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September 16, 2013 @ 11:30 am
Current rating: 3.67 Stars/3 Votes

Black Clouds Have Loomed Over Schiano's Bucs For Months

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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With a 16-14 loss to the Saints, the Bucs are 0-2 in 2013 and 1-7 in their last eight games dating back to last year. What factors have led to Tampa Bay's underwhelming record, and is there still time for Greg Schiano to rally his team and get the Bucs to the playoffs?
The Buccaneers offense took the field under a black cloud after the Saints took an early, 3-0 lead on their opening drive in Tampa Bay’s heartbreaking, 16-14 loss to New Orleans on Sunday.

The ominous skies soon were filled with lightning and rain, and prompted a weather delay of one hour and nine minutes before play resumed at Raymond James Stadium in Week 2 of the 2013 NFL season.

But the dark clouds have been circling over Tampa Bay long before Sunday, and one has to believe that this season, in which the Bucs have fallen to 0-2, was actually doomed before it even began.

Coming off a three-win improvement from a disastrous 2011 season that saw Tampa Bay lose the final 10 games to finish a disappointing 4-12, expectations were high heading into the 2013 campaign fresh from a season-ending upset at Atlanta.

That win gave the Bucs a 7-9 record and some momentum heading into an offseason that would see general manager Mark Dominik sign one of the NFL’s best safeties in Dashon Goldson, trade for the league’s top cornerback in Darrelle Revis and create a vastly improved secondary dubbed the "No Fly Zone" to help a defense led by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and star linebacker Lavonte David.

The Bucs offense, which finished the season ninth in the NFL in total offense in 2012, featured two Pro Bowlers in running back Doug Martin and wide receiver Vincent Jackson, as well as the return to health of Pro Bowl guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph. Wide receiver Mike Williams had been re-signed to a long-term deal, and quarterback Josh Freeman, who became the team’s first 4,000-yard passer and set a team record for touchdowns with 27 in 2012, was entering a contract year and had every reason to produce a big season and lead the Bucs to the playoffs.

But the first signs of what is shaping up to be disastrous year in Tampa Bay struck on Friday, July 12 when kicker Connor Barth, who is a Pro Bowl-caliber player, suffered a season-ending Achilles injury while playing in a charity basketball game in North Carolina. That set off a change reaction within the Bucs organization that would lead to a tumultuous training camp and have a negative ripple effect into the first two weeks of the regular season.

The loss of Barth prompted the Bucs to sign veteran place kicker Lawrence Tynes, who contracted the MRSA virus in August, which spread to Nicks, who missed the entire preseason and has yet to play in the regular season. Tynes has yet to shake the infection and fully heal, and it’s likely that a lawsuit against the Bucs will emerge from Tynes’ camp.

That could spell disaster for Dominik, the team’s general manager since 2009. All of the goodwill he has fostered within the organization by acquiring a talent-laden roster through free agency, trades and some quality drafts could unravel with a lawsuit from Tynes against the team, as well as the prospects that the Bucs might need a new head coach and a new starting quarterback in 2014 if Tampa Bay can’t win this year. Dominik might not survive if head coach Greg Schiano gets fired.

The Bucs are 1-7 in their last eight games dating back to last year, and that could mean the team not re-signing Freeman and Schiano’s dismissal unless Tampa Bay rallies and makes a playoff run – or at least posts a winning record.

But given the fact that since the 1990s only 12 percent of the teams that start off 0-2 rebound and make the postseason, it’s a daunting task for the Buccaneers and it could cost the franchise it’s quarterback, head coach and general manager dearly.

Tynes’ inability to kick during training camp due to an infected toe and the MRSA virus prompted the Bucs to sign Rian Lindell as veteran competition for first-year kicker Derek Dimke. Lindell beat out Dimke in the preseason finale and appeared to have kicked the game-winner in Week 1, only to have Jets kicker Nick Folk do the honors after New York drove down into field goal range in less than 34 seconds.

With a field goal this past Sunday in Week 2, Tampa Bay had the chance to increase its fourth quarter lead from 14-13 to 17-13 and force New Orleans to score a touchdown instead of a field goal to prevail. But Lindell missed his only attempt of the game, a 47-yarder, and that was costly as it gave quarterback Drew Brees good field position at the Saints’ 37 to maneuver his team down the field. Garrett Hartley kicked a 27-yard game-winner for the Saints and kicked the 0-2 Bucs right in the gut.

Who knows if Nicks would have made a difference in either Bucs loss, but having another Pro Bowler on the field couldn’t hurt an offense that has sputtered and lacked any consistency since training camp started in late July. What has hurt the offense is Freeman’s inaccuracy.

Once a 62 percent passer under former head coach Raheem Morris and former offensive coordinator Greg Olson, Freeman now lacks a working alarm clock, lacks confidence, and lacks a head coach that is on his side. Morris, who coached the defense at Kansas State under former head coach Ron Prince when Freeman was the starting QB as a freshman for the Wildcats, always had Freeman’s back and built the young passer up.

Schiano, a micromanaging, “type A” dictator, prefers a “type A” quarterback. Freeman’s laid-back personality boggles Schiano’s mind and irritates him. That has created a tense work environment for Freeman, who hasn’t helped his cause by missing the team photo prior to the start of the regular season by oversleeping, and wasn’t named a team captain for the first time since his rookie year. Schiano didn’t rig the captain’s vote, but must shake his head at the notion that the players didn’t vote the QB he’s not entirely fond of to be a team captain.

This past offseason, Schiano replaced former QBs coach Ron Turner with former Arizona wide receivers coach John McNulty, whom he employed at Rutgers. Since then, no quarterback in Tampa Bay has completed more than 50 percent of his passes. In the preseason, Dan Orlovsky, the team’s third-string QB, completed just half of his pass attempts.

Under McNulty’s watch, Freeman completed just 46.2 percent (12-of-26) of his passes for 101 yards in the month of August. Freeman has yet to complete at least 50 percent of his passes in either game during the 2013 regular season.

Now there are rumors from CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora that Freeman might seek a trade prior to the trading deadline next month. Of course Freeman denied that report after Sunday’s loss to the Saints, but it seems like there is too much smoke around the rocky relationship between Freeman and Schiano for there not to be a fire somewhere at One Buccaneer Place – where the players decided to have a players-only meeting prior to the start of the season for some reason.

Rookie Mike Glennon, who will likely get a shot at replacing Freeman if the Bucs offense can’t get out of its funk and put points on the board before the bye week, completed just 47.1 percent of his passes (33-of-70) for 397 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions, including a pick-six, in the preseason. Glennon has some potential over the long-term, but if Schiano turns to him this season because the former North Carolina State star is his guy, it will only spell disaster for the entire team.

Glennon is raw, but has a strong arm and some real upside. But what damage could be done to his promising career if he’s thrown into the starting role too early?

And how would that affect Schiano’s already shaky relationship with the players if a rookie quarterback is suddenly thrust into the starting lineup? Players like Jackson, Goldson and Nicks voluntarily came to Tampa Bay in free agency over the past two years to win now and get to the playoffs – and ultimately the Super Bowl.

The last thing any veteran close to the age of 30 or on the other side of 30 wants is a rookie at the helm, and a quarterback controversy that could potentially divide the Bucs’ locker room. Replacing Freeman with Glennon could spell the end of what is a questionable tenure with Schiano, who is currently 7-11 as Tampa Bay’s head coach.

There’s no doubt that the Bucs defense has improved over the last two years. Through Dominik’s talent acquisition and Schiano’s coaching, the Bucs remain stellar in run defense, have improved in pass defense, and have developed into a nasty, tough, hard-hitting unit.

But you can’t win games in the NFL if you don’t score enough points and have a good quarterback. The offense’s surprising regression in Year 2 of the Schiano regime is troubling, and the fact that Schiano never really developed an NFL-caliber passer in his 12 years at Rutgers poses the question – was this the right guy to be put in charge of the continued development of a young, 24-year old with franchise-quarterback physical traits?

Schiano receives a healthy dose of praise for turning around Rutgers, a perennial doormat in the once woeful Big East Conference. But in hindsight, it has perhaps been too much praise.

Schiano never won the Big East Conference title and finished his time at Rutgers with just a 68-67 (.504) record. His lone signature season came seven years ago in 2006 when his Scarlet Knights team led by running backs Ray Rice and Brian Leonard and wide receiver Tiquan Underwood, went 10-2 and finished the year ranked 12th after beating Freeman, Morris and Kansas State in the Texas Bowl, 37-10, while legendary Wildcats coach Bill Snyder was briefly retired.

Last year, it seemed like the no-nonsense Schiano was the right fit for a team that needed a big dose of discipline following the Morris regime. Schiano is known as a strict disciplinarian, and that approach worked for a while as the Bucs got out to a 6-4 start in 2012 before five straight losses doomed Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes. 

When a team betrays the identity of its head coach and plays as undisciplined as it has with 23 penalties for 212 yards in the first two weeks of the NFL season that’s a very ominous sign for Schiano. The first rule of football is don’t beat yourself. The Bucs have done just that to start off 0-2.

Tampa Bay’s defense is averaging three 15-yard personal fouls per game – mostly for helmet-to-helmet hits. Schiano said he’s emphasizing the proper target zones in meetings, but are the players listening? Their play on the field for two weeks suggests they are not.

It’s no better on Tampa Bay’s offense as delay of game penalties, false starts and illegal formation infractions have lost yardage and first down opportunities, and an illegal formation penalty wiped out a fourth-quarter touchdown bomb from Freeman to Jackson against the Saints.

If one is looking for any silver linings through the dark clouds that surround One Buccaneer Place through the team’s 0-2 start here they are.

The Bucs defense is playing great – with the exception of the final minute of the game.

The offense has the talent to once again produce 24 points per game at a moment’s notice – if it can fire on all cylinders.

The team is 0-2 only after losing fourth quarter leads in the final seconds of each game – and there are 14 more games remaining.

The locker room has great veteran leadership, and to his credit, Schiano has done a reasonably good job of not allowing his team to be distracted by controversial reports in the media, and keeping his team focused on the next opponent.

But how long will that last? Do the Bucs have the right leader in place in Schiano to keep the team together, and turn the season around with an upset win at New England on Sunday – or will the Bucs fall to 1-8 in their last nine games?

And does Tampa Bay have a reliable kicker in Lindell that can win games at the end? Hopefully Barth has retired from charity basketball games because the Bucs sure could have used him on Sunday.
Last modified on Monday, 16 September 2013 11:44
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COMMENTS

  • avatar

    I remember the melon days. Curiosity makes me ask, "bucstop.com please tell us what the melons were for?"
  • avatar


    The premise of this article is that the injury to Connor Barth started a chain reaction (not change reaction) that doomed us to a slow start. I think that is far fetched to say the least. First the MRSA outbreak can be traced to our training staff. We are just lucky more did not catch it. Last, a realistic assessment is that the players on offense have still not mastered Sullivan's overly complex scheme. In the second year of that offense the players needed more snaps in pre-season but got even less than last year. While it may have prevented injury, it prevented getting the players preapared. They still look out of synch. This explains not only why the offense is not ready but why the defense is ready. The defense is not an overly complicated system and the players did not need as many snaps. This explanation also puts the blame squarely on Sullivan for not adapting to the ability of the players to absorb and execute his scheme. Schiano is not blameless. He is the head coach and is responsible for all strategic and tactical decisions. But the scheme, implementing the scheme and getting players prepared is clearly Sullivan's responsibility. Maybe not every player is having trouble. Clearly VJ gets it. And since Josh is getting VJ the ball, maybe he gets it too. If there is someway to dial it back a notch for those players that do not get it, we need to do so. Players need to start playing football instead of thinking about playing football.
  • avatar


    I am neither a Pewter Report 'Fan' as I have my own site I write for, nor am I locked into love with either Schiano or Freeman. Like some of you, my Bucs fan roots go back to people yelling DUMP MCKAY IN THE BAY. And fans sending Doug Williams rotten Watermellons (or heck, maybe they were just sending watermellons, and they turned up rotten lol). But I see nothing in this article that needs to be backed up with evidence or shows any favoritism either way. Calling Schiano a Micromanager is not something that has to be backed with evidence. If youve followed the Bucs for the past year, you know his toes on the line, yelling at assistant coaches type mentality. He has taken over full control of this team, and it was probably needed at the time. My god...its like you people have never heard of an editorial. If you dont like the writings, go to Tampa Bay times website. Oh wait...thats not free anymore. Boy times are a changin
  • avatar

    I remember the melon days. Curiosity makes me ask, "What we're the melons for?" Backstop, please tell me.
  • avatar


    Some of our fans call Schiano a micro manager. The very fans calling Schiano a micro managing, are really micro managing the Bucs from afar themselves. The only difference I see is that Schiano actually knows what he is doing. The other thing is, if ever a team needed micro managing it was the Bucs. When Schiano got here the team was a rudderless ship drifting in the Gulf of Mexico. For the first time in quite a while the Bucs are looking physical enough to compete in the NFL for 16 games. Look at the improvement of Gerald McCoy alone. When Warren Sapp was a rookie you could tell right from the beginning he was going to be a big time player. Sapp made some rookie mistakes, but he wasn't intimidated at all, he made opposing O-linemen pay attention even as a rookie. The first two seasons with McCoy were huge disappointments. Last season (Schiano's first season with the Bucs) we saw McCoy make a 180 degree turn. This season McCoy has been a beast. I am thinking we might have another hall of famer in the making. Clayborn is extremely nasty as well and this Spence kid looks to be an improvement over Miller. Mason Foster has played extremely well as has David. The weakside of Watson and Casillas is looking very good. Revis and Goldston have strengthened the defensive backfield a bunch. They did a nice job on one of the NFL's top QBs last week. Those Saints receivers and TEs are very physical. I want to see what the offense looks like with Nicks back in the line up. I'm thinking that Josh will have a pocket to step up into to make throws. Nicks is going to help Penn's game immensely. This team has lost two games by 3 points without the offense clicking. People can talk about hard schemes all they want, but the impact of losing a player of Nick's calibur for the first two games can't be emphasized enough. I like this team a whole lot on both sides of the ball. The wins will come !!! Josh Freeman is a hell of a talent and there is no way I blame him for the two close losses. He drove us down for late 4th quarter leads in both games and the PREVENT DEFENSE prevented the Bucs from winning. I HATE THE PREVENT DEFENSE !!!! In both of those games there were two teams on the field and both wanted to win. Our team played their hearts out and lost two very close games. People can say the Jets are terrible, but let's see where they are at the end of the season. How many times have we seen teams go from worst to first? The Jets have a nasty defense and Smith looked real good at QB for a rookie. Smith got a huge leg up from the refs onthe bogus call on Lavonte David imo.
  • avatar

    Wilson, I totally agree. Most of the critics here were schiano fans a couple of weeks ago singing his praise because he was disciplanarian. Now suddenly he is inflexable. We are way too early in the season to panic. After the preseason, my expectations were tempered from what I saw on defense, but after Sunday's game, I am encouraged. We kept it close against the saints, a much better team than the bucs, and 9 sacks in two games tells me that we have plenty of reasons to expect a decent season. Do we need to clean up some things ? Certainly. Can we make some improvements ? Absolutely. The all out jump off the cliff mentality, with the selling out of Dominic, schiano and freeman is fickle fan mentality. This team sold out it's first home game. We didn't do that all of last yr. Get a grip buc fans. If we get a TE, and contain the penalties, we are 2 & 0, and the cry babies are calling schiano Lombardy.
  • avatar


    I read every comment and It's either fire Schiano or get rid of Freeman or get rid of both and start over in 2014. I'm hearing from a lot of expert X theory managers and I don't know which one to believe. I think we need to keep everyone together and continue to work hard. I think it is a loser's mentality that is selling this team out this early in the season. I don't know what goes on inside 1 Buc and I'm pretty sure no one else does either. Reports from disgruntled players or other Buc personel who want to remain anonymous, I take with a grain of salt. Maybe sports writers should draw their own opinions from watching the games rather than getting spoon fed by the HC or one of his assistants. A comment or two by the players and coaches after a game is one thing, but this getting inside the coaches skin is a bit abusive by the media imo. I don't know how the coaches stand it. This team shows me a lot. Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn are looking great so far, as are the Bucs LBs. The Revis trade is panning out nicely and CB seems to be head and shoulders stronger than last year. Our safeties are looking good too. I think discipline is good from the standpoint of no DUIs, no drug problems, no sex scandals and no assault charges against any Bucs players thus far. As far as the helmet to helmet thing goes, I can see where that is a hard habit to break. These players were taught from day 1 in pee wee football to put their head on the numbers. That often leads to helmet to helmet contact. I think the NFL has gone overboard on personal fouls. The call on David was a travesty. I think it was a no call. The Jets should have had to earn the win rather than having it given to them by the zebras. The game is being ruined right before our eyes. Football is a dangerous sport and all the guys who are good enough and tough enough to play it at this level are paid well to play it. Goldston's suspension from game 3 will cost him approximately $500,000.00 I'm guessing plus it robs our team of a great player. Last night in the Pittsburgh-Cincy game I saw a lot of helmet to helmet contact and a lot of shoves out at the sideline and no one got flagged. Maybe the Bucs are being targeted.
  • avatar


    Surferdudes, first we have no receiving TE and no dependable slot WR. I’m not here to defend Freeman because at times he looks god awful. But these are irrefutable facts – he has given the Bucs a 4th quarter lead with seconds to go and no timeouts in 4 games last year and the first 2 games this year. Should we have had bigger leads if he had played better? Yes! But it only takes 1 point to win in the NFL. In the Saints game, I saw Freeman run once and got a first down. I saw him roll out once and hit Byham for a first down. Explain why he didn’t do this more, when in 2010 and 2011, it was the signature part of his game? Explain why Rotoworld is reporting that Darelle Revis is starting to complain about Schiano’s controlling ways and playing him out of position. Is the locker room beginning to feel this way? Have you read Pat Yasinskas’ opinion at ESPN (link below)? Is this, like SR’s opinion becoming the majority opinion of Schiano? Read my previous posts, I want Freeman to leave, but for different reasons than some. Time is going to tell the true story and some of us aren’t going to like the ending! http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcsouth/post/_/id/50702/schiano-is-right-bucs-failure-is-on-him
  • avatar

    Those trying to link SR's change of tone to the poor media scheduling by the Schiano regime are wrong. I am very familiar with this part of the Bucs organization and it has been that way since Schiano arrived, so there is no correlation. Something is definitely wrong at One Buc. You have a micro-managing, disciplinarian coach with a large coaching staff that consists of former head coaches and the team is still sloppy and undisciplined. It just doesn't add up. Either Schiano's teaching methods are not effective or the players have tuned him out. I think they've tuned him out and that's why they held the dreaded "players only meeting", to discuss how they are playing for themselves this year.
  • avatar


    Let me ask you this Scott, if McNulty was Peyton Manning's Q.B. coach, would he become a 50 percent completion passer? Of course not. People look at the Cards last year and say their Q.B.'s sucked under McNulty. Truth is their Q.B.'s sucked period. Their coach was fired, and they went out and got Palmer in free agentcy.The problem with the Bucs is # 5. He's the trigger man, if he can't find an open tight end, or slot receiver, or Williams for that matter, I think it's more on him, then them. Tom Brady has been throwing to nobody for two games and is 2-0. Imagine if he was throwing to V Jax, and Williams, heck he could make Stocker a star. I'm tiered of hearing it's the coaches, lack of a slot, lack of a T.E. etc. Truth is we lack a starting caliber quarterback.
  • avatar

    I am not sure if Dominick deserves another chance after this season. The last 2 years, there was very good drafting, but before that.. And Dom also got us Shiano (although i doubt there were many suitors). And with all the unrealistic expectations, he just wanted to hype up this current team (maybe because of the Glazers fearing black outs etc. ; so he agreed to "win now". and that win now mentality has damaged the ship.. that was big time BS)
  • avatar

    Freeman and Shiano have to go - 100% right descission. (maybe when Demps hits the field, coaches will open up the playbook, play to Freemans strength, stretching the field with (B)MW + V-Jacks, getting Demps in Slot = some space = hopefully open field, with ogletree working underneath stuff on occassion going deep. then the bucs could do wonders. but another QB would be nice. Loose everything and get yourselfes a decent QB, GoBucs)
  • avatar

    I just really want to point out MRSA is not a virus. It's an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria.
  • avatar

    SR, well you sure are taking heat from those in support of Schiano/against Freeman...And I agree with those who say that your tone has considerably changed of late. I do hope that this is based on facts and legitimate sources instead of an agenda or vendetta. I've been a Buc Mag and PR guy from way, way back and I've always respected your journalism. Please keep up the good work. Love the Ray Perkins reference. I'm squarely of the belief now that Schiano is in over his skis and we are on the verge of a mutiny with Schiano, Dom and Free all as potential victims right or wrong. Rome was not built in a day but it only took one to begin the fall. Et tu Brute (Schiano).
  • avatar


    Some people really like to shoot the messenger. Although it's fair to point out the link between access and SR's opinion people have apparently forgotten how restrictive Bruce Allen was while he was here and I don't recall Scott blasting him. Unfortunately some fans want to read only things they agree with and if they disagree then it's 'bad journalism.' This is a sports website covering one of 32 football teams, generally I appreciate insight even if it isn't sourced to the offensive coordinator, quality control coach or waterboy. What do you expect sources to say "I don't like how he manages my offensive gameplans but keep my name off the record" Gee I wonder who that would be...
  • avatar

    Wow! I don't remember any PR article's before that strongly hints at rumors and speculation and so much perceived personal hate as this article Scott? If you've got proof of what you say than say so. If not than your now like ALL the other NFL Football sites. That was the main reason that PR was my favorite site because PR didn't write whole articles filled with rumors and speculation. Ive noticed a big change since you mentioned the Schiano order wasnt giving you a weekly schedule for Bucs Press Conf. Seems like the Bucs has got you guys all upset at PR. Liking this site less and less every day. Lately
  • avatar

    All I know is that people dumping on SR may change their tune if the Bucs lay an egg against the Patriots. 0-3 is a real possibility and once that happens the Cardinals can make it possibly 0-4.
  • avatar


    I could go on a diatribe about the shiano freeman dynamic, or lack of it, but..........Why does this HC not know howo to put an NFL game AWAY!!!! We've had multiple late leads, only to see Shiano "pucker up" at the end. He just doesn't seem to realize, you have to "step on their throat", and put the game away. There was NO way Brees was gonna lose down by one score with a minute plus left. How many games have we lost because Shiano doesn't realize these are PROS, and you have to "put them AWAY"!!!!
  • avatar

    I agree completely. The decision to run on 3rd and 6 was cowardly. The decision to not go for it on fourth down I think was wrong also. Be aggressive. Stop playing not to lose. Show some imagination. Give your QB a chance to make some plays. I would be a lot more forgiving to Schiano if he were more aggressive in his play callling down the stretch... This is what I feared when our defense improved. Now our offense is playing down to the level of our opponents.
  • avatar


    I do not know if Schiano have it in him to let his coaches coach and he sit back a look. We all know that Josh and coach is not on the same page; Coach Schiano knows that if he do not win this year, he will not see next year no matter who he start at QB. Until coach Schiano get a RB, FB and TE in the passing game that can catch a five yard pass and pick up a first down, the BUCS will not win. Something is very wrong when you only have two WR'S and one RB that QB can throw the ball to. I do not understand why the BUCS change their offense up from last year.
  • avatar


    I've got to agree with SR. If you are a disciplined head coach at the minimum you keep distraction and drama out of the press and your team on point(see Bellichick). If a team is having a players-only meeting before week one, you have a pending lawsuit and a very public rift between yourself and your starting QB in large part because you opened his job up to 'competition' with a 3rd round rookie QB in spite of your starter setting Buc passing records then you are asking for a pink slip. If you are Freeman how much do you want to play for this guy?
  • avatar

    What I saw from this team the last two weeks was mental mistakes! They beat themselves in both games. Against the saints, the defense and offense made improvements except for the penaties! Take away the penalties and we are 2-0. Freeman wasn't stellar but he did scramble to extend drives. He did put points on the board that were removed because a lineman can't line up correctly! I saw many drpped passes from V. Jax, Doug Martin,Williams and Olgletree. Freeman put us in position to win 2 weeks in a row. Is it his fault the kicker missed? How bout the TD that he threw and was taken off the board. AC made great play and sacked Brees creating a turnover that we didn't get. Why? Because of the same problem we had last week with helmet to helmet strikes. Those mental penalties are totally unacceptable! The amount of money thats paid these players should tied to performance. Penalties that are repeated game after game should cost them a games pay! The sloppy discipline is the issue and thats goes back to Schiano not Freeman! Freemans numbers would be be alot better if the catchable passes were caught!
  • avatar


    @ghunni...These players are getting fined...by the league. Goldson received a $30,000 fine after the Jets game & is now suspended for a game. He's had about 15 personal foul penalties since 2010. We can argue whether they were all warranted, but progressive discipline is in place.
  • avatar

    SR : I know you are upset about your lack of access vs. previous regimes, but I am confused as to how this start is a coaching issue more than a QB issue??? Are you blinded by your Kansas State roots? So the coach prefers a leader at QB. Someone with fire. Freeman is indifferent to winning or losing. That is a huge problem for any organization. I don't need other players opinions about coach's impression of Freeman. I can develop my own opinion about Freeman after watching him remain the inaccurate, inconsistent, mistake prone QB who could care less under Morris, Schiano, Mcnulty, whoever.
  • avatar

    BucWild02: AGREE! How long will SR defend this uninspired QB and point the finger of blame everywhere else. Sure, Scott, McNulty is the problem....I wish Josh well, because it ain't gonna work here in Tampa. Have things changed that much from last year from an offensive scheme standpoint? Or has Josh Freeman changed?...So disappointing.
  • avatar


    SR; I so agree and I support what you are saying. Schiano needs to go, like yesterday. I like Schiano, but he is not very flexible and as a leader that has to be in your vocabulary. I take it as a leader who has " not been there and done that". I am fearful that this may be another Ray Perkins type of coaching or worse. Now to Josh Freeman; it's too late to rehab him with the Bucs and I doubt he would stay pass this season no matter what. If somebody wants to trade him for a third rounder I think I would take the deal now. He might be able to be saved, but not here in this arena. I wish him the best because he is a good person.
  • avatar


    Schiano got a 5-year $15 million contract. Does anyone REALLY think our stingy owner will eat $9 million by firing Schiano? I'm not saying Schiano's firing is a good thing or bad thing; but looking back on the Bucs' history, not sure the owners would even listen to the fans no matter what we may want...hope the Bucs can turn this around, but if they don't...?
  • avatar


    Agreed Dbuc! All this nonsense will stop when we win this sat and I truly believe this team beats the pats this week.
  • avatar


    SR- I have enjoyed your articles for many years. Your analysis as of late, however, does seem personal or at the very least bias towards the coach. Since you have indeed heard it from many sources within the organization what are examples to back up their claim? How good is your rapport with these informants? This sudden turn around in your analysis should be explained in more detail. Please provide something to back up your statements. Some of us are not cattle following the herd. Also, when does it become player accountability? Do the coaches have to bash the heads of these players? I do agree that their are issues and even bad coaching at times. Like SR said, defense great except last minute offense struggling...Hey, not too far off what Gruden had when he won a Superbowl. For me personally, I feel their is not another team out there that we can't beat. Not true for me last year. Drew Brees looked confused often and that is no easy task. GO BUCS! STAY POSITIVE EVERYONE!
  • avatar


    Agreed pink mcnulty sucks. However, I think this team bucks the 12% trend and makes a run to the playoffs starting this week. The rumors are overblown. This defense is for real and doug is incredible. Nicks please come back!!!!
  • avatar


    Fire McNulty? Why shoot the monkey when it's the organ grinder that deserves it!
  • avatar

    I do not see that the losses of the Bucs are Dominik's and Freeman's fault! It is the coach's fault! He should be fired NOW! Have the Glazer's man up and get a new coach NOW! I know it is difficult to do so now dut what is there to lose! They might even win a game. The offense and defense played better Sunday. With a new coach they can do even better! Great article and good insight! I do not believe the players have any respect for the coach like they did with Dungey or Gruden!
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    I'm not sure our O.C. isn't at fault - his system with NYG stagnated at times as well, except when they got hot for a few games in a row. Could it be that what Sullivan wants to do doesn't fit Freeman's skill set?
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    pewtermom...you don't know what you are talking about. Freeman sucked when loose and easy Raheem Morris was the coach. There was NO DISCIPLINE. Freeman is the same player. Leopard's can not shake their spots. He is a backup at best.
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    Sullivan and Coach S don't know how to take advantage of Josh Freeman's abilities - you have to adopt your scheme to what the QB can and can't do.
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    "lacks a head coach that is on his side".....outright lie that SR keeps propagating.
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    This is a good football team ,that only needs a pro head coach that can develope players like say Bill Cowher.This would be an easy turn around for coach Cowher and the professional staff he would assemble.Keep Mark Dominik I think he coach Cowher would form a dominating team for years to come.Please call Cowher immediatly and lock him up for 2014.
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    #Bucs safety Dashon Goldson suspended 1 game for repeated helmet-to-helmet hits ---------- 76erdude - told you earlier that Goldson's hits would backfire on the team.
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    I say back off Schiano, if Freeman is no better over the next two games he needs to go. Oh he has the physical tools, but has never exibited the "other" tools to be really great over the long run. By then, Glennon will be ready to win and we don't need to be starting with another coach. GO BUCS!
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    I for one do NOT think Schiano is telling his players not to draw personal foul penalties. I do NOT think Schiano is influencing the QB not being named team captain. I do NOT think Schiano is telling our kickers to blow out their Achilles or get a staff infection, or miss a field goal. But what I do think Schiano is telling Bucs players is genuinely being ignored. Again, my opinion, fire Schiano, keep Mark Dominik, keep Freeman. Please no more blow up everything. Let's cut out the bad apples, not throw away the baby with the bathwater.
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    @seat26...appreciate the optimism; @ynot...Sully isn't the one who decides to kick field goals, punt or go for it, or to switch to "run only mode", and Sheridan isn't the one decides to switch to prevent D...those are all Schiano choices. @KinderRT...it could be a lot worse...we have 1 superbowl under our belts...several franchises don't...
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    This organization has been rebuilding for TEN years. How long does it take?
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    Why not just fire Sciano and promote Wannstedt to head coach. He's not the best of the best but he certainly has enough experience to do the job given the talent we have on this roster. That's what I'm going to lobby for. Bring on Wannstedt.
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    Hell no to Wannstedt. What a dumb idea. Go study up on Wannstedt's history of being ineffective as HC for a variety of teams, college and pro.
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    Mr. Incredible, I agree as it makes the most sense.
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    Agree with WindyCityBuc..... clean sweep ! Have had season tickets for twenty years now and if they don't due something this year with this organization, I'm done with this crap football team.
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    Truth is, a little more offense and we are 2-0 and the talk of the league with Revis. Freeman is not instructed to not run considering he stopped doing this during the last coaching regime. Watch other teams with real leaders at quarterback and it's obvious our guy isn't in the same league. Lets face it, if he didn't have the physical tools there is no way he would still be our quarterback. Make him 6'2" and he would have been benched long ago. Sick of all the heat Schiano is coming under because of our inept offense. Outside of a handful of games last year our offense was awful....yet no one points to Sully being an issue? Yes, Freeman is not good but Sully should be taking alot more heat then Schiano at this point. I see a team that can win any week and can go on a serious run IF we get one position sorted out.
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    The expectations of fans following this blog has been entirely unrealistic. This is a team that is rebuilding, and it may take several yrs before we are a legitimate playoff team. It was wrongly assumed that we were much better than jets, and should have handled them with ease. It was also wrongly assumed that we would get ripped by the saints, and it was surprisingly a very close game. Bucs made improvements on both sides of the ball, with Martin in full on form. Defense was much better than last week, and if penalties can be brought under control, there is reason to be optimistic, as the formula for victory in the NFL usually is a stingy defense and a good running game. The all out FREAK OUT going on here is unnecessary. We can still have a good season.
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    I COMPLETELY agree with Pinkstob... FIRE MCNULTY!!!!
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    Maybe it takes too long to make a decision because there is 22 coaches. LOL
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    Another great article Scott. Let's face it, even if you look past everything else, the ridiculous usage of the timeouts and communication issues on the sidelines over the frist two games is a great illustration of the incompetency of this coaching staff at this point in time. If we all see it, the players surely do as well meaning it's only a matter of time before we see a mutiny on board the Buccaneer. I'm tired of the changes. But I can't even watch this team and take them seriously right now. If the only way to fix that is a regime change, then let's just get on with it. And make sure when you get these guys a bus ticket out of town, its big enough to hold all of the coaches, Josh Freeman (and his clown like hair) and has one extra seat reserved for Mark Domink too. Enough. Start over clean.
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    I got an enormous headache watching yesterday's debacle. Rather than *censored* about the many things other people have commented on, I have some questions. First, Josh made yards on his only scramble; why did he not scramble anymore? I have this feeling, which I can't prove, that the coaches told him not to do this anymore because it does not reflect their concept of what a, or their QB, must adhere to. Secondly, why was Darrelle Revis not coverning Marques Colston? I know we are talking zone, but nevertheless. I told people that I bet up here in Canada with that Schiano would cost the Bucs a minimum of 3 games. We are now at 2 out of 3. If he is not to be fired why can't he be demoted, or put up in the press box. Watching his antics makes me nervous.
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    @coach80m...greetings up in Canada....let me try to help you: 1) Freeman does not scramble because that's not being discplined in the pocket...it's not a stretch to think that Schiano wants discipline in every aspect of the game, whether he's getting it or not, he clearly has Freeman scared to improvise. 2) Prevent D in our scheme has had a huge hole in the middle of the field for two years - Colston just happened to be the next WR to exploit us down the middle late in games. 3) Head coaches never get demoted...what we need is Schiano to get fired and Sullivan promoted as interim for the rest of the year...if he does well then Sully is our next Head Coach.
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    The truly frustrating part - the Bucs this year are a perfect example of a situation in which the SUM OF THE PARTS is exponentially greater than the WHOLE! It is a group of individually fantastic football players that, when together as a team, LOOK & PLAY LIKE COMPLETE AMATEURS! At some point, you have to blame the head coach for that. The purpose of a head coach is to foster discipline, institute a grand strategy, and polish raw talent into a winning season. I just don't see Schiano doing that...
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    Donryjo, you are absolutely correct, there is no reason this team should not be better, so the coaching is at fault.
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    Do you really think that Shaino is telling the players to hit the receivers however they want and to disregard the rules? I'm sure he is emphazing being physical but I feel that Goldson is trying to teach his methods. I like the hitting but the one against Black was obvious. The hit by Claybormn was a ridiculous call. The refs need to be consistent as well. Every play that would end up on "Jacked Up" gets called now, right or wrong. Also, did anyone see Graham after he got hit. He definitely had a concussion but stayed in the game. He says that he is a big guy but he was seeing stars!!
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    @bigbucfan...I agree that Schinao is probably reminding his players about "strike" zones...the issue is that they aren't paying attention to him...if he's such a good coach he needs to make them take notice of his demands as a coach....if one of our guys gets a flag there needs to be some punishment (within the rules of the CBA) - maybe the guy has to run stairs or something, if it's a 15 yarder it hits him a little harder, if it costs us at a critical time it hits him harder still...there must be things he can do other than "remind the players of the strike zone"...cause they clearly aren't being reminded.
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    We defeated the Jets and the Saints. However, we defeated ourselves in the process. I was happy to see the overall play improvement over the Jets game. I see this team getting better each week and I love it. My concern is being seriously behind the Falcons and the Saints. Can we recover? It's been done. Let's hope so.
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    SCHIANO is a disciplinarian and our players play without discipline ..Our franchise QB is more suited for a job at a fast food franchise...We need a TE and have for 3 years now..seems like leadership is still lacking at OBP.. With rumored riff between Coach and Dom,someone is gonna get the knife.. Maybe we brought Schiano to get the team ready for coach Cowers return to the league- or maybe a reload of Gruden. THINGS NEED TO CHANGE- its just frustration on Sunday..
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    I don't think it's rebuilding guys...it is the 2000 season all over again...that team didn't rebuild, it just re-tooled a little and soon came 2003...we just need to find something to complement our D....like a new coach!
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    Not sure if there truly is a Riff between Shiano and Freeman. I'm sure that there is major frustration from both of them even though Josh never seems to show except for on the sidelines. I am definitely not ready to write the team off especially after the first week ( that was really their preseason game) and even after this latest game. The defense is miles ahead of last year and they just shut down a very potent offense and sacked Brees 4 times! Yes, N.O. racked up some yards but Brees and Co. does that to everyone. Aiming a little lower on the receivers will stop the unneccessary roughness penalties. Watch the game again without the emotion and you can clearly see that the offense is going to be fine. Yes there are some penalties but that can be cleaned up. The one big issue I have is the lack of targets for Freeman. 3 targets for the most part. Ogletree is too unreliable to count. I suggest putting Page on the outside. He is very fast and will help open up the field even more. The running game was back on track this week and with Nicks hopefully back in the game next week, it will get even stronger. Brady looks average without all his star weapons. I feel our defense will do fine against him (w/o the personal foul penalties). Josh is definitely not great but he could use a little help from his receivers catching the ball and having the offense line up correctly. He needs to do a quick scan of the players to make sure of that until they can do it for themselves. I was very disappointed after the game last night but nowhere near like last year when they were getting blown out.
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    Great article but Glennon/ Freeman are not the answers, so who cares what happens to their careers? In today's NFL, its win now. If these Qb's cant step in and put their teams in a position to win, then they simply aren't ready to be good or great Qb's. Look at all the rookies last year to step in, compete and win. Geno Smith has played well enough, with a good defense to compete this year. Ej Manuel has looked great and competed in the first two games as well. Idk if Schiano is the answer, but the Bucs would be a lot better with a more competent, complete NFL ready Qb. Too many Qb's in the past few years are stepping in and playing well. There is no such thing as a "project" Qb anymore (Kap for the 49ers may be the one exception). p.s. Agree with the Tynes situation. Going to be a complete mess for Dominik and the Bucs moving forward
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    From what I have observed, Schano's offense is seriously lacking in anything beyond vanilla strategies. It would have made sense to me to mix up the personnel in the fourth quarter to infuse some uncertainty in the Saint's D. Like running Lenard instead of or next to the Hamster. Like a couple of QB sneak on 3rd down. Like other receivers besides Vincent or use Vincent in more critical plays ....same with Williams. ( it was nice to see Josh scramble ). But just to run Morris over and over in spite of his yardage and break out doesn't set up the team for anything fresh. I dont even know why they have a play book. And I agree all the shifting doesn't do squat, they knew exactly where Morris was headed for too many times. I don't know the various well known strategies for calling games, but I sure loved the Tex A & M and Ala calling. One call I like is the receiver is at the edge of the outside line and the ball is thrown to the outside and in front where only the receiver can catch it and then he falls with his feet on the line. Hats off to the defense and Mason Foster run. But screaming out loud at the penalty that called back VJax. And the lack of ability to capitalize on Morris' run after that. I don't think we converted but one 3rd down??? WTH? I am guessing that Schiano has mistaken signing and unsigning players and tinkering with their positions as a substitute for game calling in a way that plays to the best of each players' strength. I know that is an art form, but I don't get that Schiano is trying to cultivate that. We are missing Dallas Clark, Michael Bennett, Naji Goode, Tiquan Underwood and Dinke who had a terrific preseason. One look see then a new guy gets the kicking job just because he's a vet? No one sitting in my area of the game knew that #17 was Eric Paige, or who half the team members are AFTER WE LEARNED THEM First day of regular season. All that smells of desparation. I'm sorry. I like Schiano in many ways and he sure is refreshing after Rah ( who never should have taken the head coach job but who would hesitate given the chance he was given....which never should have been tendered.>>make sense?) here's the big BUT....Schiano is not an NFL ready coach. He should go to work for Bellichcek and work there for a few years somewhere ....quality control? I never wanted Freeman. Never liked Freeman. But respected his potential. So I feel a bit for him as Schiano has manhandled him to death. I still wonder if he has what it takes but four co-ordinators in 5 years hasn't helped him at all. I don't have an answer here. And finally, Sullivan. Isn't his work questionable? Is he actually calling the O? I would like the keep the fabulous hard working ( played almost the entire game on the field and kept it going hot and heavy most of the time)....leave that unit alone. Give us an offensive minded OC/ or HC and let Dom keep doing what he has been doing well of late. No GM is 100% but Dom has improved this team immeasurably. Sorry so long...
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    Ladyfan...here's a tip: Make your post short and sweet if you want anyone to read it.
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    The biggest issue facing our team isn't that Josh Freeman is immature. It is that we currently have a coaching staff that chokes under pressure. I was at the Jets game. I was screaming for a play action pass that would have either put the game out of reach or would have left us with a make-able field goal. Yesterday, we were content on making the Saints use their time outs. I cannot think of anything more over-rated than calling plays that are purposely designed to burn time outs. How do we leave Brees with a minute left? Guess what, try doing that this week with Brady. I've been with this team since '76. This is the most difficult year yet!
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    I agree SR and I want to emphasize your point aobut McNulty. McNulty should be getting as much blame as Schiano. He is just as bad a position coach as the DB coach we had last year. Last year all the CB's looked worse than they have before or since (Aqib comes to mind) and he never got blamed for anything until the year was over. All the blame went to the DB's. Now we have McNulty who came from the Cardinals where the QB's were attrocious and now none of our QB's can complete 50% of their passes. Let's not trade Freeman and wait until the end of the year before we realize the real problem. Demote or fire McNulty now! I'll be campaigning for this for the rest of the year.
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    Pinkstob, I so agree because this makes the most sense.
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    Schiano is out of his depth. I hope he doesn't survive the season because I don't see this situation getting better. There's no excuse for the product he put on the field Sunday. Mark Dominik built a pretty stout team for him, and Schiano can't be bothered to coach the rules. There's a sickness clearly afflicting this team, and the root of it lies with Schiano Freeman has gotten a bit of a raw deal. He's shown that he has all the components necessary for a complete game. He was a good decision maker in 2010, a 60%+ passer in 2011, a bomb dropper in 2012... I can't help but think that poor coaching doomed his career from the start. The one person I think needs to absolutely keep his job is Mark Dominik. This is a playoff ready roster, even with Freeman. While it lacks strong depth, it shouldn't be forgotten that Dominik essentially remade this roster over the past 5 years. Gruden and Allen left Tampa in shambles. Dominik rebuilt the defense and actually built the offense the way you should, QB to O-line to skill players. If this team were coached by a more competent coach, this team would be 2-0.
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    Dy-nasty D - I've heard it from too many people inside One Buc Place. Call it speculation if you will, but it's informed speculation.
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    Schiano pee in your weeties Scott? You seem uncharacteristically personal in your criticism of late? Not like you.
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    We have too much talent to blow it all up and start rebuilding again ...what we need is a solid NFL coach. One that can correctly manage a game, make adjustments, and for gosh sake put the players in positions to succeed. Schiano has proven too head strong to succeed at this level. He will not adjust his schemes to fit his talent ...a classic example is Fox in Denver adjusting his offense to suit Tebow of all people. He flat out refuses to adjust gameplans when its obvious something is not working. I agree with the idea that he has grated the ref's so now they call every ticky tacky foul they can against Tampa. He has so screwed up Freeman that he has regressed from a average/solid QB with potential into an overthinking mess. We need to address this the same way we did when Dungy just couldn't get over his hump ...bring in another coach with successful NFL pedigree. There are a few out there (mainly in the broadcast booth) and some really good coordinators due their shot.
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    Well said JohnBuc06. Too much talent to start over. We have a good mix of young and veteran players that should keep this team competitive for years to come. However, our coaching is letting us down. Having 24 coaches, most in the NFL, is not showing up anywhere. Poor game plans, penalties, miscues are killing this team. Like the great disciplinarian coaches before him, Schiano needs to adjust his ways to fit how things are done in the NFL. Parcels and Coughlin came into the league very similar fashion as Schiano, yet they both made adjustments early in their coaching careers to adapt to the NFL and get the most out of their teams. Schiano has to be able to do that otherwise we risk going back to the drawing board and being utterly irrelevant again for 3-5 year period. No one wants that.
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    Schiano will be toast if this keeps up for much longer. The team is severely hampered by poor coaching. I hope Dom survives though...
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    "Schiano, a micromanaging, “type A” dictator, prefers a “type A” quarterback. Freeman’s laid-back personality boggles Schiano’s mind and irritates him." Link please. Scott, is this based on ANY facts. It sounds like pure speculation.
  • avatar

    Schiano and MD are done. Freeman is gone. Let the rebuilding begin in 2014.
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