Bucs Fire Schiano and Dominik

I’d love to sit here and write, “I told you it was coming.” But with the Glazers, you can never tell.

On Monday, “it” did happen. The Buccaneers fired head coach Greg Schiano, who went 4-12 in his second season and 11-21 during his two-year tenure. The axe didn’t stop there; Mark Dominik is also out after five seasons as general manager. During those years, the Bucs were 28-52.

Yes, it was time for a change.

Remember back to last year, when the Bucs were 6-4 after ten games and right in the middle of the playoff hunt? Since then, they’ve gone 5-17. Schiano will be more remembered for incidents like telling his team to rush Eli Manning during a victory formation. Then there was the ugly saga involving former quarterback Josh Freeman. The Bucs got off to an 0-8 start, and never recovered.

Then there’s this: Tampa Bay hasn’t made the playoffs in six years. The Bucs haven’t won a playoff game since they won the Super Bowl.

So who are the potential candidates for the head coaching job? One name I see mentioned a lot online is former Bucs’ assistant coach Lovie Smith, who also has head coaching experience with the Bears. I wouldn’t mind seeing him get the job. But who knows; the Schiano hire came from out of nowhere.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Bucs Now 0-6; Can We Please Fire Schiano?

After another week of the usual nonsense, can we please get rid of Greg Schiano once and for all?

The Bucs lost to the Falcons on Sunday, 31-20. The game wasn’t much different than what we’ve seen all season long: bad coaching, bad play-calling and too many penalties due to a lack of discipline. At some point, the head coach has to take the fall for this mess.

There is one moment I want to focus on: it came in the fourth quarter, with the Bucs trailing by 14 – i.e. two scores. A long drive led to first-and-goal from the 5. Two penalties later, they faced 4th and goal from the 23. Schiano elected to kick a field goal. That accomplished nothing; you’re still down by two scores. Why wouldn’t you go for it, even though you need 23 yards in one play? Yes, I know 4th and 23 is desperation time, but wasn’t Tampa Bay in a desperate situation already? It was a mind-boggling decision that may not have mattered in the end, but we’ll never know.

Mike Glennon threw a couple of TD passes to Vincent Jackson, but also lost a fumble that Atlanta returned for a score. Doug Martin got knocked out of the game trying to catch a pass down by the goal line.

Schiano has now lost 12 of his last 13 games. He’s winless in 2013. The hot seat can only get so broil so much.  Please ship this guy out of town A.S.A.P.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Bucs 0-5; More Heat on Schiano

It just keeps getting worse, doesn’t it?

With a 31-20 loss to the Eagles at Raymond James Stadium, the Bucs are 0-5. There are two things to ponder: will the Bucs win a game this season, and how much longer will Greg Schiano be the head coach? That second point is the one most fans like me are screaming about. First, a quick recap of Sunday’s game:

Mike Glennon played fairly well. He threw for 273 yards and two touchdowns, both to Vincent Jackson, who finished with 114 yards receiving. The Bucs actually had the lead at the half, and were only down by one in the fourth quarter. But this time, the defense was not at its best. They allowed Nick Foles to throw three TD passes, including two to DeSean Jackson.

That’s the game in a nutshell; now back to Schiano. How much longer will the Glazers wait before they pull the trigger on this guy? In my opinion, it can’t some soon enough. First you have the fiasco with Josh Freeman. Then there’s the report in USA Today that Schiano was the one who leaked the information about Freeman taking part in a substance-abuse program. Then you have all those penalties – a sign of an undisciplined team. That’s coaching. Finally, consider this: Schiano has only won one of his last eleven games. The Bucs opened the pocketbook in the offseason and brought guys in to win NOW. Schiano hasn’t done that.

It’s time for a change.

Photo Courtesy: tbo.com

Bucs Cut Freeman

The Josh Freeman era in Tampa Bay is officially over.

The Buccaneers cut him on Thursday, more than a week after he was benched in favor of Mike Glennon following an 0-3 start. The Bucs tried to trade him, but they didn’t find any takers. So they said “adios.”

Here is the official statement from General Manager Mark Dominik from the team’s official website:

 “We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman. We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers.”

Not only does this mean this ugly saga is over, it also means head coach Greg Schiano is next in line to be the fall guy if this season keeps spiraling out of control. If the team doesn’t show any improvement, it’s hard to picture Schiano being the head coach for much longer.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Bucs Blow It Late Against Cardinals

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Buccaneers had a 10-0 lead over the Cardinals on Sunday heading into the fourth quarter. The Bucs were starting a rookie quarterback, who played like…well, a rookie. Yet with the game on the line, Tampa Bay found another way to blow it.

Jay Feely’s 27-yard FG with 1:29 remaining proved to be the difference as the Bucs lost, 13-10.

There is one play in particular that has Bucs fans calling for Greg Schiano’s head (again.) With just over three minutes remaining, and nursing a seven point lead, the coaching staff called a pass play with Tampa Bay deep in its own territory. Mike Glennon picked a bad time to throw his first career NFL interception. Patrick Peterson picked it off, and on the very next play, Carson Palmer found Larry Fitzgerald for the game-tying touchdown.

Glennon had a chance to mount a comeback in the final minute. But he was picked off by Peterson again, and that was that.

Glennon finished 24-of-43 for 193 yards and a touchdown to go along with the two picks. He had some good and some bad moments, typical of what you’d expect from a rookie making his first start. Mike Williams caught the scoring pass in the first quarter. Doug Martin could only muster 45 yards on 27 carries against a Cardinals’ defense that’s among the best in the league in stopping the run.

The defense is not the problem here. This unit has been playing fairly well, and Sunday was no different. They intercepted Palmer twice, including the first by Darrelle Revis as a Buc. When you only give up 13 points, you normally have a good chance of winning. But these are anything but normal times in Tampa.

So now, the Bucs are 0-4, and fans are furious with Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. It’s hard to argue with that, since Tampa Bay has scored a measly 44 points through the first quarter of the season. Will we see another change soon?

The Bucs have their bye week next week. Praise the Lord for that.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Week 4 Preview: Buccaneers vs. Cardinals

On Sunday, the winless Buccaneers will host the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

The headline here is obvious: this will be rookie Mike Glennon’s first career NFL start.  He takes over for Josh Freeman, who was benched this week after an ineffective first three games.

Glennon takes over an offense ranked 31st in total yards.  The Bucs have only scored 34 points in three games, and six of those came on an interception return.  So it’ll be a challenge for Glennon to put points on the board.  He does have Doug Martin in the backfield, who’s rushed for nearly 300 yards so far.  Expect him to see a lot more action in an attempt to take pressure off the rookie quarterback.  The Cards, however, are third-best in the league in stopping the run.  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered a rib injury against the Patriots.  It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play on Sunday.

Defensively, the Bucs will try to control the league’s 26th-ranked passer, Carson Palmer.  The Cardinals rank 23rd in total offense.  That’s bad, but not as bad as Tampa Bay.  And just as the Bucs got blown out in New England last week, Arizona suffered a similar fate in New Orleans.

Kickoff is at 1:00 on FOX.  Your announcers are Sam Rosen and Heath Evans.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Bucs Bench Freeman After Abysmal Start

The decision that seemed inevitable has finally been made. Quarterback Josh Freeman is walking the plank.

The Bucs, off to an 0-3 start and sputtering badly on offense, have benched Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon. The rookie from North Carolina State will make his first career NFL start on Sunday against the Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

After setting passing records last season, Freeman never got his act together through the first three games of 2013. He completed just 45% of his passes (43-of-94) for 571 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Tampa Bay has only scored 34 points through three games. Only Jacksonville has scored fewer. Yes, his receivers have dropped some passes. But in the NFL, when things are not going well, the quarterback is the first player on the offensive side of the ball to take the fall. And if things continue to go south, how much longer will Greg Schiano be the head coach?

Then there are the off-the-field issues: missing the team photo, not being elected as team captain. Freeman is in the final year of his contract, and you have to wonder if he’s played his final game in Tampa Bay. There are rumblings that the Bucs are willing to trade him.

The Bucs picked Glennon in the third round of this year’s draft. He becomes the third rookie QB to start in the NFL this year. Geno Smith (Jets) and E.J. Manuel (Bills) are the others.

The way things have gone so far, Tampa Bay had to do something to shake things up. We’ll find out if Glennon is the Bucs’ quarterback of the future. He has 13 games to show what he’s got, starting Sunday against Arizona.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Inept Bucs Fall To 0-3 With Loss To Patriots

Another week, another awful performance by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense.

The Bucs could only muster three points on Sunday afternoon against the Patriots in a 23-3 loss. The Bucs are now 0-3, and in sole possession of last place in the NFC South.

For the third game in a row, Josh Freeman failed to complete 50% of his passes. He finished 19-41 for 236 yards, and an interception to former Buccaneer Aqib Talib late in the first half that led to a Patriots’ field goal. He also missed an open Tim Wright in the end zone. Vincent Jackson dropped two passes, including one that would’ve set up the Bucs inside the Pats’ 5. The Bucs turned it over on downs twice. Ryan Lindell missed another field goal. It was a day of missed opportunities, especially in the first half.

And eventually, you knew that Tom Brady would start catching on with his young receivers. Kenbrell Thompkins caught both of Brady’s touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Pats built a 17-3 halftime lead. The way the Bucs offense has been playing this year, there wasn’t much hope of a comeback.

Doug Martin rushed for a hard-fought 88 yards.

After committing double-digit penalties in each of the first two games, the Bucs only had four penalties against New England.

So now, the Bucs face more of the same questions. They have a quarterback who can’t complete half of his passes. They’ve only scored 34 points through three games, and one of those touchdowns was Mason Foster’s interception return against the Saints. The defense is much-improved from last year, but they can’t do it all. How much longer will Greg Schiano stick with Freeman? The coach seems adamant that Freeman’s his guy. Some of us would beg to differ.

Next week: The Bucs return home to face the Arizona Cardinals.

Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

Week 3 Preview: Buccaneers at Patriots

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new-found soap opera rolls into Foxboro this weekend for a matchup with the undefeated Patriots.

So, how many penalties will the Bucs end up with this time around? They had 13 in Week 1, and ten more in Week 2. The flags have been very costly. Can the Bucs clean up their act in a hurry? They’re going to have to, for them to have any chance to get a win in New England.

Josh Freeman is completing just 45% of his passes through the first two games. There are still plenty of rumblings surrounding his relationship with head coach Greg Schiano. We’ll let the local/national media deal with those “reports.” All we know is Freeman’s on-field performance has been less than subpar so far.

Dashon Goldson will play against the Patriots. His one-game suspension for his hit on Darren Sproles was overturned this week, though Goldson was fined $100,000.

With everything surround the Bucs these days, Doug Martin is not a player to be concerned with. He’s rushed for over 200 yards through the first two games.

The Patriots are off to a 2-0 start, though a lot of the talk has been about how un-Patriot-like they’ve played so far. You have to think – eventually they’re going to break out of their funk.

Kickoff is Sunday at 1:00 on FOX. For the third week in a row, your announcers are Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch. Lynch has had pretty of time already to criticize his former team.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Bucs Doomed Again By Penalties and Mistakes in Loss to Saints

In many ways, this game was eerily similar to the opener against the Jets.

Once again, the Buccaneers had way too many penalties. Once again, their quarterback had an uninspiring day. And once again, they allowed their opponent to get into field goal range at the end of the game and beat them. The Bucs lost to the Saints on Sunday night, 16-14, in a game that was delayed by more than an hour by the weather.

Let’s jump right to the fourth quarter before we look at some of the numbers. Mason Foster picked off Drew Brees and returned it 85 yards down the right sideline to give the Bucs the lead at 14-13. It stayed that way until the final 90 seconds. The Bucs had 3rd and 6 from the New Orleans’ 32. The Saints were out of timeouts. A first down ends the game. The Bucs decided to hand it off to Doug Martin – who had a huge game – but he failed to pick up the first down this time around. Ryan Lindell missed a 47-yard field goal. The Saints took over with just over a minute to go, but Brees made it look easy, marching his team down the field, inside the Tampa Bay 10. Garrett Hartley made a 27-yarder, and the Bucs were 0-2.

Think Greg Schiano will be questioned about that 3rd down play call? You’d better believe it.

And then there were all those penalties. Last week, they had 13. On Sunday, they had 10 more. They’ve been flagged for over 100 yards in each of the first two games. Many of the penalties have involved communication issues or personal fouls. That’s lack of discipline. And it’s pretty clear the coaching staff hasn’t done enough to address this serious problem.

Then, there’s Josh Freeman. He needed to have a big game, and he didn’t. And when he finally hit Vincent Jackson for what appeared to be a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter, it was nullified by – you guessed it – a penalty. Two plays later, Freeman threw an interception. He didn’t do nearly enough to silence his critics. He finished just 9-of-22 for 125 yards.

On a positive note, Martin had 29 carries for 144 yards. It was nice to see him get going after a rough opener in the Meadowlands. As for the defense: geez, if they can only get rid of these stupid penalties, they’d be a pretty good unit.  They allowed Jimmy Graham to do whatever he pleased in the first half, however.  For the second straight week, they held an opponent to less than 20 points.

NEXT WEEK: The Bucs come up north to play the Patriots.

Photo Courtesy: tbo.com