After being relieved of his duties as head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the day, Greg Schiano held a press conference at the Renaissance Hotel on Monday afternoon to discuss his time in Tampa.
Below is a full transcript from that press conference.(Opening Statement)“Guys thanks for coming out, I appreciate it. I want to take this chance to thank some people; first and foremost the Glazier family for giving me the opportunity to be part of a great organization like the Buccaneers, and to give me an opportunity to coach in the National Football League. It was quite an honor, and I enjoyed every day of it.”
“I would like to thank Mark Dominik, and the people in the front office. They were great to work with. Our coaching staff, I love our coaching staff, they were tireless, came in everyday and did everything they could to help us win. Connect with the players, sell the vision, and I appreciate that. Our support staff same thing,our trainers, our equipment people, just really great people.
“And last but certainly not least our players. We had a great group of players in that locker room and I really have a lot of faith and belief in them. They’re good men.
“Now, we didn’t get it done and I accept full responsibility for that. I’m the head football coach and it didn’t work. But having said that, I’m really proud of our coaches and players in the way that they hung together, fought through adversity, and adversity there was plenty of. And never was there any finger pointing, and all of that stuff that goes along with it sometimes. I’m proud of that. I’m proud of the culture that we’ve developed here. In two years I’m really proud of that. The way these guys work, the way they approach their job. The way they approach being a part of the community, this Tampa Bay community.
“On the field I think were closer than people think. Defensively, up until that last game I thought we were really solid. Offensively, devastated by injuries, and I try to stay clear of that. but when you look at it, when half your offense production from last year is sidelined early on,its just a tough road. We truly believe in playing complimentary football and it was hard to do that this year. But I don’t think that’s anybody’s fault, I think it’s an unfortunate set of circumstance. Special teams I thought were solid, but at the end of the day we didn’t get it done.
“I want to thank one last group and that’s our fans, we have passionate fans here in the Tampa Bay area, and those fans supported us right until end, and I want them to know that I appreciate the way that they accepted me and my family into the Tampa Bay community, because it’s a special place. You all know that living here, and I do want to thank everybody that I’ve mentioned. And with that I would like to open it up to questions because I think that you guys have been fair, and that what we started out when I first arrived we sat down we said look everybody’s got a job to do, I understand that, and everybody been more than fair, and hopefully I’ve done the same with you, and I’ll answer anything I can today.”
(On if knew there was a possibility he would be fired)“I did not know this morning when I met with the squad, and you never know if you’ve finished what we finished. Not naive either, it’s the National Football League and they brought me here to win. I did not know, so I met with the team the way I would. I woke up this morning fully focused on the future, leading the Buccaneers to championships, and that’s what I tried to express to our players. I was proud of the way they handled everything this year. We don’t reflect a lot during the year, we move on to the 16 one-game seasons, move on to the next one-game season. But, I felt this team meeting was a time to reflect, and I thanked them, talked a little bit about where I thought we were headed, what we needed to do to get there. And then each player sees their coach before they leave. Each player fills out a detailed questionnaire than I use for offseason evaluation. So we went right along on our way then I was called to come down to the office, and the rest is history.”
(On being surprised that he was let go)“I woke up this morning, planning on being the head coach for the Bucs, so that tells you that I believe that this was going to take some more time, but I understand when I got into this thing, I’m a big boy and understood what I was walking into. The National Football League, a quarter of the coaches turn over every year, and did I think that we had an opportunity to move this forward? I still do think whomever takes over this job is taking over a good situation, a real good situation. And had I been coming back, I would be excited about the potential of this team and where we’re headed, but I’m not.”
(On what is next for him)“Like I said, I woke up this morning planning on being the coach of the Bucs, so I haven’t had a lot of time to think about what I want to do. Literally, as I’ve just mentioned, as I was meeting with players and trying to get everything taken care of today in exit interviews and then wham. So I’m a little bit kind of getting through today, then I’ll take some time. I know I’ll lean on my wife and my kids, my family, and my faith, and kind of figure out where the next stop is for us.”
(On what the conversation was in the meeting with ownership)“We talk all the time, myself, Mark, and the ownership. Today was more of a, like I’ve said, people own the football team. There are 32 owners and when they make a decision that’s their decision and certainly their prerogative. So again, I thank everyone for the opportunity they gave me. I really do, I dealt with mostly Joel, Brian, and Ed, but knew all of the family, and they’ve been nothing but supportive to me and my family from the day we got here.” (On if he had any regrets)“Sure, in our best games and in our best seasons I’ve always had things that I’d like to go back and change. You never call a perfect game. You never coach a perfect season. But what I’ve said is, at the time, with the facts you have, you make the decision you make. And those decisions are based on all your planning, all your experience and all the support people you have around you to give you information and their opinions, but then the difference between being a leader and being an also-ran is when you’re a leader, you have to pull the trigger. You have to make the decision. And I love that part of being a head football coach, that you have to make the decision and certainly there are some decisions I’d like to go back and change.” (On if he would have preferred to start the season with Glennon over Freeman)“That whole thing, that whole situation is a very, very tough situation. I don’t think there was any good way that was going to work unless it went the way that we thought it might go and that’s being very productive. When it didn’t, that’s a very tough situation. We make decisions at the Buccaneers collaboratively as a group. Especially big decisions – myself, Mark Dominik, our ownership. And one part of the job I really, really enjoyed was the open conversation and discussion, but once a decision is made, as I ask my coach and players to do, once a decision is made, whether I agree or disagree, or somewhere in between, once it’s made I’m going to execute that like it’s my own decision. So in essence it really doesn’t matter because that’s how I believe organizations should be run and that’s what I demand of people who work for me, and that’s what I would do with people that I work for.” (On if he was stunned by the news)“I think I’d be a naive, right? We ended up 4-12 and speculation all year long, so stunned isn’t the word. But I woke up this morning full expecting to plow ahead and I was actually looking forward to get this week through and take a short break and get back at it, so now I probably have a little longer break than I was planning. But it’s OK. Everything is going to work out.” (On what aspect of the job he was most proud of)“I think really establishing the culture that is here now. I can’t tell you the number of times, whether it’s in a hotel we’re staying at on the road or whether it’s something in this community, the number of emails, phone calls and text messages that I get from people that are just so proud that this is their team and these are their guys. This is what Buccaneers football is supposed to be. And that was one of my goals. To return it to that kind of feel, that kind of culture and I believe it is. I believe that was a big undertaking and one that has moved very well, but again, and I can’t press this enough. My responsibility is to win football games in the National Football League and we didn’t win enough games.” (On what he felt went wrong)“Well, we didn’t win enough games. That’s what went wrong for me personally and our staff. But in that there is so much that went wrong. I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part (of something) where more has gone wrong. From 17 guys on the IR to things that were mentioned already, it’s just, sometimes you can sit back an say, this can’t be real. But it was and being here today is real. And again, I go back to how proud I am of our guys, our coaches and our players, of just taking adversity head on and, it’s not easy when people are just, that’s not good enough, we’re not winning, believe me, everyone gets that. I get that. But these guys stuck together and everybody worked their tails off. We just didn’t get it done. We didn’t win enough games.” (On what he enjoyed the most) “I can tell you, I have enjoyed every single day on this job. I mean, literally, even some of the toughest days that people would say, are you crazy, because it’s ultimate level of competition in a game that I love and think teaches more lessons than anything in life. And to be a head coach at the highest level. There’s only 32 of them, I thoroughly enjoyed it, I learned a ton, anytime you get to do something, it’s similar to the first time I was an assistant coach in this league, you grow exponentially and I think I’ve done that as a head coach, and I’m excited about using all the experience I’ve been through moving forward, wherever that takes me.” (On QB Mike Glennon)“It’s no secret to you guys. I think the world of Mike Glennon. I think he’s an excellent quarterback. I think in a very, very tough set of circumstances, this guy performed a very high level. He’s ultra-intelligent, he can make every throw. You can say we didn’t do this or we didn’t do that, but here’s a guy who threw two touchdown passes in eight games. I don’t know if that’s ever been done by a rookie, so that’s pretty impressive. And especially on an offensive football team that, if you look at the year before, I guess, half the yardage came from Doug Martin and Mike Williams and that wasn’t playing healthy most of the year. Yet Mike overcame that and did what I thought was an excellent job. So what I mean when I say, moving forward, whoever gets the opportunity to be a part of this great franchise is going to have a guy that they can lean on.” (On regrets he may have had about the Freeman benching)“It lends I think to the question that Tom asked. When we make decisions, we make them as an organization and at the time we made it with all the information we had and so, I don’t look back on those. I go forward and I’m part of something bigger. It’s not Greg Schiano’s team, it’s the Buccaneers. So I’m part of something bigger than just myself.” (On if he talked to Mark Dominik who was also let go)“I did have an opportunity to talk to Mark. Mark and I have grown very close over the last two years. I think he’s an excellent general manager. I think he’s a guy who’s a young, bright, rising star in this business. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out here for either one of us. I’m confident that he’ll rebound.” (On if he has any plans of getting into broadcasting)“I woke up this morning planning on getting ready for 2014. I have not had one minute to think about anything with my future. That is going to be lean on my family and lean on my faith and figure out (the future). Football coaching certainly is what I do. It’s not who I am. It’s what I do. I spend an inordinate amount of time on it. I’ve got to settle down and see what’s next.” (On if two years was enough)“It doesn’t really matter what I feel. That is, right now, the National Football League. There was a coach let go with one year. I should consider myself fortunate that I got two years. That’s the way it is.” (On any lessons learned)“I think this (pointing to the media) is a really real part of being a head football coach, much more real than any other time in my career. When I say that, I don’t say that despairingly or resentfully. This is a big part – managing the message. I’ve always felt very good inside the locker room and with your coaching staff. But I’ve learned a lot even with this. You guys, I can thank for that.” (On what pieces the team is missing)“Unfortunately, that’s not my job anymore. I’m going to let them figure that out. They can get that done. I’m sure they will, too. They’re bright people. They will get it figured out.” (On saying goodbye to some of the players)“I did get an opportunity to see some, because as they left and some guys came back, I got to share with them. But they know how I feel. There’s a lot of stuff out there – the discipline and the toes on the line and all that nonsense. The reality is they know I care about them as people and as football players. Sometimes, maybe I can be a pain in the rear end, because I want them to be the best they can be in everything they do – not just lining up to play football. Our players know that I care about them – not just me, but our whole coaching staff. A bunch of them have reached out and expressed (gratitude). I’ll keep that private, but it has been good.” (On his perceived personality)“I would say I’m detail-oriented. Sometimes, that gets confused with hard-ass. When you’re on a field, a 120-yard field and there are people spread all over it, if you want to communicate, you’ve got to be loud. And I don’t have any problem raising my voice level. Always respectful, in my opinion. I coach the action.” (On if he felt he was misunderstood)“I don’t know. It’s up to you I guess. I’m a husband and father, just like a lot of you out here. I’m a football coach. That’s my job. I think football is a game of details. Yes, it’s a game of physicality, emotion, all those things. But it is truly the most detail-oriented game there is. That’s why I love it. It takes 11 people to move simultaneously in concert. That’s what we coach. Sometimes, guys get frustrated by that. I’ll be honest – a step here, an angle here, an eye placement there. But I believe that’s the fine line, because in this league … everybody’s talented. What’s going to separate – the details and how much you care about each other, who you’re playing for.” (On the NFL being a QB-driven league and if that was what was missing)“I think we did get it right. I just think we got it right late. I think we got it right. This guy is going to be really good. He’s not going to be good with me, but he’s going to be really good. I just think we got it right late.” (How difficult the criticism was for him and his family) “I took it, and I did not refute it. But most of it was untrue and hurtful to say the least. Not for me. I’ve got thick skin. I’ve been doing this 26 years. But hurtful for people who care about me. But there just needs to be more accuracy in things that are reported. I’m not talking about here. I’m talking about in general. You just can’t fly with it and go with it because it sounds good, and it’s a good story. One guy makes something and everybody follows it. It’s not fair, but that’s what I meant when I said, ‘Managing the message.’ That’s a huge part of this job without a doubt. There are a lot of mistruths. Maybe I should stand-up. But when you do that, it looks like you’re just trying to cover your own rear-end. I don’t know if you win that game.” (On what he feels he will leave behind) “I think we’re leaving behind a football team better than when we got here. I think we’re leaving behind a culture that this city really wants. And more than this city, this whole Tampa Bay area. I love it here. It’s a great place. We’ve been accepted, the kids and everybody. I think everybody for that. I really do. I think it’s going to be fun to be a Buccaneers fan moving forward.” (Closing statement) “Everybody in this room has been very fair to me. I really believe that. We don’t always agree, but I want to thank you for the coverage that you’ve provided to us and the relationships that you and I have developed. They’re not going to go away. I plan on being in this game for a long time, and I’m sure you guys as well. A good friend of mine said something that really made sense once. He said, ‘This is just a bend in the road. It’s not the end in the road.’ So, thanks.”
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 [email protected]
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