What they're saying about Gruden, Allen firings
Bucs LB Derrick Brooks
Shortly after Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen were fired, Brooks called into 620-WDAE's "Steve Duemig Show" to defend Gruden, urging fans to appreciate Gruden's "body of work."
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Bucs C Jeff Faine
"It's a very uncomfortable situation. I was a free agent they really wanted here. I had an open door to go and talk to (Gruden and Allen). Now, it's going to be a different coach and maybe a different system. I was really anticipating this offseason. I still am, but I just hope it's not going to be a rebuilding process. That's like starting all over again."
Bucs WR Antonio Bryant
“I’m very surprised, you know I felt very comfortable, especially in the environment,” Bryant said on The Monty Show on Sporting News Radio. “It’s a family atmosphere and everybody got along well, and it’s shocking, but that’s the nature of the business.”
Asked whether Bryant feels a strong sense of loyalty to Gruden, Bryant said, “I feel a sense of loyalty to anything that is Buccaneer. John Gruden was definitely a Buccaneer, he gave his all in everything. He was very devoted and a passionate guy about the game. I’m still a Buccaneer until March 1st and just the opportunity that he gave me, the organization, the ownership and the Glazers, I trust their decision in knowing that they feel they made the decision to do the right thing.”
Bucs WR Michael Clayton
"How do you build a championship team with all the inconsistency? You have to do it the right way. I've always been a person who feels like you reap what you sow. You have to treat people fairly.''
When asked what he wished Gruden would've done differently, Clayton said, "It's about showing more confidence in your players. He was kind of a turncoat. He'd tell you one thing and then do something else.''
Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer
"We will be forever grateful for Jon bringing us the Super Bowl title and we thank Bruce for his contributions to our franchise,'' Glazer said in a statement released by the team. "However, after careful consideration, we feel this decision is in the best interest of our organization moving forward.''
Adam Schefter, NFL Network
''Bruce Allen said, 'December did us in.' So clearly there is a feeling between Bruce Allen and Jon Gruden that the Buccaneers finish down the stretch when they lost to the Oakland Raiders and cost the Buccaneers a playoff spot ultimately cost Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen their jobs.''
Keyshawn Johnson, ESPN
“I thought Jon did a pretty good job from an offensive standpoint. He inherited a pretty good football team from Tony Dungy. The team he took over was good. He (inherited) a quarterback, he picked up a running back, a pretty good wide receiver and the team, overall, was intact. Defensively, the team was outstanding and he didn’t have to do a lot. When he had to pick his own offensive players, he struggled. If he has all the pieces in place, he’s a good X’s and O’s coach. … He’s always going to have run-in with players. “I like the thought of Raheem Morris taking over as a head coach. He’s like a young Mike Tomlin, a young Tony Dungy. The players respect him. ’’
Jay Glazer, Fox Sports
“Gruden seemed shocked when he told his staff of his firing, assistant coaches (said). The future of the assistants was not immediately clear. Gruden met with ownership earlier this week, and came out of the meeting feeling as if he had one more year to right the Bucs’ ship, the assistant coaches said. However, ownership did not meet with Gruden or Allen immediately after the season, a sign that they were more than disappointed with the Bucs’ late-season demise.”
Shaun King, ESPN
“I wasn’t surprised. I thought it might have come a year or two too late. I think Jon came in touted as being an offensive guy and this team has struggled to find offensive consistency.’’
Pat Yasinskas, ESPN
“For all those Tampa Bay fans who have been saying the Glazer family no longer cares about the Buccaneers because they’re too busy with their English soccer team Manchester United, think again. The Glazers just blew $25 million out of the front door of One Buccaneer Place when they fired coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen. No matter what you want to say about the Glazers, they care — deeply — about the Buccaneers. And they’re going to have to cough up several more million to get a new coach and general manager.”
Clark Judge, CBSSportsline
“I understand the Glazers’ frustration; what I don’t understand is why make this move now. I mean, they could have done this after the club completed its collapse in late December. So why now? And why take Allen with Gruden. I guess that’s what is next. Something must have happened, or something must have been said or someone must have come up with an idea for a seismic change. And by that I mean that maybe, just maybe, the Bucs go after one of the experienced free-agent coaches out there or a prominent college coach. Maybe the temptation was too much for the Glazers to resist because they just opened the door for a head coach who wants authority over personnel.''
Pete Prisco, CBSSportsline
“Jon Gruden never understood that it’s the quarterbacks that drive NFL teams. And it cost him his job.
“Gruden was arrogant enough as a coach to think his schemes could overcome the lack of a quality quarterback. In 2003, the Bucs won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson at quarterback.
“That led to Gruden believing he could win with anybody there. The reality is that it took an amazing defense to win that season.
“It wasn’t Johnson.
“The timing of the Gruden firing leads me to believe the Bucs are up to something big. I doubt they would fire a coach at this stage of the game without having a plan. With general manager Bruce Allen also getting fired, it leads me to believe they are targeting a big-name coach they will pay a ton of money to have personnel control.
“Maybe Mike Shanahan? Maybe Urban Meyer? Maybe Bob Stoops? Maybe Pete Carroll?
“If I were Meyer and the Bucs came to me an offered me $8-million a season and total control, how could I turn that down? What’s left to challenge me on the college level? Of course, I’d have to change my offensive system.
“I’m telling you. There’s something at work in Tampa. Something big.
“No matter the hire, that person better take a lesson from Gruden’s tenure there. You can’t win consistently with scrap-heap quarterbacks.”
Can Inman, Oakland Tribune
“Attention Al Davis: Bring back Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen. Your former dynamic duo just got fired Friday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“This may be a pipe dream. Bridges may have been burned (not publicly). And, still, this certainly is a rich, rich concept.
“Al should welcome them back to Oakland. He should make whatever concessions are necessary. Money. Personnel control. Invisibility by The Al. Rename the Coliseum in their honor.
“Odds are highly, highly likely it won’t happen, but, eh, it’s fun to dream.
“This is definitely the most exciting coaching carrousel since all those coaching moves of January 2002. Remember when the Glazers interviewed then-49ers coach Steve Mariucci to become their coach, only to turn around that same night and swing the deal with the Raiders for Gruden.
“Hey, maybe it’ll be Mariucci’s turn, at last, in Tampa Bay. No, wait, maybe they’ll pillage the Raiders and steal Tom Cable this time. Oh, this is rich. Rich!”
Dennis Dillon, SportingNews.com
“Gruden’s biggest problem has been to find a quarterback on whom he could rely. He’s had a bunch of them -— and he’s supposed to be a quarterback guru.
“By now the Glazer family expected to go deeper into the playoffs. Remember, the NFC South is a tough division, with the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and, this season, the rapid turnaround by the Atlanta Falcons.
“The timing of this firing is curious, coming three weeks after the season. Other teams made moves earlier or in the final steps of hiring new coaches. The question is, why didn’t the Buccaneers make this decision sooner?”