Despite being 0-7 and losing 31-13 in a nationally-televised contest Thursday night, along with media reports of disgruntled players, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano firmly believes he has a hold of the locker room.
“We have 61 guys in that locker room that I believe in and I really strongly feel they believe in me. Does belief get tested when you have an 0-7 record? Absolutely. I’m sure it gets tested both ways when someone misses a play. But at the end the day, I look at, I know that these guys are busting their guts to do it.”
He’s not oblivious to mounting pressure to win, however, acknowledging the high year-to-year turnover rate between players and coaches and that they all must direct attention inward to identify and fix the team’s problems.
“I think we all realize that it’s a performance-based business. Players and coaches, we’re paid to win. That’s what it’s about. We owe it to the fans, our fans, our city, our community, to win. That’s what we’re paid to do. When you don’t win, there’s consequence, no doubt.”
Schiano acknowledges the boo-birds
When the boo-birds started chirping two weeks ago in the Southwest corner of Raymond James Stadium, Schiano said that he didn’t hear the noise of disgruntled fans when he left the stadium.
This time, however, he acknowledged them.
“I do understand the fans’ frustration. I have some say in how to fix it. Our players have some say – the fans don’t. All the fans can do is watch and take what’s out there. And lately, it hasn’t been good enough.”
He added, “I understand their frustration totally and we’ve just got to give them a better product, and that’s what it’s all about.”
The Bucs defense kept them in some close games early on in the season, surrendering an average of 16.5 points per game through the first four games. In the last three, they’ve given up an average of 31. Schiano said the reasons vary.
“The two previous games, it was about balls going over our heads, it was about deep pass plays. Last night was about loss of leverage on a scrambling quarterback. We had three sacks and we missed six other opportunities to sack the quarterback. We need to keep the proper leverage.”
On the Panthers’ first possession, Newton scrambled left for a 16-yard run to the Tampa Bay 19 on third-and-12. He also had a 19 yard run up the gut on second-and-10 in the third quarter, capping off the drive with a 6-yard rushing touchdown.
Other times Newton was able to escape pressure by moving out of the pocket to find open receivers, with the defense failing to contain him.
Tight end Tom Crabtree aggravated an ankle injury during Thursday night’s loss … Safety Keith Tandy also suffered an ankle injury … Cornerback Johnthan Banks suffered a hip injury … Wide receiver Mike Williams continues to deal with a hamstring injury, with Schiano stating that Williams has an undisclosed condition and that “it’s just a matter if he can play with it”… Linebacker Dekoda Watson suffered a shoulder injury. His prognosis is unknown … Schiano is hopeful the extended weekend will help injuries heal up. “Hopefully [free safety] Dashon [Goldson] will be feeling a little better come this week, and maybe even [running back] Doug [Martin] this week. We’ll see.”