FAB 5. SR’s Buc Shots
• Former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden has admitted that he listened to several offers from both college and NFL teams over the years. The University of Tennessee has come after him hard in recent years, including a few weeks ago.
The Indianapolis Colts are the most recent team to make a strong push for Gruden to return to the sidelines, making overtures last offseason. The Raiders are rumored to have contacted Gruden about returning to Oakland before hiring Jack Del Rio.
What about the Buccaneers? Did the team reach out to Gruden a few years ago to replace Greg Schiano before hiring Lovie Smith? That’s a rumor that nobody can confirm on the record.
“I’ve always been in indirect contact, wishing them luck and all that, but I’ve never been on anybody’s radar really,” Gruden said about maintaining contact with Joel Glazer and the Glazer family when asked on August 2. “I’m just trying to hang on to the job I have [at ESPN].”
I happen to believe that might be true, and that the Glazers will reach out to Gruden again to come back to the Bucs – if they haven’t already.
Oakridge BBQ Habanero Death Dust / $9.99
As with all Oakridge BBQ products, they have spared no expense in building this Signature Edition blend. They are constantly sourcing the very best raw cane sugar, sea salt, source-verified spices as well as the highest quality 350,000 Scoville-rated Habanero chiles available.
In this Signature Edition Blend, you’ll also find smokey-hot Chipotle chilies, Guajillo, New Mexico and De Arbol chilies as well as 13 other herbs and spices. The aroma is earthy and spicy, with the fragrance of habanero chiles immediately present.
The flavor profile starts sweet and savory with hints of raw cane sugar, molasses, celery and garlic then in about 3 seconds slams into high gear with the flavor and heat of habanero chilies. This rub is HOT, but it also has a richness and depth of flavor unlike any other ultra-hot spice rub on the market today.
Pick up some Oakridge BBQ Habanero Death Dust at Just Grillin, which is located at 11743 N. Dale Mabry Highway in Carrollwood, just 15 minutes north of Raymond James Stadium. Or shop online at JustGrillinFlorida.com
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• In last week’s SR’s Fab 5, I strongly encouraged the Glazers to seek out a replacement for Dirk Koetter that had a strong penchant for quick in-game adjustments. The three coaches I detailed were New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, in addition to former Bucs head coach Jon Gruden.
When I spoke to former Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson this week for his thoughts on Gruden, I asked him about Gruden’s ability to make in-game adjustments on the fly.
“I think he was great at it,” Johnson said. “You come out and script the first 15 plays or so to see how they line up, but he was great at it, especially at halftime. What was kind of cool about Jon was on game day. He grinded on you during the week with nine-hour days, and he grinded on you in meetings, but on game days he was easy to deal with. If he were putting in a new play he would work on it for a couple of weeks and not just pull it out of a hat. He was easy to communicate with as a quarterback when it came to adjustments and what had a potential to work.”
Gruden’s playbook has a lot of verbiage, which can make it complex and challenging to learn at first, but Johnson was a quick study.
“He brought in a lot of veteran players, and the system had a lot of language, a lot of verbiage,” Johnson said. “His biggest deal was taking advantage of what defenses would give you versus personnel match-ups. I remember the first time I met him he asked me what our defense was going to do in mini-camp when we ran the Blast Off To Joker Right X Short 22 X Drive Halfback Burst? How are they going to stop Triple Right F-Right 358 Nebraska X Seam? How are they going to stop that? He’s really good at personnel groupings against different defenses and attacking them. That’s why you have to learn the language. Rich Gannon told me you really have to buy into it and get programmed, and run the right play that has a chance.
“Jon wants to teach, and you see that on his quarterbacks show [on ESPN. What plays work versus certain defenses? What are the good things that can happen when you get into certain plays, and what are the bad things that can happen if you don’t respond to certain blitz looks? He’s not always looking for the best plays. He’s trying to stay away from the negative plays. He’s a teacher of the game and he’s going to demand it from both sides – coaches and players. He’s going to demand it from up top, too. He’s going to have the players that he needs on the team.”
Johnson texted me the plays he discussed, and also shared with me what Gruden told him the very first time they met at One Buccaneer Place. Gruden walked in and looked Johnson in the eyes and said, “We are going to win the Super Bowl this year. Do you believe me? Do you believe me? We are going to win it this year.”
And they did.
• The Bucs square off against the Atlanta Falcons and star wide receiver Julio Jones on Monday and we’ve got several Pewter Nation Podcasts for you to listen to this week. The latest Pewter Nation Podcast to preview this game comes out Friday afternoon on PewterReport.com, so look for it in time for your commute home from work. We’ll have the insight and analysis on the Bucs from PewterReport.com’s Mark Cook, Trevor Sikkema and yours truly and perhaps Uncle Stan. We recorded two Pewter Nation Podcasts back-to-back this week. The first one was immediately following the loss to the Lions Here is a link to that Pewter Nation Podcast – Episode 50: If I’m Lion, I’m Dyin’
We also recorded another one on Monday night at Ford’s Garage in Wesley Chapel featuring special guest Bucs kicker Pat Murray. You can click this link to that Pewter Nation Podcast – Episode 51: How Gaelic Football Helped The Buccaneers
If you haven’t listened to this week’s podcasts yet, it’s the perfect way to enjoy your lunch on a Friday afternoon or battle rush hour traffic on your way home from work. We’ll be taping another Pewter Nation Podcast on Tuesday afternoon after the Bucs play the Falcons. In addition to listening to the Pewter Nation Podcasts on PewterReport.com you can also subscribe to the free podcasts at PodBean by clicking here and on SoundCloud by clicking here.
• Christmas is just over a week away and if you don’t want to cook let Holy Hog BBQ prepare your holiday meal for you and your family. I’ve had Holy Hog BBQ cater several Thanksgiving dinners for my family and it’s been a huge hit. This year, we’re going to let Holy Hog BBQ cater our Christmas dinner. We are opting for the Southern Fried Turkey Breast from the smoker rather than the Smoked Spiral Ham. We’ve had the ham before for Thanksgiving and it’s incredibly delicious. We’re just going for the Southern Fried Turkey Breast this year.
For just $59 you can order the Southern Fried Turkey Breast (its four and a half pounds of turkey and serves 8-10 people) with pan gravy and your choice of two quart sides (Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, sweet potato soufflé, green bean casserole, collard greens & ham or mac & cheese) and a pumpkin pie. Or if you prefer the Smoked Spiral Ham (eight pounds and serves 12-16 people) it comes with a brown sugar glaze, your choice of three quart sides and a pumpkin pie for $89.
Additional quarts, which serve six to eight people, are $9.89, and 10-inch pumpkin pies are $11.99. If you want to order pulled pork, BBQ ribs or any of the other great entrees and dishes from Holy Hog, call 1-844-HolyHog (465-9464) or visit HolyHogBBQ.com. Once your order is placed, Holy Hog BBQ will coordinate a location for you to pick up your catering order.
Holy Hog BBQ has five Tampa locations:
Downtown – 302 E. Kennedy Blvd.
South Tampa – 4004 Henderson Blvd.
West Tampa – 3501 N. Armenia Ave.
Carrollwood – 11417 N. Dale Mabry Hwy
Amalie Arena – Main Deck at Station 124 & Budweiser Biergarten
Only the South Tampa and Carrollwood locations are open on Christmas Eve (11:00 am – 6:00 pm), and all five locations are closed on Christmas. Visit HolyHogBBQ.com for regular business hours and for a full menu.
• Here is one final item on Jon Gruden. Do you remember how cosmic it was when Gruden played his former teams San Francisco, Philadelphia and Oakland in the 2002 postseason en route to winning a Super Bowl?
Well here’s something equally eerie. Should Gruden leave the Monday Night Football booth and return to coaching next year his final two broadcasts this season include three of his former teams. Gruden will call the Atlanta at Tampa Bay game this Monday and then the Oakland at Philadelphia game the following Monday on Christmas night. Kind of wild, isn’t it?