It’s that time of the year where Jon Gruden becomes the hottest name thrown into coaching searches across college and their NFL. Right now, the Tennessee Volunteers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have both been linked to Gruden and honestly, I don’t know why.
For starters, Gruden hasn’t coached at the collegiate level since 1991 when he coached receivers at Pitt. Fun fact, that same Pitt squad included future NFL coaches Marvin Lewis, Mike McCarthy and Sal Sunseri. I honestly just can’t imagine Gruden as a college head coach visiting recruits and their parents, kissing the ass of wealthy boosters and to be quite frank, nobody wants to run his tired ass offense in college.
I’m really confused by the thought of Tampa Bay hiring him again. Does time heal all wounds? Keep in mind that Gruden was fired following the 2008 season because the Bucs, who started off 9-3, went winless the last month of the season. But that was really just the final straw for the Glazers.
When we talk about Gruden’s time with the Buccaneers, we often just remember the Super Bowl and that’s it. I won’t be one of those guys who take credit from him by saying he just won a Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s team because Tony Dungy couldn’t even win with his own guys. Granted Gruden definitely benefited from playing his former team in the Super Bowl, but a win is a win. But what happened in the 6 seasons after that? Nothing happened. Gruden never won another playoff game despite making the post season two more times.
It’s funny because Dungy was fired for being inept on the offensive side of the ball so they hired Gruden to come on and fix it. In his 7 seasons, he never did that. On the flip side, the defense was top 10 every single year except 2006. And no, Gruden wasn’t in charge of the offense. That was definitely Monte Kiffin.
So right now I ask, what can Jon Gruden really do to save this franchise? Okay, Jameis Winston is definitely a better option than Brad Johnson, Brian Griese, Chris Simms or Jeff Garcia. But it’s deeper than the QB. Who is going to run the defense?
I get it, the Buccaneers haven’t been shit since Gruden left. We thought we might have something with Josh Freeman and Raheem Morris. There was hope Lovie Smith would be able to turn it around. Shit, there was hope that firing Lovie Smith to hire Dirk Koetter would rejuvenate this franchise. But here we are. A little over halfway through the NFL season and we’re already discussing who the Bucs next head coach will be. Word around town is Gruden misses Mike Tirico. I believe it, those two had amazing chemistry. But is his time really up in the booth? This happens every year and it results in Gruden just getting more money to stay with ESPN. Only time will tell, but the coaching life has passed Gruden by. He was a conservative head coach that was slow to adapt to change.
Let’s leave that 95-81 career regular season coaching record alone. 9-5 in the playoffs isn’t bad at all. Leave it there.