REAR ENTRIES: Spooky Halloween Edition

Published: October 31st, 2008

Warrick Dunn practices his 'Scream' face for Halloween.
DUNN HELD OUT OF PRACTICE: It’s looking more like Warrick Dunn will miss Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. He was held out of practice yesterday, probably will be again today, and Jon Gruden seems hesitant to put him in.

“The thing with him is he’s such a game-day guy, he’s played so long and knows himself so well,” Gruden said of Dunn. “He’s got a lot to prove to himself more than anyone. Just right now we don’t think he’s physically ready to go. We’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

There’s really no reason to hurry him along. I think Gruden learned his lesson last week and keep Dunn inactive for the Chiefs game. That along with the bye should be enough to get him back at 100%.

BENNETT JUST WANTS TO PLAY: I guess Michael Bennett is this year’s Jamie Winborn for me; the guy pretty deep on the roster who I like because of his attitude and what he’s shown when he’s had the chance. Bennett is still frustrated with his lack of playing time, and he’s willing to do whatever you want him to do to get on the field.

“It’s been tough just to sit back. As a competitor, you always want to be out there. I’ve even said: ‘I could even play some defense. I’ll do this. I’ll do that.’ But you just have to be patient, and hopefully I get a chance to go out and show the Buccaneers fans and the rest of the NFL that I still have it.”

I love shit like that. Michael Pittman said the same thing a couple years ago and it’s got that old school, no ego feel to it that I really like out of players. I’m glad Bennett signed a three year deal before this season because I have a feeling that if he was up for free agency after this year, he wouldn’t come back to the Bucs because of all his bench time. You can kind of tell by that “… and the rest of the NFL” thing he said.

WILL ALLEN WANTS TO PLAY, TOO: Will Allen is another one of those guys who was willing to do anything. They got him involved in special teams and he’s been great there.

EVERYBODY HATES GRUDEN: Oh, they’ve been having fun with this one. The results came out from a commissioned NFLPA survey of players who were asked which coaches they would most and least want to play for. And the haters rejoiced.

Asked which active N.F.L. coaches they would most like to play for, the players picked Tony Dungy (Indianapolis Colts) followed by Lovie Smith (Chicago Bears) and Bill Belichick (New England Patriots). Herman Edwards (Kansas City Chiefs) was fourth and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh Steelers) fifth.

Asked to name the coaches they would least like to play for, the players named Tom Coughlin (Giants), Eric Mangini (Jets), Jon Gruden (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Bobby Petrino (formerly of the Atlanta Falcons) and Belichick.

Read the whole article; it’s fascinating. Lots of guys have openly stated that they love Gruden, so why would he be in the list of least desirable coaches?

According to the survey, the most desirable attributes in a head coach were good communication skills, followed by motivational skills, approachability, management skills and leading by example.

Bingo. The one major flaw Gruden has is that his inter-personal skills suck. He doesn’t communicate well with players, especially regarding their status on the team. So when the players say that communication is paramount to them, it’s no wonder he gets low scores there. I would also guess that he ranked pretty low on approachability. It’s hard to trust a guy enough to approach him with an issue after he just got done screaming and swearing at you for twenty solid minutes, regardless of if they deserved it or not. On the other hand, I would think that Gruden would rank highly in motivational skills and leading by example. I can’t find a detailed version of the survey to verify this, but I’m writing it on the internet now, so it’s as good as true.

But to be on the same list with Bobby Petrino is pretty bad. I don’t want to see a kinder, gentler Gruden because that would be boring and detrimental to the team. But maybe one of those AMA courses on improving managerial skills they offer in Holiday Inns? Something?