Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their man

Honeymoons are fun.  At least I imagine they are; I’ve never been hitched.   The flowers haven’t wilted, piles of wedding presents remain unwrapped and the romance is alive and kicking.

Tampa Bay’s honeymoon with its new head football coach, hired only one month ago, is still in full bloom, with not a single loss yet to unwrap.  Of course, as football fans, we know an 0-4 start can change all that, but let’s enjoy the champagne whilst it’s still fully carbonated, shall we?

After deciding it was best to part ways with former head coach Raheem Morris, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went on an exhaustive, and quite clandestine, search to find the next man to lead their team.

That man is Greg Schiano.

Schiano’s name was off the radar for basically everyone not conducting the actual coaching search.  Bucs fans repeatedly heard names like Schottenheimer and Sherman but in the end, it was Schiano who got the nod.

Schiano is most recently known for coaching, heck, essentially building the Rutgers program into what it is today, a consistent Big East contender.  Despite spending eleven years there, Schiano also has NFL experience, having served as a coordinator for the Chicago Bears in the mid-90s.  Schiano also coached at Penn State under Joe Paterno.  So while the Bucs are his first NFL head coaching gig, this is not his first rodeo.

Local reaction to the Schiano hire has been mixed but mostly positive. And for the skeptics who questioned the Schiano selection, I ask you this.  Of the seven head coaches that were hired this off-season, Jeff Fisher in St Louis, Mike Mularkey in Jacksonville, Romeo Crennel in Kansas City, Dennis Allen in Oakland, Joe Philbin in Miami, Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis or Greg Schiano in Tampa Bay, who would you rather have?   You can pretty much eliminate Fisher from the equation since the Glazers were not about to hire a head coach that would demand a stake of GM Mark Dominik’s decision-making abilities, so you’d have to pick Schiano from that list, wouldn’t you?

Of the other candidates that were rumored linked to the gig, i.e., Marty Schottenheimer and Mike Sherman, Schiano may carry less pro experience but he also carries a lot less baggage.  He’s hard-nosed, dedicated and eager.  The worst thing you can say about him is that he’s unproven.

For me, the thing that stood out most about Schiano’s initial press conference was his desire to reach back out to Tampa Bay’s disillusioned fan base, something a franchise that ranks near the bottom of the league in both attendance and roster dollars spent so desperately needs.

Well, they’re spending money now, at least on their coaching staff.  Bucs’ brass will look a heck of a lot like Rutgers South (Schiano brought about six coaches with him from Jersey), but they’ve also hired Butch Davis as their “senior defensive assistant” and Eli Manning’s former quarterbacks coach, Mike Sullivan, as their offensive coordinator.  Lord knows Josh Freeman could use the help.  The Bucs also appointed Bryan Cox as a defensive assistant and Earnest Byner as their running backs coach.  If these two bring even half the fire to the sidelines that they did during their playing days, the linebacking core and rushing attack might actually be productive.

(Re)building the Bucs will be a process.  They suffered from youth and inexperience last season and now they’ll have that on the sidelines.   For all of us, patience will need to be a virtue, not something fans necessarily want to hear since we were told the Morris era was not a rebuilding phase either.  It was and we knew it.

Finishing last season with ten straight losses demanded a change of culture in the Bay area.  Ownership is confident the man they hired will do just that.  Similarly, fans are being asked to put their hopes in a man with plenty of fire but zero NFL head coaching experience.

And to enjoy the honeymoon while it lasts.

39 thoughts on “Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their man

  1. Pingback: Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their man - BallHyped, NFL | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Chris

    Let me pose this question to you …. do you believe that Schiano’s tenure will last more than 3 or four years at best ? And his coaching staff thus far what are your overall impressions beyond Byner and Cox ?

    We all know how terrible the team just happened to be over their final 12 games of the 2011 schedule . But I guarantee you this if they start of their 2012 foray with a series of losses then new incumbent’s tenure will most definitely be a short-lived one !

    So Kobe is now sticking up for Gasol ? What he should be doin’ is chewing out the as#es of the other di##heads on that Lakers’ roster given their all too inconsistent play this season . I think the real reason he’s so pi#$ed is that they’re now looking up at the Clippers both within the division and the conference ! Truth be told , the hire of Mike Brown was a really big mistake and it’s showing in the discontent amongst the players and organization as a whole .

    tophatal …………..

  3. Al…

    That’s actually a GREAT question and at this point, I can’t really say.

    I guess as fans, we have to HOPE Schiano will last more than three years but what’s the tenure of the average NFL coach. Is it less than that?

    Re: Cox and Byner on the field? Always loved ’em. We’ll see if that translates to the sidelines.

    Ownership gave Rah every benefit of the doubt but in the end, ten straight losses was just too much for him to handle. They’ll give Schiano a fair shake but he probably can’t afford to lose 24 of his first 32.

    And it’s not just the hiring of Mike Brown that’s the problem in L.A. It was the retirement of Phil Jackson.

  4. Dub…

    Of course not, but you and I both know ten straight losses means someone’s going to take the fall.

    Whether Rah lost control and respect of that locker room or the attention of his players, someone had to take the fall, and he was the perfect patsy.

    We all liked Rah but we weren’t sure he was the best man for the job.

    So we begin again with another coach who we’re not sure is either.

  5. I’m glad they hired Schiano. He did a great job at Rutgers and I think the Bucs needs a strong coaching staff to get the best out of a very young team.
    I think Sullivan is a great hire. If he can coach up Freeman to his potential we may have a contender in a couple of years.
    Call me an optimist or just plain delusional, it’s your choice.

  6. I think Schiano is a good hire, but there is still work to be done. The head coach alone is not responsible for the free fall that the Bucs experienced last season. Hopefully, Schiano will be able to connect with the young players on the team & get them on board.

  7. I would have gone with a veteran NFL coach, regardless of name recognition. It’s a totally different animal in the pros and I do believe you have to spend several years as an assistant or a head man to get a feel for the landscape. I liked Schiano (past tense). I wish he had stayed at Rutgers – did a great job there. I really wish he hadn’t crapped all over their recruiting efforts on the way out the door. Six days before signing day is heartless. I do hope he does well for the franchise’s sake. They really have a long way to go bringing in a guy from the college ranks. That team needs more than just an enthusiastic head coach. I think Freeman can be a beast under the right leadership…he may get them a win or two all by himself. The rest of the wins…I’m not sure where they are gonna come from just yet.

  8. Aer…

    I think we’re in the same boat.

    One reader, a part-time Bucs fan, e-mailed me saying he would rather have had Mularkey, pointing out that college coaches don’t do all that well in the pros.

    He brings up a valid point.

    But as you suggest, all we can do is cross our fingers and hope for the best.

  9. Mun…

    Another thing Schiano mentioned in his opening press conference was the importance of holding players accountable.

    There were too many off-the-field issues that became a distraction, and yes, I’m talking about Aqib Talib.

    Hopefully, Schiano will rule with a tight leash, keeping his guys in check. Of course, we both know that’s easier said that done when it involves cutting players that you’re paying millions of dollars a year.

  10. Seems like a good hire. Lots of coaches getting their feet wet next year with their first NFL gigs. I don’t watch much Rutgers football, but was impressed how he brought them to relevance. Not sure he can do the same for the Bucs, but we’ll see quickly in the honeymoon stage!

  11. Knowing the owners of the Bucs… This dude must have come cheap… The last time they switched head coach they also got rid of the GM… What in the world has Mr. Dominik done to warrant remaining in charge on that level? I’m going to speculate he came cheap too…

    In a division that will apparently have three (count ’em three!) tough teams in the upcoming season(s) I’m afraid Bucs fans are in for a long spell of last place finishes…

  12. SA…

    Most of us down here think Freeman passes too much and doesn’t run enough when he’s got a clear first down ahead of him.

    I’ve stood next to him. Kid’s a beast, but he definitely could stand to be more aggressive.

    And look, we’re trying to stay positive here so our fingers are crossed about the change in head coach.

    I guess I’m still torn on college coaches’ commitments to their schools and their recruits. I mean, he was there eleven years. At least he didn’t go out like Meyer, Tressel or Paterno, right?

  13. Chap…

    USF had made it all the way to number two in the polls a few years back. Higher ranked than Florida, Florida State and Miami.

    So what did Rutgers and Schiano do? Pound them into submission with a healthy dose of Ray Rice.

    I never realized, however, that he had never won a Big East conference championship.

    Either way, those days are long behind him as he now has bigger fish to fry.

  14. Dwin…

    I don’t think it’s the Bucs’ policy to release that sort of salary information but Schiano was making about $2.5 at Rutgers so I’m sure he’s making more than that here.

    Good call on the NFC South. The Panthers aren’t going anywhere any time soon and Freeman needs to prove he can consistently compete with Cam Newton if we want to do anything other than finish in fourth place.

  15. I wouldn’t dissect Schiano until he’s dead. Let it play out.

    Tophat mentioned the Lakers dilemma? Have you been watching player rep Derek Fisher on defense? PATHETIC. Pack it in Derek and take that other stiff, Walton Jr. with you. Bryant’s gripe? Subconsciously,the 75mill he’s gotta shell out to that beautiful POA if she follows through with the divorce. Along with the thought of someone else banging his money.

  16. RB…

    Reminds me of that poor frog I sliced up in junior high school biology class.

    And the Lakers should have moved D-Fish to back-up PG a few years ago, played him important minutes only, and got someone serviceable to fill in the starting role.

    How about this for a poll question? Will Kobe Bryant finish his career as a Laker? Sounds like things aren’t all that copacetic with him and Kupchak in La-La Land. Remember, he’s demanded to be traded before.

    And I hear Kobe’s trying to reconcile with the missus, no?

  17. Chris, according to an TMZ article, Kobe’s begging for forgiveness. They said she was kinda receptive. More expensive bling is on the way. My advice to Vanessa? Call Joey Greco, @Cheaters.com and set up an elaborate surveillance scheme down the road. Great TV.

  18. I do hope the Bucs flourish under Schiano and the pleasures of the honeymoon lasts for a long time;-) I’m a Jaguar fan- choke, cough, Yes, I am- but will cheer for the Bucs as I am a native Floridian. I have my eyes and ears open on the new changes for my Jags-new ownership and new head coach. There’s excitement brewing in the news about it all, but still am jealous that we let Coughlin go and he has two SB Championships. We stayed with Del Rio way too long, since 2003. I retired his poster from my wall at the office. I know one thing for sure, we’ve had great fun with the names of our new owner and coach and that ain’t no Mularkey. LOL
    Dee Dee

  19. Chris, I had not heard the thoughts on Freeman previously about hesitation to run for glory. You know, it often is the reverse where you can’t get the guy to hang in the pocket. He’ll live longer without being their RB also. I really do like what Schiano has done in his career and am rooting for Pewter Power to rise up again…but God, the last thing Philly needs is to see a Tampa Bay team in the post-season. No, history tells us that would be a bad thing. As for Greg’s ditching of Rutgers…it wasn’t that he left. Not at all. I just wished he had accepted the job earlier. Timing was brutal.

  20. Chris

    Anything short of a winning season in the NFC South this upcoming year and they’ll ( fans) be calling for the head of Schiano to be placed on a pike !

    Are the Glazers really happy in the fact that this year alone they’ll be spending least almost $8 million in salary for three coaches , two of whom are no longer with the organization ? Makes you wonder doesn’t it ?

    tophatal ………………………………….

  21. The staff at 620 WDAE are already shaking their pom-poms cheering on Schiano . What happens the moment the team goes on a multiple game losing streak ? Will the likes of Dumiq , Silio and Ian Beckles start to be critical not only of the Glazers but also of Mark Dominik , the coaching staff and players ?

    tophatal …………

  22. Living in South Florida and working in Miami I have been hearing about Schiano for years and I am excited. He was at the U before Rutgers you may remember and under him as DC they had the 12th and 5th best scoring defense in the country respectively those two years. He is very well thought of down here and people were upset when he left. He is known as a disciplinarian which the Bucs badly need (I think they just got another offsides penalty). In 2006 he won several coach of the year awards for his work at Rutgers. Sportsattitudes he does have 3 years NFL experience with the Bears so its not like he has never coached pros. In my opinion the Bucs gave up last year, especially on defense. Very weak effort to say the least. Rah lost the team plain and simple. I think Domenik has done a pretty good job all things considered Dwindy. I’m still a believer in Freeman, Blount was a huge pick up, Mike Williams has had two years with solid production, the two DE’s drafted last year both have good potential (Clayborn is a beast), and the team is in great shape in regard to the cap. My only criticism is the guys he drafted at D tackle can’t stay healthy and you can’t really blame that on him.

  23. SA…

    I’m not sure that timing is ever right when a coach leaves school.

    And all I’m saying is that there were a few times where Freeman could have ran for the first and bailed out. I’m not saying the kid needs to be a battering ram but everyone once in a while, running over someone if you have the means, is a good thing.

  24. Al…

    I’m not so sure about that, Al.

    Do you really expect this Bucs team to go 8-8? If so, I’m thinking that’d be a huge surprise to all of us. The Saints and Falcons are still playoff teams and the Panthers will be that much better.

    And I’m sure we’ll be seeing a shift in DAE’s coverage as the season progresses. Like I said in the post, they’re also enjoying the honeymoon.

  25. ‘Bout damn time you show up ’round these parts, Seth. Is that all it takes? Writing a little about Bucs football?

    Let me ask you, bra. Who do you want them to take with their number five pick?

  26. Chris

    I’d be mildly surprised if the Bucs were to go 8-8 this upcoming season given the issues on both sides of the ball for the team in its present guise . There’s no leadership coming from any of the veterans and as we Freeman’s game last season took a tremendous step back .

    So one of the principals (senior lab technician) in the mess that absolved NL MVP Ryan Braun in his drug suspension hearing thought it best to store the samples of the player’s test in the basement of his house rather than a noted and accredited facility ? And we wonder why the game of baseball is so fu##ed up ? Now the league hierarchy say …” that they’re disappointed with the tribunal’s decision ” . Perhaps they ought to ” lynch” the stupid SOB who took the samples and stored them in his friggin’ basement rather than at the lab in order to preserve the chain of command and integrity of the league’s case .

    BTW what have you got against billionaire professionall sports’ franchise owners ? LOL,LOL ,LOL !! Also I think you’re way too old at this stage of your life to be adopted by someone like Jerry Jones or Dan Snyder !

    I’m A Billionaire , Look At My Smile , Look At My Money And Then Look At My Team ………… I’m Rich Bitch !

    And The Oscar For Best Drama, Best (Lead) Actor & Best Supporting Actor Goes To …… ….

    Kobe’s due an Oscar nomination don’t you think after his expletive laden rant against the Lakers’ front office ?

    Another loss for the Magic and perhaps a day closer possibly to losing Dwight Howard . Ah well all is right with the world !

    I’m not saying that Lin is a turnover machine but damn that’s now over 50 in 9 game career ! They ought stick a help wanted sign on his forehead ………… “safe pair of hands ” needed !

    It seems no one in the East actually wants to press the Heat at all beyond the Bulls .

    So it would appear Tiger’s game is all ” between the ears “ and the size of the holes with regard to his putting ? How comes he never had any of those problems when he was “nailin’ ” all of those skanks “ ? Or is one size fits all in terms of their “holes” ? Have you a definitive answer for that conundrum ? Inquiring minds need to know .

    tophatal ………..

  27. Chris

    You have to commend the lab that hired by MLB that did the testing on Braun’s samples . I mean where else could you find individuals in spite of their alleged intelligence could be so damn stupid ? Apparently the chain of evidence came into question when one of them (technicians) rather than taking to storing the samples in a pace of safety at the lab chose to take it home and store it in basement freezer ! And Selig is said to be p##sed at the tribunal’s decision ? The commish’ is being paid $25 million a year and all he’s brought to the game in terms of veracity and intelligence could be written on the back of a first class stamp !

    Yeah, that’s baseball for you ….. dead from the neck up in terms of intelligence and integrity but no one wants to discuss the mistakes and the fact that proper protocol wasn’t followed .

    tophatal ……………

    tophatal …………….

  28. So the NFL is trying to throw out the suit filed by the son of former NFL great Dave Duerson concerning the death of his father ?

    Courtesy of AP & Yahoo Sports

    Duerson’s family sues NFL over his suicide

    CHICAGO (AP) -The family of former Chicago Bears player Dave Duerson filed a wrongful death suit against the NFL on Thursday, claiming the league didn’t do enough to prevent or treat the concussions that severely damaged his brain before he killed himself last year.

    The suit was filed in Chicago on behalf of Duerson’s son, Tregg, and three other children. Duerson died on Feb. 17, 2011, of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest at his home in Sunny Isles Beach, Fla.

    Duerson’s family wants to know more about the NFL’s handling of concussions during his career, according to his son.

    “If they knowingly failed to inform and implement proper safety concussion procedures, then their indifference was the epitome of injustice,” Tregg Duerson said at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “The inactions of the past inevitably led to the demise and death of my father.

    The lawsuit accuses the NFL of negligently causing the brain damage that led Duerson to take his own life at the age of 50 by not warning him of the negative effects of concussions. Attorney Thomas Demetrio, who is representing Duerson’s family, said the NFL should have been a leader in educating current and former players about head injuries.

    “They not only dropped the ball, they maintained until current times that there was no connection between playing football, receiving concussions and brain damage,” Demetrio said. “That’s wrong.”

    The NFL said in a statement that it had not yet seen the lawsuit.

    “Dave Duerson was an outstanding football player and citizen who made so many positive contributions but unfortunately encountered serious personal challenges later in his life,” the NFL said. “We sympathize with the Duerson family and continue to be saddened by this tragedy.”

    ===================================================
    Click on link to read in full .

    =================================================

    If the plaintiffs are successful this’ll alter the landscape of the NFL to be sure .

    tophatal …………

  29. Al…

    The whole Braun thing is a joke. Take a look at my most recent thoughts on the matter.

    And yea, did the Heat destroy the Knicks and Lin last night or what?

    And Tiger is obviously still not back. But is he getting any closer to winning?

  30. I agree with you on Duerson and the NFL, Al.

    It might just take a case like that for the league to speed up it’s process of protecting the players.

    I’m sure fans will ultimately complain but we need to understand why they’re doing it.

  31. All the love and support for Greg Schiano… but I highly doubt the Bucs are all of a sudden going to be a contender. Love the passion and all, but Tampa Bay is going to need more than that to get past the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons.

  32. Hello there Triple SC, New changes to my Jags may mean a move to LA? Aw, now, I may have heard about Gary Carter’s death FIRST, right here on your site, but not this news. The word up here from the new owner when asked if Jags can stay in Jax??? He said they”Sure Khan”.

    All kidding aside, the Jax news reports that Khan is keeping them in Jax. Can the news be trusted? I hear ya now saying “Dee Dee, that’s an oxymoron question” , but according to a Nov Yahoo news article:
    ” Just remember that there’s a lease to get out from underneath and it runs through the 2027 season. The lease has one very difficult threshold the team must cross before it can get out, says former Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney, a lawyer who helped write the deal.
    “The team would have to show that because of lack of attendance it’s losing money for three straight years and that’s probably a difficult thing for an NFL team to do,”

    We had a lousy season, agreed; but the best thing that happened to the Jags in 2011 season was the fans didn’t experience any blackouts. We finally got to watch them play, learn the players, even if it was to see loss after loss or watch an unimproved QBGabbert again and again (poor kid). We were plagued with blackouts for several years in the past, which doesn’t help the fan base follow and support a team- it just pi$$es us off! Well… it pi$$ed me off. Fans want to support a team, but sometimes that means just watching them on tv and buying merchandise.

    Ok, I’m done. Thanks. Remember, you did tell me not to be shy. Be sure to let me know if you hear of any upcoming traveling plans for my Jags, but no offense,
    SC, I sure hope I don’t hear from you with that news.
    DeeDee

  33. Testing in baseball is a damn joke from top to bottom ! Give baseball a pot to pi## in and window to throw it out of and the ##sholes would still find a way to screw things up !

    If ever it airs on 60 Minutes sitting in the corner will be a slew of lawyers force feeding the answers to the do-fuss who’s being interviewed by the program’s host and interviewer . MLB and Selig wouldn’t want it any other way .

    Duerson’s family will possibly struggle to prove their case but it may well open the eyes as to the egregious nature and way in which the NFL has in fact conducted itself over the years concerning this sole issue .

    As to Tiger , when he’s missing putts like that from 5′ or and less you simply know it’s all in his mind . Be the ball , or in Tiger’s case feel the hole stick it in the hole ……….. the ball I mean not his 9 ‘iron’ .

    tophatal ………..

  34. BS….

    For the longest time, teams that finished at the bottom of the NFC South could be assured that they would somehow, someway finish atop the division the following year. Weird how that worked out for a while.

    Well, if that’s all the Bucs have to pin their hopes on in 2012, a trend, then I’d say we’re in a bit of trouble.

    The NFC South consistently ranks as one of the NFL’s best divisions and next year should be no different. It’s just unfortunate the Bucs are at the bottom of that curve.

  35. D…

    We all know leases don’t mean much. How many times in your life have you broken one? And we’re talking L.A. here. Pretty sure whatever backing they have to get a football team there would consider a Jax lease a drop in the bucket.

    That being said, I think your Jags are probably safe. San Diego and Minnesota, or heck, maybe even the Bucs would probably move west before the Jags left town.

    Either way, I’m not sure I expect big things out of any of the three Florida NFL teams next year.

    Sad state of affairs, huh?

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