And now we know why Jon Gruden has spent so much of his time as a game analyst saying positive, vanilla, non-controversial things.
On Monday night, Gruden suggested after the Buccaneers dialed up a running play on third and nine in the fourth quarter at Carolina that coach Dirk Koetter lacks confidence in quarterback Jameis Winston. Koetter took strong to quite strong issue with the assessment.
“I think Coach Koetter lost confidence in Winston after he forced the ball into a double zone,” Gruden said on the Monday Night Football broadcast, via Mark Cook of PewterReport.com.
Koetter bristled at the suggestion.
“That wasn’t a lack of confidence,” Koetter said. “Again, when analysts say stuff like that, that’s like — when Jon was coaching and someone said that about him, you know what he’d be standing up here saying? ‘That guy doesn’t know what I’m thinking or anything about my team.’ He gets paid to talk on TV. I get paid to coach the Bucs.
“Those guys can say whatever they want. Yeah, we ran it on third-and-nine. You know what? We also ran it on third-and-three and third-and-five and we were two out of three running the ball on third down and we weren’t nearly that successful throwing the ball. It had no reflection at all on my confidence in Jameis Winston. There can be no person on this planet, other than his parents, that’s more confident in Jameis Winston than me.”
Gruden’s comments carry extra weight because he lives in Tampa, he coached the team, and he had access to the organization for several days in advance of Monday night’s game, giving him an opportunity to develop opinions and perspectives that are more informed than most people in the business of expressing football-related opinions.
Koetter insists Gruden isn’t properly informed, and it’s important for Koetter to make the case that he’s confident in Winston. The organization is all in with its second-year quarterback; if ownership detects that the coach who was hand-picked to groom Winston isn’t, the Buccaneers once again will be looking for the next successor to Jon Gruden.