Muir Reveals Chucky Firing, Raheem And MoreJanuary 27th, 2009
Jon Gruden hasn’t opened up to the media since his firing. But Joe has for you the next best thing.
Chucky’s veteran offensive line coach Bill Muir, who came to Tampa with Chucky in 2002, let it all hang out Thursday to Mike Francesca of WFAN-AM in New York. Fired along with Chucky, Muir has coached in the NFL for 31 consecutive seasons, including years in New York with the Jets under Bill Parcells.
Muir dropped some major bombshells, including Chucky describing a feel-good, 3 1/2 hour lunch meeting he had with the Glazer boys the day before he was fired. Muir also believes Raheem the Dream’s interview with Denver so quickly after being named defensive coordinator sparked the Glazers interest in making him head coach.
Joe hopes you enjoy the transcript of this great look inside the Bucs. You won’t find it anywhere else.
Francesca: In those last four games you were seeing Tampa give up yards and plays that we’ve never seen before. Can you put your finger on what happened?
MUIR: “It’s a confidence factor. I truly believe that teams have peaks and valleys as the season goes on. And sometimes, and I really go back to that Carolina game, from the standpoint of a team, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. I can’t think of another way to describe it other than we were gutted that day. You’ve got a veteran team, and they look at it and say that’s not supposed to happen. I think there’s a confidence erosion there. …And I think when your confidence is gutted, then I think it’s a different deal. It’s harder to get things restarted. …When things aren’t going well, it’s kind of a prophecy. You get in a jam, things don’t go well. Basically it’s a confidence factor. And I have to say that as I look at it and say that the faces didn’t change. Yes, we had some injuries, but one of the things about the seven years I was in Tampa is that if you got somebody hurt somebody stepped up, and they played well enough for you to be competitive.”
On Monte Kiffin leaving:
“One of the things you try to avoid in the National Football League, particularly when you’re in a stretch run, is distractions. And nobody can ever say that that wasn’t a distraction. …”
You’re up on Oakland 10 points in the fourth quarter. … That was mind-boggling.
“I don’t mean this in deference to anybody. We saw a lot of Oakland offensive film in preparation during the course of the year, you know because we were [playing the} AFC West. I have to say that was as well as I've every seen them play. I had to check a couple of times to see if it was really the Oakland Raiders out there. It's hard to laugh about this, even at this juncture. It's the only way to keep my sanity."
Gruden leaving was a surprise.
"It was a shock. ...At 3 p.m. Friday afternoon I left One Buc Place. Had a brief visit with Jon [Gruden]. All week long Jon had been interviewing defensive coaches. …He was putting together a defensive staff. …I did, and this is interesting, have an opportunity to talk to him on Thursday late in the day. And he confided in me that he had a 3 1/2 hour lunch meeting with [the Glazers] and he said they had very positive conversation, they recognize the problems, they were on the same page solution-wise, and he felt really good about the meeting. So I felt good, at least we had a plan to work our way out of it. ….[On Friday evening] I get a phone message from John, you know he doesn’t often call me. … He says, ‘I was fired.’ He said, ‘I was just fired.’ …I said, ‘The jokes over what do you really want.’ …He said, ‘Listen to me expletive expletive.’He said. ‘I’ve been fired.’ I know it sideswiped him. I know he had no idea it was coming. … I think it was very unfair to put it all at Jon’s feet.
How did he take it?
“I think he took it outwardly extremely well. I think it hurt him. I don’t think he’ll ever tell anybody that. I’ll just say this. I’ve been here seven years. Some people label me a Jon Gruden guy. …And I’m glad to be labeled that. I’ve never been with a person who worked as hard, I mean hard, who was more thorough. I’ve never seen a team be better taken care of during the course of a week physically. I’ve never seen an offense be better prepared. …In the big picture, I am stunned.” …(Muir went on to scoff at fans and pundits who say that Gruden won the Super Bowl with Tony Dungy’s players. Muir said the Bucs won with Gruden’s offense and Tony Dungy’s defense. He talked about Gruden bringing in Joe Jurevicius, Ken Dilger, Michael Pittman and Keenan McCardell.)
“I can tell you this, we overachieved on offense given the talent that we had here in the seven years I was here. The ability for us to be competitive offensively, you can put it all at the feet of Jon Gruden. …He’ll be back in the National Football League better than ever.”
Raheem Morris, when they take a kid 32 years old, and he’s never been a coordinator. …And that’s who’s going to be a head coach at 32? He better be really good.
“I would have to say to you I think the whole NFL is upside down in their process of selecting coaches. I’m not just saying that because I’m old or jealous. I just think in my opinion you have to have a little bit more background to be a head coach. The NFL is a copycat league. ..Some of the owners have looked at Mike Tomlin, at Harbaugh, and they say maybe these guys relate better with the players. I think that’s the case with Raheem. The defensive players rallied around him. …He’s very … charismatic, effervescent. He’s got a good football base, too. … He was obviously a popular choice to be the defensive coordinator. Jon made that decision. …One of the reasons Jon liked Raheem, there was going to be a lot of reciprocal philosophy. Raheem was receptive to some input. … (Muir went on to say that Raheem interviewing with Denver immediately after being named coordinator sparked the Glazers interest in him as head coach.)