(taken from my personal blog, The Stonegauge)
You know, I got a bit of bshing for having this bleak outlook at the Bucs this season. I saw thing sgoing in a direction that was counter-productive to what fans wanted and what the NFL trend was and you know what? The Bucs got just what they deserved, those who thought I was full of shit and expected another playoff-run got what they deserved and I get to deal out humble-pie for a change.
God, you do not know how much of a dick I feel like right now and how bad I feel about it. I wanted to be wrong about hte Bucs this season. Hell, I needed to be wrong about the Bucs this season in order to be proved wrong about the state of the franchise post-Gruden acquisition. Yet I was proven right and there is this impending sense of dread with the coming offseason that the Bucs will try to jump right into contention again by spending on past-there-prime players and we'll end up completely fucked because of it.
Jon Gruden, the man who can do no wrong in certain fans eyes because he brought the Bucs to the promised land, needs a swift kick in his ass and his yes-man office assistant, Bruce Allen, fired post-haste before they further fuck things up by doing what Jon wants to do without regarding the wellfare fo the team. There is indeed a way to get the Bucs back to contention and it isn't by signing players for more than they are worth, going after names and reputations instead of talent, etc...
This off-season, the Bucs need to cut the bullshit with the free agent spending. It's rebuilding time and instead of going after everyone on the market (especially former Raider players) they need to go after young talent that needs a chance to shine in starting roles instead of on special teams or what not. They need to say goodbye to Michael Pittman and Charlie Garner, Mario Edwards and others that were brought in during the 2004 off-season and start a youth movement.
That also means keeping around Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice and some of the rest of the veterans on the squad. Not because the Bucs need to keep some aspect of contention but they need to keep some aspect of leadership and direction. Brooks gives them that and Rice give them taht on defense (along with Ronde Barber). Mike Alstott gives them that on offense along with Cosey Coleman, Joe Jervacius, etc.
They need to let Brian Griese walk instead of further being cluster-fucked with the Salary Cap by agreeing to his 8 million dollar option. They should bring in journeymen QB's and let them contend for the starting psoition against Chris Simms. You can make chicken salad out of chicken shit at the QB position -- look at Jake Delholme. He was nothing until he got a chance to start with Carolina and the rest is history.
Gruden, with a roster of youth and hungry players, needs to run one of the tightest ships he has ever run.... Along with one of the most intensive training camps that he has ever run. He's been stradled with superstars since taking over head coaching duties for the Raiders a few years ago... Without having a huge cast of big-name hired guns, he might just get the clue that he's going to have to have patience and actually coach and not just shout orders. He'll have to lead and teach instead of just expect results from players that were brought along under someone else's system.
2005 would turn into a painful experience for some - a hopeless endeavour... But then again, it would right the ship long-term by foricng the Bucs back into the building mode instead of Gruden's ill-planned "retoolings" of the roster.
I expect retooling instead of building this offseason again, however :-(. I expect Brooks and Alstott to be cut instead of the true fat on the roster - the dead weight. All because Jon Gruden's ego is so much bigger than his talent. He's an overglorified Offensive Coordinator who's gotten carte blanche of the Tampa Bay Buccaneer franchise and will run it into the dirt before he will concede that he's fucked things up with his acquisitions and his preferences.