Saturday, October 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Why Jon Gruden, (aka Jonny Vegas) will haunt the Bucs

TAMPA — Bucs fans’ nightmares comes in many forms, shapes and sizes. History haunts them from afar. Misery is a high roller. The franchise’s sins always seem right around the corner.

And here comes Jonny Vegas.

Jon Gruden is reportedly coming out of hiding, if you can call Monday Night Football hiding, to again become head coach of the Oakland Raiders, who will move to Las Vegas for the 2020 NFL season.

And, yeah, the Bucs play there in 2020.

I can already feel your knees knocking, Bucs fans. You didn’t get a Chucky doll under your Christmas tree, and now you have to watch the Raiders open your present. Welcome to the real Sin City.

Gruden gets to become Danny Ocean while the Bucs continue their voyage to the bottom of the sea.

Chucky is getting the band back together. A phone call here, a phone call there. I hear Bruce Gradkowski is dealing blackjack at the Mirage.

This is as good as it can get for Gruden. He takes over a team filled with talent that underachieved in 2017, and, best of all, he has a good young quarterback in Derek Carr. The Raiders are in about the same place the Bucs were in 2002, when Gruden stormed their trenches and led them to the franchise’s lone Super Bowl win.

(RELATED: Gruden confirms the obvious)

Not that the Bucs are worried. Why, they’re sitting pretty at five wins, with no reason at all to make any staff changes or anything else, judging by Dirk Koetter’s hypoxic comments after the season.

It’s all over but the haunting.

I say all this while knowing full well that it wasn’t going to happen for Gruden and the Bucs. I’ve said it before. I don’t believe in second acts, unless it’s Sinatra at the Sands. Gruden is a closer, and these Bucs aren’t close to needing that. They need reconstruction. Ever see a team four seasons into the same general manager that has this many needs?

But it’s a great deal for Gruden. Eat your heart out, Bill Belichick. The Raiders want relevancy. Gruden is instant relevancy. He’ll be on every billboard on the Strip before you know it. He’s the perfect headliner, a one-man Rat Pack.

(RELATED: The Gruden circus has left town)

Meanwhile, the Bucs will be at the nickel slots.

It doesn’t matter that the return of Chucky was the last thing the Bucs needed. Who applies logic to their jungle fears? Jon Gruden is out of his cave, and now it gets dicey. Bucs fans gets to worry that he doesn’t make the Bucs look bad, as if the Bucs could ever look bad. I mean, five wins. Count ‘em!

Will Jonny Vegas come back to haunt the Bucs with a Lombardi Trophy?

Place your bets.

Contact Martin Fennelly at [email protected] or (813) 731-8029. Follow @mjfennelly

Comments
Bucs Dirk Koetter has put the team ahead of himself again

Bucs Dirk Koetter has put the team ahead of himself again

TAMPA — Say this for the Bucs' Dirk Koetter: He's not the kind of head coach who puts himself ahead of the team.In the offseason, Koetter began the process of handing over the offensive play-calling duties to Todd Monken.When it produced more p...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide: The Bucs are the Browns and the Browns are the Bucs

Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide: The Bucs are the Browns and the Browns are the Bucs

It was always this game.Not the Saints. Not the Eagles. Not the Steelers.The Browns.When the NFL released the Bucs’ schedule in April, the Browns were an afterthought. The first three games were the main attraction. If Tampa Bay could survive t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Browns’ late trade forcing Bucs to make late adjustments

Browns’ late trade forcing Bucs to make late adjustments

TAMPA — The Bucs were already prepared to see the Cleveland Browns establish their vaunted running game on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium, but now, they will have to adjust their game plan to see more of rookie running back Nick Chubb than the...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Injuries could give Bucs rush end Noah Spence opportunity vs. Browns

Injuries could give Bucs rush end Noah Spence opportunity vs. Browns

TAMPA — Noah Spence walked off the field Friday afternoon dripping with sweat. His practice jersey was a darker shade of red, the result of another day of work trying to get back on the NFL radar.Bucs coach Dirk Koetter lauds the defensive end'...
Published: 10/19/18
Browns trade running back Carlos Hyde to Jaguars as Bucs game nears

Browns trade running back Carlos Hyde to Jaguars as Bucs game nears

JACKSONVILLE — The Jacksonville Jaguars traded for Cleveland running back Carlos Hyde on Friday, adding a proven starter while Leonard Fournette progresses slowly from a strained right hamstring. The Browns (2-3-1) will get a 2019 fifth-round ...
Published: 10/19/18
Days before game against Bucs, Browns’ Myles Garrett rips officials after rash of bad calls

Days before game against Bucs, Browns’ Myles Garrett rips officials after rash of bad calls

BEREA, Ohio — Browns defensive end Myles Garrett roughed up NFL officials. The No. 1 overall pick unloaded on officials on Friday, criticizing them for several calls that have gone against Cleveland in recent weeks and swung momentum in their games. ...
Published: 10/19/18
Bucs defensive linemen Gerald McCoy, Vinny Curry out Sunday against Browns

Bucs defensive linemen Gerald McCoy, Vinny Curry out Sunday against Browns

TAMPA — After the Bucs' practice week ended Friday without tackle Gerald McCoy and end Vinny Curry having participated in any on-field drills, both defensive linemen are listed as out for Sunday's home game against the Cleveland Browns on the m...
Published: 10/19/18
Bucs decided on team captains. Jameis Winston, Gerald McCoy didn’t get picked

Bucs decided on team captains. Jameis Winston, Gerald McCoy didn’t get picked

TAMPA — The Buccaneers finally decided on their team captains for this season, and two notable names — defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and quarterback Jameis Winston — were not among those picked.The team selected five captains: two o...
Published: 10/19/18
Why this is the biggest Bucs game of the season

Why this is the biggest Bucs game of the season

TAMPA — It's only the sixth game of the season.Pretty early to have already arrived at the edge of the cliff. And yet, here we are. The Bucs are at the edge of the cliff. Looking down.A loss Sunday against the lowly Browns (1 p.m., FOX) and the...
Published: 10/19/18
Bucs-Browns: Predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game in Tampa Bay

Bucs-Browns: Predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game in Tampa Bay

TAMPA — OK, raise your hand if when the schedule came out you circled Bucs-Browns as the pivotal game in Tampa Bay's season.Yet here we are. The Bucs, who fired their defensive coordinator this week in an effort to save their season, face ...
Published: 10/19/18