Bucs fire coach Greg Schiano, GM Mark Dominik
Greg Schiano believes he changed the Tampa Buccaneers for the
better, though not enough to save his job.
The embattled Bucs coach was fired Monday after two losing years
extended the franchise’s playoff drought to six seasons. General
manager Mark Dominik was also ousted, ending an unsuccessful
five-year stint that produced flashes of hope but far more
disappointment than ownership felt was acceptable.
”The results over the past two years have not lived up to our
standards and we believe the time has come to find a new
direction,” Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said in a brief
statement released a day after a season-ending 42-17 loss to the
New Orleans dropped Schiano’s record to 11-21.
”Mark has been a valued member of our organization for two
decades and we respect the passion he showed for the Buccaneers
during his time here,” Glazer added. ”We thank Greg for his hard
work and effort the past two seasons, but we feel these moves are
necessary in order to achieve our goals.”
In typical Bucs fashion, the reclusive owners of the team
announced the third coaching change in five years with a one
paragraph statement and did not schedule a news conference to
discuss the situation. Schiano had three years and $9 million
remaining on his contract.
Schiano thanked the Glazer family for the opportunity to coach
the Bucs, and also expressed gratitude to his players, coaching
staff and fans.
His biggest regret simply was not winning enough games to
reflect the progress he feels the Bucs made under him.
”I think we’re leaving behind a football team that is better
than when we got here,” Schiano told reporters at a hotel near the
team’s training facility.
”It was quite an honor and I enjoyed every day of it,” the
coach added. ”We didn’t get it done. I accept responsibility for
Word of the firing broke less than 30 minutes after the team
closed the locker room, where players were sorting through
equipment and belongings before scattering for the offseason. They
met with the coaching and medical staff for exit interviews and
physicals. They had not been informed of the dismissals before
media was allowed into the room.
Many, including Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, had
hoped Schiano would keep his job.
”It’s tough for the players to see your coaches go. You never
want to see anybody get fired,” McCoy said after the announcement.
”Me personally, I haven’t had any consistency in my career. Third
head coach, going on my fifth year and three head coaches. Add up
everybody, it’ll be six d-line coaches.”
The Bucs went 7-9 in their first season under Schiano,
collapsing after a 6-4 start that had the team in playoff
After trading for three-time All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis
and signing safety Dashon Goldson in free agency to bolster a
porous defense, the team entered training camp this season with
But a messy split with former quarterback Josh Freeman, an
outbreak of MRSA infections in the locker room and reports that
Schiano was losing the support of players tiring of his rules and
coaching style dogged the team during an 0-8 start that put the
coach’s job in jeopardy.
Despite having a rookie quarterback and finishing with 16
players on injured reserve, including running back Doug Martin and
receiver Mike Williams, the Bucs went 4-4 over the second half of
the season. That hardly seemed like progress, though, because the
offense got progressively worse and finished last in the NFL in
passing and total yardage.
Still, players seemed impressed with the way Schiano held the
team together, insisting right up until the end that the coach
never lost the locker room.
”In times like that you see a lot of guys crumble, a lot of
guys break. You never saw a different attitude with him,” McCoy
said. ”… He’s the most consistent thing in the building, I will
give him that.”
Schiano was hired in January 2012, leaving Rutgers to take over
a team that ended its final 10 games under Raheem Morris on a
10-game losing streak. He inherited one the NFL’s worst defenses,
but also a young quarterback in Freeman, who won 10 games in his
first full season as a starter and became the franchise’s first
4,000-yard passer in Schiano’s first year in Tampa Bay.
But Freeman’s relationship with Schiano soured when the Bucs
dropped five of the final six games of 2012, with Freeman’s
inconsistency contributing to the slide. The fifth-year quarterback
was benched and subsequently released after an 0-3 start this
season, replaced by rookie Mike Glennon, a third-round draft pick
who went 4-9 in 13 starts.
The Bucs have not made the playoffs since 2007 under former
coach Jon Gruden. They haven’t won a postseason game since their
2002 run that produced the franchise’s only Super Bowl title.
Part of the blame for the poor performance rests with Dominik,
who was named general manager in 2009 – the year Morris was
promoted from defensive coordinator to replace Gruden.
Dominik survived Morris’ firing after a 4-12 finish two years
ago. But in the end, a spotty draft record, the mishandling of
Freeman’s situation, and the team’s 28-52 mark during a five-season
tenure as GM became impossible to overlook.
Schiano said whoever follows him as coach will take over a good
”I’m proud of the culture we developed here,” Schiano said.
”On the field, I think we’re closer than people think.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org