Monday, October 21, 2013

Schiano’s Ship Has Sunk

Curtis Roberts

When it comes to action on the field the Jacksonville Jaguars are perhaps the NFL’s worst team, but for off the field issues the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the cake. Rumors and scandals have plagued the Bucs all season long and now changes must be made.

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The Buccaneers stretched their losing streak to six on Sunday in Atlanta and have lost eleven of their last twelve games. But the product on the field has been pretty good, at times. Lavonte David has become one of the best young linebackers in the league. The rush defense has been outstanding at times and only allowed 18 yards on 18 carries against the Falcons. Vincent Jackson has caught two touchdown passes in consecutive games. But winless teams can’t afford morale victories and personal accolades.

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Doug Martin is now likely out for the season with a torn labrum in his shoulder despite the fact that Greg Schiano announced Martin to be day-to-day in his press conference today and wouldn't rule him out of Thursday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.

Schiano said last week that running back Will Demps was day-to-day with a groin injury and Demps then had possibly season ending surgery the next day. In the preseason Schiano said kicker Lawrence Tynes was “doing better” after contracting the MRSA infection and Tynes’ wife took to Twitter to show that her husband was considerably worse than before. Greg Schiano must think he is like Bill Belichick by not being clear with the media about his team’s injuries, but in reality he looks like a flat-out liar.

The MRSA virus saga has not come to an end for the Buccaneers and even the Atlanta Falcons considered the virus to be hazardous enough to call the CDC to check the Buccaneers’ locker room after the game on Sunday. They also decided to film it to firmly slap the Bucs in the face.

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One of the biggest reasons the Bucs are 0-6 this season has been the excessive amount of yellow flags littering the field. Since his hiring Schiano has preached discipline and the now tired phrase in Tampa: toes on the line. But whatever discipline and mentality Schiano has attempted to institute in practice has clearly not translated to the field. Tampa Bay is third in the league in penalties with 54 total flags thrown and first in the league in penalty yardage. The Bucs have had at least eight penalties in every game except against the Patriots in week three. On Sunday in Atlanta the team racked up 11 penalties for 103 yards.

The reasons to fire Greg Schiano are plenty and each one has credence but perhaps the biggest reason that Schiano should walk the plank is former-Buccaneer quarterback Josh Freeman. Freeman’s last two seasons in Tampa Bay were nothing spectacular and sure, maybe the team needed to let Freeman go, but not in the way that it happened. The NFLPA is still investigating into who violated workplace law and leaked Freeman’s medical records. The allegations are obviously serious and could have major ramifications within the coming months. If Freeman can excel as the Vikings quarterback then maybe that will be the last beam to break before the dam overflows and collapses on One Buc.

Losing is nothing new to Buccaneers fans but weekly lies, rumors and negative press has taken over the team and the conscience of every fan. In a season that should have been a building block to success the team has instead regressed and should go back to square one. Either Butch Davis or Dave Wannstedt will likely be named the interim head coach if Schiano is indeed sacked, and maybe then the team can look forward to a future without such a tyrannical and overbearing disciplinarian at the helm. Is it too early to wait for Jameis Winston?

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