All Of This Power In Just One Man’s Hands …

All Of This Power In Just One Man’s Hands

I’ve said it all along and will continue to say it , the Oakland Raiders are an NFL franchise in need of a fresh infusion of executive leadership and if nothing else a new owner. The halcyon days of Al Davis
, became the latter years of woe with the franchise shipping off Jon Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers , where Gruden would come back to bite the Raiders in the ass by leading the Buccaneers to their only triumph in the Superbowl . And while people might say Jon Gruden won with Tony Dungy’s players , the fact of the matter is , after that Superbowl triumph things would never be the same again for either franchise. The Raiders sank to new levels of depravity and the Buccaneers were never able cash in on the success achieved after that victory . Jon Gruden would then be fired by the Glazer family, owners of the franchise , only for the Buccaneers to go through several coaches, who seemingly couldn’t coach or find their way out of wet paper bag , much less proves themselves to be competent in their roles.


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In what could only described as a shocking turn of events, Jon Gruden was lured away from the ESPN broadcast booth to return back to coaching and rejoining the Oakland Raiders. Team owner Mark Davis , son of the late owner Al Davis made the decision in conjunction with GM Reggie McKenzie to sign Gruden to a ten-year $100 million contract, by far the richest deal of its kind in NFL history. Gruden it is believed will carry additional duties beyond that of coaching , having the final say in all Player Personnel decisions as well as the hiring of his own coaching staff. Anyone who’s in the know concerning Jon Gruden’s track record when it comes the drafting of players and their development, will know that his success rate has been very minuscule indeed. As to why Reggie McKenzie and Mark Davis would agree to hand over the reins to Jon Gruden, can only surmised by saying that might well have been the demands made by the head coach and his agent. It was all or nothing as Gruden now seeks to wield that power with the hope of leading the Oakland Raiders back to some semblance of success.

During this off-season the Oakland Raiders have been quick to reshape the team’s roster , through the NFL Draft as well as by free agent acquisitions and the re-signing of several free agents. The main focus however will be on making sure that this will be a team of players able to complement the skill-set of quarterback Derek Carr . As to the player himself , it remains to be seen if he can regain the form that made the Raiders’ front office believe he was worth the six-figure deal signed , as they believed he was on the verge of becoming a marquee quarterback in the NFL . I believe Carr is still a long way off from that particular plateau when judged against his current peers within the league.

It will be interesting to see how good the Oakland Raiders can be during this upcoming season with Jon Gruden steering the team from the sidelines and Derek Carr leading the team on the field. In week one of the regular season the Raiders are set to face the Los Angeles Rams , their in-state rivals in a non-conference match-up , one of several due to take place during the opening week of the season . From my own perspective I feel that the Raiders will face something of an uphill battle this season as Jon Gruden seeks to reacquaint the franchise with success.

Billionaire hedge fund manager and venture capitalist David Tepper has become the newest owner in the NFL , having purchased the Carolina Panthers for a reputed $2.35 billion , making the sale the most expensive in NFL history. Tepper purchased the franchise from the now disgraced former owner Jerry Richardson , whose misogynist and racist behavior had been well-chronicled and known to the NFL hierarchy for years , but somehow Roger Goodell and owners sought to do nothing about Richardson’s behavior. Bear in mind , given the behavior of owners Jerry Jones and Robert McNair , would you really be surprised that Jerry Richardson, is not the only owner in the NFL of or with a similar mindset ? Middle-aged, and older Caucasian males in positions of power showing racist tendencies in 2018 ? Sound familiar , given the antics of Donald Trump on his way to the White House and since becoming President ?

The fact that Jerry Richardson was allowed to get away with his misconduct on such a scale , where they were allegations of sexual misconduct along with racially abusive comments directed at subordinates seems unbelievable but yet this all happened within the confines of the Carolina Panthers’ organization and outside of the franchise. I get the feeling that Roger Goodell was unconcerned by this all , until it began to threaten the image of the NFL , its bottom line and notwithstanding the actions of Colin Kaepernick which really brought so many more things into focus and within the public domain.

With David Tepper now in charge , there will be changes in how this franchise was ran and there will undoubtedly be accountability for everyone within the Carolina Panthers franchise. Panthers’ quarterback Cam Newton offered very little commentary as to his own thoughts concerning the departure of Jerry Richardson. Likelihood being, the player believed his departure is now for the better of the franchise and the fans. Seven years into his NFL career and Cam Newton has proven himself to be a worthy adversary and one of the better quarterbacks now in the league. A number one overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft and taken by the Carolina Panthers , Newton has now become the face of the franchise. If the Panthers are to succeed this season , then they will have a hell of a fight on their hands in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL where the NFC South is likely to turn into a dog-fight between three of the four teams occupying the division . Sorry Tampa Bay Buccaneers , but this won’t be your year
to bounce back at all !!!!!

Ron Rivera , Head Coach of the Carolina Panthers will be hoping for a fast start to the regular season, as his team looks to reclaim the top spot within the division. . Cam Newton and the Panthers will begin their season with a game against the Dallas Cowboys at home between these two NFC teams. Newton’s record against the Cowboys is even with a 1-1 record and the last meeting taking place in 2015 , week eleven of the season with Carolina , coming through unscathed winning the game 33-14 over Dallas.

John Lynch will have a great deal to prove this upcoming season as the San Francisco 49ers look to carry on from where they left off at the end of last season . Over their final five games there wasn’t a better team in the NFL, with the 49ers lighting up the scoreboard and the team going on a five-game win streak to end the season . As the General Manager of the Forty Niners , Lynch has been entrusted to put the franchise back on the right track . He lucked out in acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garopollo , with the player leading the team with a great deal of maturity and sense of urgency . Lynch in having succeeded Trent Baalke was given full authority by team CEO Jed York to rebuild the roster into a competitive unit. The NFL Draft proved to be fortuitous as have the trade acquisitions made under this new front office regime. With Head Coach Kyle Shanahan and his coaching staff providing insight along the way , there is every reason to believe the San Francisco 49ers could be a very competitive team during the 2018 NFL season .

Jimmy  Garopollo  and his teammates will open their regular season schedule with a game against the Minnesota Vikings on the road match-up between NFC based franchises. As with the NFL’s twenty-nine other teams there will be the customary preseason schedule , starting with the Hall of Fame Game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens .

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league hierarchy have all but assured the fans, that this upcoming season will begin with controversy after coming to decision where players not standing to the National Anthem while being played at regular season games can be subject to and be fined for their non-participation . From my own perspective , I believe this ruling to be draconian and certainly impugning on the right of a player to freely express himself, bearing in mind First Amendment Rights’ . This is a dangerous maneuver by the league and one that could very well be challenged as a collective by any player seeking legal recourse within the Judicial System at the Federal Level . So far there has been nothing said by any senior member of the NFLPA (Players’ Union) , as I believe they will look for some way to challenge this legally , while there are likely to be continued protests from their rank and file members . New York Jets’ team owner Woody Johnson has stated that, he will stand behind the players on the team who choose not to participate and is willing to pay their fines no matter what the cost .

The fallout from this latest move by the NFL cannot be quantified until the start of the season and then we are likely to see how impactful this all could be . Both sides have a great deal to lose, while proponents of this move will be greatly satisfied by the stance taken by league . President Donald Trump has applauded the move, likening it to the NFL showing that it has a backbone.

It is extremely funny to think that the league (NFL) will seek to punish the players for expressing a right , freedom of speech , but will often overlook player misconduct and sometimes serious legal infractions . Does that make any sense at all ?

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the latest news now emanating from the National Football League ?

🙂

Tophatal ………


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Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

Please Don’t Make Me Laugh The NBA And NFL Continue To Show Some Sense As In Nonsense !

If there’s something troubling to me at present it has been the NFL lockout and what we’re now seeing is the very same prescribed idiocy from the NBA hierarchy and owners , general managers and the NBPA . I’ve said all along that I felt that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell wasn’t the wisest of individuals in terms of being the leading official of a governing professional sport’s body . Whereas , his NBA counterpart David Stern rules with a rod of iron and an autocratic rule that would make a third world despotic tyrant feel proud . It has been this asinine notion of that both hierarchies that they can simply plead poverty without showing any signs of clear transparency when it comes to conducting their business practices . If there’s one thing that I believe that the fans need to learn is that neither party in the case of the NFL owners and the NBA owners can’t be trusted to tell the truth !

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The NFL stoppage is now well into its third month and the two sides appear to be no closer in reaching an accord and that is in spite of the joint statement forthcoming from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith . The charade has simply become a complete pissing contest as each side looks to outdo each other rather than simply showing some common sense . And the same thing now appears to be happening as the NBA and union are on a path of actual self destruction . Billy Hunter the union executive director and Derek Fisher the NBPA president and the executive committee have stood steadfast in the belief that the league have been less than truthful as to the league’s financial problems . David Stern has stated that the league is on course to lose in excess of $450 million for the fiscal year 2010. And while I do not dispute that figure what I do dispute is the mere fact that the owners felt that they could simply get by on being gregarious in their spending as they chased after success. The league has a soft salary cap of $57 million but here lies the sheer stupidity of the teams’ actions and that of the general managers as they sought to simply go way beyond that limit (2010-11 team salaries ) . [( 2009-10 NBA team salaries ) ]

Now as the drama plays itself out for all to see I seriously doubt that the fans really can really align themselves with either party in the ongoing negotiations with the NBA , NFL and the respective unions that they are currently dealing with.

This upcoming NFL season should there be one , will prove to be very interesting with Jim Harbaugh and John Fox now taking over the helm of the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos . Both teams had their highs and lows in terms of last season and their respective records within the AFC West and NFC West left a great deal to be desired by their fans. So much so that if anything their schedules and play may well be met with some optimism as well as a sense pragmatism. Inconsistency and an overall lack of accountability and leadership led to both teams’ failings and misfires throughout much of their respective seasons .

Josh McDaniels as Fox’s predecessor simply couldn’t get the Broncos play with any passion and much of that had to do with the incompetency shown by the team over the coach’s tenure. And it should not come as a surprise that the McDaniels was abruptly fired by team owner Pat Bowlen , with the owner having to endure the coach’s lies and his complicity in an episode that simply dragged the Broncos’ season into further despair. Needless to say that the fans were happy with the coach’s firing and John Elway now coming on board as a consultant with the organization as the team’s de-facto general manager . The team with Tim Tebow now on board as its quarterback will certainly have a great deal to live up as they seek to make their presence felt within the league .

In light of the problems had by the Broncos over last season one now has to ask what John Fox can simply do to make this team better ? Certainly with the team’s draft choices from this NFL Draft and that of past seasons one can see that Fox has a stern task ahead of him . If nothing else if Tebow is now viewed as the starting quarterback then his leadership skills and play will most certainly have to come to the fore if the Denver Broncos are to have any chance of having a successful season at all this year.

I am not about to suggest that the Broncos are capable of winning the AFC West but I do certainly feel that they are good enough perhaps make some noise within a division where consistency has always been a problem for the teams there. The Oakland Raiders with new coach Hu Jackson in tow will always be looking over his shoulder as the front office and team owner Al Davis will continue to scrutinize his every move and decision made . This team has become a conundrum and enigma all rolled into one as you never simply know what to expect from this team from one moment to the next . With the talent on show with the Raiders you simply have to believe that there has to be a turnaround sooner or later . The revolving door mentality that seems to have been in place for the Raiders hasn’t bared fruit for the organization . Since the departure of Jon Gruden you have only but to look at the problems that seem to have manifested themselves for the Oakland Raiders . One would have to be in complete denial to think otherwise , as the organization has simply struggled to make their presence felt . I am sure that the fans believe that with Hu Jackson having succeeded Tom Cable they can only make great strides this upcoming season . I am of the opinion that the team will finally begin to show the signs that we saw throughout much of last season as the team at times showed their offensive capabilities . From a defensive standpoint the struggles were there for all to see .

If there’s one team in the AFC that I continue to be beguiled by then it has to be the Baltimore Ravens ! When this team is at its very best I do believe that they’re capable of being and competing amongst the very best in the NFL . In Joe Flacco they have a quarterback who is amongst the very best amongst at the position in the league and a player whose confidence continues to grow each season . But to solely think it has been Flacco that has been the main reason for the turnaround and consistency shown by the Ravens then one ought to look at the coaching qualities of John Harbaugh , his coaching staff and in particular the play of ageless wonders Ray Lewis and Ed Reed .

The Ravens this past postseason wilted when it mattered most but that seemingly came down to the fact that they were complacent . The loss if anything indicated that while they appear to be on the right path the Ravens are still one or two players away from being a truly perennial contender for the Superbowl . The draft and the continued prowess shown in making the prudent choices that have been of benefit to the organization surely will make them quite possibly a presumptive favorite the upcoming Superbowl to be played at Lucas Oil Stadium , Indiana , Indianapolis . I know that amongst some circles teams such as the New England Patriots , New York Jets , Indianapolis Colts , San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers have to be considered the preeminent contenders within the AFC .

This upcoming season may well tell us a great deal about the direction that this team could very well be heading should there be a schedule to be played. One hundred and six days in and with neither side actually inching towards seeking a quick resolution to this ongoing debacle I for one have become completely resolved to the fact that the season could very well be a shortened one , with there being the usual postseason schedule remaining in tact. The fans are annoyed with the usual statements coming from the respective hierarchies with little evidence to be shown that either side is actually prepared to reach an accord . Simply put , whether or not there is any football to be had then in large part the fans will no longer care either way , as they’ve lost complete faith with the NFL hierarchy and the union.

In the runup to this season’s All Star Game I am beginning to think the teams in with their divisional titles are now focusing on positioning themselves that final onslaught over the ensuing months . Certainly once the events of the All Star Weekend are over and done with , we will see those division leaders simply look to separate themselves from their rivals and those to be in with a chance of attaining a wildcard berth .

I certainly don’t believe that speculating beyond the statements made thus far it’s worthwhile trying to disseminate the information that is now out there to be surveyed . We know the teams are giving it their all with players all seeking to place themselves in a position for the game’s individual awards . As to the postseason itself there’s still a great deal of baseball to be played and it will be interesting to see how things play out over the regular season we before we can begin to think about baseball’s showcase event.

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What points raised within this piece have been of interest to you ? Simply leave a comment as to your thoughts .

Alan aka tophatal ………… https://tophatal.wordpress.com

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(1) Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban walks out of the NBA owners meeting without commenting to waiting media, in Dallas on Tuesday, June 28, 2011. AP Photo/LM Otero ….

(2) NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter is seen here alongside Commissioner David Stern . AP Photo/ Rafael Montalvez ….

(3) In this undated photo released by the United States District Court , U.S. Magistrate Judge Arthur J. Boylan poses for a photograph. Critical thinking and an ability to relate to others plays a big role in the courtroom for Boylan, who is no doubt having those skills tested as he tries to diffuse the tension in the NFL lockout, no more than 100 days long. AP Photo/United States District Court ……

(4) NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, left, and National Football League Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith speak to reporters outside the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Sarasota, Fla., after speaking at the NFLPA’s rookie symposium, Wednesday, June 29, 2011. AP Photo/Brian Blanco …….

(5) ATLANTA, GA – APRIL 20: NFL player Tim Tebow speaks onstage at the 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards at The Fox Theatre on April 20, 2011 in Atlanta City. The show airs on GMC on Sunday April 24th 2011. Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for GMA ……

(6) Joe Flacco (5) of the Baltimore Ravens passes against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens lead the Bengals 6-0 at the half. Larry French / Getty Images North America …..

(7) Ray Lewis (52) of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 13-6 . Getty Images North America / Larry French ….

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Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

Saving Face ………………. Or How Not To Win Friends And Influence People

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry considering the ludicrous events that’ve taken place over the past twenty four hours . First the bombshell within college football has Florida’s __ Urban Meyer announcing his stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team albeit that he’ll still coach the team in their Outback Bowl meeting against Joe Paterno’s __ Penn State football team . While I find this something of a shock I can also see the comical side of this all given the ongoing criticism that has taken shape within the local press here in the Central Florida area. What might be even more impalpable is the way with which Meyer chose to make this announcement and the circumstances brought up to validate his choice.

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Urban Meyer had once before resigned from his post citing the fact that he’d undergone health issues, now he states that because of his familial issues in being away from his children for days on end he feels that he now owes it to them and that he needs to be at their side. Am I missing something here because there are a number of college coaches around the game of college football that are in a similar position being that they are also parents ? So what is it here that Meyer is now trying to have us believe at this moment in time ? A 7-5 season for the Gators wherein they fell short not only in their national title aspirations but also within the SEC (Southeastern Conference) where the Auburn Tigers led by their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Cam Newton would prevail over Steve Spurrier’s ___ South Carolina Gamecocks in the SEC title game (56-17). Given that Newton was also once a member of the Gators’ football team before unceremoniously having to leave the campus over irregularities concerning a stolen laptop computer as well as allegations of cheating on a number of tests. What we now have within the local press are a number of journalists questioning Meyer’s choices as it regards game time decisions and his personnel. John Brantley , Tim Tebow’s successor has had something of an inconsistent season and although the coaching staff has used number schemes that didn’t prove effective it simply showed the frailties and weaknesses of this team and the play in particular of the Gators this season. So much for the pundits who lauded Meyer for having a top notch recruiting class this season as it now seems to have been to no avail.

Now while Meyer has stepped down the talk of his successor is now rife as to who many believe should be the next coach of the Florida Gators. Amongs those being named are Jon Gruden , Bobby Petrino , Bob Stoops , Jim Harbaugh , Chris Petersen and Dan Mullen to name but a few . Gruden and Stoops to my mind won’t be particularly interested in the position given the fact that both are well compensated in their present jobs . Gruden is on air analyst with ESPN/ABC while Stoops has one of the most lucrative contracts in all of college football along with very lucrative endorsement deals with several high profiled businesses within state of Oklahoma . Somehow I for one don’t believe that the Gators can match that sort of financial wherewithal ! Gruden while in the service of ABC/ESPN is still being paid the remainder of his contract after his abrupt firing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and if anything the former NFL coach probably covets any one of a number of vacancies that will arise once the season is over . So any talk of Gruden being interested coaching a college program seems to be out of the question and is simply just talk . As to who will ultimately succeed Meyer will rest in the interview process and the decision made by AD Jeremy Foley .

It’s funny but when I heard that the Washington Nationals had signed Jayson Werth to a lucrative seven year $126 million contract I thought that it was a mistake but then I realized who Werth’s agent happened to be and it was none other than uber-agent Scott Boras agent to the stars. This sports agent has been the main provocateur within the game that has seen salaries now escalate to unheard of heights. Need I remind you that he has been influential in making Alex Rodriguez the highest paid player in the game and will have amassed in excess of $500 million in earnings from the game as a salaried player without taking into account off field endorsements. As this idiocy now prevails within the game no one from the game’s hierarchy much less the MLBPA , __ general managers or team owners seem to question the direction that the game is taking in terms of its financial viability. I understand that the Nationals and in particular the team’s GM Mike Rizzo wants to make a big splash but given the fact that Nationals have struggled to be competitive over the past few seasons, I see nothing really changing in spite of the signing of Werth and the promise of Stephen Strasburg . And less we forget that the organization is also counting on former high school phenom Bryce Harper to provide an impact for the team and at the same lure the fans to the Nationals’ Ballpark in Washington, DC.

Fans around the game have to be perplexed by what they’re now seeing as teams now seek to make their best attempt to be viewed as viable contenders. Am I mistaken here but the usual suspects will always be around no matter how many of these teams look to be part of what’s turning out not to be a level playing field at all. Now as the Winter Meetings have ended amongst the team owners and general managers the most prized free agent still remains on the open market and two teams are left standing to battle it out with the prize being the signature and services of Cliff Lee are the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers . And while Lee remains coveted the Rangers and in particular team President Nolan Ryan and GM Jon Daniels . And the team has offered the pitcher a six year contract that’s estimated to in the region of $120 million , it’s said that the Yankees are prepared to offer Lee a seven year contract paying between $130 to $145 million , with the seventh year being an option year for the player and team.

One tries to assimilate this and make some sense of it all but I for one no longer find it a complexity at all. It merely now boils down to the avarice of the owners , players and the game’s hierarchy itself. No one seems to question the fact that the teams are now spending money like it’s going out of fashion but then again given the mendacity with which the government has chosen to run up the federal deficit and national debt should we be at all surprised to see the idiocy now taking place within the game of baseball ? I know at the end of the day the decision to be made by Lee will be his alone but at the same time even if his wife still has her doubts over the behavior of the New York Yankees’ fans and the profanity laced taunts she faced while attending the ALCS games at Yankees’ Stadium . It goes without saying that the player may well err on the side of wanting the money over remaining in Texas with the team where his postseason performances prior to the World Series were very exhilarating .

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The future of the Gators may well be bright but we won’t actually know that until a new coach is hired by the AD and the identity that he wishes to bring to the team. As to how the Gators’ fans may well now view this all remains to be seen but as of now the well wishers are there for Meyer and for what he’s achieved for the program . But there also the detractors who no doubt feel somewhat betrayed by his actions . Make of it what you will . As to what’s now transpiring this off-season within the game of baseball let’s just say that even with Carl Crawford’s signing by the Boston Red Sox and their seven year offer of $140 million this won’t be the last time that we’ll see these type of maneuvers take place within the game. This off season Scott Boras made sure that the game of baseball remains where it is right in the doldrums and the fans of the game have remained bewildered by what has taken place . That my friends is how one saves face while not wanting to win friends and influence people !

What thoughts if any do you have concerning the Urban Meyer stepping down as coach of the Gators’ football team and your own thinking as to the Washington Nationals signing of Jayson Werth ? By all means simply leave a comment on this topic and as always thanks for the continued support.

😛

Alan aka tophatal ……………… 🙂 ___ 😦 __ 😛

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Tiara

Eye candy …. Tiara

Well If It’s A Splash You Wanted Then This Wasn’t It ………

 

 

 

Well  If   It’s A Splash  You  Wanted  To  Make  Then  This Wasn’t It  ………

 

 

Fans  have  long labored  under the  belief  that  at  times the  fresh  influx of  talent   be  it on  the  field  or  in   management   can  really    turn  things  around  for   a franchise  that has been  perceived to  have fallen  on  hard times.    Well   nowhere is this  becoming   more   apparent than  with  the  Tampa  Bay  Buccaneers.

 

 

Raheem Morris   of the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers seen  here  with  Bucs' executive  Joel Glazer.
Newly appointed coach Raheem Morris is seen here with Bucs' executive Joel Glazer. The Glazer family own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as English Premier League soccer club Manchester United. picture appears courtesy of ap/photo/Matthew McFadden .............

 

 

 

Well  with   the firing   of  Jon Gruden  and  that of  General  Manager  Bruce Allen  in  the  offseason and   the  promotion of   Raheem  Morris  to the position of  head coach. It can  be   said  the  change  direction  sought was  about   as  expedient  and  drastic  as  one  would  expect.   The explanation   coming   from   ownership  can’t  be  viewed  as   enthusiastic   for   the  most  fervent   of  Buccaneers’ fans.  But  then   again   throughout  much   the  Glazers’  ownership,   their  custodianship of  the franchise  has  been  executed  clandestinely.    Though  the   firings   of  Gruden and Allen   came    out   of the  blue.  It can  be  said  from  a  PR perspective  the way it was    handled  left  an  unsavory   taste  in  one’s  mouth. 

 

 

 

 

Added  to  that  fact  was   the  release   of   several long  established  players.  None  more  so  than   veteran  stalwart  and  defensive  player  Derrick  Brooks.  He  may well  be  viewed  as  the   face   of  the  franchise .  And  in  terms  of   his  loyalty   to the  franchise  it was  unquestioned.   He was the  epitome , heart  and   soul   of what  it  meant  to be   a  Buccaneers’  player.     And  to  say  that many  a  Bucs’  fans   weren’t     aggrieved  at   his  release  would  be  understatement.  Nevertheless   life  must  go  on  and   so does the  business  of  making  this   franchise  competitive.

 

 

Bucs' GM Mark Dominink  seen  here with  members  of  the  local  press in the Tampa  Bay  area .
Buccaneers' GM Mark Dominik seen here with members of the locally convened press from the Tampa Bay area. picture appears courtesy of pewterreport.com

 

 

 

Coming  off  a  disappointing   season  with  a  9-7  finish  within the  NFC  South   division. Where  the  team  were viewed  as a   favorite to  repeat   as  champions.  Their  season  fell  apart  literally   down  the  closing    stretch  of the  season.  As  they   succumbed to  four  consecutive  defeats.   So  close  but  yet  so  far.  One  can  attribute  these  losses   on  a  number  of  things.  But   the  ownership   obviously   felt  that   Gruden  bore   a  great  deal  of  responsibility   for the   team’s   failings  on the    field. But a  lot  of  that   responsibility can  be  also  attributed to  the  total   naiveté  on the path  of the   Buccaneers’  players  who  must’ve   felt  that   they’d   romping  off  into  the  playoffs before  the   season  was  over,  without   getting  the  job  done   on the field  first.    A  lack  of  professional   approach  on  the   field   and  perhaps  an  even  bigger  lack  of  professionalism   by  the coaching  staff ?

 

 

 

 

Well   now the  franchise   under the  auspices  of  Morris  along  with   Mark Dominik  as the   team’s  general manager   have  been   entrusted  in   giving  the   team  a  new  sense  of  purpose  and  identity.    A  task  that  has  been  made  even   tougher   given  the  fact that  both  men  are   viewed as   novices  in their   fledgling    positions.  And  with  the  upheaval  within  the  team’s   roster .  It’s  hard  now  to  view  this  team  as  being  anything  more  than  an  afterthought  at this  juncture.   

 

 

 

 

 

At  the   heart   of  this  is  all  is  the  fact   that   on  paper  this   is  now a  very   young   team. And  with  it  comes   no   veteran  leadership  which   every   good   team  needs.  One  might  point  to   Ronde Barber   as  one  of the  last  vestiges  of    the   Buccaneers  from  their  halcyon   days  as  Superbowl  champions.   But even  he  isn’t  the  player  that  he  once  was.   Suffice  to   say   this   team   may   well  struggle  to  acquit  themselves this   upcoming  season  even with  the   presence  of  players  such as  Chris  Hovan,  Jeff Faine  , Antonio Bryant , Derrick Ward , Kellen Winslow Jr and  Luke  McCown.    And   even  with   the  acquisition  of  Derrick  Ward  a  proven  commodity   at   the  running   back  position.   The Buccaneers’  deficiencies  on   offense  at  times   bordered   on  sheer   ineptitude.  Their    struggles  to  find   the   end  zone  when  in  the   red  zone   territory  was   comedic  at   best  and   some  times   tragic.   When   your  over  reliance   is  placed  on  your  kicker   to  garner   the   points  needed  . Then  there  has  to  be  cause   for  concern.    That  being   said that   wasn’t   only  the  major   cause  for  concern  on this   team.   The defense    that  was   once   lauded  around  the  league  as being  one  of  the  best  in the league.   It seemed  as  if   overnight    many  of  the  players  had  forgotten   how  to execute   a  tackle   much   less  cover  an   offensive player.

 

 

  Continue reading “Well If It’s A Splash You Wanted Then This Wasn’t It ………”

Into Someone’s Life A Drop of Rain Must Fall ……………………

Well  havoc  was  wreaked within  One  Buc  Place  as  the  Glazer family  saw  fit  to  fire  their  coach  Jon Gruden and  General Manager  Bruce  Allen.  The  abruptness  of  the  firing  and  the  expediency  of  it  was  not  lost on  some.   In  some  areas  it  was  completely  unexpected.  And for   some  it  was  a welcoming   wish  for   what  they  believe  was  Gruden’s   comeuppance. If  nothing  else  it  was  felt  he  was  deserving  of  the  fate.  

 

 

 

 

Much  was  expected  of  the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as  they  headed  down  the  final  stretch  of the  season in the  month  of  December.  Leading  the  NFC  South  with a 9-3  record  the  team  all  but  laid down  and  succumbed  to  the  unthinkable  losing  their  final  four  games,  failing  to  make  the  playoffs.  If that  wasn’t  enough  Gruden’s demeanor  if nothing else  was  that  of  a man  who  felt  he  wasn’t  at  fault. If  there’s   anything   that  perhaps  personifies  what this  team  has  been about. It  has  been the inconsistency  of  the  team  under  Gruden’s  tenure  since  their  Superbowl  win .   There  has  been   just  as  many  peaks  and   troughs  with  the  team   as  there  has  been  in  the  stock  market.  And  if anything   for  the   Glazer  family  that’s  certainly  not  what  they’d   envisaged   from the  coach  when  they  lured  him  away from the  Oakland  Raiders  for  a  slew  of draft picks  and  $8m in compensation  that  benefited  the  Raiders.    A  king’s  ransom  was  paid  and  though  it has  paid dividends.  After  time  the allure of  the  transaction definitely  lost its  luster.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Dominik far  left   along  with  Raheem Morris  the  new  coach of the  Tampa Bay Buccaneers    second from  right  ..............................

 

 

Mark Dominik(left) the  Buccaneers’  new general manager  is  seen  here  alongside  Bucs’  ownership executive  vice  presidents Edward and Bryan Glazer (center) new coach  Raheem Morris (second from the right) and  far  right  Joel  Glazer. picture  appears   courtesy of  getty  images/   Paul   Mason ………………….. 

 

 

 

 

 

For  vice-president  Joel  Glazer  and  his  father  Malcolm  the abruptness of  this  all came  about  with  a  seismic quake  that  took  the  NFL completely  by  surprise.  So  Gruden  now  becomes one  of   four  coaches  that’ve  won  the  Superbowl   and  have   either  retired  or  been  fired  this  season.  He  joins  Mike  Shanahan ,  Tony  Dungy and   Mike Holmgren   who all  have  one  thing  in common.  They’ve  seen  the  highs  and  lows  that   the  game  brings.  And  Dungy  if  one  remembers   was  the  person   replaced   by  Gruden.  Somewhat  ironic  one  might  think  that  Dungy  leaves  the  Indianapolis  Colts   under  his  own  steam   whilst   Gruden  is shown  the  door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though  there’d been speculation  as  to  who’d  take  over   from Gruden. The  likely  candidate  has come  from within, in-house.   The   Tampa Bay  Buccaneers  made  it  official  in the  naming  of  defensive  coordinator  Raheem  Morris  to  the  take  over from  Jon Gruden.    And  the  vacancy  of  the  general manager’s  position  would  also  be  filled   from  in-house by Mark Dominik.  Morris at  32  years  of  age  is  highly thought  of   within the  Bucs’ organization  and  learnt  his  craft under  the  watchful eye  of Monte   Kiffin.    Kiffin  departed  to  join  his  son  Laine  in  a similar  position  with  the  University  of Tennessee.   One  can assume  that  either   there was  a tumult   erupting   within  the  organization.  Or  in fact that  changes  had  to  be   made   from  within   because of the   failures  within   the  franchise  not   just  on  the  field   but  managerially  also.

 

 

 

Raheem Morris  introduced  to  the  convened  press  as  the  Buccaneers'  new  head  coach  ...................

 

 

Raheem  Morris  having  been  introduced as the  Buccaneers’  new  head  coach  takes   questions   from  the  convened  press.   picture  appears  courtesy  of  ap/photo/  Matthew  Gould  ………………… 

 

 

 

 

 

Recruitment  wise  the  team  has had  some  hits  and  misses   but  there’ve  been  more  misses  than  hits.   And  it did  not  augur well   when  there  was  a  great  deal  of  discontent  between  the  coach  and  his  Pro-Bowl  quarterback  Jeff  Garcia.  The  ongoing  saga  and the   denials   by  Gruden  as  to  whether  or  not  the  franchise  was  in  pursuit of  Brett  Favre  only   added  to  much  of the  confusion.   And  if  there’s  been  one  thing  indicative  of  the  franchise  it  has  been  the  failure  to  develop  a  quarterback  for  the  future.  Year  in  year   out   it  has  either  been  a   recycling  project  by  the coach.  Or  he’s  looked  from  within  to  see what’s  available.  And   one  states  that  the  cupboard   was  bare.   It  wasn’t  an  understatement  !  Not  only  was  it  bare   but  talent wise  it  lacked   credibility.    The  names  of  Luke  McCown, and Brian  Griese  aren’t  exactly  what  one   consider  to  be  world  beaters  let  alone  put fear  into the  hearts  of   opposing  teams.   But  that’s  what   Gruden  felt   would  save  the  day   for  the  franchise.  It  has  been  ever   dependent   over the  years   on  its   defense   to  keep  it  in  games.    But  on the  offensive  side  of  the  ball  where   Gruden  was viewed  as  somewhat  of  a  genius.    Rarely   had  we  seen  anything   that  placate   the   situation  in  terms  of  the  ineptitude shown  at   times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The  complete  lack  of   a  running   game though  it  can  be   said  that   injuries  to  Carnell  Williams  and   Earnest  Graham played its  part.   We  also  saw very  little  from  the  likes  of   Michael  Clayton  of  whom  it  can  be  said  if  he wasn’t  catching  the  ball.  He  could  be  relied  upon  for  a  timely   block.  But  the  body  of  his  work  has  been  negligible   since   his  entry  into  the  NFL.   What  has  been  even  more  glaring  has  been  the   team’s   failure  to   convert  on   third   downs.  Statistically  the   team  was  in the  lower  half  of  the  league.   And   its  most  potent   offensive  weapon  for  much  of  the  season  has  been  the  play  of  wide   receiver  Antonio  Bryant   and kicker  Matt  Bryant.  And  though  some  will  throw  in  the  name  of  Clifton  Smith. If  we’re   to  believe  that  Gruden  is  such  a  genius   then  why  is  it   that  he  wasn’t able  to  work  with  the   tools  in  his  tool  bag ?    After  all  isn’t  a  master  craftsman  able  to  work  with  whatever  he  has  at  hand ?   This  may  well  be  one  the   reasons  why   the  Joel Glazer  sought  the  path  he  did  in  making  the  decision  to   relinquish  Gruden  of  his  position as   the  coach.    As  to Bruce  Allen  once the  decision  was  made  to  let  the   coach  go.  It   seemed   only   plausible  that  the  ownership  would  seek  to send  the  general manager  packing  as  well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As  to what  the  future  will   hold  for   Gruden  it  is  open  to  conjecture  and  speculation.  He  will in  all  probability  get another  coaching  position within  the  NFL.  But  we’ll   just  have  to wait  and  see  where  his  ultimate  destination   may  be.  Fans of  the  franchise  may  well  see  this  as  a sad  loss  for  the  organization as  voiced  by  the  Glazer family.  But  Gruden’s   time   at  the helm  was  enough  for  all  of   us  to  see  that  the  franchise   was  heading  nowhere.  The  inconsistency   was  one  thing   but  Gruden himself  in  no  way  sought  to  alleviate  the  problem  and take  accountability  for  his  faults  and  that  of  his  coaching  staff.  Rather  he’d  prefer  to  lay  the  blame  elsewhere.