By Max Luckan
By now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are used to outside criticism. From the way they handled the MRSA situation with kicker Lawrence Tynes to the way the Bucs ran quarterback Josh Freeman out of town, they have heard it all. And with many former Bucs players now working in the media, the criticism from people with an inside perspective likely won’t stop anytime soon.
The latest round of criticism comes from Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, who doesn’t like what he sees from Bucs head coach Greg Schiano so far.
“If I’m down in Tampa, I’m questioning this whole thing because it’s a mafia style,” Sapp said on a recent podcast. “I know [Mike] Glennon is not the quarterback that Josh Freeman is. There’s no question about it. The film tells me this. Practice tells me this. Even my quarterback demeanor tells me this. If you wouldn’t let [Freeman] throw the ball at the end of the game, why is Glennon throwing the ball at the end of the game?”
Those are strong words from someone who remains well respected in the Bucs organization. With Freeman now gone, it was inevitable that Schiano would be the next person to catch some heat in the Bucs organization. Sapp didn’t stop there, either. He also criticized, as many others have also done, the way the Bucs have used All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis this season.
“So now, why is [Darrelle] Revis standing eight yards off [Cardinals WR Larry] Fitzgerald running a slant route and nobody’s there? Touchdown,” said Sapp. “Are you kidding me? Let’s lock up our number one corner, who we’re paying $16 million, and then we rotate our coverage. There has to be a plan.”
“When you’re ‘My way or the highway,’ you must win now,” Sapp added. “Because guys don’t believe in your way when you’re losing. And you lose the way they lost the first two weeks; you gave away those football games. And whenever you’ve given away football games, that means your style needs to change.”
Schiano has long been touted as an authoritarian coach, and many are now indicating that Schiano’s ways aren’t working in Tampa. The fact that the Bucs continue to lose games and play poorly doesn’t help Schiano’s case either, which is something Sapp correctly pointed out.
With the Bucs sitting at 0-4, change is again inevitable for the Bucs. No one knows what kinds of changes Bucs ownership is ready to make, but don’t rule out firing Schiano mid-season, although that still seems unlikely at this point.
New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin once had to change his ways in 2007. Coughlin softened up his coaching style, which led to great success as the Giants went on to win the Super Bowl that year.
But Schiano has given no indication that he plans to change his coaching style. At a recent event with club members, Schiano addressed a question about him being a “bully.” But Schiano basically responded with stubbornness, claiming that the Bucs desperately needed him to be somewhat of a bully and they still do.
The issue for Schiano is that he may be running out of time. The Bucs currently rank 31st in the NFL in attendance and haven’t won a game since managing a meaningless victory in Week 17 of the 2012 season.
It’s up to Schiano to decide if he wants to change his ways or not, but one thing has to be clear to him: no one is going to put up with losing much longer.
For more Bucs news and updates, visit Bucs Central.
Max Luckan lives in Tampa, FL and is a sports writer covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and NFL. Luckan has been covering the Buccaneers for a few years now. Max is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.