Bill Sheridan happy to run Schiano's defense
Greg Schiano won’t be the Bucs’ defensive coordinator and likely won’t be making play calls during games. But make no mistake: The Bucs will be playing his defense, not Bill Sheridan’s.
That much was made clear by Sheridan today in his first meeting with Tampa Bay reporters at One Buc Place.
Sheridan, hired by the Bucs as defensive coordinator on Friday, said today that he welcomes the assistance of Schiano and special assistant Butch Davis as he takes on his new role.
“I think our defense, it’s going to be Greg Schiano’s defense because he’s our head coach and I’m coordinating for him,” Sheridan said.
“Obviously he hired me because he thinks I have a lot of experience, knowledge and competence, and he’s relying on that as well. “I’m excited about jumping into it and trying to mesh our ideas. But it’s Greg’s defense for sure. He was an outstanding defensive coach long before he was ever coach at Rutgers.”
Schiano’s decision to hire Sheridan was made in spite of Sheridan’s shortcomings as a defensive coordinator with the Giants in 2009. Sheridan came into his news conference prepared to deal with questions about that season, in which his unit yielded the second-most points in franchise history, leading to his firing after the season.
He outlined several reasons he believed that defense faltered, emphasizing that he’d learned important lessons that will serve him well in Tampa Bay.
“I took and take full responsibility for the fact that we didn’t play good enough defense at the end of the year when I was coordinating that year,” Sheridan said. “Because I was put in charge of that, and the bottom line, at the end of the year, we didn’t keep people out of the end zone well enough to be successful.”
So, what happened?
“Even though we started out the season 5-0 and we had the No. 1-ranked defense in the National Football League after sustaining a couple of season-ending injuries to some of starters – Antonio Pierce, Kenny Phillips. . . we started to falter and we hit a skid during the middle of the season,” Sheridan said. “In hindsight, looking back, I think one of the things we probably did was we assumed, as a defensive staff, we assumed because we had made the playoffs four previous years . . . that things would get turned around, they would get better.”
Sheridan said his staff made another important miscalculation.
“I think the second thing that happened as we sustained those injuries in the early to middle part of the year, in an attempt to help some of the new players we were bringing in and working with, and some of them were free agents that were on the street and we ended up having to bring them in and they played in our lineup at the end of the year, I think we tried to be very simple for them,” he said. “But in hindsight, I think we may have been guilty of maybe being too simple. Because again, it’s great for your own players that you present to them a simplistic scheme that they can execute on Sunday, but you’re also not posing enough issues for the teams you play against. You’re not giving them enough problems.”