Radical Culture Change Doesn’t Mean Fast SuccessJuly 3rd, 2012
Veteran Bucs fans know all about culture change.
Father Dungy walked into Tampa in 1996, and brought new rules, order and overhauled the defense, replacing wacky Sam Wyche, whose ’95 team started “5-dash-2” but finished 7-dash-9.
The Bucs struggled mightily out of the gate for Dungy, but finished 6-10 in 1996, before making the playoffs in ’97.
Former NFL safety Matt Bowen, now a scribe for NationalFootballPost.com, relayed a similar story of successful culture change when he was with the Redskins. The loose ship of Steve Spurrier gave way to the return of legendary Joe Gibbs.
Gibbs did alter the “culture” in our locker room and on the field. We were prepared, dealt with adversity in a professional fashion and displayed a much more physical attitude in our play on the field.
Accountability. That’s the word I’m looking for under Gibbs.
But that first year was still a transition period for our team. No playoffs, some rough losses and plenty of film to work with. However, in our second season under the new coach, we ran off five straight wins to get into the playoffs, won the Wild Card round and eventually lost to the eventual NFC Champion Seahawks up in Seattle.
In Tampa, Schiano has some young talent, a QB in Josh Freeman and has already made some roster moves. And I expect to see a very physical football team this season on the field. Does that mean we will see the Bucs compete for a playoff spot this season? I can’t say that without seeing them play under the new coach. But this will fall on the shoulders of the players.
As a locker room, we bought into Gibbs, his style of coaching and a training camp environment that was pure hell on a humid August day.
Is Greg Schiano a Tony Dungy or Joe Gibbs? Surely nobody knows.
But even if he is in that caliber, the Bucs are still looking at an uphill battle for 2012. They’ve got an offense with win-now weapons everywhere, but the defense has so far to go and so many question marks, it pains Joe to think about likely growing pains on that side of the ball.