Washing Hands Of Aqib TalibOctober 14th, 2012
In a nutshell, Gary Shelton is outraged.
The veteran Tampa Bay Times columnist, who can also be heard with Justin Pawlowski weekdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on WHFS-FM 98.7, has had his fill of Aqib Talib.
Shelton documents all the transgressions of Talib from blasting a teammate in the face with a helmet to speed-bagging a cabbie’s head — while the car is traveling down the highway, no less — to playing Clint Eastwood in Dallas, and Shelton in so many words suggests if the Bucs have any ounce of moral fiber and a spine, Talib will have played his last snap with the Bucs.
This is what happens when a team stands by its trouble. The trouble comes back to visit it. And guess what? If the Bucs talk themselves into bringing Talib back, he’ll be back in the headlines again. They’re his second home.
This time it will be interesting to see the way new coach Greg Schiano reacts. It is one thing to be no-nonsense when you turn loose Kellen Winslow Jr. and Tanard Jackson and Brian Price. Those guys couldn’t play. None of them are on an active roster today; Jackson is serving a drug suspension.
Talib? As much has he has struggled this year — he is an overrated cornerback on a team that is last in pass defense — he still has starter’s talent. When you consider how much man coverage the Bucs play, Talib is a better bet than the guys behind him. No, the 2008 first-round draft pick isn’t the shutdown corner the Bucs pretend he is, but his loss will be felt.
This, as Shelton believes, is the real first big test under the New Schiano Order, led by new Bucs coach Greg Schiano.
It is easy to run K2 for not toeing the line (and preferring to spin discs poolside at a trendy Vegas hotspot rather than practicing), it’s quite another to launch a starting cornerback midseason who has had Schiano’s back publicly since the day Schiano stepped foot at One Buc Palace.
Perhaps both Schiano and Talib have bonded enough to save Talib’s hide for this season? Once the season is over, Talib is as good as gone.
Remember, one more slip-up with the banned substances, and Talib has entered Tanard Jackson territory where he will be suspended for a year.
Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik already got burned once by trusting Jackson to put the bong down, and got burned in the process. While Talib “just” took a pill (obtained illegally without a prescription), the sentence for another slip-up is the same.
After all, as Schiano famously said, his regime and the New Schiano Order will be all about “trust, belief and accountability.”
Has Talib burned through all three tenants?