Jon Gruden isn’t exactly motivation-challenged as he gets the Bucs ready to do what few Super Bowl champions have done — repeat. If the Bucs don’t do it, it will be because of parity and luck — not complacency. This season’s mantra is “Turn the page,” as in put last year behind you and do it again.
But if Gruden is looking for more fodder to underscore the anti-complacency theme, he need look no further than the USA Today sports page. USA Today oddsmaker Danny Sheridan has already installed the Philadelphia Eagles as 3 1/2-point favorites over the Bucs in the Sept. 8 season opener in Philly.
So much for the Bucs’ 27-10 butt-whipping of the Eagles in Philly in last season’s NFC championship game. So much for the Bucs, with the league’s best defense, being better in year two of the Gruden offensive system, and the Eagles arguably less formidable with a couple of key defections through free agency.
So much for respect.
And Danny Sheridan.