• Author:
  • Published: Jan 17th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on Gruden and Allen forced to walk the plank.

Gruden and Allen forced to walk the plank.

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Technorati Tags: Buccaneers,Tampa Bay,NFL,NFL Draft,Gruden,Allen,Morris,head coach,McKay

Fryingpan Sports

tGruden and Allen forced to walk the plank.

By Bill Smith

Yesterday, the Glazers who own the Buccaneers fired both GM Bruce Allen and head coach Jon “Chuckie” Gruden. Reports from Tampa indicate that both were at work yesterday and were “blindsided” by the move. Gruden becomes the second head coach with a Super Bowl win on his resume to be let go this year. Denver fired head coach Mike Shannon earlier this month.

While Gruden was shocked, perhaps he shouldn’t have been. He won his Super Bowl with the team that built and trained by his predecessor Tony Dungy and the former GM Rich McKay. Gruden was obtained by Tampa in a trade for 4 high draft choices (2 1st round and 2 2nd round) and 8 million in cash with the Raiders before the 2002 season. In 2002 Tampa went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl beating the Raiders. That got him some time. In 2008, the team was playing well and got to December with a record of 9-3. Then Tampa lost to consecutive games to Carolina, Atlanta, San Diego. After the team lost a humiliating game to the Raiders in the final game of 2008 and missed the playoffs with a 9-7 record, Gruden’s time was up. The December swoon was not unique. Gruden teams had won only 2 games in the last 3 seasons in the month of December.

Overall Gruden went 60 and 57 in his years at Tampa including playoff games. However, in the last 6 years of his stay the team made the playoffs only twice losing in the wild card game each time. So what happened?

A large part of the problem is that Gruden changed QBs faster than most men change TV channels. He got Texas QB Chris Sims in the 03 draft but didn’t like him. Simms played in a total of 5 games starting 2 in his first two years. He didn’t develop until 2005 then suffered a ruptured spleen in 2006. Gruden brought in a covey of veteran QBs including Jake Plummer who retired rather than report to the QB grinder that Tampa had become. The QB merry-go-round in 08 included Browns reject Jeff Garcia, Bronco and Bear reject Bryan Griese, and Luke McCown who has been rejected by just about every team in the league as well as Josh Johnson a 5th round draft choice out of San Diego. The starter Garcia who had a decent 2008 was allowed to become a free agent after the 08 season. After the firing of Chuckie was announced, Garcia said he would not be back in Tampa if he had to play for Gruden.

Allen joined the team in 2004. He was hired to replace GM Rich McKay who resigned due to differences with Gruden. The team lost leadership when he cut both John Lynch and Warren Sapp within days of taking the job. Allen had a lot of draft choices that never paned out. To be fair, he did draft Cadillac Williams who was outstanding until a career threatening injury ended his season in 4th game of the 2007 season.

Allen, who is the son of Hall of Fame coach George Allen, was also criticized for allowing salary cap money to go unused. Because of a lack of success of draft choices, Tampa relied heavily on free agents. That too was given as a reason the Glazers were dissatisfied with him.

Both men received contract extensions in January 08 that was supposed to carry them through the 2011 season. Problems developed between Allen and Gruden over—guess what—QBs. Gruden wanted Allen to take Trent Edwards in 2007 draft and Brady Quinn 2008 but Allen did not. Gruden reportedly wanted Allen to trade for Bret Favre in 08 but again Allen was able to prevent it and won the battle over draft choice and free agent QBs. However, both combatants lost the war.

Reportedly the Glazers had a serious disagreement with both Gruden and Allen over the future direction of the team. In that kind of spitting contest, ownership always wins. Raheem Morris is rumored to replace Gruden. Allen may also be replaced internally by Mark Dominic.

Morris was the DBs coach last year and had just promoted to defensive coordinator in December replacing long time DC Monte Kipen who will join his son Lane Kipen in Tennessee. In 04 and 05 Morris was an assistant DB coach. In 06 he had a successful season as DC for the Kansas State team. He came back to Tampa as DBs coach and in 07 he helped the team become the top pass defense team in the league. Now it looks like Morris will be the next head coach.

Mark Dominic has been with the Bucs since 1995 and has been the Director of Pro Personnel for the last 9 years. While he has spent his career in pro scouting and talent evaluation, he has very little experience in college scouting. That is very often a problem for first time GMs. In college scouting, you have to find the jewels among the late round picks. Evaluating small school players is also a problem for those that have no experience doing it.

In my opinion, Tampa made the right choice in firing Allen but not in removing Gruden. Gruden has done quite a bit without a real QB. The NFL is a QB driven league. That is particularly true in the last few years. Without a franchise quality QB, the offense sputtered.

While he came with a reputation of an offensive guru and having the ability to develop QBs, he never had a chance in Tampa. I don’t think they will have more success with Morris or anyone else they could get. They waited until several of the high profile coaching candidates had already found jobs. There were rumors that key members of the team felt many players did not like Gruden. That may be true. The position of HC is not a popularity contest. I doubt he had lost the locker room. Chuckie suffered from a lack of young talent that resulted in a long injury list almost every year. Free agents and older players tend to go down more often than young ones do.

Allen missed on several key early picks and had never really shown the ability to find the late round picks that develop into key starters. That is the difference between the good GM and the great one. Given the teams lack of success in the past few seasons, Allen had to go.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

  • Author:
  • Published: Jan 11th, 2009
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on The NFL needs to take out the clowns wearing the stripes.

The NFL needs to take out the clowns wearing the stripes.

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Frying Pan Sports

The NFL needs to take out the clowns wearing the stripes.

By Bill Smith

Technorati Tags: nfl,football,officials,Ravens,Titans,fans,strike,coach,Big 10,college football

How can you tell the difference between an NFL official and a postal worker? The postal worker is the one that is armed. If the NFL officials continue to rob teams and fans of wins they have earned on the field, the zebras may need to be armed as well.

Officiating in the NFL has been getting steadily worse. The playoff game between Tennessee and Baltimore is just the latest example of ineptness.

The play clock runs out on the Ravens, and no official stops play. The Ravens complete a 32 yard pass and move on to win the game.

A Raven is twisting Tennessee running back Charles Johnson backwards after he is down trying to break his back. One of his linemen come up and pull the offender off. The officials call the lineman for a personal foul.

This was a playoff game. This collection of clowns are supposed to be the best in the league. If these guys are the best, that explains a lot about how sloppy and unprofessional the officiating has been in the regular season.

Any coach or player that even suggests that an official missed a call is fined and or suspended. GET A GRIP. If these guys can’t do a better job than that fire them all and the pinheads that manage them and start over. Even if you get Big 10 officials, it can’t get any better. And the Big 10 officials are nothing to write home about.

These guys are either totally incompetent or are fixing the games. It is impossible to come to any other conclusion. I don’t for a minute believe that the NFL is fixed. I believe the officials are just totally inept.

Anyone that operates without accountability operates inefficiently. That is the problem with football officials in general and NFL officials in particular. When an official screws up, with only one exception, it is the coach that complains about the error that gets fined and sometimes suspended not the official.

Part of the problem is that in general the officials are too old, too fat and way too slow to keep up with the game that gets faster and more complex every year. As a former coach in semi-pro football, I have the scars of someone that took on the officials. I won the battle but the war goes on.

I have also officiated games. It is not easy but how do you fail to notice the play clock expiring or a guy going out of the back of the endzone?

I don’t imply here that the officials intentionally make bad calls or fail to make calls based on a desire for one team to win. They are not athletes and can not keep up with today’s game. Over the years the NFL has adjusted the mechanics of officials to offset the speed issue. But no adjustment can be enough to make up for a bunch of overweight old men trying to keep up with the speed of the NFL game.

It is WAY past time that the NFL make public when an official is suspended or fired. Covering up the errors and omissions of these men is unacceptable. It is also time that the coaches and the players who question decisions of the incompetent officials be labeled as whistle blowers and protected from the Nazi style retribution of the league.

The fans have had more than enough of this crap. The players risk their limbs and futures to win a championship deserve better than these clowns. If that is the best you can do, dump the league because it is getting to the point that it is not worth watching. If it does not improve very soon, it is time for a fan strike. I will be happy to lead it.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and edits fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .

  • Author:
  • Published: Dec 30th, 2008
  • Category: NFL Football
  • Comments: Comments Off on A few after Christmas Gifts for the NFL

A few after Christmas Gifts for the NFL

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Christmas Gifts for the NFL

by Bill Smith

I have some gift ideas for those of you that need to buy something for the NFL player, coach or administrator that has everything.

TO Romeo Crennel, the ex-coach of the Browns: A fire extinguisher. Given how hot your seat has been after the abysmal season you perpetrated on Browns fans, you need it. You are a nice guy but nice guys finish last. And the Tans are last after they lost to the Bagels and to Pittsburgh while Cincy beat KC. By the way, your back pants pocket is currently smoldering.

Romeo Crennel 2008

TO Phil Savage, GM of the Browns: An email editing program to delete expletives from your responses to fans and a financial advisor to help you invest your contract payoff. You really need to get a grip. The fans are your customers and we pay your salary. Before you write another email that would choke a dock worker, take a moment to appreciate your life. You may not have any job for quite awhile so spend your money wisely.

TO Mike Brown, owner of the Cincinnati Bagels: A long distance calling card. Face it, you are going to need it to find someone—anyone with football scouting ability that is willing to work for an idiot son of a Hall of Fame father. I feel sorry for Paul Brown. He must be spinning at 5000 rpm in his grave.

TO Al Davis, owner of the Raiders: A dump truck load of common sense. Al, who do you think will take the coaching job once you fire Cable? When the team stinks for a decade, the problem is not the players—they come and go. Its not the coaches. In Oakland they are like paper towels—strong and disposable. It is the owner. Put one of the other partners into your chair and stop aggravating the Raiders fans. Having seen that group, I wouldn’t want to be on their bad side.

TO Rod Marinelli, ex-coach of the Lions: A warm hug because if anyone needs one he does. He has been trying to fight the football equivalent of the Nazi tank blitz with the Polish army on horseback. You put up a gallant but hopeless fight. The problems weren’t your fault but that doesn’t pay the bills.

TO Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys: 10 prepaid sessions with a media consultant. Jerry, you can not throw one of the few guys on the team with toughness under the team bus. And every time you try to make up for it, you make it worse. It is bad enough to put your foot in your mouth. What is inexcusable is to jam your foot down the throat of your best player.

TO Wade Phillips, head coach of the Cowboys: A prepaid contract with an executive search firm and the phone number of a good Realtor. He took over the D and it is playing better but now the O is a concern. Wade, since you didn’t make the playoffs, you may need both soon no matter what Jerry tells you. You may find it necessary to change your name and move out of state. There will be a lot of crazy fans looking for you in Texas. And most of them are armed.

TO Mike Holmgren Seahawks ex-coach: A one way ticket to Cleveland. That isn’t so much a gift for him as it would be for Browns fans. He wants to coach again and Seattle management has indicated they are ready to move on. Browns fans are tired of being the training ground for pro coach want-to-bes. What we need is a pro coach with experience. Mike, come to a town that would welcome you with open arms. Being by the lake we have all of the water with much less rain.

TO Mike Shanahan Broncos head coach: A running back made of something more substantial than crystal. He has lost a covey of running backs. This year they have dropped like leaves in the fall. Perhaps Santa can put a healthy and effective back in Mike’s stocking. Of course that would be a pretty big stocking.

TO Kurt Warner, star QB of the Cardinals: The respect and love you deserve with a contract on a team that is ready to win. Anyone that watched Warner play last year with one arm after another brain cramp by the O line injured his left arm has to have a ton of respect for the guy. He deserves another MVP, a yellow Hall of Fame jacket, and a shot an one more Super Bowl. How do you feel about living in Minnesota? The weather is worse than Arizona but they play more than half their games inside.

TO Plaxico Burris, wounded former WR of the Giants: A trip to Oz to ask the Wizard for some brains. Guns don’t kill people—idiots with guns do. If you are not smart enough to put the safety on before you jam a loaded gun in your pants, you deserve to get your ****s shot off.

TO Terrell Ownes, WR and crier in chief of the Cowboys: A passing only football league that allows only one receiver on the field at a time. That would be the only place you could play and be happy.

TO Donavon McNabb, Eagle QB: A copyright on the phrase “Kolb? How do you like me now?” If you get run out of town, you will need a lot of bumper stickers with that printed on them. Forget selling soup, the Philly market for those will pay you more.

TO Braylon Edwards, the Monday night only WR for the Browns: A 20 session contract with a shrink along with the bill. Given the way you played this year, you deserve to pay $250 an hour to hear some ask “and how do you feel about that?”

TO Joe Thomas, pro bowl (??) tackle of the Browns: 1 million thank you notes for all those misguided people that voted for you. Of course, you might have already paid them to do it.

TO LaDainian Tomlinson, running back for the Chargers: 1 million sympathy cards with postage to say how sorry you are for killing their fantasy football seasons. We all drafted you with the first pick and got squat for our trouble. To tell you how bad it was, we had to start Pierre Thomas in your place to win the game in week 15.

TO Jason Peters, pro bowl (????) tackle for the Bills: A quart of oil for your turnstile pass blocking technique. To steal a phrase from ESPN “Com-on man!” You should be duct taped to a chair and be forced to watch all of the games you played this year. Here is an idea—if you want to make more money, play like you deserve it. After the season you played, your value has gone way down. While name recognition may have gotten you votes for the pro bowl, the owners aren’t fooled.

TO Ben Roethlisberger, Steeler QB: A really good medical plan. If your propensity for riding motorcycles and bad luck in general were not enough, you have gotten hit more an baseball at batting practice.

TO A.J. Smith, general manager of the Chargers: A do-over approved by the NFL. You decided to keep an aging Tomlinson and let Michael “Burner” Turner go as a free agent? What were you thinking? Tomlinson has struggled to get to a thousand yards this year and is averaging less than 4 yards a carry. Turner has a shot at 1700 yards and is averaging well over 4 a carry with 15 touchdowns.

TO Cleveland Tan fans: A bottle of your favorite adult beverage—make that a couple of cases. As a life long Browns fan, I want Bill Cowher to coach this team as much as anyone. But he is getting a couple of million dollars a year for working 23 days. That is a hard gig to give up. Besides, I am not sure we should trust the sanity of anyone that would sign up to try to make a team out of this group of head cases and miss-fits.

And finally TO Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL: A reasonable deal with the players. Somewhere there must be a compromise to split the billions of dollars that the Golden Goose known as the NFL generates. Figure one out and get the deal done. No one wants to see a strike filled with replacement players.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent.

Check out his new site FryingpanSports.com! He currently is a senior writer for NFLDraftDog.com and his articles appear at . He has also published several novels on and edits

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