The QB Blast: No Special TreatmentApril 19th, 2012
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company,America’s Best Quarterback. Plus, he’s a really cool dude.
By JEFF CARLSON
Before his first draft adds new faces to the Buccaneers, Greg Schiano is getting a good look this week at his veteran roster with the first minicamp of the team he inherited from Raheem Morris.
The Bucs recently cut ties with who I think was the poster boy for what went wrong last season. Not the only one to be sure, but it was a significant statement to the team.
Why was Tanard Jackson the apex of the problem? Even though publicly they welcomed him back with open arms, human nature makes for serious resentment. They let him take a year off (a league banishment of his own making) and then let him walk back in and enter the starting lineup immediately with barely a single practice under his belt. Not only that, they doubled his salary within a couple of weeks.
Don’t you think the other 52 guys on the roster that went through training camp would have liked their salary doubled? Jackson didn’t sweat a drop with his team during training camp or the first five weeks of the season, but with a winning record accomplished with the players already in the locker room, he moved right back into the starting lineup without earning it back. Coincidentally, they didn’t win another game after his contract extension.
In team sports, coaches preach competition and earning your position through blood, sweat and tears. Dissention comes when players are treated differently in the area of workload. Raheem Morris watched and learned to treat players differently during his years with Jon Gruden, who I think lost his team’s ear as well, just not as impressively as last year.
Allowing players to have individual practice schedules, including pre-determined days off each and every week, causes the other players that carry their extra practice load to get a little jaded and builds resentment in the locker room. It also undermines so many of the coach’s sermons on hard work and players earning their playing time, and players start tuning them out.
In the great football movie about race relations and a state championship run in Remember The Titans, the star linebacker confronts his friend and kicks him off the team for not blocking for a black teammate. This unites the team as the players see that certain players will not get special treatment. The scene became the driving factor for them coming together as one and winning the state title.
Based on last year’s performance, Schiano would probably like to wipe the entire roster clean and start again, but he is limited in just how many changes he can actually make in a single year, so it may be up to players like Josh Freeman to stand up to a couple of guys and tell them that they need to practice like the rest of the team and that their body language and attitudes of last season are unacceptable moving forward and won’t be tolerated.
Getting this part of the team squared away will be the biggest reason the Bucs go from worst to first — eventually.