Gruden Gets Low Mark
By Ira Kaufman | Tribune StaffTAMPA - Despite boasting five division titles and a Vince Lombardi Trophy, Jon Gruden recently found his name on a list that no NFL coach wants to be associated with.
Published: October 30, 2008
Published: October 30, 2008
Gruden was named one of the five least desirable head coaches to play for, according to a recent survey of NFL players.
In a column published in Sunday's New York Times, sports columnist William C. Rhoden referred to a survey commissioned by the NFL Players Association and conducted by the Wharton Sports Business Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.
A total of 1,440 players, approximately 80 percent of those active in 2007, completed the survey.
Asked which five active NFL coaches they would most like to play for, players named Tony Dungy of the Colts first, followed by Chicago's Lovie Smith, New England's Bill Belichick, Herm Edwards of Kansas City and Pittsburgh's Mike Tomlin.
When players were asked which coaches they would least like to play for, Tom Coughlin of the Super Bowl champion Giants was named most often, followed by Eric Mangini of the Jets, Gruden, former Atlanta coach Bobby Petrino and Belichick, who made both lists.
Petrino coached the 2007 Falcons until resigning with three games remaining.
"Maybe it's the way Jon's personality comes across, but he's great for us," Bucs CB Ronde Barber said. "People that aren't in here probably don't understand it. He preaches selflessness from himself on down, and that to me is winning football. In his seven years here, Coach Gruden has figured out the pulse of this team. People outside the locker room have no idea how it beats."
Coach Jon Gruden indicated Jermaine Phillips would not be placed on injured reserve, despite a fractured left forearm that could sideline the hard-hitting strong safety for at least a month.
RB Warrick Dunn, nursing a pinched nerve in his back, also did not practice Wednesday after carrying only once in Tampa Bay's 13-9 loss at Dallas.
"We have concerns about Warrick," Gruden said. "We know he's going to be OK, but, boy, we miss him."
FB B.J. Askew, sidelined the past five weeks with a hamstring injury, was limited in his participation, but Gruden suggested Askew has a chance to return Sunday at Kansas City.
In his third year with the Chiefs, former Bucs assistant Herm Edwards has churned over a roster that now features 15 rookies and 32 players with three years or less of NFL experience.
One of those youngsters is Tyler Thigpen, a mobile second-year QB out of Coastal Carolina who threw for 280 yards against the Jets in last week's 28-24 setback.
"The first game he played was against Atlanta and he looked like a rookie quarterback," Edwards said of Thigpen. "Last week, he did some good things. This is a new week and the thing he's going to realize is the speed that he is getting ready to play against, how fast the Bucs play and how fast they react to the ball."
Chiefs president Carl Peterson released a statement Wednesday indicating embattled RB Larry Johnson will not play against the Bucs. Johnson faces a possible league suspension after being charged Monday with simple assault.
The Chiefs are 21-5 at home against NFC foes since 1995 and KC has reeled off 19 consecutive wins at Arrowhead Stadium when winning the turnover battle. ... The Bucs released WR Paris Warren from the practice squad and added G Matt Lentz and TE Jason Pociask. ... Despite fielding one of the league's youngest offensive lines, the Bucs rank fifth in the NFL in lowest sack percentage allowed (3.2), trailing only the Titans, Broncos, Saints and Giants.