Greg Schiano is hoping to keep Aqib Talib per a report by NBC Sport’s Pro Football Talk (citing TB Times interviews). The rookie head coach admits that Talib’s legal issues warrant consideration, but admits per what he’s seen he hopes Talib is on the Bucs’ roster next year.
That’s good news for Talib fans, in many ways it’s the first step because had Schiano not liked Talib he’d already be out on his ear. Things still need to unfold well for him in the legal system, but should it the path seems clear for Talib to return to the Bucs secondary.
When asked about Talib, Schiano has responded:
“Well, any time you have a guy where there’s an off-the-field situation that could affect his on-the-field situation, you’re concerned,” Schiano said, via the Tampa Bay Times.
“The thing that I can tell you is since I arrived here Jan. 26, he’s been awesome,” Schiano said. “The way he’s worked, he’s been here every day. I hope that it’s left behind him and there isn’t anything and that we can move forward because, again, I can only judge people since I’ve been involved. I can’t stick my head in the sand, as I’ve said before, but on the other hand . . . he’s been extremely focused and here, doing everything that we asked. So I’m pleased with that and hope everything can just kind of sort itself out.”
But should things unfold poorly or Mark Dominik decide he’s tired of giving the oft-troubled corner chances, the Buccaneers admitedly have contingencies in place as well (per PFT).
Schiano acknowledged that the Bucs have “plans just in case” Talib isn’t on the team this year, but that “I hope like heck we don’t ever have to dust them off.” So while Schiano would prefer not to have any outside distractions, he will have to be keenly interested in the events inside a Texas courtroom in two weeks.
I wouldn’t read too much into that, given his injury history the team likely would have a contingency in place already. The place you can read between the lines is when Schiano says he’s pleased with what he’s seen it means already he’s keenly aware Talib is by far his best corner. It’s not hard to see, when he’s on his game #25 is a top five or ten NFL corner. He’s the best player on the Buccaneer defense. Face it, right now Talib is the only guy on the D who’s proven to be able to make big plays.
That’s not the kind of guy you want to lose, and having his back up against the wall so he has to walk the straight and narrow and be a team-first guy means the Bucs doesn’t hurt either.
I don’t expect the Bucs to offer Talib another contract, but at the same time unless they are forced to I doubt they drop him at this point either. They didn’t take a corner in the draft, and with Ronde Barber moving to safety, the only proven commodity at corner (and I use that term loosely) is Eric Wright.
They need Talib, Schiano seems to want Talib.
I’ll bet he sticks in Tampa for another season.
And the Bucs are better for it.