Luke McCown to be starting quarterback for Bucs in 2009?

Luke McCownCould Luke McCown be the Buccaneers starting quarterback in 2009? The team re-signed him on Monday, leaving only McCown, Brian Griese and Josh Johnson under contract for next season.

With $42 million in cap space, Tampa could sign a free agent signal caller this offseason, but the market is bare. Kurt Warner is expected to return to Arizona, which would leave Jeff Garcia, Rex Grossman and Kyle Boller as the top quarterbacks on the market. Yikes.

Although the aging veteran Griese might have a slight edge to start next year for the Bucs, there’s a strong chance that McCown could win the job in preseason and line up under center come Week 1. And although he has flashed signs of potential at random times throughout his career (mostly in two performances in 2007), McCown certainly isn’t a long-term answer. Hell, he might not even be the short-term answer. (Although to be fair, I am the idiot who questioned the Cardinals for going with Warner over Matt Leinart last year, so maybe McCown can be the answer at quarterback for Tampa.)

Tampa has gone through some radical changes since the season ended, firing head coach Jon Gruden, losing defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to the University of Tennessee, and naming Raheem Morris as Gruden’s successor. Even though the free agency period hasn’t even started and the scouting combine is yet to be conducted, the Bucs look like a strong candidate to take a major step back in ’09.

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Fans played a hand in the firing of Jon Gruden

Apparently Bucs’ ownership took into account what the fans wanted when they fired head coach Jon Gruden two weeks ago.

Jon GrudenCo-owner Bryan Glazer stopped in at the Super Bowl media center today and elaborated on ownership’s decision-making process.

“We talked to a lot of people, but we not only talked to the players, but (also) out in the community getting a feel for the team,” Glazer said. “We get opinions and we mix them all together. We just took our time making that decision.”

Asked further about the community feedback, Glazer said, “Our fans are our stockholders. They’re what we play for — the people in our stadium and the ones that watch on TV. That’s what it’s all about: winning and how they feel about the team. If they don’t feel good about the team, then there’s something wrong. . . I think you all know the sense that’s out there. It was time for a change.”

It was impossible to ignore the venom from the fan base in the wake of the team’s late-season collapse, and many fans were outspoken and vehement in making their feelings known from the team’s own website to local talk radio. And Gruden, in particular, was never considered a very likable personality and had little relationship with the community despite being the face of the franchise, something the Glazers no doubt were sensitive to.

Falcons’ owner Arthur Blank also refers to fans as “stockholders”, which is definitely a unique way to view things. But the fact remains that fans should have zero input on what sports teams operate in terms of player and coaching personnel. Fans are irrational, emotional and often have no idea what’s really going on behind the scenes. (Not unlike sports writers.)

Not that the fans played a huge role in Gruden being fired, but they shouldn’t have been factored in at all. You want to keep your fans happy? Win. Ultimately, they don’t care if Raheem Morris, Jon Gruden or Sponge Bob Square Pants is running the team – as long as the team is winning, everything is copacetic.

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