You’ve seen and heard it all before with the “Fire Greg Schiano” billboards, the MRSA situation, the Josh Freeman saga, and so on.
But no matter how you feel about any of those situations, Schiano is 3-9 in his second year as the head coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s the bottom line. This was a year where they were supposed to take that next step to be a complete football team. After a productive offseason highlighted by the Darrelle Revis trade, their secondary woes were supposed to become a strength and help an offense that was a top ten unit last season. This was supposed to be the year Buc fans had been waiting for since their Super Bowl season over a decade ago.
Instead, it all fell apart.
There were a variety of reasons why it happened, including some untimely injuries, but the fact of the matter is that 3-9 is an unacceptable record, especially with the amount of talent Schiano has had at his disposal. It’s tough when your All-Pro running back is done for the season, but even before that unfortunate event the offense was much too vanilla to have any real success. That can directly be attributed to Schiano and his ultra-conservative coaching staff who throughout the year have consistently displayed poor play-calling and game management skills. Instead of designing a creative play on third down to get a first, Schiano’s preference is to have the quarterback throw it four yards short of the first down marker and just hope that the receiver is able to outrun and evade multiple defenders to get to the sticks. Too many times that has happened, and too many times it failed.
Other instances of Schiano’s incompetence include deciding to kick field goals when touchdowns are clearly needed, allowing a rookie quarterback to have over 40 passing attempts per game in his first three starts, and not giving his team a chance to score in the closing minutes of the first half. The last one is the freshest in my mind because Schiano had an opportunity to give his offense one last shot before the half had ended against the Carolina Panthers last Sunday. Instead, he decided against using his three timeouts and selected to let the clock keep running, leaving the Panthers with a lot of momentum heading into the locker room.
Those types of factors were not out of his control and are a big reason why such a talented team is 3-9. The Glazers don’t like firing coaches so quickly, but they have in the past and almost certainly will in this situation. No matter what happens these next few game, Schiano will hopefully be let go immediately following the end of the season. An experienced, veteran coach such as Lovie Smith will hopefully take Schiano’s spot. If that happens I see no reason why Tampa cannot have a Kansas City Chief- like turnaround next season (9-3 this season, 1-15 last season).
Hang in there, Buc fans, and have faith. The Schiano era will be over soon.