Greg Schiano’s Tenure in Tampa Bay Should End Yesterday

Literally.

Michael Silver of NFL.com and the NFL Network has a lot of snippets of negative information about Tampa Bay Buccaneers Head Coach Greg Schiano that paints a picture of a man coming out of the coaching ranks in college that cannot adjust to the fact that he’s not coaching a bunch of kids anymore.

His players a professional adults and don’t like being treated like they’re stupid.

One thing I’ve noticed over the past few years, watching player interviews on the NFL Network especially, is the fact that pretty much all the players that “stick” as NFL stars or even “just” starters have something in common: they’re a group of pretty bright guys.

True, some have better communication skills than others, but that’s just differences in individuals. The fact is that football is as much a mental chess match as it is physical ability. How many times have we seen someone with non-elite athletic skills thrive because they study the game and their awareness puts them in the proper position to make a play?

Schiano has managed, in roughly a season and a half, to alienate the vast majority of his players.

I’ve been saying for weeks now that he’s lost the locker room. Once a coach loses his players’ confidence, he’s become a pariah that they stop listening to and communication no longer matters.

Interestingly enough, Dashon Goldson is on record saying “He has NOT lost the locker room.”

Personally, I think that’s a consummate professional talking. He knows Schiano’s their coach right now, for better or for worse, and trashing him isn’t going to help the team win any games.

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy echoed some of those sentiments, but with qualifiers. “As long as” Schiano’s the coach, he needs to be respected and they need to play as hard as they can, McCoy said.

That’s very diplomatic of him, and once again to me it just underscores how professional players should approach things. Basically, the thought here is “like it or not, he’s the coach and we need to get behind him if we want to win any games” is what McCoy was saying.

Sep 15, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers free safety Dashon Goldson (38) reacts after they stopped New Orleans Saints on third down in the red zone during the first half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After the Carolina Panthers destroyed them 31-13 on Thursday night, some post-game comments reportedly said by Panthers players were things like “They (Tampa Bay players) were just looking for a reason to quit” and such.

If you go read the link to the NFL.com article I linked to above, you’ll read that NFL scouts hated going to visit Rutgers University when they wanted to scout one of Schiano’s players between 2001-2011, Schiano’s tenure there.

Don’t get me wrong, here. Greg Schiano IS a competent head coach. His “style” as it were, however, simply is not suited for the pro game. He treats his players like children, but in college, that’s exactly what they are. 23 or 24 years old is OLD for a typical college player.

Going into the ranks of being a pro head coach, you have to remember you’re coaching some MEN – not kids. Sure, you’ve got the young rookies and a lot of them have to grow up and fast once they’re drafted, but after a summer in training camp, you get an idea as to the younger guys’ character and work ethic.

Probably every year, every team has a handful of guys that don’t want to “grow up” yet or have trouble adjusting to the intensely increased physical and mental demands of the pro game.

Schiano treats his entire team as if they were a bunch of guys who need an iron-fisted ruler, and he has been described as “autocratic” when a writer is feeling generous, and that’s not good.

Aug 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Washington Redskins at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Not only does a coach like that not belong at the top of an NFL program, they generally aren’t very successful for long.

I’ve been thinking about this and the best comparison I can make regarding Greg Schiano is with former Saints Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Spag was the Head Coach of the St. Louis Rams before that and got fired to be replaced with a known quantity in Jeff Fisher.

Players had similar complaints about Spag as they have about Schiano: inflexible, even rigid, not listening to players’ input from the field and putting too much emphasis on his “system” as opposed to being light on his coaching feet and adjusting his calls when veterans come off the field and tell him what they’re seeing. The better coaches listen to their players and adjust on the fly.

Spag set the record for defensive futility last season with the Saints as his defense surpassed recent Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots’ defenses in yards allowed. It’s no coincidence that the very first thing Sean Payton did upon his return was fire Steve Spagnuolo. Yep, his first day back, he sent Spag packing.

At this point, the Bucs have a figurehead for a coach and I don’t see anything good happening for that franchise as long as Schiano is the head man. He has lost the locker room and if his players are so demoralized that they’re “looking for a reason to quit,” they are NOT going to win a ball game – probably not even against Jacksonville.

On a lark, I looked up the “coaching report” for next week.

Greg Schiano is listed as “questionable.”

Follow me on Twitter @Ken_Dye

Topics: Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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