The QB Blast: Bucs Look Very DungyesqueOctober 1st, 2011
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.
By JEFF CARLSON
They won’t be wearing throwback uniforms on Monday Night, but a few things will feel like the “good ol’ days” of the Buccaneers.
Jon Gruden will be in the broadcast booth remembering his time leading the Bucs to division championships and a Super Bowl, while the play on the field will look eerily similar to the Dungy-led, mid 90’s version of Buc Ball.
I fully expect specific references to Sapp, Alstott, Derrick Brooks, Simeon Rice, Ronde Barber and an early self-deprecating point about the last time these two teams got together at RJS. Taking a swig every time Gruden references his era in some way would probably be a fun drinking game, but that may lead to an epidemic of absenteeism the following day across America.
This year’s version of defense hasn’t grown into the elite unit that Dungy and Kiffin built by the end of the 90’s, but they are a “youngry” group, and by the looks against the Falcons, they may be getting that swagger back pretty soon.
On the offensive side of the ball, I keep getting reminded of Mike Shula’s days calling plays (and that is not an insult). They are regularly running out of a standard Pro-I set, with the big back LeGarrette Blount deep at tailback, ala Mike Alstott. Alstott used to drop his shoulders and run over people, Blount literally runs over people, also by hurdling them with regularity.
Shula’s (and Dungy’s) offenses scored 20.3, 19.6 and 17.75 points from 97-99 respectively. They were 11-5 in 1997 and again in ’99 when they scored their fewest.
The 2010 Bucs scored 21.3 per game while going 10-6, but a smaller scoring differential than their predecessors. In the three games this year they are at exactly 20 points per game.
The scoring differential was higher in ’97 than in ’99 or 2010, while this year they have scored 60 and given up 60. So the run, play-action game that the Bucs are currently winning with is a trip back to the future of teams Dungy built almost 15 years ago that started a string of sellouts and waiting lists for season tickets, a good sign for all of us, especially those that will be watching our big-screens Monday night.
The offensive results haven’t changed much over the years regardless whether Shula, Gruden or Olson is designing and calling the plays, but the big difference between then and now is that the face of the Bucs was its defense (and Mike Alstott) and now it is its quarterback.
That was not the case for Dungy (Trent Dilfer) or Gruden (Brad Johnson), and I can’t wait to hear the accolades that Gruden has stored up for “No. 5” and how he might not be in the “FFCA” (Fired Football Coaches Association) if he had a guy like that.