Monday, December 28, 2009

How Committed Were/Are The Glazers To Coach Morris?

With the news breaking yesterday that the Glazers had sat down with Bill Cowher already to "gauge his interest" in coaching the Bucs, it made me want to revisit some thoughts I had almost from the moment that Raheem Morris was hired as head coach. You can take it or leave it but it was my impression from the get go that the Glazers weren't especially committed to Coach Morris and that they weren't looking at him as a long term answer. Of course if he came in and set the world on fire then that's one thing, but if he were just average I think they would have been looking to replace him in a few years. That this season has been a disaster my well have moved up that timeline but its still in the back of my head that maybe this was all preordained anyway. Now I know some folks might scoff at that so I will walk you through my thinking on this.

Lets start with the process of firing Jon Gruden and hiring Coach Morris. I said to more than a few of my friends and ex teammates over the last few years that Coach Gruden and GM Bruce Allen were a package deal. Allen owed Gruden his job as Gruden was the one who basically hired Allen to be his boss after Rich McKay left to go to Atlanta. Now don't get me wrong, winning a Superbowl generally grants a head coach some leeway too. But it was my opinion that Bruce Allen wasn't going to fire Jon Gruden no matter what. And therefore in order for Gruden to be fired the Glazers would also have to fire Allen as well. I for one didn't see that ever happening because the Glazers aren't really "football people". When they bought the Bucs they had the luxury of having one of the most respected GMs in McKay already in place to conduct their search for a head coach. But with no GM in place the Glazers would have had to find both and that just isn't their strong suit.

So lets think back to last January shall we. How did the Glazers get around this problem?

They hired a new GM from within in Mark Dominik who in turn hired a head coach from within in Coach Morris. Pretty neat trick if you ask me. Don't get me wrong, I like Dominik a lot and he has definitely put in the time over there at One Buc working his way all the way up the ladder to get where he is today. But ask yourself a question, when was the last time a first time GM hired a first time head coach for an NFL franchise? And the next question is how many times has that happened within a week of the former head coach and GM being fired?

I'm going to go with never. And lets also keep in mind that the firing of Coach Gruden happened well after most of the other head coaches had been let go. That meant that even with hiring both Dominick and Morris, essentially without looking anywhere else, almost immediately they were still behind on all of the offseason work.

Then there is the matter of the contract that Coach Morris signed. I remembered reading this about his contract and being very concerned.

Morris signed a four-year contract, a pretty big commitment to someone who has never been a head coach at any level. In fact, his only experience as a defensive coordinator came during one season at Kansas State in 2006. The Bucs named him defensive coordinator on Christmas Day, but that was before they fired coach Jon Gruden Friday.

However, there could be some language in the contract that gives the Bucs the ability to terminate or extend the deal after three seasons.

Why exactly in the hell would the Glazers put language into Coach Morris' contract whereby they could terminate it a year early? I could also say why in the hell would Coach Morris sign a contract with such language but I know the answer. He wanted to be a head coach like most coaches want to and he was probably willing to accept something like that in order to be able to show what he can do.

I hate to speculate but you have to wonder if the Bucs inserted that language into the contract because three years out would be one year removed from Gruden's contract coming off the books if he continues to do broadcasting rather than coaching. The Bucs would then would be free to fire Coach Morris if they so chose without worrying about having to pay him. At that point Dominik would have had 3 years worth of seasoning and they would have a clear picture about whether they should keep him on board or find an established head coach who would bring their own GM with them. That is my opinion but you have to admit the pieces fit.

So we have established that hiring Coach Morris and Mark Dominik were probably acts of convenience as much as anything else but what about some of the other moves in the offseason which either blew up or appeared to show a lack of commitment to Coach Morris?

The Coordinators

I realize that lately there has been a lot of speculation about who picked Jeff Jagodzinski and Jim Bates to be the Bucs' offensive and defensive coordinators respectively, and I really don't have any kind of insider information on that. But there are a few things I think should be revisited about the hiring of these two men.

First I think its important that we revisit the offensive coordinator search. Check out this excerpt from a TBO article about one of the early candidates for offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, and other likely candidates.

MOBILE, Ala. - Former Rams coach Scott Linehan didn't turn down a job with the 49ers just to join the Bucs' staff.

"I just wasn't ready to make a decision at that point," said Linehan, one of the top candidates for the Bucs' offensive coordinator job.

Linehan said personal considerations played a part in his decision. It's unsure whether those considerations will prevent him from taking a job with the Bucs.

"There's a lot that's still up in the air," Linehan said. "I'm just sitting back right now and weighing all my options."

The Bucs are doing the same. They plan to interview several offensive coordinator candidates, including quarterbacks coach Greg Olson.

Other possibilities are Chiefs offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, Browns offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski and Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur.

Notice that you didn't see Jagodzinski's name mentioned anywhere in there? It's worth remembering that he wasn't Coach Morris' first choice and it appears that at least initially he wasn't even in the top 5. Now how he came to be hired in the end I have no idea about. For that matter I don't know that Linehan or any of the other candidates would have come in and had our offense firing on all cylinders. But I don't think any of the initial candidates would have ended up fired just before the season started.

With Jim Bates you could say many of the same things about him not being on the short list initially, but at least he had plenty of NFL experience to point to as a reason to hire him. I know some people keep pointing to some times that Coach Morris has with Bates' family but I am not really buying heavily into that. But I once again want to remind you of how it was explained that Bates came to be the defensive coordinator and what his scheme would look like from the mouth of GM Mark Dominick.

Dominik said the Bucs will maintain a 4-3 base with Bates, but likely will work more blitzes into the one-gap and Tampa 2 packages Morris has been schooled in.

To recap we didn't blitz more, we blitzed less while Bates was still coordinating the defense, and instead of sticking with the one gap scheme that had been so successful here over the years he decided to start two gapping with the interior defensive linemen. Basically Bates did the exact opposite of what Dominik said he would do. I don't pretend to know if Bates misled the Bucs about his intention or if Dominick was just confused about what the plan for the scheme was, but its very obvious that some how some way there was some miscommunication there that led to a catastrophic start to the season for our defense.

At this point both of those guys are out of a job and the defense is playing better and in the last two weeks at least so is our offense. It would appear that firing both guys was the right move at least in the short term, but you have to continue to ask why they were hired to begin with and more to the point why coaches who were higher on the list of candidates decided against coming to Tampa. Did they know something that we didn't back then? I mean Scott Linehan ended up in Detroit for goodness sake.

Player Turnover

Lets look at a list of starters or major contributers from last year who were released or weren't resigned in the offseason.

Derrick Brooks

Cato June

Phillip Buchannan

Jovan Haye

Kevin Carter

Jeff Garcia

Warrick Dunn

Alex Smith

Ike Hilliard

Joey Galloway

Matt Bryant

Luke McCown

That's a total of 12 guys who either started or were big time contributors to the team last year. And how many guys did we bring in via free agency or a trade? A grand total of 3, Byron Leftwich, Derrick Ward, and Kellen Winslow Jr. Does that math add up to anyone else?

They lost 5 starters, including Buchannan who was at least the starter in nickel, on defense. Who did they bring in? NOBODY!

They jettisoned to of their most consistent wide receivers, who did they bring in? NOBODY!

They cut one of the most consistent kickers in team history for a guy who made more money and sucked.

And they even cut Luke McCown who may not be a world beater but at least was athletic enough to make plays with his feet and familiar enough with Gruden's playbook that he could have run it once offensive coordinator Greg Olsen took over for Jagodzinski. Instead we went with Byron Leftwich who while he might be a great teammate, and he does have a strong arm, couldn't avoid a pass rush to save his life.

Are those the kinds of moves that you would say owners would make when they are committed to their head coach?

Having said all that I fully admit that there are moves that Coach Morris made this year that I didn't agree with and didn't think were right. I am not absolving him of any and all responsibility. Being 3-12 is a record that he has to wear because he has earned it. But I grow tired of the talk of him being in over his head. I don't hear that kind of talk when you mention Steve Spagnulo who had the defensive coordinator experience that folks keep pointing out Coach Morris doesn't have and is still getting his ass handed to him on a daily basis as head coach of the Rams. Likewise I don't hear that kind of talk about former long time Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz even as his Detroit Lions get the hell beaten out of them every week. So why does Coach Morris get painted with that brush?

I am sure some of you will say that the Bucs aren't the Rams or the Lions as far as talent level, but have you checked our roster lately? The Bucs have exactly one guy who has made the Pro Bowl on defense, Ronde Barber. We have exactly two guys on offense who have made the Pro Bowl in Davin Joseph and Kellen Winslow. On paper at least are we really that much better than the Rams or the Lions? I don't think so. Yet Coach Morris is "over his head" because he doesn't have the experience that those other two coaches have whose teams have worse records than the Bucs?

The truth is, I shouldn't have to be the one pointing that out. Mark Dominik or the Glazers should have been out there make a statement early this morning affirming their support of Coach Morris in light of the big win and in light of the rumors about Bill Cowher, and making the same point that I did. But instead you get nothing but quiet and an off the record denial. This isn't meant to be a justification of Coach Morris keeping his job, after all it IS the Glazer's team and they can do with it what the please. But this is meant to connect some dots that some people may have missed or forgotten.

Its up to you now to decide whether you think the Glazers were ever committed to Coach Morris or if they were using him as a hold over from the start. I already know my thoughts on the matter and I think I have made them very apparent.

What say you?


  1. Great perspective, but let me play devil's advocate here. I think the Glazer's had to make a move to keep Raheem, based on what he has done with the defense this year don't you think that he would have been a name on the hot list for a bunch of other teams this year. Denver thought enough of him last year without any coordinator experience. If he does get fired at the end of the season, I bet he'll be a coordinator somewhere, not just a defensive backs coach.

    As for the personnel moves, I'm not even going against any of your points there because none of them make sense. I was abasolutely pissed the day they cut the Brooks and the rest, and swore I would never root for the Bucs again. While it may still look like a good decision since none of them are really playing in the NFL right now, how about a little loyalty somewhere. I am really concerned about this offseason as well. I think Antonio Bryant deserves a contract and he is obviously our best receiver and the best receiver about to hit the open market. Not sure if it falls all on the shoulder's of the owners or the GM's, but we can't keep letting good players go with the hopes someone like Michael Clayton, Maurice Stovall, or Bryan Clark will step up. I just don't see it happening.

  2. @Shawn

    When you think about it, in many ways Denver gave the Bucs the cover to pull this off. Had Denver never interviewed Coach Morris then there is no way in hell the fans would have ever accepted the move. But because of that interview the Bucs could make the case that he was in demand which to a certain extent he was. But you have to think long term. Lets say they actually went through a real interview process and hired a different head coach who kept Raheem on as defensive coordinator. Well for one we had never actually seen him in that roll so for all anybody knew he might be a flop. For two if they hired a bigger name guy who didn't work out they would still have Raheem here who they could promote possibly in the middle of the season as an interim head coach. And for 3 even if Raheem had a great season this year as a defensive coordinator, with big dawgs like Mike Shannahan, Bill Cowher, Gruden, and Mike Holmgren lurking about, there was no reason to believe that Morris would leap frog all of them for the handful of jobs that will be available after the season. Right now you have a crop of young coaches out there and just a few older ones. Most teams are going to give their young/new coaches a few years to get everything going. Only a few of the older coaches are having bad years. So as you look around the league, how many jobs will even be open after its all said and done? We know the Bills and the Redskins, perhaps the Panthers, perhaps Jacksonville, perhaps Chicago, and now its looking like a long shot that the Cowboys job will be open. So basically 4 jobs might be open. If the concern was that Raheem would be jumping ship in a year to become a head coach if they only kept him as a coordinator, well I just don't think they thought that one through all the way.

  3. It's funny how trendy this league. The last few years, it's been let's hire the youngest next up and coming great mind to be our coach. Obvioulsy the Todd Haley, Jim Zorn and Raheem Morris experiments have been horrible this year. Josh McDaniels is about to knock his team out of the playoffs just like Shanahan did last year. Now this year, it seems like all the teams looking for new coaches want the Shanahans, the Grudens, the Holmgrens, and the Cowhers. I think I even read in a blog somewhere that Brian Billick had his name in the hat, maybe we'll even see Herm Edwards or Mike Ditka get in the mix, just joking there.

    While I am no season ticket holder, they do get my DirecTV Sunday Ticket Money every year. I think the owners need to give Raheem at least one more year and need to give him full support, starting by coming out and saying that it's his job in 2010.

  4. I also believe that the Glazer's jumped on Raheem because they thought they might lose him. Their error was that this was a late move, which hurt Dominik, & Morris's shot at capable coordinators. I have no idea who's idea it was to purge the veteran's but I seriously believe #55 deserved better. He would have given us a better defense for 2009 and retired gracefully. I'll always have somewhat a grudge for that move as well as for cutting Dunn. Cutting Ike made absolutely no sense to me. I guess most of my angst with Dominik is due to these moves. After they occurred I said we might win 3 games this year.
    I've been as critical with Morris as anyone BUT I also will recognize that he has made a distinct improvement with the team since he took over as coordinator and has earned the right to Glazer's support.

  5. It's hard to fathom what the Glazers thought process is. They could run a draw on 4'th and 25, or throw a bomb on 4'th and inches. trying to figure them out is futile. I am a season ticket holder and I'm not sure I'll keep them, but beating the Saints was Sweet. I hate the Saints and their fans' attitudes. Too much bad blood at the Stadium for too many years. Olson was horrible at play calling until Seattle. This week he even ran it more. What changed? It had to be Raheem's intervention. Raheem intervened with the defense and look at the positive change. The Bucs are going to kick ATL's ass next Sunday and the confidence is starting to show. I have flip flopped since the last 2 games. More because of the change in game plans, especially offense and running the ball. This makes me want to give Raheem another Season to see what he can do. Olson still hasn't won me over as an OC, but he has done better. We'll soon know what will transpire. They have to sell tickets and fan support is real low right now.

  6. I think Coach Morris gets tagged with the "in over his head" description because he is young, he has a thin resume (lack of coordinatorships) and because of the fiasco that was the hiring of the defensive and offensive coordinators (whether the hirings were his call or not.)

    Also, some of his performances in front of the media during press conferences leads some to conclude he is too inexperienced because he tends to talk too much and too rapidly -- at least compared with most head coaches -- but I think this is just his personality and really isn't valid when trying to assess whether he's "in over his head."

    The idea that the Glazers hired Coach Morris just to be a caretaker for 3 years seems far-fetched to me, but I think they liked the idea they could hire a HC for a relatively low price compared with better-known coaches. I think the Glazers probably are more concerned with their cash flow these days; who knows how much the recession has hurt them?

    Personally, I'd like to see Coach Morris retained despite the obvious mistakes that have been made, and I think the Glazers will keep him, partly because it looks like (if you believe the punditry) there may be a work stoppage/lockout in 2011 and they wouldn't want to hire an expensive, high-dollar head coach to sit around in 2011 without a season to play.

    I like your blog, Steve.

  7. Steve, I have been thinking about this for a few weeks and I think they Glazers' shot themselves in the foot. They fired Gruden to late for him to get hired elsewhere, why? Only the Glazers' know, in turn they were late to the HC party to hire a NAME HC, so we are given Morris, I like the guy, he's young, energetic, and the Bucs play hard as hell for him, and motivation is a huge part of coaching. He is learning on the job, which in a Billion Dollar industry is not a great idea, but it's what we have. The play calling sucks with a capital S, but that is on Olsen more than Morris, but again, late to the party, this is what you get, the D looks like monsters the last month, which is a huge step in the right direction. Does Raheem need help, hell'freakin'yeah, the Glazers' need to save their HC search and look for an Offense Czar. Morris is good, he just needs experienced guidance from someone he respects, someone who is offensive minded like a Steve Mariucci or a Charlie Weis, someone to guide the team's path and show young Raheem how to coach up an offense, and give Olsen the tag of QB Coach, and nothing else, We have a stud in the making, if they don't ruin him with 5 systems in 5 years like poor Campbell in DC. If they do bring in someone like a Mariucci or Weis, if Morris falls on his face again, bam you have an in house guy ready to take over as HC. I don't know if you read the local papers, but you have a huge PR problem in Tampa. You have an African American coach in what is essentially a racist city, I see it everyday in the blogs, comments, and replies on TBO online and other places. I don't think Raheem has been given a fair shake by the white fanbase, he is going to have to win them over, and like you said, St Louis, Detroit, & KC all have first time head coaches and I don't see any of the kind of venom spewed at them by their fanbase as I see being spewed at Raheem, and hell yeah, we are better than those three, and throw the Browns in there too, we'll whip up on them as well. Later cya on Facebook.

  8. @TheNewEmployee

    Although I have seen a few racist comments on some boards here in Tampa I refuse to paint our fan base with that broad of a brush. Half of those assholes probably aren't even sports fans and instead just want to spew their venom and hope it infects others. Where I think the "in over his head" meme came from actually is the media here and then it kind of got hijacked by some of those same assholes. Instead of it meaning that he lacks experience or is learning on the job, they turned it into he doesn't know what he is doing or is dumb or some such shit. And that is why while there have been some things that Coach Morris did that I didn't agree with, I found it hard to come down hard on him lest I be lumped in with that crowd. I was one of the few who predicted that the defense would improve big time once he took over and it indisputably has. But before yesterday you had people still trying to make all kinds of excuses as to why the defense played better, usually saying it was that we were playing lesser teams. A bunch of bullshit is what it was. I personally feel like the way we have ended the season on an upswing should grant Coach Morris at least one more year. But I have this funny feeling that the wheels have already been set in motion since this Cowher story leaked and that no matter what he has done lately the Glazers are going to try to replace him. But I will say that he should land on his feet if they do considering the way the defense has performed. And if he does I imagine this will come back to bite them in the ass just like firing Coach Dungy eventually did.

  9. I thought about what I said yesterday and wanted to clarify my statement. The city as a whole is not racist, but it does have its elements. I think Cohwer would be a horrible choice, the 3-4 he runs does not fit our personnel and it would take our whole draft to replace the personnel to be able to run it, we would have to take Berry to play our version of Troy Polamalu, then take a run stuffer (Mount Cody) and OLB in the 2nd, my thinking has been to take the best athlete available at 3 or 4 which ever we wind up with, then trade him for a late 1st and 3rd rounder this draft, which gives us 11 total picks to which to work with, it would take us off the hook for a top 10 salary and give us more picks with better return on investment. I do think Morris and Dominik are better talent evaluators then Gruden and Allen were, except for the boneheaded contract they gave Clayton, I think the moves have all been for the good. The McCown move was based more on the ability to trade a QB then on the talent of McCown, Jacksonville was not going to trade for a QB they had cut 2 years earlier, so the only move was to keep Byron and trade someone we could get a return on. Should Leftwich have started, no way, Freeman should have had the reins from jump street. I still believe that there should be an Offensive Czar in place to help Raheem out, Morningwhig should be available, or maybe Brian Billick would be interested, he is offensive minded and was a successful head coach. On your Dungy point, I don't think it came back to bite them as much as Dungy was a better fit in Indy, don't forget Parcells had a big part to do with the Dungy/Gruden firing/hiring mess, Tony is a nice man, to nice to win a SB without someone else running the offense, he is a great motivator, great defensive coach, great delagator, but way to conservative to coach a great offense, notice they did not replace Tom Moore as OC/QB coach when Dungy was hired in Indy, but they did replace the DC.

  10. TheNewEmployee

    Sorry it took me so long to respond but I needed to clear up a few things about Coach Dungy. He wasn't just some "nice guy". Coach Dungy inspired more fear in me in addition to respect than any coach I have ever been around and I have truly been around some crazy assholes. The media for years pointed to his Christian faith and that he didn't cuss as some kind of proof that he was weaker or maybe wasn't as respected by the players but I can tell you first hand that it was utter bullshit. And I can even tell you why. Its because he held everyone accountable from the top to the bottom. No matter who you were he would call your ass out and if that didn't work he would get rid of you. I wish people would go back and look at how many people he cut, starters and regular contributers, that first year he was here in Tampa. Hell I got my first shot because he cut a guy who was both late to a meeting and didn't get it done in the game that Sunday. And that didn't change the whole time he was here.

    One meeting Coach Dungy went off in a way that I had never seen him and the whole room was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. He was pissed off about certain players thinking they had snuck out of the team hotel and he said basically this. If it ever happened again he would cut them, if he couldn't cut them he would trade them, if he couldn't trade them he would deactivate them for the rest of the year. I think a few guys stopped breathing. I could give you a few other intances like that where he had the whole team quaking in its boots but that was the major one.

    So understand that from the top to the bottom of our team not one single player that was here while he was here ever disrespected him or if they did their ass was gone. And almost uniformly if you played for us you busted your ass.

  11. As for biting the Glazers in the ass, I know Gruden and Bruce Allen tried to sell this dream that Coach Dungy and Rich McKay screwed up the salary cap but thats a load of bullshit. Dungy and McKay didn't hit on all of their draft picks nor all of their free agent signings but they learned from all of them and the one thing they did was build what should have been a dynasty for years and years. When Gruden and McKay took over they gave bigger contracts than they should have and drafted shittier than Dungy and McKay ever did which is what REALLY screwed up the salary cap. One thing you should take note of his how often Dungy/McKay had a guy in the wings with a load of talent just waiting either for someone to get hurt or for someone to leave. You never had that kind of depth here with Gruden and thats why major injuries always screwed us. We went through something like 4 or 5 different starting SAM linebackers while Dungy was here and hardly skipped a beat. We lost a guy like Donnie Abraham who was our leading intercepter and ended up having Brian Kelly step right in.

    Now look at what Coach Dungy built in Indy. People don't realize how much turnover they have had from year to year on their defense. Yeah they had Freeney and Bob Sanders, both Dungy draft picks I might add. But almost every year either they lose other defensive guys to free agency or they get hurt. And still the Colts end up with 10 or more wins and ended up with a Superbowl win. I know plenty of people think its all about Peyton Manning and without a doubt he is one of the best ever but they couldn't win shit with Manning before Dungy because the defense couldn't stop anybody. I would also point out that Coach Dungy is one of the best offensive minds in the game. He was actually coached by Tom Moore in college. He never wanted the kind of offense in Tampa down here because we didn't play inside and on turf and because obviously we didn't have the same kind of weapons. I can promise you this, the Colts won't implode any time soon and they will be stocked with talent for years to come. The Bucs on the other hand are mostly patchwork, especially if you get past the starters at every position.

    I know this was long winded but I had a lot to say.

  12. I never said the anyone disrespected Dungy b/c he was a nice guy. I can't say what kind of man or HC Dungy was beyond what I saw on the side lines or read and saw in the media, you have first hand knowledge of the man, what I can say is, and this was evident on the field, the play calling was way to conservative once the Bucs hit the "RedZone", I didn't even mind the stoicism on the sidelines, I know some coaches are not demonstrative like a Gruden or Parcells, but when you get inside the 20 and I can call the series of plays from my couch in New Mexico (I was stationed there at the time) you have become predictable and conservative, I totally agree with the drafting, and I said it earlier, the Bucs were stocked until Gruden and Allen took over, they both suck at player evaluation, I really want to know who build those Raider teams, because it couldn't have been them, those Raider teams should have been in at least 2 SBs, the "Tuck" rule year, and against the Bucs. if Gruden was still in Oakland they could have beat the Bucs in '02, luckily the Bucs got him, and because Callahan was such a horrible HC (pro and college) he basically destroyed the Raiders for years. Indy proved the point of Dungy's defensive skill, he solidified that D, which was what they were lacking, and thats what got them to the SB. Don't get me wrong I respect the hell out of Coach Dungy, the man is beyond reproach, I just don't want him calling the offensive plays, just like I wouldn't want Cowher, Tomlin, Phillips, Mangini, or even Belichick to be doing it either. Some coaches coach defense, some coach offense, the smart ones know their strengths and weaknesses and stick to what they know and delegate the rest to people who know it better. Are the Bucs shallow at most positions, yeah, look at LG, Sears is out and we can't replace him with anymore talent than Zuttah, and god knows we should have replaced Trueblood, but with who? I love the Bucs, but they need work, which will take time, next year if we go 7-9, 8-8, or 9-7 with our current staff and roster and draft, I will be more than happy. This season was a wash, rookie coaches, rookie QB, bad systems to start, but what I liked was Morris saw the issues and cleaned them up, it may have taken him a little long to do, but it was done, another sign of a smart coach, recognizing the issues and dealing head on with them. We should beat the Falcons on Sunday, which I think will go a long way in the confidence department for the coaching staff, to end winning 3 games in a row where last season we ended by loosing 4 in a row is not a bad way to start your offseason.

  13. @TheNewEmployee

    Let me say this again, Coach Dungy was both a defensive AND an offensive genius. People around here felt he was too conservative because they didn't see the big picture. When you don't have a lot of offensive weapons and you don't have a top notch quarterback, running the ball and protecting it inside the redzone is not conservative. Its smart. Especially when you have the kind of defense that we had. Like I said before, we didn't have Peyton under center, we had Trent Dilfer (who never say an interception he didn't like) Shaun King and Brad Johnson. We were built to run the ball, and that is what we did to great effect inside the redzone. We weren't losing in the playoffs to the Eagles because we were too conservative in the red zone, we were losing to them because they had better teams at that time. But another thing people don't remember is how our offense had progressed until the Glazers made him fire Mike Shula. The year that happened we went to the NFC Championship game and barely lost and we sent several offensive players to the pro bowl in a year where we had to use 3 different quarterbacks. But fans were still singing the "we're too conservative" song because we didn't have a high powered offense like the Rams. But we also didn't have Kurt Warner, Issac Bruce, Tory Holt, and Marshall Faulk. Our offense went backwards at that point because we ended up hiring a supposedly "aggressive" offensive coordinator from Tennessee who sucked and then when that blew up Coach Dungy decided to hire from within and elevated our tight ends coach who was even worse. And we were still having winning seasons and getting into the playoffs. Now Coach Dungy didn't call offensive plays here any more than he did in Indy but he directed his coordinators in both situations as to how he wanted his offense to be run. I still remember Steve Duemig claiming shortly after Coach Dungy was in Indy that he ruined their offense because he made it more conservative when what he really had done was put more of an emphasis on Peyton not turning the ball over and them running the ball which lead to a Superbowl ring for them eventually and practically a decade of dominance at least in the regular season. But don't believe me, Peyton has commented many times over the years about how much he has learned from Coach Dungy. That guy knows as much or more about offensive football as anybody out there bar none. Just because people thought he was conservative here even though he only had one losing season doesn't change that.