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Mailbag: Morris-Gruden special edition

1/19/2009

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

Obviously, there were two major stories over the weekend with the Bucs firing Jon Gruden and hiring Raheem Morris and Julius Peppers making it very clear he wants out of Carolina.

The mailbag was overflowing with questions about both issues. We'll start with the Tampa Bay situation and come back with a mailbag on Peppers and Carolina a bit later. Here we go:


John Myers in Brooksville, FL writes: Hi Pat, Your article, "Bucs taking calculated risk with Morris" was very good, however I noticed that Morris didn't want to say what offense or defense he would use. And those are very important questions.

Pat Yasinskas: In his introductory news conference, Raheem Morris was extremely vague about what schemes he'll use on offense and defense. My guess is the defense won't change dramatically. Morris was schooled in the Monte Kiffin system, which worked so well for so long in Tampa Bay. The bigger question is what the Bucs will do offensively and I think there could be a departure from Gruden's West Coast offense, and that might not be a bad idea because it wasn't putting up big results. We'll find out soon enough. Also, give my regards to everyone in Brooksville. That's the town where I got started in this business and I have many fond memories of Hernando County. In fact, I was up there the other day, laying the groundwork for a story on the late, great Jerome Brown that we were going to do if the Eagles had made it to the Super Bowl. That story's on hold for now.



Tom in Asbury Park writes: If the Bucs are able to bring back Jeff Garcia for one more year and draft a quarterback like Mark Sanchez who could be put under the wing of Garcia, couldn't they find success in 2009. I believe, unlike most, that there will be immediate success with Morris. Monte Kiffin gave him a mind, Gruden gave him the fire, and Tomlin gave him the ability to relate. Please Pat, just tell me that we're heading into another 2006 season.

Pat Yasinskas: Gruden would never draft a quarterback, at least not early, and that might have been part of the reason for his downfall. I think the new administration realizes the Bucs need a long-term plan at this position and I like the scenario you proposed. I also wouldn't be surprised if Morris has immediate success. Just look at what Mike Smith and John Harbaugh did in their first seasons.


Jeff in Tampa writes: Pat - based on my calculations - the TBB's will win their next Superbowl in 2028 ( every 26 years ) ? Wow we will be in a new stadium by then . Raheem Morris is not the answer - agree ?

Pat Yasinskas: Give Morris a chance. The other way sure wasn't working.


Travis in Asheville writes: Now with Jon Gruden out, what do you think the odds are that Michael Clayton might return to the Bucs next year? I've always been a fan of the good blocking wide receivers.

Pat Yasinskas: Had Gruden stayed, there was no chance of Clayton returning. Now, I think it's a decent possibility. The guy has some talent and might thrive in a situation where he's not feuding with his coach.



Noah in Lakeland, FL writes: Hey Pat, what happens to Joe Barry now? Does he become the new defensive co-ordinator, or is there a possibility that Marinelli comes in as the new co-ordinator?

Pat Yasinskas: All indications are Barry will be the linebackers coach. The Bucs haven't confirmed it yet, but John Clayton and I reported Friday night that Gary Gibbs is joining Tampa Bay, presumably as the defensive coordinator.


DB in Newman CA writes: I have been reading your blog for the last year and a half and enjoy it very much. Thank you. Will your attitude toward the Buc change much now that Gruden is gone? I might be a bit off but I have felt that there has been a slght dislike for the Bucs and Gruden in general. It is understandable if you like many felt that Dungy got a raw deal with the Bucs and how McKay was pushed out by Gruden was unfair.

Pat Yasinskas: Hey, from my perspective as a writer, I liked Gruden. The guy was a great quote and always entertaining. After covering the bland John Fox for so long, Gruden was refreshing because he always had something to say. If I was critical of him, it was probably because his team was in the middle of an epic collapse and there was plenty of room to question him.



Mark Hurst in Davisburg, MI writes: I have been a Buc fan since the beginning in '76. Even by Culverhouse standards, the timing of the Gruden firing is mystifying, as is the apparent naming of Raheem Morris as successor. Your point reassuring fans that the Glazers still care about the Bucs, since the move will cost them $25 Million in remaining contract commitment, is well-taken. However, have you considered that they may be cleaning house in preparation to sell the team? Easier to sell with as few liabilities on the books as possible, and they would be able to bury some of the $25M in the asking price. Just remember where you heard it first...

Pat Yasinskas: The rumors about the Glazers selling the Bucs have been flying, off and on, for several years. Nothing's happened and I don't anticipate anything happening anytime soon. No matter what a lot of people think, I believe the Glazers care very much about the Bucs. And one more point to support my theory: Wouldn't having a big-name coach like Gruden have made the team more attractive to potential buyers if the Glazers really were trying to unload the Bucs?