Bernie Miklasz Talks To Joe

October 30th, 2010

Prior to last week’s Bucs win over the Rams, Joe had a chance to chat with Bernie Miklasz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Miklasz has long been one of the most respected football writers in America, having covered the Baltimore Colts when the Mayflower trucks left the city. He is a former president of the Professional Football Writers of America, once was a beat writer for the Dallas Morning News covering the Cowboys and counts Michael Irvin, Jerry Jones and Gil Brandt among his many confidants.

Joe and Bernie go way back. Joe’s first experience covering the NFL was when he covered the training camp of the old St. Louis Cardinals under Gene Stallings. There, Miklasz was a beat writer covering the Cardinals. Joe was a punk kid. Observing Miklasz work and absorbing his advice was priceless for someone on their first beat. To this day, Joe still heeds Bernie’s advice, learned decades ago. Such as Joe is with Joe Henderson of the Tampa Tribune, Joe is eternally indebted to Bernie for the things he did for Joe, including his orientation to the joys of tequila. 

Currently, Miklasz is a busy guy. He’s the primary sports columnist for the Post-Dispatch, hosts a wildly popular midday sports radio show on WXOS-FM, Twitters proficiently, and is a regular analyst on the St. Louis Cardinals pregame and postgame shows on Fox Sports Midwest. Even Tony La Russa knows better than to tangle with Bernie.

JoeBucsFan: What is your perspective on Bucs general manager Mark Dominik. In a short time with the Bucs, he seems to be building a reputation as a draft sage.

Bernie Miklasz: I see the Bucs and the Rams as very similar. They both really had to rebuild their roster. The Bucs had a headstart. It wasn’t that long ago that the Bucs were in the playoffs. So, the cupboard wasn’t as bare as it was in St. Louis. The Bucs are clearly going about it the right way. They have a franchise quarterback. Josh Freeman’s going to be terrific. They have to go piece by piece. In the state they are in now, throwing a lot of humongous money at free agents is not the answer. You have to build your base first and I think the Bucs have done a nice job of that.

Joe: A couple of weeks ago, Joe spoke with Ed Bouchette and asked him if the Bucs wins this year were a fluke and he replied there are no such things as flukes in the NFL. You agree?

Bernie: We were just taking note of the fact earlier that the Chiefs and the Rams have been so awful. All of a sudden you look at the state of Missouri and there are two pretty good football teams. It happened quickly. In this league, the difference between the very best and the 32nd team — especially this year — seems to be a very relatively, minor difference. You don’t see a super team and even the bad teams are dangerous. I’m not surprised by any results — well, maybe a little. I would agree with what Ed said. I watch every NFL game — yeah, I do, I watch the Bucs — I think their wins were totally legit.

Joe: Now Peter King in the offseason told Joe he thought that Raheem Morris’ future with the Bucs was — his word — “dubious.” Again, this was before the season. With the Rams, Steve Spagnuolo had a track record as a solid defensive coordinator with the Giants when they won the Super Bowl. The guy has a track record. Morris was never a coordinator on the NFL level. Let’s say the Bucs’ season goes south for some reason. Do you think Morris could survive?

Bernie: I don’t have a good handle on him. I’m not sure whether he’s a good coach or not. I think the reasons [the Bucs] hired him were a little dubious. You know, promoting a young guy like that because you think he will be a great motivator. But he has a chance to grow into something. Granted, when you are hiring people who haven’t been head coaches before as a lot of NFL teams are doing, you are banking on their upside. [The Bucs] may have been taking a little bit too big of a leap at his upside. This isn’t to say I am writing the guy off. I don’t know enough yet. I haven’t seen enough yet to know one way or the other. Spags has shown, even last year, they were 1-15 and the team never stopped playing. He’s gotten the players to buy in and that is a huge step.

Joe: You said you’ve seen the Bucs games. What impresses you, what doesn’t?

Bernie: I love Freeman. Great competitor. Not always pretty but an absolute great competitor. He’ll make plays in the fourth quarter. The games that they’ve won, they’ve never stopped fighting. Great draft pick with [Michael] Williams in the fourth round. They were taking a chance on his upside and it was a minor gamble considering his upside and that one has paid off. Don’t like their offensive line. It seems like they do a good job picking up stunts, picking up gains up front. But as far as straight ahead run blocking, they don’t seem to be very physical. On the defensive side, I wonder who the pass rusher is? I don’t see one. It’s going to take a while for those young defensive tackles to develop. That’s a really tough position to learn. Linebackers are OK. Corners, they are gambling men. Gambling men are going to make plays and they are also going to get beat. If you look at the statistics, the Bucs’ safeties are terrible in pass coverage. If you play a Cover-2 and your safeties can’t get to the ball, you are vulnerable. That’s a general snapshot. I think that [Cadillac] Williams is tremendous cutback runner and a good receiver. Winslow, his pedigree is well-established.

Joe: Joe is of the mind that the offensive line is struggling because it’s a square peg/round hole debacle. These guys under Bill Muir were straight-ahead blocking and were on the cusp of something special. Then, with the change in coaches last year, the Bucs tried to force feed them zone blocking which is not what they were drafted for and the offensive line has never been the same since.

Bernie: That’s a good point. They were asked to do something that’s not their strength. I’d agree with that. I mean, I’m impressed with, against New Orleans, the Saints threw a lot of stunts and blitzes at them. They’re smart. They pick everything up. Just physically, they are not overwhelming anyone.

17 Responses to “Bernie Miklasz Talks To Joe”

  1. Capt.Tim Says:

    Hmmm, interesting comments. Most of them show he has done some research on the team. Agree with his comments about the O-Line, also about DE. Nice to see he’s knowledgeable about the Bucs. Wish the Tampa Sports writers were! Also agree that we are far enough along to start signing some FAs.


    “The Bucs had a headstart. It wasn’t that long ago that the Bucs were in the playoffs. So, the cupboard wasn’t as bare as it was in St. Louis. ”

    What?? This is completely inaccurate.

  3. Capt.Tim Says:

    FGO- absolutely right. I have never seem a team as drained of talent as this one was 2 years ago. We Started rebuilding last year. The Rams and the Lions both have big headstarts. Lions have. Been rebuilding for years, and until they get smart enough to protect Their young QB, Stafford, they will continue to do so!

  4. Joe Says:


    So the Bucs playing the Giants in the playoffs with Ronde Barber, Barrett Ruud, Jeremy Trueblood, Davin Joseph, Donald Penn, Jeff Faine, Earnest Graham and Cadillac Williams on the roster was all a figment of imagination?

  5. Capt.Tim Says:

    Barber is a great, if older, player. Penn is a very good player. Caddy and Graham are to old, and have lost it. If anyone else on that list impresses you, then you’re easily impressed.



    The Rams have been rebuilding for 3 years; the Bucs started last year. How’s that a head start?


    Didn’t the Rams have Stephen Jackson, Tory Holt and Marc Bulger when they started rebuilding? (Not to mention they play in the weakest division in the NFL/NFC)

    I think starting out with, arguably, a top 5 RB such as S-Jax is a lot easier to rebuild with than Carnell Williams.

  8. Joe Says:


    Um, once again: Trueblood, Penn, Faine, Joseph, Barber, Ruud, Graham, Cadillac Williams (though Joe has been down on him for some time) were all starters the last time the Bucs were in a playoff game.

    Feel free to list the number of current Rams starters who also started the last time the Rams were in a playoff game.

    To Joe, that’s a “headstart.”


    Well keep clinging to your bullsh*t point, Joe. Once again: Rams were rebuilding thee years ago; Bucs started last year.

    If I started a Marathon 3 hours before you did, I’d have a 3 hour head start, no?

  10. FIRE GREG OLSON! Says:

    You act like that 9-7 Bucs team, led by the UFL’s Jeff Garcia, was the ’95 Cowboys.

    It’s not the Bucs fault that the Rams’ Front Office had their head up their collective asses, drafting Adam “flounder-faced” Carriker.

  11. Joe Says:


    Not sure what you are missing. Bernie said the Bucs had more pieces in place to rebuild than the Rams did because it wasn’t that long ago the Bucs were in the playoffs. Joe has no idea how you can argue this point is inaccurate.

  12. FIRE GREG OLSON! Says:

    I’m not sure what you’re missing, Joe. You can’t compare how many players the Bucs have now compared to their 08 season versus what the Rams have now compared to the last time they were in the playoffs. You’d have to compare the Rams ’08 season to our current Bucs roster.

    in ’06:
    Rams = 8-8
    Bucs = 4-12

    in ’07:
    Rams = 3-13
    Bucs = 9-7

    I bet the Rams 07 roster has more quality players on it, with a better foundation to rebuild from, than the Bucs ’09 roster had.

  13. FIRE GREG OLSON! Says:

    I never thought I’d have to do this much research on the Rams, but since Joe thinks his arms are too long to box with god (that’s a Wu-tang Clan reference for you old guys), I guess I have to do a little leg work.

    Here’s the roster for the 08 Rams (2 years after they went 8-8, which is comparable to the current Bucs roster which is 2 years removed from our 9-7 one and done playoff appearance)


    * 13 Brock Berlin
    * 10 Marc Bulger
    * 12 Trent Green

    Running Backs

    * 33 Kenneth Darby
    * 39 Steven Jackson
    * 22 Travis Minor
    * 30 Antonio Pittman

    Wide Receivers

    * 17 Donnie Avery
    * 14 Keenan Burton
    * 81 Torry Holt
    * 89 Dane Looker PR

    Tight Ends

    * 87 Anthony Becht
    * 46 Daniel Fells FB
    * 88 Joe Klopfenstein FB

    Offensive Linemen

    * 70 Alex Barron T
    * 63 Jacob Bell G
    * 69 Anthony Davis T
    * 73 Adam Goldberg T/G
    * 79 John Greco T/G
    * 68 Richie Incognito G
    * 76 Orlando Pace T
    * 65 Brett Romberg C/G
    * 67 Roy Schuening G
    * 61 Cory Withrow C

    Defensive Linemen

    * 94 Victor Adeyanju DE
    * 99 Antwon Burton DT
    * 90 Adam Carriker DT
    * 97 La’Roi Glover DT
    * 96 James Hall DE
    * 91 Leonard Little DE
    * 72 Chris Long DE
    * 92 Eric Moore DE
    * 95 Clifton Ryan DT


    * 57 Chris Chamberlain OLB
    * 53 Quinton Culberson OLB
    * 52 Chris Draft ILB/OLB
    * 59 Larry Grant OLB
    * 50 Pisa Tinoisamoa OLB
    * 58 David Vobora ILB
    * 51 Will Witherspoon ILB

    Defensive Backs

    * 21 Oshiomogho Atogwe FS
    * 24 Ron Bartell CB/FS
    * 41 Eric Bassey FS
    * 34 Fakhir Brown CB
    * 36 Quincy Butler CB
    * 25 Corey Chavous SS
    * 31 Jason Craft CB
    * 35 Todd Johnson SS
    * 42 David Roach FS
    * 20 Jonathan Wade CB

    Special Teams

    * 3 Josh Brown K
    * 5 Donnie Jones P
    * 45 Chris Massey LS

    Reserve Lists

    * 83 Drew Bennett WR (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 77 Brandon Gorin OT (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 82 Dante Hall WR (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 26 Tye Hill CB (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 32 Justin King CB (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 60 Nick Leckey C (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 23 Brian Leonard FB/RB (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 27 Ricky Manning, Jr. CB (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 84 Randy McMichael TE (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 71 Rob Petitti OT (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 66 Mark Setterstrom G (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 19 Derek Stanley WR (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 55 Gary Stills ILB (IR) Injury icon.svg
    * 99 Claude Wroten DT (Susp.)

    Practice Squad

    * 98 C. J. Ah You DE
    * 16 Travis Brown WR
    * 11 Matt Caddell WR
    * 15 Joel Filani WR
    * 18 Nate Jones WR
    * 71 Clint Oldenburg OT
    * 37 Sébastien Sejean S Int’l
    * 93 Willie Williams DT

    Here’s your 08 Rams who’ve been to a Pro Bowl:

    Marc Bulger
    Tory Holt (7x pro bowler)
    Corey Chavous
    Orlando Pace (7x pro bowler)
    La’roi Glover (6x pro bowler)
    Dante Hall (2x pro bowler)
    Lenoard Little (2x pro bowler)

    You really think that the Bucs 09 roster had more talent than the Rams 08 roster??? If so, you’re crazy.

    Joe, you can buy me lunch at Lee Roy Selmon’s on Boy Scout to make up for this small gaffe. I’d love to discuss the Bucs future with you…

  14. Capt.Tim Says:


  15. Joe Says:


    It’s quite simple. The 2010 Bucs had a head start on rebuilding than the 2010 Rams because the Bucs, just a scant three years ago, were in the playoffs and a number of players who started on that 2007 playoff team still start on the 2010 Bucs team.

    The 2010 Rams did not and do not have that luxury.

    If you choose to believe the contrary despite the clear evidence, that’s fine. Joe can’t help you then man.

  16. FIRE GREG OLSON! Says:

    So we’re just gonna ignore the fact that the Rams started rebuilding 2 years prior to the Bucs?


  17. Sabby for Mayor of Holiday, FL Says:

    No comprendo where your thought process is coming from here Joe. If this was a political debate, I’d say Joe would be the Christine O’Donnell of Bucs talk.

    I’m not sure, but I think I just called you a crazy witch. BooYa!