Firing a coach in mid-season
This has become all the rage in the NFL this season as first Wade Phillips, then Brad Childress (who I swear is Tony Kornheiser's twin brother) and now Josh McDaniels, all got their marching orders mid-way through a season.
There is a school of thought that this is not a wise move for a franchise as all the assistant coaches see themselves as lame ducks with no employment guaranteed going into the following year. This of course depending on whether the interim head coach becomes the permanent one (which is usually unlikely).
The Buccaneers have only once removed a head coach midway through a season, Ray Perkins in 1990 and even that was done going into a very late bye-week. Richard Williamson took over and even won his first game in charge.
But he only got the job in January 1991 on a permanent basis because he was cheap (this was Hugh Culverhouse making the decision remember) and only after the latter had spoken to various other potential options including Buddy Ryan.
Mid-season changes have worked so far in Dallas and Minnesota although I still would not put money on either former Buc QB Jason Garrett, nor Leslie Frazier getting their gigs full-time in January. And Denver is such a mess right now, it looks like choosing McDaniels over some guy called Raheem really looks a stunner now for Denver owner Pat Bowlen.
Every other Buccaneer coaching change has happened at the end of a season. John McKay announced his retirement in November 1984 but it was only effective at the end of that year.
Wow does Greg Olson roll the dice
If you are faced with a 3rd and 1, you only have two options. Make it and continue the drive, or fail and get second-guessed by every Monday morning QB with access to a message board. "You should have sneaked it", "Just run Blount up the middle", "Why didn't he give it to Earnest". Greg can't win really.
So this is why he has really been opening up the playbook in these situation. Rolling Josh out and going for the big play twice in Baltimore, once last week (which would have worked if Cadillac hadn't slipped) and then the outrageous WR reverse with Arrelious Benn getting a first down.
The life of an offensive co-ordinator is to be accepted if you get the call right, and castigated if you don't. Normally by people who have no idea about defensive alignments, whether players have executed properly, or without understanding the bigger picture involved.
Whatever the call, Olson has done an amazing job this season. Just take one look at the provisional depth chart from August to what he has to play with now in terms of a decimated line, rookie explosion and a quaterback with less than 20 starts. Without a doubt, the best offensive co-ordinator this franchise has EVER had.
Big Gay Al
OK so Albert Haynesworth isn't gay but he's been about as effective in Washington as the South Park character would have been. All those message board posters who called the Bucs cheap for not seriously going after the $100 million man have gone real quiet recently. And once again Dan Snyder winning a Super Bowl in March turns out to be about 10 months too early,
|The Bucs' Week 1 offensive line|
|The Bucs' offensive line now|
Stat of the week
|The Bucs' 1984 Week 1 offensive line|
|The Bucs' 1984 Week 16 offensive line|
I passed this one along to Scott Smith for him to use in his Buccaneer Insider clip this week. The Bucs will finish this year with four different starters on the offensive line to the ones who began the year. The only time this has ever happened in franchise history was in 1984.
Jon Gruden watch
Only ever shows 3.17am. Sorry, very cheap and easy gag. But the "Gruden to ...." stories continue to abound with each and every coaching vacancy that appears.
He has already been linked with the University of Miami job, is supposed to take over in Dallas, and naturally is associated with the Minnesota and Denver openings. Apparently even Chris Houghton was allegedly being replaced at Newcastle United by him.
A new NFL record was set this season
By the fans of the Denver Broncos and Tim Tebow. Most money spent on one player's merchandise in relation to his actual performance in a season.
Another amazing statistic
This week saw fans of the TV show 24 make it into the Guiness Book of Records as three Jack Bauer devotees sat through over 80 hours of non-stop showings to win a contest in Hollywood without falling asleep. This equates to British fans sitting though 15 minutes of Kevin Cadle and Nick Halling.
You've been great, enjoy the Pogues and Kirsty MacColl. And to quote PTI's Michael Wilbon, "same time next week knuckleheads".