Former Bucs head coach joins Saints to consult with Derek Carr
By Josh Hill
It’s been an offseason of overhaul for the entire NFC South, not just the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
While it’s fair to argue the Bucs went through the biggest changes after Tom Brady retired, every team in the division will feature a new look to varying degrees next season. The Falcons suddenly have an exciting offense and are officially settled into the Arthur Smith era, while the Panthers drafted Bryce Young with the No. 1 overall pick and hired Frank Reich to fix things.
New Orleans was the first team to make a move, signing Derek Carr to a massive contract to officially usher the team into a new era after aimlessly stumbling through the aftermath of Drew Brees getting retired by the Bucs in the NFC Divisional Round three years ago.
Carr was hailed as the best quarterback in the division when he signed with the Saints, which wasn’t exactly the compliment everyone seemed to think it was at the time. To be fair, Carr is a good quarterback who takes a team with as good a defense as the Saints have to a contender level but it’s a far cry from when Brady joined the South.
The Saints know they still have some work cut out for them in terms of getting Carr settled in, which is why the team is dipping into the coaching ranks of the Buccaneers for some assistance.
Former Buccaneers head coach joins Saints as consultant
It should come as little shock that the turncoat turned out to be Jon Gruden.
According to Saints beat writer Jeff Duncan, the Saints have been spending most of the offseason trying to find ways to best assimilate Carr and get the most out of him. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that New Orleans would bring in Gruden since he was the most recent coach to have success with Carr back when they were together with the Raiders.
While it makes sense that Gruden would get called in to consult, it still stings to see one of the most iconic coaches in Bucs history link up with a hated division rival. Of course, Gruden is desperately trying to rehab his image and find a way back into the NFL after the storm that consumed his career back in 2021.
Less than three years ago, derogatory emails Gruden sent were leaked that contained sexist and racist language, including inflammatory statements about Colin a Kaepernick and Roger Goodell. Gruden alleged the emails were leaked by the NFL to get back at him, while former Buccaneers GM Bruce Allen alleged the Washington Commanders leaked them.
Either way, Gruden lost his job as Raiders and just about everyone he had ever worked with dissassocited themselves with him. That included the Buccaneers, who removed his name from the team’s Ring of Honor and scrubbed him from every tribute to the 2002 Super Bowl team.
It’s unlikely that played a major role in his willingness to work with the Saints, but it probably didn’t hurt.
For the record, Gruden didn’t join the Saints coaching staff and was merely consulting with the team for what appears to be a short finite amount of time. It doesn’t seem like this will be a Bruce Arians type position with the Saints where Gruden acts as an overseer of anything more than some tips and tricks on how to help Carr and implement his West Coast offense to the best of everyone’s ability.