Some malicious gossip is flowing after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season ending collapse with four consecutive loses. The blame game starts with head coach, John Gruden, and the chit chat deserves a reality check; Gruden, for example, is being hauled over the coals for a variety of reasons ranging from a poorly assembled offense; dreadful draft picks; and an inability to sign key free agents. A reality check shows the Bucs offense has labored in the bottom half of the NFL since Gruden's arrival. The team, in fact, has scored fewer points than the "Back to Basics" approach employed by former coach, Tony Dungy. If the Bucs keep Gruden, he should be required to relinquish play calling responsibilities. A review of Gruden's draft choices reveal a litany of failures. Consider the players he personally swore by: Cadillac Williams, Michael Clayton, and finally Dexter Jackson. Throughout most of his career, Williams has been injured; however in the West Coast offense, he has struggled to be an effective receiver. Clayton, on the other hand, seems to have enormous potential, yet he rarely gets to show it. Jackson was a complete bust. Reality check: player personnel development is an inexact science, but one thing is abundantly clear, late round draft choices usually have a far greater impact on a team's success than early round picks. At best, the Bucs lack dept meaning they are not drafting well in any rounds. Now let's mull over free agent acquisitions: one of the most spiteful things being said about Gruden is other athletes do not want play for him. This is being spread by a Tampa Tribune columnist; the same con who made a fool out of himself by saying earlier that the Bucs had signed, Brett Favre. The reporter mentions Gruden's
falling out with receiver, Keyshaw Johnson, Keenan McCardell, also Mike Alstott. Reality check, all three players were nearing the end of their careers when the Bucs released them. McCardell claims he was made promises by Gruden that were not kept. Well, Keenan welcome to the NFL. Actually despite these rumors, the Bucs have done well in free agency. Center, Jeff Faine, for example, signed a long term deal. Highly sought after quarterback, Jeff Garcia, came here so did Pro Bowler, Cato June. Speaking on this point, the Glazer family has been criticized for not signing enough free agents during the off season. They don't talk much; but during these perilous times, no one can blame them for collecting interest on their money. Two of the most successful athletic associations, the NBA and NFL, are laying off people. The only question remaining is Gruden about to join them?