Nov 11, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano against the Miami Dolphins during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Despite Winning His First Game of 2013, There Are No Excuses for Greg Schiano and the 1-8 Tampa Bay Buccaneers


It’s easy to get caught up in the celebrations surrounding the Buccaneers first win of 2013. Defeating intrastate rivals Miami at home on Monday Night Football on a night set aside to honor Warren Sapp is a huge moment for fans in Tampa Bay who got to enjoy a glimpse into what this team was supposed to be this season.

But the win cannot hide the previous two months worth of football from view, and cannot forgive Greg Schiano and his players for the mistakes that were made in Monday night’s triumph. So now that you’ve had a good amount of time to celebrate the win, let’s consider the negatives about this team that remain, and what they mean about the future of the franchise.

The Team Hasn’t “Given Up” On Greg Schiano, But That Doesn’t Mean He’s a Good Coach

There is not a direct correlation between giving up on a coach and that coach being bad.

Nov 11, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) tackles Miami Dolphins running back Daniel Thomas (33) in the end zone for a safety during the first half of the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers won their first game of the 2013 season on Monday in a year when the team was expected to contend for a Wild Card spot, or at least improve on their 7-9 record in 2012. They’re still playing hard and putting forth great effort, and that has been evident in almost every game this year. So when there’s full effort from the players, losing comes down to the coaches not putting those players in the best position to win.

We saw more of that on Monday. The offense was very passive in the second half, with some seriously poor playcalling. And while it’s easy to blame that on Mike Sullivan, it’s very clear to anyone close to the team that Greg Schiano has his hand in everything that happens at One Buc Place. His philosophies shine through in stressful situations, such as the deep throws called for in the second half when deep throws have NEVER worked with Mike Glennon, and the short yardage situations when passes were called instead of runs.

By all accounts, Greg Schiano has total control of the locker room, and the players are playing hard and playing one week at a time, as Vincent Jackson said in a postgame interview. But that is no excuse for the poor decisions he makes and the way his team surrenders leads and struggles in close games.

Because even if the players are giving full effort, don’t forget that Monday was the first win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a game decided by three points or fewer under Greg Schiano.

The Quarterback Situation is Not An Excuse for Greg Schiano

When Greg Schiano signed on the dotted line to become the Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach, he did so knowing who the quarterback was, and who the options were at that position moving forward.

And when Schiano won seven games with Josh Freeman, he set the bar for himself. The team could have improved in 2013 with consistent play from that quarterback. But immediately after the season, Greg Schiano started to light a fire under Josh Freeman with all sorts of talk about “competition.” He flip-flopped about supporting “his” quarterback in Freeman, and leaving the door open for the player he truly wanted to start at quarterback, Mike Glennon.

So Schiano made his own bed for 2013 by creating a quarterback controversy, rather than being totally supportive of Freeman or replacing him while he had a chance. And even though Glennon is a third-round rookie, he’s playing at a level that should lead to wins.

Rk Tm Cmp% Yds TD Int Int% Y/A Y/G Rate ▾ Sk%
17 Michael Vick PHI 54.6 1215 5 3 2.1 8.6 202.5 86.5 9.6
18 Robert Griffin III WAS 60.8 2450 12 9 2.7 7.3 272.2 83.8 5.1
19 Colin Kaepernick SFO 56.4 1675 9 6 2.7 7.6 186.1 83 8.7
20 Tom Brady NWE 57.1 2256 13 6 1.8 6.6 250.7 82.7 7.1
21 Mike Glennon TAM 59.6 1304 9 4 1.8 5.8 217.3 81.8 6.3
22 Alex Smith KAN 59.7 1919 9 4 1.3 6.1 213.2 81.4 7.6
23 Ryan Tannehill MIA 61 2206 13 10 3 6.7 245.1 81.2 10.1
24 Matt Schaub HOU 64.4 1552 8 9 3.9 6.7 258.7 78.8 6
25 Christian Ponder MIN 64.2 1246 5 7 3.9 7 207.7 77.6 8.2
26 Joe Flacco BAL 59 2307 12 11 3.2 6.7 256.3 77.3 8
27 EJ Manuel BUF 56.6 1140 6 4 2.1 6 190 76.2 7.8
28 Carson Palmer ARI 61.4 2154 12 15 4.7 6.8 239.3 74.5 7.1
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/13/2013.

As you can see, Mike Glennon’s QB rating puts him in the same company as quarterbacks on winning teams. He’s been accurate and careful, posting similar numbers to Alex Smith of Kansas City, and yet the Chiefs and Buccaneers could not be further apart in the NFL standings.

And while it’s unfair to compare the Buccaneers to the Chiefs, it’s not unfair to compare their talent level to that of the Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, and Arizona Cardinals. All of these teams are near .500 this season and could still contend for a playoff position. The Buccaneers, on the other hand, are at the bottom of the league in winning percentage and have been a mess all season.

Losing is Not Excusable With This Roster

Consider the talent level of the other 1-8 team in the NFL. The Jacksonville Jaguars do not have a player like Darrelle Revis. They don’t have a player like Gerald McCoy. They don’t have a player like Lavonte David. They don’t have a player like Mark Barron. With Justin Blackmon out, they have no one resembling Vincent Jackson. Their offensive line would be dominated by the Tampa Bay offensive line.

So how can these teams have the same record? How can the Jaguars receive praise for their win from national media members, because everyone realizes the lack of talent, while Greg Schiano’s first win of the season was greeted with a reaction of “finally” rather than “congratulations.”

Greg Schiano has not managed his roster well in 2013, and it has led to inexcusable results. And considering the schedule ahead, the Buccaneers will be lucky to reach five wins at the very most, and are more likely staring at three wins.

5-11 is not acceptable. 3-13 is not acceptable. There are no excuses to hide the truth of the mismanagement of this roster. Greg Schiano should be fired at the end of the season.

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  • Peder Wallenberg

    Agreed. Monday felt so good. I can’t help but hope for us to win every game we play, but if we are to win any super bowls (which is the ultimate goal here, right?) we need to draft a solid QB like Bridgewater. Im not sold on any of the other QBs like Mariota or Johnny Football. So basically, we need to lose every game. Which sucks, cause I hate losing.

    • Peder Wallenberg

      and fire schiano the second the season ends.

  • Jayson Kaplan

    Schiano certainly can’t blame the QB situation as he’s the one that created it.