The soap opera continues for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After head coach Greg Schiano gave Josh Freeman a vote of no-confidence in Week 4, Andrew Brandt of Monday Morning Quarterback reports that there are even fewer players in the Bucs locker room that Schiano trusts at all.
Brandt confirms that what many think of as the worst locker room in the NFL is pervaded by “an atmosphere of fear and distrust.”
According to unnamed players on the team, “coaches [roam] through the locker room [typically the players’ sanctuary away from coaches] and staff [videotape] players on the sidelines during losses to single out players laughing or horsing around.” Even though the Bucs have veterans like Darrelle Revis and Vincent Jackson, Schiano evidently doesn’t trust them to police their own locker room.
More troubling, perhaps, is the game Schiano is playing with his roster, Brandt reports, “The players also speak to the influx of multiple Rutgers players from Schiano’s past and the use of the phrase ‘Schiano Men,’ a term that clearly does not apply to Freeman.”
Split between the active roster, practice squad and reserve list, Schiano currently has seven former Scarlet Knights on the Bucs roster. His decision to start rookie Mike Glennon over Freeman shows a willingness to move on from inherited players and padding the roster with guys he can easily control. Of course, every coach in the NFL holds a preference for the players he drafted, but it appears Schiano is taking this to the extreme by favoring the players he thinks he can trust over working with the players he knows can win.
This isn’t the first time Schiano has been criticized for his coaching style, but with a winless team, a former franchise QB clamoring for his release and a locker room deteriorating right before the NFL’s eyes, it’s hard to imagine that building an inner circle of players he used to coach in college is the best way to rebuild bridges he’s been so keen on burning.
The Buccaneers play Philadelphia in Week 5 and while Chip Kelly has his own struggling team to deal with, no one is calling for him to be fired.