Wednesday, February 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Schiano tweaking tight-fisted approach

INDIANAPOLIS — Last year in a poll of NFL players, Greg Schiano was voted the coach they would least like to play for. The survey did not include Bucs players, who might have had a thing or two to say about being under the thumb of their heavy-handed coach.

Schiano is wound tighter than a Josh Freeman spiral. Players still have to have their toes on the line when it comes to drills and discipline. But the drill sergeant approach might be toned down a bit in Year 2, Schiano says.

"We had one big thing we had to do. We had to establish a culture in the building," he said. "Sometimes you have to go overboard one way or another to get that culture established. But I think at this point, our football team understands who I am and how our football program is going to be run. I think that happened as the season went on."

The devil still is in the details for Schiano. He will continue to insist quarterbacks wear braces on the leg that strides into passes. Players may have to still carry two water bottles to meetings. But other mandatory rules could be suspended. Like what?

"Oh, just some mandatory things I don't think grown men need," Schiano said. "Take mandatory meals. If a guy is meeting his weight — we have goal weights a guy has to meet each week — if a guy is meeting his weight, I don't think they need any of our staff making sure they check in for breakfast and for lunch. They're grown men, they're professional athletes. But again, we had to establish a culture of accountability. But now they understand. And if your weight isn't where it's supposed to be, you will get checked in."

Schiano, 46, is sensitive to criticism that he overworked his players in training camp and practice during the season, as well as the perception that it led to a late swoon after a 6-4 start. Tampa Bay lost five straight before beating Atlanta in the regular-season finale to finish 7-9.

But Schiano points to the limit on padded practices in the new collective bargaining agreement and says he never has worked a football team less.

"Did you overwork them? You can't overwork a team in the National Football League the way the rules are," Schiano said. "I mean, you can't. We went out and practiced shorter than I've ever practiced in this league or any other league. And now, they don't have the pads on. What we have to do is look and say, "What are the things that help our team win games?' Then, 'Are there things we did do just to establish the culture that are no longer necessary?' "

Schiano, who established a reputation for organization and discipline in 12 seasons at Rutgers, knows the Bucs hired him in part because there was a void of discipline on a young team that went 4-12 and lost 10 straight games under Raheem Morris in 2011.

"You're brought there for a reason, otherwise you wouldn't be there," Schiano said. "Very rarely guys leave when everything is great, right? So we needed to establish that, and I think they understand what we expect."

But when the season ended, Schiano made good on his pledge to evaluate everybody, starting with himself. He also sought input from players and coaches.

"There will be a lot of changes," he said. "At the end of the year I spoke with the players, I spoke with the coaches, I took all their input, did some surveys, that sort of thing. I believe that kind of feedback is critical. And then you kind of step back and looked at it. What worked? What didn't work? Why did it work or why didn't it work? Then make some assumptions and then move forward."

Schiano said he believes the Bucs have enough veteran leadership — from receiver Vincent Jackson to guard Davin Joseph — so he doesn't have to be the heavy.

"What I'm really pleased about is that our leadership will teach the new guys that," he said. "Everyone was rookies as far as our way of doing things. Now only our rookies will be rookies and our free agents. We can teach them how we do things. I'm looking forward to that too because I like coaching football, and I like developing a relationship with our players and a lot of times, when you're establishing something, that has to take a backseat because of the greater good of the group. I'm looking forward to just being a coach."

Rick Stroud can be reached at [email protected]tampabay.com and can be heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.

Comments
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...
Updated: 11 hours ago
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
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston investigation, Lightning trade possibilities, more

It’s a Mailbag Friday as Rick Stroud answers your questions, including what will happen with the Jameis Winston investigation, who should the Bucs sign in free agency and would Warren Sapp make a good defensive line coach?Also, who will win more game...
Published: 02/16/18