Gruden ready to get started on New Orleans

Jon Gruden (John Raoux/AP Photo)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden talked Sunday about the final roster cuts, game planning for New Orleans and if the team has a game plan in case Hurricane Gustav imposes on its season opener with New Orleans.

Bucsblitz.com's Matthew Postins has the complete breakdown on the Bucs' 53-man roster. Which cuts surprised and how could this roster translate to regular-season success? Postins breaks it all down in this new article. Get the exclusive right here.

While Tampa Bay head coach Jon Gruden said the final roster cuts were hard on Saturday night, Sunday was the time to get started on game planning for next Sunday's season opener against New Orleans.

"You have to look at New Orleans.," Gruden said. "They've made multiple changes. They have some new players in key positions – Jonathan Vilma, Sedrick Ellis, they've added some corners, Jeremy Shockey. They've got a great quarterback and they're well-coached. Yeah, we tried to moonlight a little bit and see what's going on. There have been some changes in there structure, and I'm sure they'll have some changes they haven't shown waiting for us."

Saturday's final roster cuts including a pair of veterans Gruden talked about Sunday — QB Chris Simms and LB Ryan Nece. Both are now looking for work, along with about 700 other NFL players.

Gruden expressed praise for both players.

"We had some tough decisions," Gruden said. "It's hard to say goodbye to Chris. He laid it on the line here and did some great things for us and I'm confident that he'll get another opportunity. I can't really speak on every single player, but we had some tough decisions. With that being said, it was emotional, to a degree, and hard. But it is every year. Ryan Nece is a guy that played a lot of football here. I wish all those players the very best. Unfortunately we're only allowed to keep 53 guys."

The Bucs also cut last year's kickoff return hero, Micheal Spurlock. It now appears that rookie Dexter Jackson will handle both kickoffs and punt returns this season.

Gruden is eager to see Jackson handle those chores next week, especially after his 83-yard punt return for a touchdown against Houston.

"He showed a lot," Gruden said. "He had a big pass interference call penalty which set up a score, he had a big end around, caught a big pass on third down and had the 83-yard punt return. He's getting there. He's certainly a guy that's getting better and a guy that we are excited about."

One thing Gruden isn't excited about is Hurricane Gustav, a Category 4 storm churning away in the Gulf of Mexico as of Sunday. The Saints have already move their training for this week to Indianapolis, and there's an outside chance that Sunday's opener could be moved to Tampa Bay. It's supposed to be played in New Orleans.

"I don't have any information on that," Gruden said. "I just pray that the storm stays out at sea and that no one gets hurt. But I don't have any knowledge on that."


Matthew Postins is the editor and publisher of bucsblitz.com.

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