In the second truly shocking move of the offseason (Mike Shanahan’s was the first), Tampa Bay fired head coach Jon Gruden Friday. The coach known as Chucky for his hyper-animated facial expressions won the Super Bowl in his first season on the pirate ship, but he was just 45-53 since.
Did he deserve to walk the plank? Seems so. Gruden was supposed to be an offensive genius – he was a Mike Holmgren disciple – but he never could do for a motley collection of quarterbacks what he had done for Rich Gannon in Oakland. There was not much of an offensive future on the horizon for the Bucs, and with Monte Kiffin leaving questions were starting to abound. Gruden wasn’t going to go 5-11, but 11-5 or better seemed unlikely too. So why continue to pay him so much cabbage for such average results?
The Bucs are giving Gruden’s former gig to Raheem Morris, a 32-year-old assistant who was promoted to defensive coordinator just 2 weeks ago. How will Morris do? To find out, we play relativity. I’ve incuded this paragraph in the mega head coaching relativity post.
5 (con’t) – Raheem Morris, Tampa Bay – Starting last year, there were rumblings that there was a defensive backs coach in Tampa named Raheem Morris who was going to be an NFL coach one day. But that day came a lot sooner than expected, as Tampa bounced Jon Gruden to promote Morris. Morris, just 32, probably isn’t ready yet. But he is a terrific prospect who can continue the strong defensive tradition the Buccaneers have had over the last decade or so. That’s important, because the defense will soon lose stalwarts Derrick Brooks and Ronde Barber. If Morris had at least one year as an NFL coordinator, this ranking would be much higher. (Remember, that’s the background Mike Tomlin had when the Steelers hired him.) But Morris’ inexperience (one year as a college coordinator, just 4 as an NFL assistant) means that an adjustment period is likely, at least early on. This could be a home run, but that dinger is more likely to come in the fifth inning than in the first.