Even by coach, John Gruden's, standards his quarrel was lame. He was last overheard whining about playing the Carolina Panthers on Monday night in Charlotte, NC. According to Gruden, "By virtue of winning the South division last year, the decisive divisional game should have been played in red neck Tampa." Excuse me, but what does that have to do with the price of foreclosures in China? Wasn't that the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants Sunday night playing on the road against the Dallas Cowboys...yet not a grumble out of Giants' coach, Tom Coughlin?
Why isn't Gruden more concerned about playing in the red zone where his team ranks next to last in touchdowns? Of course, Gruden supporters place all the blame on the club's lack of offensive play makers; yet, who's responsible for drafting the Dexter Jacksons' on this team?
Is it just a coincidence the best ability is on the defense where lame duck defensive coordinator, Monte Kiffin, resides? Is he the genius behind a club relying primarily on the defense, not only to score, but blank the opponent as well? Think about receiver, Antonio Bryant's cryptic criticism,
"Dammit! Why are we afraid to score?" He was lamenting the Bucs' refusal to challenge the Falcon's secondary Sunday when Tampa played for the tie before losing in overtime 13-10.
It appears coach, Gruden, doesn't get it. A capable, healthy, and resourceful quarterback, Luke McCown, sits because Gruden has a hunch old man Griese can win one for the gipper. Griese, however, admitted he's been less than fifty percent since injuring his arm eight weeks ago. Given that Gruden relies on instinct, my gut feeling is Monte Kiffin has had enough of this egomaniac getting all the credit. Kiffin would rather move on, rather than watching someone jeopardize an organization's playoff chances just to prove an impractical point. Since Kiffin is probably already daydreaming about lips smacking Bass in the Smokey Mountains, the San Diego Chargers should be able to hammer another nail into the Bucs casket. The club's been on a death watch since losing back to back games for the first time this season; and now that Kiffin is all but out the door, capable veteran, Derrick Brooks, can't be too far behind him. So there goes a great legacy of players and coaches who were able to win in spite of Gruden. Now let's see who he points the finger at?
Gamblers should stay away from the Carolina Panthers game against the New York Giants. The G-men need home field advantage more than the Panthers who believe they can win anywhere, anytime. The game is a crap shoot. Take the Cowboys, meanwhile, over the Ravens.
New York Giants
*Best of the Rest
Todd, we are praying for you, and your wonderful family.
God bless you.