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Sunday, January 18, 2009
Tampa Bay's shakeup result of long, calculated process

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

There's a school of thought out there that Jon Gruden must have had some major blow-up with the Glazer family to get himself fired Friday.

That was my first suspicion, too. But, after all I've been able to gather in the past couple of days, I don't think that's the case at all.

Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen were conducting business as usual Friday. Allen was putting the finishing touches on the contract of new linebackers coach Joe Barry. Gruden was interviewing Chicago defensive backs coach Steve Wilks for Tampa Bay's defensive backs coach.

The team sent out a press release confirming Barry's hiring mid-afternoon. Heck, Raheem Morris, who was about to become head coach without ever interviewing for the job, was on his way to get his hair cut when he got the call telling him he was the head coach.

This wasn't something that was decided on the spur of the moment. Fact is, the Glazers, who operate in their own very tight little circle, made this decision over the course of almost three weeks and they had their plan all in place when they made the move.

There was no blowup with Gruden. If you want the real reasons Gruden was fired, they're simple. Start with the team's collapse in the last four games of the 2008 season. Throw in the fact that this team really didn't have any direction or long-term plan. And finish it up with Gruden's players and some of his assistant coaches not doing him any favors and simply telling the truth when the Glazers polled them about what was going on.

Again, this wasn't some verbal fight in the heat of the moment. This was a cold, calculated move by the Glazers, and it was based on Gruden's body of work and where the team stood.