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Gruden’s Future - The Continuing Saga
Posted Nov 27, 2006 by Scott Kramer
Updated Nov 27, 2006 at 01:28 AM
I’ll get to my review of the Thanksgiving game (for which I willnot give thanks) on Monday. But first I wanted to address some of the responses to the Where Would He Rather Be entry.
There seems to be a big Fire Gruden contingent here. Which is fine, I suppose. Whenever a team is losing, the head coach has to expect that he’ll be put on the hot seat. But let’s look at why you want him gone. Some of you want him axed because of his playcalling. But for the last several games, the plays have been there. In fact, I think Gruden has done some of his best playcalling over the last month. He hasn’t been afraid to take shots down the field, he hasn’t abandoned the run and he has called the right plays for the defense that was presented. Several plays have been available and he has gotten some excellent looks. It’s the execution that has fallen short, not the calls. Poor passes and poor pass protection, more times than not, have been the reasons for the lack of offensive yards. The Bucs have simply been outplayed, not outcoached.
I also hear a lot of “the head coach is responsible for the performance of the team”. I guess that’s valid, but if that’s your argument, you should also be calling for Monte Kiffin‘s head. It’s well known that Kiffin has total autonomy over the defense, and the defense looks considerably worse than the offense these days. So, you fire Gruden and Kiffin at the end of the year, you’ve got a second year quarterback that hasn’t won too many games, a young offense overall and an aged defense that has only really worked under the Cover 2 scheme. Scrap the defensive players, too? Fine. Now everyone is brand new. Does that really sound like a recipe for winning? Of course not. And if you’re willing to give new coaches some time to win with their players, why aren’t you equally as willing to give Gruden/Kiffin time to get new players (remember, lots of cap cash next year) and start winning with them? This season is really the first that Gruden and Bruce Allen won’t be stuck with Rich McKay‘s cap ineptitude and will also have a full compliment of picks. Why would you change leadership without having given him every opportunity to succeed?
Trust me, I understand the frustration. Watching games like the one against the Cowboys is tantamount to Chinese water torture with Nickelback playing in the background. At this point, though, wins and losses are meaningless. If the team doesn’t win again this year, it won’t affect my opinion of Gruden. The best thing he can do is to use the games to gain valuable information about the players he currently has and where his needs are in 2007. Then he’ll have everything he needs to rebuild, and I still think he’s the best man for that particular job.