Posted October 14, 2013

Fans of winless Buccaneers direct their ire at Greg Schiano, and they have a point

NFC South, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

It's Greg Schiano against the world, and the world is winning.

It’s Greg Schiano against the world, and the world is winning. (Brian Blanco/AP)

For every Dick Vermeil, Tom Coughlin and Jim Harbaugh, there are five Nick Sabans, Bobby Petrinos and Steve Spurriers. For every former college football coach who comes into the NFL and seems to crack the code, there are many more who are overwhelmed by the complexities of the game, the lack of control over their players and the inability to clamp down on their circumstances whenever they see fit. In the movie Bull Durham, Crash Davis tells Nuke LaLoosh to hold the baseball like an egg, and there is a similar balance between control and release one must master when coaching an NFL team. Just because you’ve heard the arguments a million times before doesn’t mean that they aren’t 100 percent true: It’s a real yank to the throat to go from absolute power over a bunch of 18-22-year old kids to trying to master the finer points of communicating in a meaningful way with men 10 years older who make at least 10 times what you make.

It’s a tough job that has brought a lot of half-tough guys to their knees, and it’s about to do the same thing to Greg Schiano. The current Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, who held that same position at Rutgers from 2001 through ’11, seemed to have the right characteristics. After four tough years, Schiano’s teams went 56-33 and won five bowl games in his final seven seasons. He had the Bill Belichick seal of approval (which, at one time, was a good thing for coaches not named Bill Belichick), he did three years with the Chicago Bears from 1996 through ’98 as a defensive assistant and defensive backs coach and he seemed to have enough experience running a pro-style program at all levels to avoid the nearly-inevitable growing pains so common to those coaches looking to make the leap.

“During our thorough search, we met with numerous impressive candidates, but Coach Schiano surely distinguished himself,” Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said in a statement released on the day of Schiano’s Jan. 26, 2012 hire. “From his leadership skills to his considerable track record, he is, simply put, the right man for the job.”

Nearly two years later, he’s anything but. Leaving Raymond James Stadium on Sunday after his team’s 31-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles dropped them to 0-5, Schiano got the full raspberry chorus from the Bucs fans still in attendance. The boos simply reflected the common perception of Schiano at this point in time — he’s yet another former college coach who has let everything spiral out of control in his ceaseless insistence on absolute authority.

Schiano will have a tough time proving otherwise. Moreover, his decisions have been, for the most part, awful. At the same time he was providing safe haven for ex-North Carolina coach Butch Davis (and altering Davis’ title so that the “special assistant to the head coach” could continue to draw money he never earned from his old program), Schiano was demanding accountability from his players. At the same time he was excusing the outdated passing concepts put forth by offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, Schiano was running quarterback Josh Freeman out of town on a rail in favor of the quarterback he and general manager Mark Dominik selected in the third round of the 2013 draft — Mike Glennon from North Carolina State. Schiano got his wish when Freeman was released on Oct. 3.

It’s the ways in which Schiano engineered Freeman’s departure that showed the first real cracks in the foundation. The NFLPA wants answers regarding the allegations that Schiano was the one who leaked the information about Freeman’s involvement in Stage 1 of the NFL’s substance-abuse program. Freeman, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, switched his medication without notifying the NFL and came up with the wrong result in a test. When the news was leaked by whomever leaked it, Freeman had to issue a statement insisting that he’s never failed a league-mandated drug test for any other reason.

“Unfortunately, it appears that some people who may have noticed the testing at my workplace have made hurtful and incorrect assumptions and chosen to disseminate inaccurate and very disturbing information,” Freeman said in part.

Schiano responded by insisting that he was not the source of the leak, but even if he wasn’t, he was busy mishandling other situations. When kicker Lawrence Tynes developed a staph infection as part of what has become a larger MRSA problem in the team’s locker room, Schiano and his front office landed in the NFLPA’s crosshairs by putting Tynes on the non-football injury list — basically stating that there was no proof that the organization was at fault.

“If I drop a 45-pound plate on my foot while lifting weights in the weight room at the facility, it’s IR,” Tynes told FOX Sports’ Mike Garafolo on Aug. 31. “So I just don’t understand how my situation is any different. I went to work, I kicked, I practiced, I cold-tubbed, I hot-tubbed, I showered for all those days there. I come up with MRSA and it’s a non-football injury? They’re basically trying to exonerate themselves of this, and I’m not going to allow it to happen.”

The Bucs have scrubbed their facility on several occasions since the outbreak (there’s a metaphor for you), which has also affected Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks and rookie cornerback Johnthan Banks. Last week, Dr. Deverick J. Anderson, co-director of Duke University’s Infection Control Outreach Network, met with the team after assessing the overall risk to other players.

“I can say that I believe it is a safe environment for the players and staff, and I think there are a few reasons why I can say that,” Dr. Anderson said. “I got to come and review the facilities about a month ago, and I got to see how practice was performed, and based on my observations, I didn’t think there was anything very high risk.”

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said that the issue “underscores the need for a League-wide, comprehensive and standardized infectious disease protocol. It also calls for improved accountability measures on health and safety issues by the NFL over the clubs,”

Safety is the specific issue in this case, but accountability appears to be the larger issue for Schiano. And in the end, that will be his NFL undoing. Just as Nick Saban thought that he could transfer his autocratic ways to the NFL with impunity … just as Steve Spurrier thought that he could light the league up with his surface-flashy offense and 40-hour weeks … just as Bobby Petrino turned tail and ran when things got tough … Schiano has created an impossible situation that seems to have only one reasonable conclusion. Even his counters against victory formations — which his team has seen far too often — seem to express a desire for meaningless action without direction.

Asked about the boos on Sunday, Schiano said that he “didn’t hear anything.”

“I believe it is a well-coached football team,” he said of the Buccaneers, via Gary Shelton of the Tampa Bay Times. “Not well enough. There are certain things we have to get done consistently. We’ll get this done in one game and this done in another game, but we’re not getting it all together. That may frustrate some.

“I would tell you if I didn’t think we were doing a good job. We need to be better. It starts with me, and it goes through my assistant coaches, and it goes through every player on the team. We’ll get over this hump, and we’ll get through it, and we’ll start winning.”

The “building” excuse is common to coaches and general managers deservedly on the hook for their questionable decisions. In that regard, those in charge of building a team are subject to the same audits given to anyone else involved in a construction project. Right now, Schiano is the NFL’s version of the contractor whose lumber shows up late, whose plans are proven wrong and must be re-done and whose foundations will not hold the structure that has been promised.

No matter the profession, fired is fired. And fired is what happens when the architecture falls apart.

82 comments
ClassickHitz
ClassickHitz

I find it quite interesting how Freeman was made the heavy but ended up with another team almost immediately after being released by the Bucs. Tampa claimed they contacted all 31 teams before releasing him in an attempt to make a trade with no takers. Not only did he get picked up a fews days later,  he was offered a 2 year contract. He opted for a 1 year deal at 3 million. That puts Freeman at over 9 million in salary so far this year. Clearly teams saw right through the BS and Greg has to know his time is done in Tampa. He'll be gone by Thanksgiving. 

Fifilo
Fifilo

The problem is the Glazers.

DiamondDaveB67
DiamondDaveB67

Schiano is losing the locker room.  Raheem Morris lost the locker room.  Is the problem the locker room?  if so, why?  Is the locker room tired of the Buccaneer Way?  To me there has been a consistent, extended and perplexing  lack of professionalism permeating from the Tamp Bay Buccaneers.  There are some really good players on this team to be 0-5.

joeshine730
joeshine730

Fire the Liar Greg Schiano and Butch Liar davis immediately.  The reputation and honor of a good Franchise is at stake.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

The real problem is that Schiano doesn't belong in the same conversation as any of the six coaches mentioned. He compiled a .500 record in ten years at a mediocre university in a weak conference. The highest ranking Rutgers achieved was 12th. He was hired by the same dysfunctional organization that is paying $16 million to Revis. (That signing was sure the difference maker the Bucs needed to be a Super Bowl team) I feel for Tampa fans - you have stupid owners who have hired idiots.

Ciscos
Ciscos

The problem for the Buccaneers is three fold.  One, ownership.  "Those folks" have clearly thrown their hat behind their GM.  I can understand why.  They hired their GM to run the ship and have invested themselves in his management.  Can't separate themselves now, but they should.  Second, management.  The GM and his managerial buddies bought the farm on Greg Schiano. And because they've put their weight behind him, they don't want to pull the rug out from underneath him.  They should - and should have before dumping Josh Freeman.  I can see the Bucs eating this decision for years to come.  Schiano will/can do that much damage.  Personally, they never should have hired Schiano.  He wasn't that good of a college coach at Rutgers and most NFL minds didn't like him. If the Glaziers were smart, they would have hired an NFL retread first.  The coaching landscape is littered with those.  Some successful and some not.  The point is, the Bucs has options here after losing out on Chip Kelly and they exercised none of them. Third, Greg Schiano.  This guy is the worse type of coach there is.  He has yet to recognize his Lane Kiffin'esq coaching style doesn't fit the Bucs.  Even worse, he's turned off the very men he needs to lead.  I'm sorry folks, any leadership seminar or class will tell you, to be an effective leader, you have to be a good listener.  Schiano doesn't have enough NFL Coach Credit to be a hardass.  The fact the Bucs supported this idiot, only serves to feed his ego.  In the NFL you have to win before you let your ego loose.

Fire this guy already.  He's done enough damage.  Don't, and the Bucs will spend the next 26 years regretting it.

joeshine730
joeshine730

When Schiano hired the snake Butch "Liar Liar Pants on Fire" Davis it sealed Schiano's doom.  Having that diseased corrupt morals depleted lying Butch Davis around any team is infecting that team with an incurable disease-called a lack of trust.

rskins09
rskins09

Nobody in DC ever heard of Joe Gibbs before Jack K. cooke hired him  years ago ...Everyone was saying  who in the heck is this guy .. Why him, why ..I'm not taking up for   Schiano but you never know a lot of times what your getting when you bring a new coach in , even one known ...Remember all the hype when the Redskins hired Steve, Mr. know-it-all Spurrier ..What a disaster he was ... Everyone could tell the 1st week of practice in July , Spurrier was way in over his head..And that's being polite about it ... Spurrier was in the twilight zone for two years and didn't know  it .. 

OwG
OwG

Authoritarian head coaches tend to crash and burn harder than any other. Their control rests entirely on the team winning, and when that doesn't happen he will lose the team almost immediately because nobody respects him. I dont know if that is the case in TB or not, but the pattern is there. 

gary41
gary41

They don't play Jackonsville.  The Bucs could lose every game this year, virtually guaranteeing a very high draft pick at QB in a loaded class.  Maybe the underlying thought is to keep Schiano & staff, no matter how bad things get.  

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Oh no, it is Josh's fault, not mine"

nycsports4life
nycsports4life

Fire Schitano. Promote Jay Gruden. Draft Teddy Bridgewater in 2014. Start over. 

edgrbrown
edgrbrown

wow guys et girls, nice comments. you are all right.smart stuff, i agree. Schiano is a POS and will be fired shortly.





dancluley
dancluley

Schiano is a doubletalking POS.  He lost all respect of all the fans and players. He's gone before the season is done for sure.  Jay Gruden anybody?

John4
John4

Really?  The tool Schiano is having issues.  Isn't this the same dunce who ordered his players to play all out and hit the QB on the other team while the QB is taking a knee?  Yes, it is.  Schiano is a worthless dunce (and low class idiot) who no business being in the NFL.  He sucks, and needs to be fired.

joeshine730
joeshine730

It's like a husband getting caught cheating and running around on his wife. Once it happens and you have lied the trust is never there again. Greg Schiano lied about the Josh Freeman events and now it will destroy any credibility and respect that Schiano might need to hang on to his job in Tampa. Funny if greg was 6-0 would anything actually matter?

leon1376
leon1376

I really like the way Chuck Noll coached. Terry Bradshaw called all his own plays, with help from the guys in the huddle. It's the players on the field who know what can and cannot be done. A receiver could get inside a safety's head and set him up for an easy completion. A guard knew if the guy across from him was winded or hurt and would suggest a draw play or whatever. Now coaches move players around like robots. It takes all the enjoyment out of the game. Bradshaw sucked in his first season but Noll stayed with him. He never knew what play Bradshaw would call. I think Paul Brown and Lombardi and all the legacy coaches pretty much stand back and let the quarterback be the field general. Belechick does that for Brady, no? 

JimBowski
JimBowski

some mag did an article when schiano was hired detailing he was such a control freak and so anal he set conference rooms at 72.....knew then he was doomed

joeshine730
joeshine730

No wonder Schiano is lying to his team Greg hired the biggest liar  fired Coach Butch Davis from the Browns. Once you lie in the nFL it's over.  The fat lady has sung-taken a shower-ate dinner and flown away.  Bye Greg you lying SOB.

keithhenig
keithhenig

I don't know what the hell Joel Glazer was thinking when he hired this guy. Schiano is the most incompetent excuse for an NFL coach ever. A .500 small college record is a very long way from professional football. Run him out of town quickly, please.

reed
reed

Well, I doubt he will turn and run as Petrino did. Say what you want about Schiano, but I'm sure he is not the coward that Bobby is. 

DiamondDaveB67
DiamondDaveB67

@joeshine730 this is not a reputable or good Franchise.  Way too many mistakes made at all levels, including firing the only reputable coach they ever had(Dungy).  

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

@Frank14 How in the world is this a hatchet job?  If you take a few minutes and talk to a few residents down here in Tampa, you'd know that this story isn't nearly harsh enough.  This guy is plain old scum and we're absolutely disgusted by him.

Ed16
Ed16

@OwG I guess Lombardi, Parcells, Bellichick, Coughlin, et. al. never got that message. They were (are) extremely authoritarian and have been successful.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@nycsports4life ~ No matter what happens with the Bengals, Jay Gruden is in the top five of head coaching candidates for 2014.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@joeshine730 ~ If Schiano was 6-0, no. But they're not and the first course of business is to blame someone.  So Schiano pointed his finger at Freeman meaning it couldn't possibly be the offensive game planning, the choice of plays the OC calls, the OC himself or the nitwit HC that hired a nitwit OC.

Freeman was easy.

joe6647
joe6647

@joeshine730 If Schiano was 6-0 Freeman would probably still be the QB since hes the one who started the season

rskins09
rskins09

@leon1376 ... Chuck Noll never won any popularity contest with the Steelers  but when you when year after year  who cares ...But the winning -  was it because of Chuck Noll, or the great material  the Steelers had ....1/2 the team was all Pro and 1/2 of them were  HOF ...There's 32 team in the NFL  -- about eight too many ..Add to that the free  agency .. It's hard to have a dominate  team year after year ..The more teams in any pro sport, the thinner the  talent level becomes ...And if you have two, three , say four bad  NFL drafts , it catches up with you ...And injuries are a fact of life in the NFL,  not an excuse ....

edgrbrown
edgrbrown

@leon1376 hi leon. you are right. tom brady and p manning call their own plays. mostly. up here in canada all good CFL quarterbacks call their own plays.

Charles38
Charles38

@keithhenig The Bucs need new owners !!! The Glazers have the final say on all hireings, remember Morris??

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

@reed He has no honor. Look at how he conducts himself. That is all you need to know.

KristianColasacco
KristianColasacco

@reed I wouldn't put it past him.  He's a liar and a manipulator.  A bullying tough guy.  They're usually the first ones to put their tails between their legs and scurry off when they're found out.  

stimulyze
stimulyze

@DiamondDaveB67 @joeshine730That's a really undeserved low blow. I won't argue with you about the current management, coaching, and roster; but to disparage everyone who's ever been associated with the team is a step too far. Sam Wyche didn't do much here, but was he disreputable? John Lynch? Ronde Barber? Gruden (who admittedly inherited much of Dungy's success)? Even John McKay was at least magnanimous and loveable despite his team consistently being the laughing stock of the entire league. Anyone who REALLLY knows this organization can see where the real problems are here. Everything which is now happening is far too similar to "the Culverhouse era", when owner Hugh Culverhouse's insistence on controlling every aspect of the teams gameplay and coaching resulted in nearly two decades of mediocrity. Sorry to ramble, but as a Tampa native your comment really struck a nerve.

D-Rome
D-Rome

@Ed16 @OwG All of those guys you mentioned all earned the trust of their players and all have won.  Greg Schaino's players do not trust him as he has repeatedly lied about many things, especially in the past few months.  Greg Schiano no longer has a scapegoat in Freeman.  He has only won a single game in nearly a calendar year.  He has no more excuses.  He simply is not good enough.

Ciscos
Ciscos

@Ed16 @OwG ~ The difference is, Lombardi, Parcells and Belichick are excellent coaches and excellent leaders of men.  Being authoritarian isn't taboo, but you have to know what you're doing to get men to follow that game plan and believe in it.  Schiano isn't a leader, he doesn't inspire and his personality trait is prone to failure. In less complicated language, those coaches are smart coaches, Schiano isn't. 

Coughlin, in your lineup, was very authoritarian, but eased up.  When he did, he found success.  The fact Schiano refuses to listen dooms him to kicking his lunch pail down the road.

rskins09
rskins09

@Ed16 @OwG      Your right ... Nice guys, coaches finish last ....You can look it up ..

Ciscos
Ciscos

@Charles38 @keithhenig ~ Charles... for all of Raheem Morris' faults, he wasn't as bad as Schiano.  Personally, the Bucs bailed on Morris too soon because they thought they were going to get Chip Kelly.  When that fell thru, they didn't have a backup plan on potential coaches. Schiano is proof of that.

rskins09
rskins09

@Ciscos @Ed16 @OwG    Remember Frank Kush  ..Arizona St., orign. Colts  .. He was the same way ..Colts fired him after the 1st year .. He never mellowed - never ...NFL players just don't tolerate coaches like him , a strict disciplinarian ..Can get away with it in College, especially if the team is winning ...NO NO in the NFL ..

rskins09
rskins09

@Ciscos @Ed16 @OwG    It's called leadership and motivation ..You're born with leadership -- can't coach it ..Just like salesman are born -- not made ..For both you have to have the right personality ....

Ciscos
Ciscos

@DiamondDaveB67 @Ciscos @Charles38 @keithhenig ~ DiamondDave, true. However, in retrospect, he didn't have their respect because management didn't empower him like they have with Schiano.  Given the two, I'd take the lesser of both evils. Schiano is the worst. 

DiamondDaveB67
DiamondDaveB67

@Ciscos @Charles38 @keithhenig Morris was a pushoever with the players and they never respected him after Talib dropped F-Bombs on him in London when Morris questioned him and others for be out after curfew. You can't coach without the players respect.