Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Schiano knows margin is thin in NFL

Greg Schiano has seen his team win two in a row after an 0-8 start.

Greg Schiano has seen his team win two in a row after an 0-8 start.

TAMPA — Greg Schiano held his left thumb and index finger less than an inch apart in explaining the difference between the play of his Bucs' team which lost its first eight games this season and the one that won its past two.

"It's this. The National Football League is this, it really is," Schiano said a day after the Bucs' 41-28 victory over Atlanta. "It's such a fine line. It can be confidence, it can be guys coming back from their surgeries starting to feel more like their old self, it can be rookies that are getting their opportunity and are gaining confidence."

This month, the Bucs started to resemble the team many thought it would be from the beginning. First, there was the surprising performance in an overtime loss Nov. 3 at Seattle, followed by back-to-back wins in six days against the Dolphins and Falcons.

The turnaround has some fans wondering: Where was this the first half of the year?

"I understand their frustration," Schiano said. "But we can't look back."

Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who had three sacks Sunday and four in his past two games, agreed.

"You knew it was there," McCoy said. "You knew we had the ability to do it. There was just something missing. … We had a lot of opportunities. The same opportunity came up Monday night (against the Dolphins). We finished the game and all the opportunities we had Sunday we took advantage of.

"I guess you could say, "Where was that earlier in the year?' But you don't want to look in the past."

Three games ago Schiano, tired of watching rookie quarterback Mike Glennon average more than 45 pass attempts in his first four games, insisted that the Bucs return to a strong run-first team.

As Glennon's attempts fell (an average of 22 the past three games) the rushing production rose. On Sunday running back Bobby Rainey, claimed off waivers from Cleveland on Oct. 21, rushed for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries. He also had a touchdown catch.

"We're playing more within our identity," Schiano said. "The run doesn't set up everything. I think the pass can set up the run, the run can set up the pass. … Go back to what we are, who we are."

Rainey is the third Buc to rush for at least 140 yards in a game this season, joining Doug Martin and Mike James, who are on injured reserve. That's a testament to the offensive line, which got a boost three weeks ago with Jamon Meredith at left guard and right guard Davin Joseph healing from knee surgery.

"I think they've just stuck with it," Schiano said. "I think a guy like Davin Joseph has battled back. … He's not back to where he's going to be, but he's starting to get back to that area"

Getting the first win, Nov. 11 against Miami, was a huge psychological hurdle, Schiano said.

"When you're trying to find your stride and you have a bunch of guys coming back, there is a little uncertainty," he said. "Let's not kid ourselves. This guy had surgery, that guy had surgery. There's a lot of guys thinking, 'Am I going to be my old self?' And then you don't win.'

Schiano credited his players for sticking together through an 0-8 start, the release of quarterback Josh Freeman and an outbreak of MRSA that infected three players.

"As far as the team, I appreciate the way they've persevered through a lot of things, a lot of adversity," Schiano said. "They've stayed the course and I think as a result, the team has grown closer."

Schiano knows margin is thin in NFL 11/18/13 [Last modified: Monday, November 18, 2013 9:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Cannon Fodder podcast: Sorting through the Bucs' injuries


    Greg Auman sorts through the Bucs players sidelined with injury and illness in the latest edition of our Cannon Fodder podcast.

    Kwon Alexander left the Bucs' game against the Bears with a hamstring injury. [WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times]
  2. College football week 4: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions


    The Times' college football coverage team makes its picks for week 4 of the college football season:

    USF coach Charlie Strong and the Bulls face Temple in a 7:30 p.m. game Thursday at Raymond James Stadium. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Young girl injured by 105 mph foul at Yankee Stadium renews call for more netting


    NEW YORK — A young girl at Yankee Stadium was injured by a 105 mph foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier during Wednesday's game against Minnesota, leading some players to call for protective netting to be extended.

    Baseball fans reacts as a young girl is tended to before she is carried out of the seating area after being hit by a line drive in the fifth inning of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017, at Yankee Stadium in New York. [Associated Press]
  4. Clearwater enjoys view from the top


    CLEARWATER — The offense still has a familiar feel. Short passes become big gains. Linemen drive their opponents in reverse, forcefully and repeatedly. Runs along the sideline continue to leave defenders breathlessly behind.

    The outcomes are similar, too.

    Clearwater’s Brandon Gary, from left, Jacob Day, Damon Dennis and Jarius Williams celebrate a turnover recovery deep in Countryside High territory during the second quarter of Monday’s game at Countryside. Clearwater won 35-14.
  5. Rick and Tom podcast: Lots of questions for college football teams in Florida


    In just three weeks, the state of college football in Florida went from high expectations to lots of questions at USF with slow starts, Florida with no offense and Florida State losing quarterback Deondre …

    Despite slow starts, quarterback Quinton Flowers and USF take a 3-0 record into tonight's game against Temple. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]