JScott: I think for the most part Bucs Fans do miss Tony Dungy. I think we miss his charisma, attitude, and approach with the players. With that said, I personally do not miss his offensive approach to the game. His offense was so hard to stomach, thats what made firing him feasible for the Glazers.
As for regretting his firing and Grudens hiring: I don't regret the situation one bit. Granted Gruden won the Superbowl with Dungy's players, Dungy could NOT win the Superbowl with Dungys players. I would trade 10 years of losing for a Superbowl, Superbowl Championships are unmatched as I'm sure you now know. I'm sad Dungy couldn't enjoy it in Tampa, because he sculpted that team and breathed life into it and had Dungy still been here, I can honestly say John Lynch, Warren Sapp, and Dexter Carter would still be on this ball club. Dungy fought for his players and thats what I admired most about him. I'm glad his offense is gone though, he's having a much better go of it with Peyton, Marvin, and Reggie, huh?
BigBlueShoe: What do Bucs fans feel about Gruden now? He's done little to nothing since winning the Super Bowl with a team built and coached up by Dungy.
JScott: I wouldn't say Gruden's done little to nothing since the Superbowl, in '05 we were Division Champs with Chris Simms under center. I know outsiders and even some Buc Fans will laugh, but I think Gruden is a good coach, he has just had to deal with an unbelievable amount of injuries while down in Tampa. He's also had to deal with a GM that doesn't always bring in the best talent thats available (Gruden begged the Glazers for GM Bruce Allen, so its partially Grudens fault) and a GM who has let a ton of talent go. It's definitely a make or break season for Grudz though. This team is better than the (4-12) finish we put forth last season and he's got to make it into the playoffs this season to keep his job. I don't always agree with Gruden's play calling; especially his stubbornness to not implement the shotgun formation (Simms may have a spleen today if it wasn't for Gruden's stubborn nature), but the injuries he's had to sift through would hinder any coaches ability to consistently produce a contender.
BigBlueShoe: Jeff Garcia has really taken charge of the QB position. It seems only really veteran QBs can play well in Gruden's system (Gannon, Johnson, and now Garcia). Why is that, and do you think that's a good thing?
JScott: I'm not sure why that is, maybe it has to do with Grudens abundance of offensive schemes, ability to dig into his QB, and his lack of ability to adapt to a players attributes that would make him less susceptible to failure. For the long haul I don't think it's a great recipe for success. Garcia's 37 years old already, he's got two more years left tops, then he's gone and you gotta teach another QB the system. Although Gruden has had well documented success with older QB's, he did have partial success with a younger QB in Chris Simms, but the progression just wasn't there for Simms. It will be interesting to see if Gruden sticks around long enough to turn Gradkowski into a progressive QB.
BigBlueShoe: Were you happy to see Tony Dungy win a Super Bowl last year?
JScott: I was EXTREMELY HAPPY to see Dungy win a Superbowl last season. All the time and effort he had put into his job while down in Tampa and up north in Indianapolis had finally paid off. I was just as happy for Peyton Manning and Booger McFarland ..... Peyton because people said he couldn't win the BIG GAME and Booger because he's such a class act ...... Dwight Freeney is another story .....
BigBlueShoe: And finally, what's the biggest change for the Bucs this year other than their QB? Is it their defense? Running game? If so, why?
JScott: The biggest change for the Bucs other than having a leader at the QB position is the change in the Defense's mentality. The same parts are basically there on defense, minus the additions of Barrett Ruud, Tanard Jackson, and Cato June, but the team just plays differently. There's a passion on the field that wasn't there last season. I think it truly stems from the Offense and knowing that when the Defense gets off the field, more often than not the Offense is going to mount a fairly substantial drive. We didn't have that last season. We had a hodge-podge of an Offense last season and I think the Defense just felt entirely overwhelmed from game to game with the task of trying to win the game single handedly.
Sunday will be a great measuring tape to see how far we've come .... I can't wait to watch it.