Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Greg Schiano puts early stamp on Tampa Bay Buccaneers

TAMPA

Whether by design or circumstance, Bucs coach Greg Schiano didn't waste any time establishing himself — and his team — as the bullies of the NFC South.

It began, innocently enough, with having his defense attack Giants quarterback Eli Manning in the victory formation with five seconds remaining Sunday in their 41-34 loss at Metlife Stadium.

That led to a stern rebuke from highly respected, two-time Super Bowl-winning Giants coach Tom Coughlin after the game. But it continued with Schiano's unapologetic stance that he was all too accommodating to repeat in one-on-one interviews last week on ESPN, the NFL Network and NBC Sports.

Regardless of where you come down on the debate over the kneel-down play — and many respected former players and coaches sided with Schiano — he didn't want to let the issue pass without taking full advantage of it.

In some ways, it's reminiscent of when Raheem Morris announced during a postgame news conference on Oct. 24, 2010 after beating the Rams that the Bucs were the "Best team in the NFC. Yeah, I said it."

At the time, the Bucs were 4-2, which tied them for the fewest losses of any team in the NFC. In reality, they weren't even the best team in the NFC South because the Atlanta Falcons were 5-2.

In that case, Morris used the bravado to get his young team to believe they could compete for a division title and the Bucs did finish 10-6 but missed the playoffs.

In the case of Schiano, well, let's just say his reputation for being a tough guy beat him to his post in Tampa Bay.

In 11 seasons as coach at Rutgers University, Schiano took a program from the ashes to national prominence with a controlling hand and iron fist. General managers, coaches and personnel executives all hailed his ability to produce NFL-ready talent. But five days after the Giants kneel-down incident, Michael Silver of Yahoo Sports published a column based on discussions with a dozen anonymous NFL GMs, personnel executives, scouts and coaches who said Schiano was "unaccommodating, intimidating and downright disrespectful" to NFL representatives who paid visits to Rutgers from 2001-11."

It's a list of rather petty complaints about Schiano making scouts stand in a box, or exposed to bad weather, or 200 yards away from practice.

Schiano's "toes-on-the-line" regimen is well-documented since his arrival to the Bucs. He thinks nothing of whacking players from the roster who don't buy in. Certainly, that's what he was hired to do. He's changing the culture of the Bucs, and if he steps on a few toes, Schiano is not apologizing for that, either.

The question is whether the Bucs, who now are branded as bullies, can be as tough as their tough-talking coach from New Jersey.

SO FAR, SO GOOD: The Bucs' main new additions have all shown up in the first two weeks of the regular season. Whether you're talking about a free agent or draft pick, it's hard to ignore the early production.

• WR Vincent Jackson leads the team with nine catches for 175 yards and a touchdown.

• RB Doug Martin leads the team with 161 yards rushing and a touchdown, which ranks second in rushing yards among rookies.

• CB Eric Wright recorded his first INT as a Buccaneer Sunday against the Giants and returned it 60 yards for a TD.

• LB Lavonte David ranks second on the team with 14 tackles and is tied among rookies for the league lead.

• TE Dallas Clark is tied for the second-most receptions on the team with five for 66 yards.

• S Mark Barron ranks third on the team in tackles with 13 and in passes defensed with four.

Comments
Bucs release Doug Martin and Chris Baker, two of their most disappointing players in 2017

Bucs release Doug Martin and Chris Baker, two of their most disappointing players in 2017

TAMPA – Early in his rookie year, Doug Martin was told he was losing his balance because he was dropping his head as he hit the hole in a game at Oakland.He quickly corrected that mistake and wound up rushing for a career-high 251 yards against...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Bucs release defensive tackle Chris Baker

Bucs release defensive tackle Chris Baker

Hours after they parted ways with running back Doug Martin, the Bucs continued their initial wave of roster cuts Tuesday afternoon, releasing defensive tackle Chris Baker.Baker, 30, lasted only one season with Tampa Bay, managing just a half-sack aft...
Published: 02/20/18
Bucs release two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin

Bucs release two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin

TAMPA — After six up and mostly down seasons, Doug Martin's run with the Bucs is over.The two-time Pro Bowl running back was released by Tampa Bay Tuesday, a move that was expected after he failed to rush for less than 500 yards in four of the ...
Published: 02/20/18
Some big Bucs roster decisions are looming

Some big Bucs roster decisions are looming

The Bucs plan to release running back Doug Martin and defensive tackle Chris Baker sometime before the NFL scouting combine which begins Feb. 27 in Indianapolis.There likely will be more, but they still are undecided on the future of defensive ends R...
Published: 02/20/18
Defensive linemen who could follow Brentson Buckner to Bucs

Defensive linemen who could follow Brentson Buckner to Bucs

Now that the Bucs have announced that Brentson Buckner is their new defensive line coach, could his connections help shape Tampa Bay's search to upgrade their pass rush this offseason?The chance to play for a familiar position coach can be a major fa...
Published: 02/20/18
Bucs agree to terms with Brentson Buckner to be their defensive line coach

Bucs agree to terms with Brentson Buckner to be their defensive line coach

Brentson Buckner didn't need to bring his resume when he interviewed for the Bucs' job as defensive line coach. No references were needed, either.All the Bucs had to do was ask quarterback Jameis Winston whether the Arizona Cardinals defensive line w...
Published: 02/19/18
On the mend: Bucs’ Noah Spence posts workout pic

On the mend: Bucs’ Noah Spence posts workout pic

Defensive end Noah Spence, whose two NFL seasons have both been limited by injuries to his right shoulder, is getting himself healthy for the 2018 season.Spence has kept a low profile since the Bucs placed him on injured reserve in late October, a mo...
Published: 02/19/18
Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Video: Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick gives advice to Little Leaguers

Ryan Fitzpatrick is an unrestricted free agent, and his future with the Bucs remains uncertain. But the veteran quarterback is still very much here in Tampa and still sharing his wisdom with younger athletes.In this case, they're much younger —...
Published: 02/19/18
Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

Jameis Winston is about to get a big pay raise. It will cost the Bucs more than money

TAMPA – Jameis Winston is heading for a big payday with the Bucs. He's played well enough to make that an easy decision.But what impact will that have on the type of players they surround him with?The Bucs are expected to exercise the fifth-yea...
Published: 02/16/18
Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

Bucs interview Brentson Buckner for defensive line job

The Bucs continue to move quickly with the defensive line opening on Dirk Koetter's coaching staff, interviewing former Cardinals assistant Brentson Buckner.Buckner, 46, spent the last five years as Arizona's defensive line coach, leading the unit to...
Published: 02/16/18