"Number one, I have great respect for the vision of the Glazer family and what they've done for this franchise since they've been in Tampa," said Gruden. "I have a high amount of respect for the current status of our football team here in Tampa. They're a highly competitive football team. There are some aspiring characters already here in Tampa. I look forward to working with the group of players that we have and doing everything within my power to put a great coaching staff together and to take this franchise to another level."
Gruden, 38, was signed to a five-year contract worth 17.5 million ($3.5 per season) on Feb. 18.
Gruden shared his thoughts on being the new Bucs coach, and he also addressed several questions from the media.
Buccaneer Magazine has compiled a notebook with a list of topics he addressed on his first day on the job.
Getting Offensive Gruden will implement a unique style of offense, and he'll be calling the plays and coaching the quarterbacks, which leaves two less positions to fill on the offensive staff.
"I'm going to coach the quarterbacks and call the plays," said Gruden. "That's what I love probably most about being in this league. I enjoy the strategy. I enjoy the communication with the quarterback. Eventually, there might be an offensive coordinator, but I'm going to be as creative as I can be with the coaching staff. I'm going to see who's available. I'm not going to just start naming people to different titles without doing a lot of careful research."
So, just how long will it take players to adjust to their fifth offensive system in five years?
"It depends on the player," said Gruden. "With the way football is today, you've got to be a quick study in the NFL today. There's not seven or eight or nine-year combinations of players anymore. We feel like our system is user-friendly, but we'll wait and see. It depends on the energy put in by our football team. I'm confident that we're going to have a lot of guys that are excited about what we're asking them to do. I believe it will be a quick process"
Gruden Likes the Addition of Bill Muir While Tampa Bay was still searching for a head coach, the Buccaneers hired former Jets offensive line coach Bill Muir. Gruden feels Muir is a great addition to Tampa Bay's offense.
"I like Bill Muir," said Gruden. "I know Paul Hackett extremely well. I worked for Paul Hackett in Pittsburgh, and Paul was the offensive coordinator for the Jets last year. I think the back of Bill Muir's football card speaks highly of him. This is a veteran offensive line coach that gets a lot out of his players, and I'm really excited about working with him."
Draft Compensation: Tampa Bay surrendered a 2002 No. 1 and No. 2 draft pick, a 2003 No. 1 draft pick and a 2004 No. 2 draft pick in exchange for Gruden's services. Will this be a detriment to the team now and/or in the future?
"I don't look at that as a serious detriment," said Gruden. "Obviously, when you lose draft picks, particularly first and second-rounders, you've got to be honest and say that, certainly, those are four players that could have potentially helped our team. But there are a lot of vehicles to improve your football team in modern-day football, with free agency, and there will be a lot of guys available every June. There are just a lot of ways to get better."
Getting Defensive: Tampa Bay's defensive coaches have been sitting back and waiting as the Glazers and GM Rich McKay conducted the search for a new head coach. So, now that the Bucs have hired Gruden, where does this leave Tampa Bay's defensive coaches?
"I met with Monte Kiffin earlier this morning and he'll definitely be back as our defensive coordinator," said Gruden. "I've known Monte a long time, and he'll definitely be back. I obviously hold Rod Marinelli and this entire defensive staff in high regard."
Gruden will also meet with Tampa Bay's scouts in order to get a better feel for where the team has been and where he can take it.
"We are going to work together here and I think that's one of the great things that Tampa Bay has done in the last six or seven years," said Gruden. "I realize and respect the shoes that I have to fill. Tony Dungy was a great coach here. I believe they had a great working relationship between the scouts and the coaching staff. That's something that I believe is very important, also. The criteria we're looking for might change and that's something that we've got to obviously address quickly."
While Gruden will meet with the scouts and other staff members, he will have to take care of some other things before introducing himself to the entire team.
"I think the big thing right now is, number one let's hire our own coaching staff," said Gruden. "Let's direct our staff accordingly. Let's all get on the same page. I would like to meet with people in the building. We've got to prepare for the combine in Indianapolis, working on our offseason program, when are the mini camps. We are allowed to have three. When I see these guys starting the offseason programs, there will an appropriate time to let them know a little bit about Jon Gruden and his vision of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers."
Dream On: Gruden's response when asked by a member of the media whether or not he ever dreamed he would have gotten to where he is in his career at this point.
"Well, you've got to dream," said Gruden. "You've got to have big dreams, man. Heck, yeah. I remember when I was 15, 16 years old, walking down the street. I was the MVP of every Super Bowl ever played. I've had big dreams all along. I've been very fortunate to be around good people and some great players. The most stimulating thing about being in the NFL is the players. We've got some here. I look forward to making some new relationships with them and competing with these guys."
There's Room For One More, Brother Jon Gruden's brother, Jay, plays Arena Football for the Orlando Predators, but he may strongly consider the job offer awaiting him in Tampa.
"I"ve been trying to get Jay on the same staff that I've been on for quite some time," said Gruden. "He's still a very good professional quarterback. He's a good football coach in his own right. He'll make a decision I'm sure on what he wants to do with his future here in the next few days. He knows that I want him in Tampa. But obviously it's great to be close to my family now that I'm back home. This is a great thrill to me. That's the silver lining in this whole thing. The most important thing is to win football games. Our players, I believe, could care less how I got here. They could care less who I know that lives in this area. I think they want some straight organization and direction in terms of what we have to do to improve our football team."
New Coach=New Training Facility? Gruden said he was told by the Glazers that construction on a new training facility that will replace One Buccaneer Place will be started sometime in the near future.
"Well, it's very important," said Gruden. "I think as you look around the NFL and you see some of the creative facilities that are being put together, it's impressive. I have talked with Joel and Bryan Glazer about that, a new facility for the Buccaneers. It's easier for a coach to say, 'lets get a facility' than it really is. There are a lot of difficulties in getting land. The zoning and the ordinances and things of that nature are very difficult. I've been told that we will indeed have a brand new facility and it's state-of-the-art, like our stadium. I think we've proven to the football world on how we look at facilities. I am confident that we will have our own individual facility as soon as possible."
Together Again Bucs TE Dave Moore and Gruden have been reunited. Gruden (wide receivers coach, 1991) coached Moore when Tampa Bay's veteran tight end attended the University of Pittsburgh.
"The best word to describe him is intense," said Moore. "He's an intense individual. He's verbal and is he's not afraid to get into guys' faces and tell them what he thinks."
Moore was impressed with Gruden's accomplishments in Oakland, and he is eager to see him bring the same kind of success to Tampa.
"He's a guy that has a plan," said Moore. "He was successful out on the West Coast, and now he's going to bring it here. As long as we follow through and do what he says and do it the best we can, we should be able to accomplish a lot."
A team that has a coaching change take place is usually expected to take a step or two back before it can take a step forward. But Moore feels Gruden is one of the few coaches that could come into Tampa Bay and win over the players so the team can avoid such an occurrence.
"Usually the sign of a good head coach is to bring players in and surround himself with guys who will respond to his style of coaching," said Moore. "That's usually why when a new head coach comes in, you see a lot of turnover. I'm not sure how guys will respond, but he certainly get a reaction one way or the other out of all of us. Hopefully it will be positive."
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