Schiano Already On Jones’s Hot Seat
September 25, 2012 at 03:39pm by Scott • 8 Comments »
And so it has started. It took three games (two losses) for the second-guessing to start in earnest. Tom Jones wrote a piece today that takes aim straight at Greg Schiano for, well, everything wrong with the offense.
Point a finger at offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, if you want, or quarterback Josh Freeman. You’ll find plenty of support on both counts. But the real culprit? How about the guy in charge? How about head coach Greg Schiano?
He’s the boss. He sets the agenda. Everyone reports to him.
True enough, but he’s really more of a defensive guy. He doesn’t call offensive plays, Sullivan does. You could also blame Mark Dominik for hiring Schiano or the Glazers for hiring Dominik and be technical right about who has ultimate blame, but neither of them directly affect the offense. Schiano does, but from what I know, not to a great degree.
But the more interesting question isn’t who is to blame but why is Schiano seemingly obsessed with playing so conservatively?
Oh, I can’t wait to hear your theories!
Schiano doesn’t trust Josh Freeman
From the start of the second half Sunday against the Cowboys until the two-minute warning, the Bucs trailed, yet they ran the ball on eight of nine first-down plays. Trailing by nine points with less than three minutes left, the Bucs called for a running play on first down.
That second part you can’t argue with. They had to pass from both a yardage and time-management perspective, but they didn’t. That was dumb, but not necessarily because Schiano (who doesn’t call the plays) doesn’t trust Freeman. As for running on first down when down in the second half, why would you abandon your game plan just because you’re down by three points at the half? We’ve known since April that this was going to be a team that runs first. It’s why Carl Nicks was brought in and Doug Martin was drafted. So, they continue running. When it works, we say the team is hard-nosed and blue-collar and tough. When it doesn’t work, the coach has lost faith in the quarterback? I call bullshit.
If you don’t allow your quarterback to throw on first and 10, what makes you think he’s going to be successful on third and 8?
Look, if I was calling plays, I probably would have thrown more on first down than they did. But this isn’t an offense molded like the Saints or the Packers. They’ve trained to run more than they pass. Everybody gets all misty-eyed when the Steelers run but somehow it’s a crime when the Bucs do it.
Schiano has turned Freeman into a robot, a caretaker instead of a playmaker, a quarterback too scared to make a mistake to make a play. Freeman seems to be handing off more than the ball when Schiano asks for one running play after another. He is handing off his swagger, his confidence, that something special that had many of us believing he was going to be a franchise quarterback.
Oh fuck you, dude. Number one, I don’t think it is that way. Freeman isn’t scared to do anything. I think they just want to be a hard-running team. And number two, even if it actually was that way, I wouldn’t blame Schiano. When Freeman throws, he throws off-target a lot of the time and he looks indecisive. I don’t know the ins and outs of it, so maybe it has to do with receivers running bad routes or playcalling or something else. But do you know who does know the ins and outs of it? Greg fucking Schiano. He has put in the time and should know by now what Freeman is capable of and how much he can trust him.
I love it when writers not only criticize what a coach or player does but also takes the extra time to figure out their motivations and tell us what is REALLY going on inside their heads because, as we all know, newspapers require that their sports writers have their Masters degrees in psychology before they’re given a beat.
And check this out: Schiano said Monday that Freeman usually has the freedom to audible but that the Bucs also have no-change plays. Can you imagine Peyton Manning or Drew Brees or any QB worth his weight walking up to the line, seeing a play that has no chance of working and not being able to audible out of it?
Can you imagine a coach taking the time throughout the week to establish a very precise game plan only to have it shot to shit when the quarterback goes rogue and runs a play that the coaches were saving for the fourth quarter after some very specific set-ups throughout the rest of the game?
Sorry, Freeman has not earned what Manning and Brees have earned. Those guys are practically coaches themselves. Making that comparison is nuts.
Schiano thinks he is still at Rutgers
As a college coach at Rutgers, Schiano, like many old-school college coaches, was a big believer in pounding the ball, winning the time of possession, imposing his team’s will on opponents. … That might work against Pitt or Louisville. That doesn’t work in the NFL. When an NFL team lines up to stop the run — as the Cowboys did Sunday — you know what happens? You can’t run, and you end up losing a bunch of 16-10 games.
Because nothing makes an offensive coach happier than doing what the defense dictates to them. That’s sure to earn respect around the league. Jones would be much happier covering the Arena League or a 7-man league where they don’t even have running plays.
Schiano is a micromanager
There are times you wonder if Schiano is more interested in the time of possession than the score. It seems as if he is more interested in (his) style points than actual points. It seems as if he is more interested in doing things his way just to show that his formula for winning proves he’s the smartest guy in the room. So far in his rookie NFL season it has proven only that he might be the most stubborn guy in the room.
Yeah, Schiano doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who needs to be the smartest one in the room. That’s more guys like Mike Martz and Brian Billick, both of them considered offensive geniuses and world-class cockbags. And they love to pass the ball and come up with offensive plays that require a rosetta stone. Schiano doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks of him.
That said, I understand he is a micromanager. And that would be unheard of in the coaching ranks of the NFL. From everything I’ve seen, NFL head coaches are totally lose and easy-going and just let life happen to them. “Foot technique isn’t all that important. Just go out there and wing it, man,” said exactly no one ever.
Schiano said if the Bucs had won Sunday, many would be saying: “Man, this is Bucs football: great defense, time of possession, winning the kicking game and you win. As it turns out, when you lose, it’s too conservative.”
Yeah, if it wasn’t for that pesky way the league determines results based on which team scores more points, the Bucs would be all set.
So every time you lose, throw your strategy and philosophy out the window and start fresh the next week. If you have a good scheme that Tom Jones approves of, YOU WILL NEVER EVER LOSE A GAME.
You know what the offense’s problem is? It’s all these things. Schiano has yet to fully commit to Freeman. He still has a college mind-set. He is a micromanager. He’s stubborn.
You know what Tom’s problem is? He doesn’t like Schiano. At some point this summer, Tom Jones asked Schiano a question and got a snippy response that he wasn’t happy with, so now he’s going to bash him for every loss and ignore every win. It’s the same reason the press turned against Jon Gruden and Bruce Allen — they weren’t press-friendly. Schiano isn’t he warmest and fuzziest coach in the league, and for that he must PAY.
It takes a lot of balls to not only think you know what’s going on inside a guy’s head but then also criticize him on that assumption and then have the gall to make alternative recommendations. You know what those guys are called in regular life? Pricks. Schiano has coached three fucking games in the NFL. And his defense — the unit that he has the biggest hand in shaping — looked pretty damn good on Sunday. Yes, the offense sucked on Sunday. Yes, Schiano needs to take responsibility for the whole team. But it’s just a little bit early to not only tell him what he’s thinking but that his coaching philosophy is wrong and that a sportswriter is the one with all the answers.