Are the Bucs moving in the right direction?

Two years ago, the Buccaneers appeared destined for another playoff run after amassing a 9-3 record behind veteran players like Derrick Brooks, Jeff Garcia, Stylez G. White, Barrett Ruud, Kevin Carter and Antonio Bryant.

But the team faded down the stretch, losing all four of its remaining games (including an embarrassing defeat to the hapless Raiders in the final week of the year) to miss the playoffs entirely. Following the season, both head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Bruce Allen were fired and replaced by the experienced Raheem Morris and Mark Dominik, respectively.

Last year was a disaster for Morris and the Bucs, who finished 3-13 and statistically had one of the worst offenses in the league. Until Morris took over the play calling duties midway through the season, the once proud Tampa Bay defense also took a significant step back from what it was earlier in the decade under former coordinator Monte Kiffin (who left the team following the ’08 season to coach with his son at the University of Tennessee).

But one of the main reasons the Glazers fired Gruden and Allen was because of the pair’s desire to rely mostly on veteran players. There was a lot of turnover from year to year under Gruden and Allen and the Glazers felt as though the two weren’t building a young core that could compete for many years, not just one.

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Blogging Bloggers: Thursday 12/18

Mike Tyson– You’ll never believe what former heavyweight boxing is just, well, just plain heavy. Mike Tyson is looking more like “King Hippo” these days than king of the ring. (SPORTSbyBROOKS.com)

– The Love of Sports comprised its “All NFL Surprise Team” with a few surprises…ha! Get it? Surprises? Yeah, yeah you get it. (The Love of Sports)

– Poor Braylon Edwards – he’s not feeling any love from the Cleveland Browns or their fans. Who knew the Browns’ fan base didn’t appreciate receivers who can’t hang onto the football? (Deadspin.com)

– Here’s a look at the most important players this college football bowl season. (AOL Sports)

– Apparently Mark Teixeira is holding up the free agency party. (The Bleacher Report)

– Who has been the Carolina Panthers’ MVP this season? DeAngelo Williams? Steve Smith? Julius Peppers? All fine choices, but they pale in comparison to the one, the only Vinny Testaverde. (Shutdown Corner)

– Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive lineman Greg White is just the latest athlete to change his name. And what name will he be signing checks with? Well none other than Stylez G. White, of course, after Michael J. Fox’s best friend in the movie Teen Wolf. Hey, I like it better than Ocho Cinco Johnson…I think. (Smarter Sports Blog)

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