Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano seemed to be destined to hit the door after an 0-8 start to the season, but more performances like Sunday’s 41-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons suggest he may be able to keep his job after all.
“There’s been a lot of stuff going on throughout the whole year. When you see a guy like that keeping his head up, keeping the fight going…we just feed off that,” linebacker Lavonte David said afterwards.
“You want to make him proud, not just our team but make him proud. He put us in great positions, he takes care of us at practice, so we just try to come out here and prove a point, to play the football that we know how to play.”
Some of that may have to do with the typically-rigid Schiano making a conscientious effort to make practices lighter during the week, believing his players would be more relaxed on Sundays.
It also may stem from a recent meeting with defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, who requested that Schiano incorporate more in-line rushing and less stunting upfront. Schiano acknowledged the meeting, saying he’s always tried to make a conscientious effort to get player feedback.
“I think what we’ve tried to do all year is visit with Gerald, visit with the defensive line, and take their ideas,” Schiano said Monday. “They’re the ones doing it; they’ve got to feel good doing it. That’s my whole point is you learn most from the players and what we’re always trying to do for Gerald because he’s a dominant player, if you watch the game tape from yesterday there’s times where he’s virtually unblockable.”
McCoy finished Sunday’s game with a career-high three sacks, which matched his season total. He said Schiano issued the team a challenge prior to Sunday’s game.
“‘Are we going to have a Monday Night Football hangover or are we going to come out and keep building off the momentum from Monday night?’ This was a perfect set up to come out tired, happy so much off getting our first win, so coach said ‘Who are you going to be today?’ and we just came out on fire.”
Regardless of what coaching changes Schiano has employed the last few weeks or what tactics he’s used to motivate his team after eight-straight losses, the improvement has been noticeable, particularly in the way the defensive line is playing and in the offense overcoming the loss of two starting running backs and the team’s No. 2 receiver.
Still, the best this team can do at this point is .500, one win over the team’s 7-9 record last year. Will that be enough to save his job? If the team continues to perform at a high level like it did Sunday and string together more wins, it’s possible.