back as a fan & follower IF Koetter is fired. He’s got JUICE (remember that- if you don’t you shouldn’t comment on Gruden). He has flaws but all coaches (and us posters) have them. The BUCS have had 3 great coachs: McKay, Dungy, and GRUDEN.

    PS- If you haven’t read his book he put out after his superbowl win, you should. Great read and very insightful into the man.

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    • Ps PS- Scott great Fab 5 and a fair & balanced article on Gruden. I think you hit the mark on just about everything.

      I would like your thoughts on this though: I think the Glazer’s fired Gruden not for cause, but because they decided to burn everything down, dump salary, and rebuild. My hunch is Gruden didn’t want to be a party to that, which lead to his firing. Likely included Bruce being let go and a new GM having more say on drafting & FA. (low spending period after they just bought Manchester United)

      What say you?

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  4. I have read the book. I agree, terrific read. I simply don’t like the way Gruden’s been sniffing around the organization. It fits into his reputation of being less than honest. We can do better. Buc76, I can’t disagree with you regarding Koetter’s in-game management but Gruden, in my opinion, is not the guy for this organization. However, Gruden is obviously making himself the guy for the organization. Lastly, Koetter’s relationship with the media is toxic. Its not a shock, we continue to read articles about Gruden taking over. Its one thing to write Koetter is in trouble. Its another thing to say, Gruden is sitting in the parking lot. Go Bucs!

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  5. Living on the east coast I miss the Disney training camps that I attended with my young sons at the time. I’ve heard how easy the Bucs camp was this year under Koetter, but I don’t remember those type of practices under Gruden. A loafer like Baker would’ve never been tolerated by Gruden, but more importantly players like Sapp. I remember Sapp going full tilt from drill to drill enjoying it like a kid in a candy store. That might be what’s really missing with this team, and Gruden would be that boot in the ass they need. Mark, and Trev missed an opportunity not asking Koetter the question, why is a 3-6 football team ending practice early? I doubt Gruden would’ve done that the way this team has under preformed this year. Come back Jon, we miss the juice this team sorely needs.

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    • I hated those days training camp was at Disney. Too far and too hot.

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  6. Good balanced analysis, Scott.

    Jon Gruden would make a great Bucs head coach. But a certain contingent will grouse, the same group that groused after Dungy got the hook and never forgave Gruden for succeeding Dungy. They kept grousing all the way through til the baby Glazers fired Gruden at the end of the 2008 season. Their incompetence is the give that keeps on giving.

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  7. My prediction for the rest of the season:

    We beat Miami this weekend. It will looks similar to the Jets game where the Defense has a strong performance, and the Offense does just enough to give as a win.

    We lose the remaing games for the season and finish 4-12. Saints are rolling, Panthers are coming alive, 2 games against the Falcons, who are starting to get their offense on track, Detroit, and Green Bay. I don’t see us beating any of them.

    Koetter gets fired.

    We hire Jon Gruden.

    (This next part is just to annoy Trevor)

    We now trade Jon Gruden to the struggling Raiders for 2 1st rd picks and 2 2nd rnd picks this year and next.

    We then hire Jim Mcelwain.

    Seriously though, I like Koetter, I think he is a good coordinator, but not a good head coach. There is no fire to him. Watching him on the sidelines looking over his glasses at the play sheet reminds me of my dad looking at a menu in a restaurant. Players are fighting on the sideline right next to him, and he looks like he is thinking about ordering the prime rib. I really hope that Koetter can turn things around and at least win most of the remaining games, but if not, then ALL HAIL GRUDEN!

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  8. Still not convinced yet about Gruden. Scott has made a nice pitch for Gruden and I understand why so many want Gruden. I just remember it was the Defense that got us in the Superbowl and continued to carry us evena couple years until after losing Sapp, Lynch, Rice, Brooks finally Barber. Wouldn’t this whole senario work better if this happened after the 2018? Why would Jon not be involved in his sons senior year and want to enjoy it? There’s plenty of successful NFL Coaches doing exactly what Koetter does. i agree Koetter has to give up OC if he truely wants to save this HC job; the question might be, does he really want to give up the OC over the HC ? Right now I think it’s best we wait until the end of the year and see where we are. I know there has to be changes on Defense, not sure about the HC yet though. Just two games ago I felt totally different so I’m going to hold saying anymore about this until

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    • Sorry about that add a keyboard problem.
      Last line should say until the season ends.

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    • You misremember, Horse. Dungy’s defense got us to one NFC championship game, that’sit.

      Gruden’s whole team got us to the Super Bowl and won us the Super Bowl. That was NOT Dungy’s team.

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      • I never said anything about it being Dungy’s. I said it was the defense I got us to the Super Bowl and winning the Super Bowl. Obviously the offense helped to but not as much as a defense did. That’s all I was trying to say.

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  9. You had me up until you state that Licht is the best GM to stop Gruden from making questionable personnel decisions. Nothing about Lichts’ tenure would support that notion. I don’t think being better than our previous terrible GMs is something that alone should keep Licht in a job. I wholeheartedly disagree that he has “stockpiled” us with talent. The “talent” on the roster has improved but the problems are the same as when he started. Inconsistent play on offense, middle of the pack defense and both lines of scrimmage are still in need of repair. His free agents wreak of a yes man or a terrible talent evaluator either way he’s not the man to bounce ideas off of regarding FAs. Anybody that cuts Donald Penn and consciously replaced him with Anthony Collins is no one I’d put my faith in. First year on the job and he’s cutting Darrelle Revis and our best OL. He has a history of overpaying part time players and not properly addressing the talent on the lines of scrimmage which has doomed this team. Jon Robinson is the name I’d target for GM due to his connection with the roster and eye for talent. The next GM has to be someone who identifies that Donovan Smith is a guard not a tackle, that VHIII is a nickel CB not an outside CB, that Spence is a PT edge rusher not someone capable of 3 down duties. Someone that can salvage the picks we currently have while improving on the trenches in the process. That guy is not Licht because after 4 seasons he still hasn’t done it.

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  10. Let’s also remember that Gruden’s fiery, in-your-face style wore thin with the veterans after a few years. Are the Bucs going to be in the same boat 2-3 years down the road with a coach that has, once again, lost his team? Will the revolving coaching door continue on and on? Will the Bucs organization completely blow their chance with the teams first legitimate franchise QB? Let’s look at the Patriots, Steelers, Packers, Panthers, etc… Where does this consistency come from? I’d like to see from analysis from Trev or Scott on how these teams remain constant winners in a parody-driven league. Stoking the fires for constant change is not getting the Bucs anywhere with this knee-jerk management. What about bringing back Dungy as President of Operations?

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    • You say that the Gruden style wore thin with the veterans, but most of the veterans on the team when he arrived were no longer on the team after several years, both due to cap mismanagement by Rich McKay, and due to retirement.

      I don’t buy that line one bit.

      Gruden took the Bucs to three more winning seasons, and two more Division Chempionships, after what you say was his “worn thin” seasons. He was on his way to another Division Championship and a 12-4 record when his defensive coordinator litally skipped town, quitting the team in the final month of the season to go work for his loopy son, Lane Kiffen, at UT. When you look at the performance of the team that December of 2008, it was clearly the defense that failed that monthg, not the offense or special teams.

      Clearly it was Monty Kiffen who screwed the Bucs in 2008, and screwed his boss Jon Gruden, and screwed all the players, and screwed all the fans.

      And then, unbelievably, the baby Glazers then blamed Gruden for his turncoat DC going AWOL and tanking the season, and fired Gruden! By far the stupidest move in all of the many stupid decades of Bucs ownership stupidity.

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    • It’s possible,that consistency has come from Brady, Rothlisberger, Rogers and Newton, though admittedly those coaches have done a better job of building talent around those QBs than we have, at least on both lines.
      If you have a great QB (admittedly Newton runs hot and cold but his running ability and something like 50 rushing TDs shouldn’t be overlooked) and good talent around him (so-so not enough but doesn’t have to be great either) you’re in the hunt

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      • True… And coaching and scheme tenure… Consistency and stability.

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  11. Other than the New England, when Koetter was chasing points too early, did I think the coaches have cost this team a win. It is not Koetter’s fault than Winston keeps missing touchdown throws or defenders not being in their gap to make the tackle. Are the Bucs coaches perfect? Of course not. But neither are the other 31 coaching staffs in this league. When are we going to put these losses on the players’ shoulders? It is them who are most responsible for this losing season. I doesn’t matter if we bring it Bilichek and his staff. If Winston can’t learn to take what defenses are giving him, mature as an individual, and improve his accuracy; this team will have to depend on the very mediocre defense for wins. I want Jameis to be like Brady, but it’s year 3 and I still see a knucklehead out there. Hopefully he proves me wrong going forward because I do want the Bucs to win and finally have that franchise quarterback I can root for. I would say more about the defense, but I don’t know who was assigned to do what on the plays. But from watching neither do the players, it seems.

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  12. So, I guess you guys are all in with Gruden because SR can’t stop pimping this idea. Is Gruden paying you guys?

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    • No more than Tony Dungy paid his fans to hate on Gruden.

      Which is to say, not at all.

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    • LOL! No, Gruden is not paying us. Nor would we ever accept any payment for coverage or any favorable story from someone we have covered, do cover or will cover.

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  13. Continuing this nonsense with 7 games to play is extraordinarily disrespectful to Coach Koetter.

    Hey Scott, do you not remember the horrible drafts and the record with the Bucs was barely .500? Take away the only truly good year and his Bucs record is 45-51. Mediocrity or worse every year.

    Pewter Report is to Gruden what FuxNuze is to Trump. Propaganda!

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    • I remember four winning seasons out of 7. I remember 3 division championships. I remember the only Super Bowl in 42 years of mostly mediocrity.

      The only coach in Bucs history to deliver any of the above. Ever.

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      • Let’s see how that plays out with three opposing franchise QBs in the division… Not so easy now.

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        • You’re right. Lets pack it in.

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    • It’s not my job to write things that Dirk Koetter (or any head coach) would find favor with. I clearly stated the reason for me writing this – because this is the time of year when owners work behind the scenes to line up their next coaches.

      And if you closely read the article you would see where I stated that Gruden’s drafts were terrible and that he’s not a talent evaluator. He needs a good G.M.

      You’re entitled to your opinion, but we’re certainly not propaganda. Just ask Greg Schiano and Lovie Smith.

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  14. Scott says, “I’m not campaigning for Gruden to take his job.”

    What would you call devoting an entire Fab 5 to Jon Gruden other than a promotional campaign? Seriously, that statement is just disingenuous. Unless you’ve heard from multiple sound sources that it’s a done deal, then this falls into the category of irresponsible speculation and blatant promotion of the idea. Even joebucsfan has been less of a Gruden cheerleader than this, and that’s saying something.

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    • Couldn’t have been said any better. The only reason this is a “hot topic” at all is because Pewter Report did an interview with him and concluded by interpreted implication that A) He wants to coach again and B) It will be for the Buccaneers. Everyone else is just piggy-back riding from it.

      Shameless self-promotion at its most naked and unapologetic. I had thought the reporters at Pewter Report better than this, but am disappointed to be proven wrong.

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    • JBF is free to write what they want to write.

      There is no done deal and didn’t imply there was.

      I wouldn’t write this much on Gruden-to-the-Bucs out of pure speculation. Where there is smoke there is fire.

      And while we have written more on Gruden-to-the-Bucs than anyone, the Tampa Bay Times, PFT and other media outlets have certainly written about the possibility, too.

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      • The only smoke come from some idiots that started yapping…. And then that smoke feeds somebody else’s smoke, which feeds somebody else’s, etc… So far, there’s no fire. Without any concrete information, it’s ALL speculation from every source, not just PR. Unless the Glazers and Gruden have a deal and somebody leaked it, or they’re working on a deal and it was leaked it’s NOTHING except speculation. Irresponsible speculation. Players read or hear this, and it undermines the current staff, which deserves a chance to get this thing pointed in the right direction. So, it’s garbage speculation… Even if Gruden is eventually rehired, this still is pure irresponsible speculation. You are literally helping to fan the flames of discontent.

        Gruden may be the biggest name coach out there. He’s a star, but that doesn’t mean he’s the best coach or the best organizational choice if the Glazers want to make a change. This would be a move based largely on nostalgia and wishful thinking rather than sound decision making. Competent organizations don’t try to make splashy hires or go back to the well of past successes to save themselves. They succeed by knowing how to find the best football people and letting them do their jobs.

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  15. The Bucs need changes! Now with this potential Winston accusation… it’s becoming a bit troublesome! Winston is due to be resigned shortly and his potential salary will cause ripples throughout the roster! I do think coaching is an issue. Some guys are just cut out to be coordinators but this doesnt make them great Head Coaches. While I like Dirk… he lacks intensity and his coaching style seems to have lost some of the team. Of course, winning cures all, I feel as if Dirk’s time as Head Coach is coming to an end here in Tampa. Gruden would bring some juice, but i’m not sold that he is the right man either, although i’m not opposed to his return. This will soon come to a head shortly. A new Coach will want his QB under center… the biggest question is Winston THAT guy?

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  16. Scott simply did an article on the 600 lb gorilla in the room that won’t go away. Like it, or not it’s a hot topic that’s only going to get hotter leading up to his induction game come December. Scott isn’t the only one pimping this story. If someone from P.R. could get a hold of Ronde Barber, I’d really like to hear his take on a Gruden return. Come to think of it how about Sapp, and Brooks take. They played for the guy, their insight would be interesting.

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    • You mentioned Barber. That is man who needs to be coaching and not broadcasting. Make a great DB’s coach.
      He would be an asset.

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  17. I think most of us hope the Licht/Koetter regime proves successful and are tired of the continual upheaval. However, I also think most of us have lost a bit of confidence that this is the right duo. It’s quite shocking to me how poorly this 2017 team has performed. It’s not a shock to me, but still disappointing, that even following a promising end to the 2016 season that there was still only a very reserved buzz among the fan base. This was no 1997 when the car flags were flying. The Stick Carriers enthusiasm was quickly extinguished when the team looked like it had been beaten with an Ugly Stick rather than it wielding Bufford Pusser’s bat.

    One thing desperately needed is for this team to feel like it has a fan base at all. As I often say, our 12th Man is wearing the other team’s colors and shouting the opponent’s favorite chant. It all starts with the Season Pass Members base. When the new stadium opened in 1998 it was nearly all Bucs fans. Even had a waiting list. Then in 2008 the 10 year commitment expired, games were on TV, Gruden and the “glory days” memories faded, the team went into decline and folks didn’t renew their tickets. Apathy replaced loyalty and devotion.

    Nothing the team has done since has inspired the local populous to get behind its’ NFL team. Other than running the table the remainder of this season to reach the post-season, only one thing surely would. We and the Glazers know what that is.

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  18. So I’ve been busy, been discouraged by the Bucs slide, and a few other things to keep me from getting to this Fab 5 until now. The Bucs have won another game since this was written and 2 in a row. Despite the lackluster performance out of the defense this year I have liked the way that Smith has changed his scheme to address the soft cover 2 problems that plagued us early. As Trevor pointed out, Evans is in the game on basically every snap now allowing Smith to move to a more effective cover 3. It’s a shame though because perhaps outside of the Packers game next week, I’m not sure any other game looks like a sure thing from here on out. That may be enough to spell Kotter/Smith’s demise.

    I also am unconvinced of Licht’s credentials to temper Gruden were he to be the hire. I’m not sure I believe he’s been as bad as some have cited in this thread, but in my opinion there’s nothing to suggest that Licht has pushed back much on Koetter so far. One of the most glaring examples is this year’s pick of Godwin (who I like as a player, but shouldn’t have been our 3rd pick after Howard in the 1st). That pick SHOULD have been a running back. To me, the faith in our backfield started with Koetter and there shouldn’t have been any. The fact that Godwin was drafted and an RB wasn’t until the 5th round says to me that Licht didn’t push back when it was very necessary. I just looked at Koetter’s RB’s in both Jax & Atl when he was OC because I fail to understand why he wouldn’t want a potent running game for Winston to help relieve pressure. He had Jones-Drew and Michael Turner/Steven Jackson in both cases…. And Jacquizz Rodgers as a #2 in Atl. To me, it’s clear the un-importance of the RB position has been proven a myth these last couple years and the wear on the position borne out. Thus, you need a very strong 3rd down back/#2 back and it was clear we didn’t. And looking at the personnel decisions I don’t think they were aware just how much improvement was needed.

    I like Gruden as a replacement since it seems inevitable one will be needed, but I agree that the GM has to be the exact right one for the job and I’m not sure if Licht is it. I also don’t believe that hiring Gruden would amount to naive nostalgia. I think Gruden still has the qualities you want in a HC. Players do need to fear being in the dog house. Look at New England. You can be benched or cut in a heartbeat no matter who you are on the roster if you’re not doing your job.

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  19. Re-reading all of this discussion is great.

    Gruden with Licht is really something to consider. What would the chemistry be like? Would Licht be strong enough to not be overruled by Gruden and still have a good working relationship?

    This is the big question about bringing Gruden back for me. Who would be the best GM plus Gruden combination? Are the Glazers collectively going to be able to arrive at a good judgement? Or would this also be just another roll of the dice?

    If so how would the Bucs be better off than if they just stood pat for another year? I surely don’t know.

    _________________
    Go Bucs!!!!!!!!

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