TAMPA – Regular readers of Florida Football Insiders may or may not have noticed that we haven’t written very much about the possibility of former Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden returning to the sidelines in recent weeks.
We haven’t written that because, after years of chasing those kinds of stories, we have come to the educated conclusion that Gruden has little or no intention of ever coaching again, either at the college level or in the NFL.
Sure, there is a part of Gruden that wants to return to the sidelines because coaching is in his blood. It’s truly what he loves to do most. But he’s got an even better gig now at ESPN and he knows it.
In his current capacity at ESPN, Gruden has become more than the face of a franchise, he’s become one of the faces of football, period, and it probably won’t be long before his name gets a boost in stature, too.
The generation of gamers who know who John Madden is has begun to fade. The likelihood then is that at some point in the near future, Gruden’s name will replace Madden’s on the NFL’s premier video game.
That’s not a reason never to coach again but it’s just one of the many reasons why Gruden will continue to have it much better where he is now than he ever had it or would have it again as a coach.
So, no, we’re not going to write a bunch of baseless stories saying Gruden is coming back to coach the Bucs or any other team simply to drive up site traffic, even though we love spikes in site traffic.
What we do here is report stories that have some basis in fact, and that’s what we’re doing here in light of a recent radio interview with Gruden’s Monday Night Football partner, Sean McDonough.
McDonough, who does the play-by-play that Gruden provides analysis for on ESPN’s Monday night telecasts, was a guest recently on the Chris “Mad Dog” Russo show on SiriusXM radio.
During that interview, Russo did what he should have done and asked McDonough to address the Gruden rumors, asking specifically if he thought Gruden loved his ESPN gig enough to stick with it long term.
McDonough’s response was telling because it spoke to both Gruden’s love for what he’s doing now and his love for coaching but also provided an avenue to follow at least for the short term.
“I know Jon loves what he is doing,’’ McDonough said. “I think that is obvious to anybody who is around and watches “Monday Night Football”). And obviously he is very well compensated.
“So I don’t think he would go back to coaching because, ‘Oh, the money is so different. I can’t afford not to do that.’ But he is a coach and I think he enjoys getting on there every Monday night and teaching America football.
“It is always going to be there for him because he doesn’t totally have the coaching bug out of his system. So I think whenever these (openings) come up, he has to weigh the positives and the negatives.
“But I would be surprised if he went back (to coaching) next year. Would I would be completely shocked? No. But my full expectation is that he will be back with us again next season.’’
So there you have it. The man who works closest to Gruden doesn’t believe Gruden is going back to coaching, at least not yet, and if he’s not ready to go now, well then when would he go? Really, think about that for a second.
A lot of good jobs opened up this year, particularly in the college game, where Gruden could have had his choice of jobs at Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, UCLA or even Oregon.
He chose none and he won’t choose any of the NFL jobs that open up either because none of those jobs – including the Bucs job, should it open up – is as good as the job he has now. And chances are it will stay that way.
Oh sure; there’s chance that maybe someday down the road, some Super Bowl-ready team will suddenly fire its coach and ask Gruden to carry them the rest of the way to the promised land the way he did with the Bucs.
But even that seems a bit unlikely. After all, NFL owners have a pretty good gauge on what it is Gruden really wants to do, too, and tarnishing his ever-growing legacy by failing to polish off a champion isn’t one of them.
Bucs coach Arians again non-committal Tuesday on QB Winston
It’s become increasingly apparent, that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ready to move on from potential free agent quarterback Jameis Winston. And Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, coach Bruce Arians gave the latest example that he and the Buccaneers front office will look at the other options available first.
Arians spoke at a podium on numerous subjects, but the most prominent is what Tampa Bay will do in the coming days with Winston?
— Charlie Clifford (@cliffWISH8) February 25, 2020
Arians was asked directly about potential for a franchise tag for his starter a year ago and what the Bucs might proceed to do? But, he refused to endorse that option on the former number one overall pick Winston. And, the Bucs coach maintained that the team will possibly us the franchise tag for defensive end Shaq Barrett.
Further, Arians gave a pointed specific answer on Winston’s poor play last December as the team finished 7-9 and that has the team looking at other options,
Arians on Winston and why it’s still uncertain: “December wasn’t what I wanted to see.”
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) February 25, 2020
Arians has consistently refused back Winston since the off-season began. This included at an NFL coaching seminar earlier this month in Tampa. He said to the media at that time:
“Really nothing has changed,” Arians said. “What’s Door No. 2? You know? Can we make the one we have better? All those things you go through right now.”
“You’re just sitting there waiting to see is there someone available? … Is he a better option?
The Buccaneers faltered in the middle of the season to drop to 3-7 and then, Winston and Co. blew its final two games to finish 7 – 9 with Winston throwing a career-high 30 interceptions.
After their final loss at home to Atlanta in overtime, where Winston threw the game losing “pick six,” Arians was candid after the final game by saying about Winston’s play that it would have to be evaluated pass by pass and game by game in the off-season. Further, he told the media then, that there “was some great and some terrible…. and you have to decide, if the great outweighs the terrible.”
While Winston did throw for a career-high 5000 + yards in 2019, his interceptions and total turnovers continued to be his downfall throughout the season. The Buccaneers finished 1 – 6 in games against teams with winning records and Winston had 17 total turnovers in those seven games. He finished with the 30 picks that included 10 of them in the Bucs final four games.
Tampa Bay obviously will have the opportunity to go after a free agent quarterback or two, as there is much speculation about the likes of Tom Brady with the Patriots. Plus, Philip Rivers will not be re-signed by the Chargers and is available come March. And, now that Drew Brees has announced he wants to play at least one more year for the Saints, their backup Teddy Bridgewater will be in demand on the market.
The Bucs are also continuing the evaluating the QB class for the Draft the next few days in Indy, which could have some interesting names still available in the second and third rounds and beyond.
Bucs confirmed Monday they will have new uniforms in 2020
On Monday, the Bucs confirmed what they have been hinting at, they will have new uniforms in 2020. But the real question is: what does “new” mean in this instance?
We heard you!
New uniforms coming April 2020. pic.twitter.com/e7qNUsNWZb
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) February 24, 2020
The Bucs also released a statement through their website confirming that April will be the unveiling of the new uniforms, as well as, potential new color scheme, logo, etc. and had these comments from co – owner, Ed Glazer:
“We have heard the feedback from our fans loud and clear and have been working with the NFL and our league partners at Nike to usher in a new look as we enter this next decade of Buccaneers football. We look forward to revealing more details in the near future about our official unveiling event which will take place later this spring.”
As we wrote earlier this month, the Buccaneers have been hinting at trying to enhance their uniforms and there is some belief there will be more orange, the original color of the franchise. There is also educated speculation that the team may go back to a white helmet, which will enable them to have “throwback uniform games” that they’ve not been able to have for the last seven seasons.
This is because under league concussion protocol, players must have the same helmet all season and the Bucs primary one has been pewter in color since their chance in colors and logo in 1997,
The Bucs last altered their uniforms in 2014 by brightening the color red and slightly changing the logo and making it bigger on their pewter helmet. Teammates Ryan Jensen and Mike Evans are shown in the current color scheme, etc. above.
NFL teams have to submit changes in their colors and logos a year in advance. So obviously, this has been in the works for the Glazer family that owns the team for some time.
It should be noted that the Buccaneers NFC South Rivals, the Atlanta Falcons, have already made mention that they are changing their uniforms and color scheme. And, it’s believed that they will go back in 2020 to their original base color of red including possibly red helmets and potentially, primarily gray pants that they wore for over twenty years.
The Falcons have had black helmets for the better part of 30 years going back to Jerry Glanville changing the color scheme to primarily black jerseys in his days at the Falcons coach in the early 1990s.
Back to the Bucs. There is no other team in the NFL that has orange as their primary jersey color. The Bengals Broncos and Browns have occasionally worn orange “alternate jerseys” but not full time.
So, if the Glazers are again embracing a change to mostly orange jerseys, it will be unique. The video Monday showed a red jersey on a sewing machine, which could be a clue or could be misdirection of what the team actually intends to unveil in April.
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