Sports

Bucs: How About This, Brother? Jay

By DAVE LAWRENCE CBSTampa.com
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Jay Gruden is currently offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

Jay Gruden is currently offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)

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Forget about all these tired, recycled names on the Glazer’s head-coaching shopping list.

Brad Childress? Wade Phillips? Marty Schottenheimer?

In the words of John McEnroe: Are you serious???

If you simply can’t contain your excitement over the prospect of Mike Sherman leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from their state of shambles to the promised land – if you’re doing cartwheels over the mostly snooze-inducing choices – then you must be delighted with the way the Buc owners are conducting their search in the first week of the post-Raheem Morris era.

But c’mon. Unless they intend to make a last-ditch run at two certified marquee candidates – Jeff Fisher and Brian Billick – how about injecting a little energy and creativity into the proceedings?

Here’s a name for you, a familiar one that would create the buzz the Bucs need to sell tickets and get the fans something to look forward to.

Gruden.

Okay, now get ahold of yourself.  Before you spill your coffee or collapse in hysterics over the preposterous notion, some minor elaboration is in order.

The Gruden the Glazers should be making a run it – putting pride, awkwardness and all other considerations aside – is Jay.

Hell will freeze over before a reunion will ever take place between the Glazers and the head coach they never should have fired in the first place, Jon Gruden – you remember, the blond-haired guy with the funny squint who led the Bucs to its only Super Bowl championship?

His great sin of losing four straight to end the 2008 season, just missing the playoffs at 9-7, doesn’t look so bad compared to the 2011 group that dropped 10 straight, finished 4-12 and was hands-down one of the most inept teams in franchise history.

So forget Jon Gruden. That pirate ship sailed long ago. But Jay? That could be another story – if the Glazers would let it.

Jay has the goods to be a great head coach, and exactly the kind the Bucs need – especially to get their slumping franchise quarterback, Josh Freeman, back on track.

In the Arena Football League, Gruden was a legend for the Tampa Bay Storm and Orlando Predators – winning a combined four titles as a quarterback and two as a head coach.

He was an offensive assistant on the Bucs under his brother from 2002-2008. He’s served as a head coach of the Florida Tuskers in the United Football League.

And lately, he’s made an impressive name for himself as offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bengals, helping mold young quarterback Andy Dalton into an emerging star.

In his first season on the job, the Bengals reached the playoffs as a wild card. And even though they got steamrolled by Houston 31-10, they’re a team on the rise – and Gruden’s a coach on the rise.

So much, in fact, that his name has been mentioned as a favorite for the Jacksonville Jaguars head coach opening.

The Glazers shouldn’t let that happen. If the want to mend fences with the fan base, call him up and add Jay to the list of interviews.

Never happen? Perhaps. Who knows if Jay will even take the call. He may have no more interest in ever setting foot in a Glazer-owned facility again than big brother Jon.

But you never know unless you ask.

And that’s exactly what the Glazers should do.

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