When Darrelle Revis was traded from the New York Jets to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a first-round draft pick, signing a six-year contract worth $96-million, he didn’t envision playing for a winless football team in a town hoisting up billboards calling for head coach Greg Schiano’s job.
“This is as low as you can get right now, being 0-7,” said the All-Pro cornerback after the Bucs’ 31-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night. “It’s tough, man. It really is. I really don’t even know what to say. We’re 0-7. That’s where we’re at. And hopefully we dig ourselves out of this hole soon.”
The public has been particularly vocal in the last few weeks after Schiano was alleged to have stripped former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman of his captaincy and leaked his status in the NFL substance abuse program. And then Schiano’s defense began to fall apart, surrendering a combined 93 points in the last three games combined.
There has been talk, from fans and from analysts like Deion Sanders and Ron Jaworski, saying he and Bill Sheridan’s defense features too much zone coverage and doesn’t allow Revis to play man-to-man, his true strength.
Last night on the Panthers’ opening drive, the Bucs lined up in man-defense until third-and-9, in which they switched to zone and allowed wide receiver Steve Smith a 21-yard pickup, which set up Carolina’s first score of the day.
“I’m the type of guy where whatever [the coach] calls, you’ve got to play, and that’s what we’ve got to do. And that’s what it is. [If] we’re playing man, man, and then we drop back in zone – we’ve got to executive the zone – that’s what we’ve got to do, whatever he calls,” Revis said.
There have also been complaints about the defensive front doing too many stunts in an effort to put pressure on the quarterback, allowing Newton to escape pressure and gain huge chunks of yardage.
When asked if he still believed in the game plan he and his teammates were given each week, Revis responded, “I don’t know. I don’t know. We’ve got a game plan every week and we’ve got to stick to the game plan. We’ve got to abide by the game plan and what we’re trying to do to win.”
“I don’t think guys are literally going out there and trying to do their own thing. Every game it’s mistakes, up and down the board. The thing, the word we have to get to and have to focus on is consistency – that’s all. And at this point, that’s a hard word to try to do that, to try to be consistent. We’re not. We’re not being consistent across the board and it’s hurting us.”
Revis didn’t stick up for Schiano or Sheridan, although he was given the opportunity to, instead referring to management being responsible for the decisions made about the coaching staff and that his job is merely to suit up and play. He did make it clear, however, that he and his teammates haven’t given up on each other.
“There [are] a lot of things being tested. We’ve been saying that since the season started. We’ve got to continue to do that. We’ve got to. I’ll tell you one thing about this locker room – nobody is pointing the fingers [and] nobody is calling their teammates out. We’re sticking together as much as we can because it’s a tough time for us.”