Calm Down People

Published: October 8th, 2013


There’s been a lot of talk about the state of the Bucs and the how this team is spiraling out of control and how Greg Schiano needs to be fired now and blah blah blah. It’s all over sports radio and the web that this team is already dead and buried and it’s Schiano’s fault. I don’t know how we became so impatient that a coach needs to be successful immediately in order to not get fired.

I realize there are arguments to be made that Schiano isn’t doing well. The Bucs are 0-4 to start the season and they have that record with a ton of talent on the roster. They seem to be regressing in certain aspects of their game. And there are more leaks and drama on the team than there has ever been in the past. But I’m going to lay most of that on Josh Freeman. We all knew Freeman was inaccurate and made bad decisions coming out of college (like, for example, coming out of college). We discussed it on this site and so did every other outlet. But he was big and strong and mobile and Raheem Morris really liked him and he was finally a chance for the Bucs to have their first true franchise quarterback in decades. And with the youth movement, there’s no way they were going to stick with someone like Jeff Garcia or Brian Griese. So I get it. But three and a half years of starting games and never finding consistency is long enough. You can blame the multiple offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches if you like, and there’s some validity to that. But when you combine his lack of productivity with his apparently lackadaisical approach to team obligations, it just wasn’t going to work.

This write-up by Roy Cummings gives an account of the last few weeks of the Josh Freeman era. Missed obligations by Freeman followed by leniency by the Bucs led only to more missed obligations. I had always heard that Freeman was a hard worker and forced other players to be accountable. Whether that was always exaggerated or used to be true but fell off in later years, I’m not sure. Whatever the case, Freeman ended his tenure as a Buccaneer as a slacker. And if Greg Schiano is intolerant of anything, it’s being a slacker.

(As much as I’ve ripped on Cummings over the years, that is a very even-handed look at the situation. But if you don’t trust Cummings, maybe you’ll believe Ronde Barber’s assessment of the situation: “The best thing that they did was release Josh. Somehow, someway that situation had to end. It had gotten toxic from both sides. Josh was manipulating, everybody felt like Coach was manipulating, but I don’t feel like Greg was that kind of guy. Greg wants what’s best for this team. I think he can get the locker room back. I want to see him get the locker room back.”)

Now that Schiano has Mike Glennon, the quarterback he wanted, he’s on the hook for the team now. But he’ll still need a couple years to groom Glennon. And this bullshit about Mark Dominik being on the hot seat has to end now. This team is stocked with talent at every level of both the offense and defense. Everybody keeps pointing at his drafts like they’re failures, but he has found some excellent players over the last couple years. The top end of the 2012 draft looks especially awesome. And it’s not just drafts. He also signed some free agents that have produced good numbers. It’s Dominik’s job to give Schiano the pieces he needs to succeed and I think he has done that. Glennon is really the only unknown piece (and unfortunately the most important one). Everywhere else — running back, offensive line, linebackers, secondary, wherever — he’s got legitimate stars.

The only issue now is that all three of the main guys — the general manager, the head coach and the quarterback — are all tied together. If Glennon fails, the team fails and that will fall on Schiano who will have not been able to succeed with tons of talent and his own quarterback. And if Schiano fails, that will fall on Dominik who will have hired two coaches who couldn’t get it done. But again, I think Glennon needs to have the rest of this year and all of next year to be tested before any real assessment can be made of any of them.

So listen, the Bucs aren’t going to the playoffs. They can’t win the division unless Drew Brees spontaneously combusts and I can guarantee there will be two teams better than them when the wildcards shake out. So the pressure is off, and you’ve got to watch the games with that attitude. When Glennon makes a mistake, look at it as a learning experience for him. Watch Gerald McCoy get better every week and watch the defense go from good to great. If they win, hey that’s awesome. If they lose, that’s a better draft slot next year. If you’re a Bucs fan from way back, you’ve been through this before and you know the possibilities are wide open. But continue to watch and continue to support. They’re still our team.