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Head Coach Jon Gruden talks about Galloway, Roster Cuts, and the Return Team heading into the Season

Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune recently relayed a couple Jon Gruden Quotes that I thought I would bring to your attention:

Which 53 guys to keep on the roster:

"The big thing is, we’ve got to keep the right 53 guys – not necessarily the best 53 players but the right 53"... - Tampa Tribune

Should be interesting to see which fringe players make it and don’t make it: RB/PR Clifton Smith, CB Elbert Mack, DT Dre Moore, WR Brian Clark etc

Whether position coaches fight to keep players on the team:

"Yeah, there’s some of that. Rich Bisaccia, he’s obviously fighting to keep guys that can help him cover and return kicks. Bruce Allen and the scouting department have their say, obviously. So everybody’s got a say in this matter and at the end of the day"... - Tampa Tribune

It’s funny that Gruden mentions Rich Bisaccia and the Return Team, there appears to be more chatter about that unit than in recent years, which is funny because they actually have more talent than they’ve ever had, so where’s the tough decision? Dexter Jackson, Clifton Smith, and Michael Spurlock and call it a day!

The status of FB B.J. Askew:

"He’ll be back on the field Monday. I just talked to B.J. before practice; he’s doing extremely well and the great thing about this injury is he’ll be 100 percent, I believe, ready to go for the regular season. It’s been awkward"... - Tampa Tribune

I would think Askew along with Galloway would sit out Thursday for fear of re-injuring themselves in a meaningless Pre-Season game.

If he and his staff anticipate signing other players released across the league:

"I hope so. Our scouts are looking at everybody else’s rosters just like we’re looking at our own. There are going to be players that are released that we might think could help us, and we won’t hesitate to bring those guys in. That’s all part"... - Tampa Tribune

This part of the off-season really amazes me, not only do they have to scour their own roster with a fine toothed comb, they are also keeping tabs on players with other teams.. Rough job, ha!

Joey Galloway’s Status:

"Yeah, he is an option to play. He looked good today and we’re encouraged to have him back. He ran some good routes, showed good quickness in and out of his breaks and"... - Tampa Tribune

I’ve got a bad feeling about Galloway and his ability to produce all season. I hope I’m wrong…

If he’s seen what he wants to see from the Return Unit:

"No, heck no. I realize we haven’t schemed anything, we haven’t put in any strategic returns. [It’s been] a lot of man-blocking returns, trying to see who has a knack for getting their head on a swivel and athletically breaking down in space and sustaining a block. Some guys have done well, some guys have not done well. That will be an area, once we isolate who the players are on the team, we can put in a strategic return and get good at it, and that’s what we always do." - Tampa Tribune

This is the most insane thing of the Pre-Season. Did anybody see how disgusting the Return team was last Pre-Season and throughout the season? Ike Hilliard was back returning punts!! Our third down possession receiver. Dexter Jackson, Clifton Smith, and Michel Spurlock have looked FANTASTIC over previous returners we’ve had back there, Michael Pittman!?!? DJax has a 10+ yard return average on Punts and he hasn’t come close to fumbling or bobbling a catch. The same can be said for Spurlock and Smith. If you watched Saturday’s game against the Jags I could see where you would desire more from the Kick Returning Unit, but all in all the Return Team has look vastly improved.

Discusses DJax’s learning curve:

"He’s learning everything really. These guys are coming from all angles, a little bit faster than they did at Appalachian – no disrespect to anybody. Yeah, he’s doing a good job of securing the ball and making good decisions. He’s caught the ball well here on the field so we feel good about that." - Tampa Tribune

Again, writers are coming out with pieces questioning the Drafting of Dexter Jackson and going almost as far to call him a bust. Are you SERIOUS? The guy has gotten TWO Offensive touches, he turned them into gains of 11 and 9 yards. On his Punt Returns that were playable he’s gained 11 yards twice and 15 yards once. His Kick Returns leave a lot to be desired, but even he would tell you that. The guy will get it. He can only do so much with the opportunities he’s given. Even so he’s leaps and bounds better than what the Bucs have fielded before him (Hilliard, Pittman, Jones). Not to mention it’s the Pre-Season, I guarentee the Bucs have pre-designed wrinkles for him in the offense and if not, it wont be the first time this organization has misused a player (Greg White, Gaines Adams, Keenan McCardell, etc). I wish they’d take the kid gloves off him before writers claim he’s a bust. He was a Wide Receiver 1st and then a return man 2nd at Appy State…