Many fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are excited about their football team once again, because three straight wins have followed eight straight losses, and there is a general optimism about where the football team is heading for the future.
To make things even better, a third-round rookie quarterback that most fans wrote off the moment he was drafted has ascended into the middle of the pack in the NFL in passer rating thanks to two straight solid performances to help continue the winning streak.
So that general excitement and optimism has led many fans to celebrate head coach Greg Schiano and his management of the football team. And unlike the optimism about a winning streak and Mike Glennon, which are both very much justified, there is no justification for the performance of Greg Schiano and his staff this season.
Simply put, they have not been good enough, and a three-game winning streak should not win the respect of the fans, or the owners, of the Buccaneers.
No Excuses Under Center
When Greg Schiano became the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, he tied his future in the NFL to the quarterback position in Tampa Bay. Schiano could have waited for another job, or taken a coordinator job in the NFL to wait for the right moment to move into a gig as a head coach.
But instead, he took the job with Josh Freeman, and quickly realized that he wasn’t happy with his choice. After an offseason of flip-flopping about the fate of his inherited starter, he saw career-worst performances from Freeman and rightly let him walk.
Yet none of that is an excuse for Schiano’s 13 losses in 14 games. Schiano chose Freeman when he signed on the dotted line in Tampa, and he and Mark Dominik did not make a move in the offseason to replace Freeman, despite rumors of a trade for Carson Palmer or Matt Cassel.
Poor Playcalling on Both Sides of the Ball
The Buccaneers had the ball given back to them six times against the Detroit Lions. Four interceptions, a fumble, and a blocked punt. One interception was at the end of the game, and another was returned for a touchdown. The other four turnovers resulted in three offensive points. Three.
That’s an unacceptable ratio of turnovers to points off of turnovers, and indicates poor playcalling and a lack of aggression or execution of a gameplan. Facing the 20th ranked defense according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA statistics should lead to more opportunities to score when given four extra possessions to work with.
The Tampa Bay defense is not without it’s faults, either. Simply follow the Twitter account of former Buccaneer defensive lineman and current SBNation contributor Stephen White and watch as he predicts and laments the various awful stunts and blitzes the defense calls.
It even reached a point where Gerald McCoy had to plead with his coaches to stop the stunts and simply let him rush the passer. And even then, we saw them return to the stunts against Detroit after abandoning them to an extent against Atlanta.
Greg Schiano has his hand in everything the Buccaneers do, so simply changing the coordinators is not sufficient. Schiano has stamped his identity on this team, and barring a miraculous final month of the season, he’s proven it’s incapable of even a .500 record with a very talented roster.
So while it’s great that Glennon and the Buccaneers have won three straight, it cannot be forgotten that the Buccaneers went nearly a full year with only one victory over a playoff-clinched Atlanta team in Week 17 of 2012. If Schiano will only deliver wins in meaningless situations with his back against the wall, he’s not the coach the Bucs want.
Mike Glennon could still become a franchise quarterback. But there’s very little that Greg Schiano can do at this point to prove he’s a franchise coach. He’s simply squandered too much talent to deserve another shot.