Is Head Coach Jon Gruden the root of his own downfall? Case in point, WR Joey Galloway. Gruden recently expressed sympathy to the once-upon-a-time #1 Bucs Wide Receiver:
"The versatility issues are part of our problem and special teams plays into the decision. He’s a split end and Antonio is a split end. I’ll leave it at that. He’s a friend of mine. I love the guy and I’m sick for the fact he’s not a part of this. He’s had a lot of injuries this year and Antonio Bryant has played extremely well." - Bucs Report
You’re not playing a healthy Joey Galloway because Antonio Bryant plays the same position? Freaking WOW! Every team outside of Gruden’s would die to have this problem. Why not line these guys up on opposite sides of the field and have them both act as Split Ends? Wouldn’t the defense have to cover both guys? Sweet Heavens. This is why 2nd Round Draft Pick Dexter Jackson continues to be inactive week after week, because two other guys are already Split Ends? Well and the fact that he embraced the fetal position as a returner. Use your entire arsenal Jon! So you lose Michael Clayton’s presence while playing both split ends, does it really matter? He has what, two or three catches a game?
It’s easy to point the finger at Gruden though, who’s to say Galloway hasn’t been reluctant to play opposite Bryant, in other words, out of position? I would love to cling to that idea; however Galloway has already tipped his hand at Gruden being the guy who can’t handle the situation, namely communication, with his players. Here’s Galloway defending his notion that the reporters probably know more about his status on the team than he does:
"Could you guys quit asking [about my status], because then you make [Gruden] take shots at me." - Bucs Beat
And this ladies and gentlemen is where our beloved and talented Head Coach fails miserably. We saw it earlier in the season when Gruden snapped at WR Michael Clayton for declaring he was set to start that week. For whatever reason Gruden can’t handle this communication thing with his players. They say something to the media (or in Galloway’s case, don’t) and Gruden holds it over their heads by not playing them. It begs the question: If Bruce Allen brought in a sought after Free Agent who befriended the media (McNabb?) would Gruden eventually soil the relationship and hence that players production?