Monday, April 23, 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
Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Polly want a sacker: Bucs’ 4th-round draft pick to be delivered by parrot

Late-round NFL draft picks are often made on a wing and a prayer.The Bucs' fourth-round pick Saturday will be no different. The team announced Monday that as part of the NFL draft TV broadcast, the team's fourth-round pick will be delivered to an ann...
Updated: 6 minutes ago
How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

How Baker Mayfield can benefit the Bucs

TAMPA — The buzz surrounding this year's NFL draft is a class of talented quarterbacks deep enough to challenge the record six taken in the first round in 1983, a group that included future Hall of Famers John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.Th...
Published: 04/22/18
Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for ‘joke’ gun photo

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely, who was born in Odessa and starred at Tampa Jesuit, has apologized for a photo he intended as a joke, showing him holding a gun as he poses with his daughter and her prom date."Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a...
Published: 04/22/18
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely able to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother, S...
Published: 04/21/18
Bucs not listening to outsiders, but expectations remain high for 2018

Bucs not listening to outsiders, but expectations remain high for 2018

TAMPA —Wait 'til this year seems to be the refrain at One Buc Place, even though the team was strangled by expectations in 2017. But a solid offseason that has already brought a rebuilt defensive line, new center and place-kicker has renewed th...
Published: 04/21/18
NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

NFL draft confessions: The Bucs set the trap, and I took the cheese on Johnny Manziel

TAMPA — The NFL draft is one big game of Liar's Poker. Deal me out.Even the guys with a seat at the table don't know when someone is bluffing.Bucs general manager Jason Licht knows that the team's No. 7 overall pick this year will be affected b...
Published: 04/20/18
Bucs’ Jameis Winston, Mike Evans catch Miami Heat game from courtside

Bucs’ Jameis Winston, Mike Evans catch Miami Heat game from courtside

We've seen Jameis Winston and Mike Evans bonding this offseason, going to Texas A&M pro day together, among other events. The two Bucs stars and their significant others double-dated Thursday night, getting courtside seats to watch the Miami Heat in ...
Published: 04/20/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Bucs have a tough start to their schedule

The NFL did the Bucs no favors with their 2018 schedule, Rick Stroud says, making them open at New Orleans, followed by home games against Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Plus, linebacker Kendall Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle, p...
Published: 04/20/18
Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

Here’s the Bucs’ full 2018 schedule

TAMPA — How good can the Bucs be in 2018? Fans will get a good sense in the first three weeks, as Tampa Bay opens the year with three of its toughest games, all against reigning division champions. The Bucs open 2018 in New Orleans on Sept. 9 ...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith fractured ankle in car accident

TAMPA – Bucs linebacker Kendell Beckwith had surgery to repair a broken ankle he suffered in a car accident in Louisiana last week, putting his status for the start of the season in question.Beckwith was passenger in car driven by former L...
Published: 04/19/18