The Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik era in Tampa Bay is over.
Schiano went 11-21 over his two seasons in what was the second shortest coaching tenure in Bucs’ history behind Richard Williamson’s 19 games from 1990-91.
Schiano’s reign ended amid accusations and negative headlines that are usually reserved for soap operas. The negative national image of the Buccaneers was too much for the Glazer family to ignore and combined with the mounting losses, the Glazers decided to make the move to relieve Schiano and his staff of their duties.
“The results over the past two years have not lived up to our standards and we believe the time has come to find a new direction,” the Glazers said in a statement released by the team. “Mark has been a valued member of our organization for two decades and we respect the passion he showed for the Buccaneers during his time here. We thank Greg for his hard work and effort the past two seasons, but we feel these moves are necessary in order to achieve our goals.”
Schiano was hired in January of 2012 after former head coach Raheem Morris saw his 2011 Bucs reel off 10-straight losses to finish the season. The Buccaneers locker room had become a place for undisciplined players to reside, and most felt a change was needed.
The move to hire the staunch disciplinarian was applauded by virtually everyone when it was first announced, and Schiano soon began purging players who did not fall into his perception of what he called “Buccaneer Men.”
Schiano jettisoned safety Tanard Jackson, tight end Kellen Winslow, defensive tackle Brian Price among others, all before the Bucs played their first preseason game in Schiano’s tenure.
The Buccaneers opened the 2012 season under Schiano with a 16-10 home victory against the Carolina Panthers but the Buccaneers lost their next three games to enter the 2012 bye week with a 1-3 record. After the break, the Buccaneers reeled off five wins in their next six games, before suffering a late season collapse losing five of their last six to finish 7-9.
After the season, Schiano, during his end-of-season press conference, mentioned bringing in competition for starter Josh Freeman, something that created some red flags, considering Freeman has just helped set several offensive franchise records
Optimism abounded in the offseason however with the acquisition of All-Pro safety Dashon Goldson and cornerback Darrelle Revis to help repair a historically bad secondary. The Buccaneers finished dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed, coming within 40 yards of setting an NFL record in 2012.
The following month the Buccaneers added cornerback Johnthan Banks in the second round, then followed that pick up by taking North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round.
Many pundits predicted the Buccaneers would at the very least equal their seven win total as training camp approached and things were looking up as the regular season approached.
But just a few days before the season opener it was revealed that three-year offensive captain, quarterback Josh Freeman was not voted as a team captain. That red flag immediately caused some to question the legitimacy of the vote to the point the players held a players-only meeting just before the season opener against the Jets. Schiano came under fire and dismissed having any hand in manipulating the vote, flatly denying the allegation.
The Buccaneers also suffered another setback that became national news when it was revealed that kicker Lawrence Tynes and guard Carl Nicks both were suffering with MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant staph infection. Tynes was eventually placed on the non-football injury list and this created another public relations nightmare after Tynes’ wife, Amanda, ripped the organization via Twitter, posting a pictures of her husband being treated with a PICC line.
The Buccaneers dropped their first game of 2013 losing to the Jets in New York on a last-second field goal. A week later the Buccaneers again were in position to get in the win column but ended up losing to the Saints on another last-second kick.
The 0-3 start, combined with Freeman’s poor play, left the staff with what they felt was no choice but to bench Freeman and start Glennon. After being benched Freeman, according to sources became disgruntled and a distraction for the team.
The Freeman distraction continued until the Buccaneers finally released their four-year starter on October 3. Rookie Mike Glennon, Schiano’s bet to get the Bucs back on track, despite showing glimpses, also failed to produce a winning season, going 4-9 as a starter.
At the halfway mark the Buccaneers were winless after eight games and a local radio station purchased 19 “Fire Schiano” billboards scattered around the Tampa Bay area.
The Buccaneers finally got on the winning track on November 11 as they hosted the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. Tampa Bay defeated the Dolphins 22-19 then went on to win three of their next four games, beating the Lions, Falcons and Bills before dropping their final three games to finish the year 4-12.
The Buccaneer offense finished the season ranked 32nd in the league was never able to recover from the Freeman debacle, the off-the-field distractions and the rash of injuries that saw Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin and wide receiver Mike Williams lost for the season.
Where the Bucs turn for a new coach is up in the air, but after six seasons without a playoff appearance, and 1o without a playoff win, the Glazers will be under tremendous pressure to get this choice correct.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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