Keep Greg SchianoDecember 25th, 2013
Joe just laughs when Bucs fans demand consistency from their team. That’s a true and a noble goal. Consistent winner. It’s not like it can’t be done in the NFL; it’s not like the Bucs have never done that. Joe can’t argue with wanting if not demanding consistency with victories.
Then, just as quickly as Bucs fans scream consistency, they want to run Bucs commander Greg Schiano out of town right now.
This just in folks: You can’t have both.
Where would the Stinking Panthers be if they got rid of Ron Rivera last season?
There’s no need for the Bucs to turn into the east coast version of the Oakland Raiders. They haven’t been back to the playoffs since the Bucs pounded them 12 years ago to win a Super Bowl. The Raiders have had six different coaches since. Do the math.
You don’t build a winner by unloading a coach after two years.
Climbing from the ashes
Schiano was given a monumental task. The team had gone off the deep end with the ultimate party coach, Raheem Morris. He didn’t care what you did off the field and it seemed the on-field product was waning as well.
Missed a tackle? Don’t worry. You will just have to buy the first round at McDinton’s tonight. Dropped a football? Ah, you still owe me a gin and tonic. That will not be two? Hound your young quarterback play after play demanding the ball despite your body breaking down and you drawing double- and triple-coverage? Forget about it. We’re good. You are a warrior.
Don’t feel like practicing? OK, just show up for the game.
These were the types of things that were ingrained into the Bucs and it took Schiano the better part of two years to weed out the malcontents, the drinking and partying, and put football back into the top focus of the team.
Building a winner from that nonsense doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time.
The Rip Van Freeman sabotage
Just the mere fact that Rip Van Freeman did his best to wreck this team in order to satisfy his selfish ways and get cut loose is enough for Joe to give Schiano another year for hazardous duty.
No team in the NFL can do anything when its franchise quarterback implodes to begin the season. Hell, look what happened with Tuna Parcells with the Jets? His starting quarterback, Vinny Testeverde, was hurt on opening day one season and the Jets never recovered. And that was with a Hall of Fame coach.
Did anyone really believe the Bucs could win with a rookie third-round draft pick of a quarterback? Sure Nick Foles, another third-round pick, is having a fabulous year this season. How did he do as a rookie with an offensive-minded coach? Not so well, did he?
Freeman did his best behind the scenes to Pearl Harbor the Bucs and he did one helluva job doing that. There’s a reason his teammates did not vote him captain, think about it. Outside of Donald Penn raising a stink, did you notice any other Bucs crying about Freeman getting booted? Should tell you something as well.
Just because Freeman melted down that shouldn’t mean ripping apart the franchise by getting a new coach. On this reason alone Schiano deserves another year, if not a raise.
The haters of Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik love to claim Schiano is running the draft and credit the head coach for the solid drafts of 2012 and 2013, not Dominik, which Schiano has consistently claimed is nonsense. Joe has another angle that is better based in reality. Schiano and his staff know how to develop talent.
Notice under Raheem Morris people were hollering how Gerald McCoy was a bust? Now he is one of the elite players in the NFL. Notice how rotten of a player Quincy Black was? He played his best football with Schiano. Notice how much Mason Foster was overwhelmed as a rookie? He is one of the more consistent linebackers in the NFL now. Demar Dotson has become a serviceable tackle, not under Morris, but under Schiano.
So you want to unload a coach right now who has established a keen ability to get the most out of young players?
Team is still “gelling”
Players love to use the term “gel.” It is an overused cliché but in this case, the proper synonym would be “molding.’ The NFL isn’t like baseball where you can load up your team often with All-Stars and the team will automatically be good. In the NFL, players, both veterans and youngsters, have to learn how to play with each other because at one point they were strangers.
That’s the case specifically with the Bucs secondary. The secondary is getting better and better because they are learning how to play with each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You had three new starters in the secondary this year, two vets and a rookie. These things sometimes take a season or more to bond. That’s not Schiano’s fault.
In a way, Adrian Peterson has hurt his brethren in the NFL. Peterson is a medical freak. He came back from an ugly knee injury in one year and it was as if he never lost a step. This is rare. Incredibly rare. Yet now, that same freakish standard is forced upon all players by fans.
Ask Darrelle Revis if he is back to his old self and he will honestly admit, no. Davin Joseph, good guy that he is, will wave off the question and state that cannot be used as an excuse and he needs to play better.
The simple fact is, it often takes more than a year for a player to bounce back from a knee surgery. Imagine how much better the Bucs can be if Revis and Joseph and (oh, yeah) Adrian Clayborn are fully recovered (notice Clayborn is playing his best football of the season in December?).
The fact all three are coming back from knee surgeries shouldn’t mean Schiano is sacrificed.
Schiano has done everything (but win) Team Glazer has asked him to do. Clean out the locker room and build a team of players the community can be proud of. Then, build that lasting contender.
If Schiano comes back in 2014 – and he should! – There are no more excuses. He’s had two years to lay his foundation. Time for a winning season, or else.
Due to a confluence of events and circumstances, it would be shameful to jettison Greg Schiano next week.