The Critical 'I'

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Tuesday, December 30, 2003

GRUDEN'S GENERAL MANAGERIE
bring back the orange! el league-o
Speaking of football... Closer to home, Bucs coach Jon Gruden sounds the horn on the rebuilding project, all the while deferring to the new general manager who hasn't yet been hired:

Gruden said the new general manager does not have to be someone with whom he is familiar.

"No, but philosophy is a big thing," Gruden said. "I heard a lot about philosophy around here, about how I don't like young players and I don't like to build through drafts. I heard a lot of hogwash, to be honest with you. We need to find (a general manager) who, philosophically, comes in here and has the same vision we do as a staff. ... We are not going to discriminate between sizes, ages or positions. We are going to get the best players we can get and we are going to coach them as hard as we can.

"We will try to handle (the hiring process) privately and try to go about this with as little attention as we can get. We are going to be under the radar, I think."

In a nutshell: Gruden wants to have all the powers of a GM, without any of the position's responsibilities. He wants to call the shots on which players come and go, but he doesn't want to deal with contracts, salary cap issues or anything else that detracts from coaching. That's the basic theme, and that's why Rich McKay was chased out of town.

Given that, who would want the Tampa Bay GM job? Certainly not an established general manager. It would have to be someone who's looking for his first shot at the position. He'll also have to be extremely agile, professionally, and learn to bite his lip for the likely short-term he'll be at One Buc Place, because his role will be to serve as a rubber stamp to Gruden's personnel moves.

It's going to be an interesting next few years in Bucland...