After staying behind in Boston to care for his ailing father, and then finally arriving back into Tampa early Monday morning, head coach Greg Schiano wasn’t in the brightest of moods when he took to the podium Monday afternoon at One Buccaneers Place.
And of course being in charge of a winless football team that suffered a rash of injuries in their 23-3 loss to the Patriots on Sunday doesn’t help.
Schiano was quick and deliberate with his answers about the problems his team now faces. Mistakes on the field is one of those problems.
“I think it’s spread all around,” Schiano said. “We have some new guys and some returning guys and everybody is making their share I go back to doing a better job of communicating and holding people accountable and that’s the foundation of what we do. We’re not doing a good enough job starting with me. We (have to) do better.”
Another problem Schiano and the team faces is a struggling offense. Tampa Bay’s head coach points to the details that the unit has had difficulty with and was more evident for him after watching the film.
“There are schematic issues that we have to be more precise with,” Schiano said. “We left way too much on the table there. If we do our jobs we’ll score a lot of points. Just in general offensive details.”
Schiano was also asked on several occasions about the play of Josh Freeman. With the quarterback situation still a question mark, Schiano is not thinking about changing his signal caller anytime soon. He also pointed that there is plenty of blame to go around on the offense.
“Josh is our starter, that’s where we are,” Schiano said. “He’s done some good things and he’s done some things that he’d like to change and that we’d like to change. It’s the whole offensive unit, we need to be more precise, we need to coach more precisely, its’ everybody involved.
“He (Freeman) understands what we are trying to do with our offense. I think when he is in our pocket and comfortable delivering the ball is when things break down a little bit, it hasn’t been as good as it’s been before and it will be again, one of his strengths is extending plays. But again, when you have variables where we’re not sharp enough on the details, it’s hard to be the trigger man when some things aren’t going the way they are supposed to.”
As Schiano touched on the positives of his quarterback, he was asked about Freeman’s 4-for-19 performance inside the 40-yard line.
“That’s a very good question,” Schiano said. “It is a good question because we are working like crazy to figure that out. But again, in that zone, the extended red, the fringe and the red, we had plenty of opportunities. We made some mistakes. And you have to give credit to New England. They defended. So when you make a mistake and they defend it’s a double whammy.”
Scoring three points in the third loss in a row will raise questions about the offensive coordinator. Not for Schiano. He stands by the Buccaneers offense and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.
“I have the utmost confidence in Mike and the offensive staff,” Schiano said. “We all need to do better, but the utmost confidence.
“Again, the run game, although it was not as good as it was the week before, it very easily could have been. You don’t live in the world of woulda, coulda, shoulda, but there was opportunities there. Had we not gotten into a have to throw it game it would have been. Had we taken care of those opportunities early in the game, when we had 14 plays in their territory early in the game. Now I’m not going to say I’m the eternal optimist and that would be 21 points but it shouldn’t equal three points either. Somewhere in between and you have a chance to be in a tight football game where you’re running the ball more and there’s whatever it was, close to 90-something rushing, and now it’s 130 because you were given more opportunities and then you pop one and now it’s 180. And that’s exactly what they did. They popped one when they were in a position to run out the clock and so we lost that battle, the rushing battle and that was a critical battle in the keys to victory, we didn’t win that battle.”
The Buccaneers head into what they refer as the “fourth season” on the schedule and begin preparing for the Arizona Cardinals. Still, entering the fourth week of the 2013 season, there are many concerns for this Bucs team. With so much talent and so much that could have been done to build off of last season, the first quarter of the season can already be chalked up as a disappointment. Schiano, although he said he’s not the eternal optimist, he looks at the situation with the glass half full saying that they will eventually right the ship.
“Nothing surprises me in this game, ever,” Schiano said. “Disappointed yes, Not discouraged. We’ll get it.”