On Black Monday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decided to give Greg Schiano the ax after he put together a 4-12 record in his second season as the team’s head coach.
Had you asked me a couple of months ago, I would have said that I completely agreed with this choice. Schiano got the Buccaneers off to an 0-8 start, and appeared to have lost all control of his roster after a volatile situation that resulted in the release of former starting quarterback Josh Freeman.
Now, though, I’m starting to believe that Schiano deserved one more season to prove he could be an effective leader in Tampa Bay.
After the horrid start, the Buccaneers bounced back to the tune of four wins in five games. Even though they ended up losing their final three games against teams with a combined record of 30-18, Tampa Bay looked like a team starting to click. They might have ended the season on a sour note with little to show for their effort, but Schiano didn’t deserve to take the brunt of the blame.
If it wasn’t for the drama surrounding Schiano and Freeman during the early part of the season, the Buccaneers might have had a much better record this season. They might have even been able to contend for a spot in the playoffs – something many analysts expected them to do before the regular season got under way. Unfortunately for Schiano, Freeman’s poor attitude and inability to be a team player forced him to put his foot down, which caused ripples throughout the roster.
The drama consumed the team and caused Schiano to loss the confidence of his locker room. The (now-former) head coach didn’t throw in the towel, though. Schiano stood tall and rallied his players, allowing unproven talents like Mike Glennon and Bobby Rainey to shine in their increased roles. He dug his team out of a hole, and kept them competitive until the final snap.
Many will cite Schiano’s old-school attitude and coaching style as a reason why he didn’t last in Tampa Bay, but he deserved another year to make it work.
Don’t be surprised to see Schiano resurface somewhere in the not-so-distant future.