Former Bucs great and Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp is back in Tampa as part of the NFL Network’s broadcast team for Thursday night’s Bucs and Panthers matchup, and wasted no time sharing his no-holds barred style of opinion on the problems in Tampa Bay, in particular with Greg Schiano.
“When it is your way or the highway, you must win,” Sapp said. “And when you are telling your team to play a certain way and this should bring you home a win, and that doesn’t happen, people are going to look around that locker room like ‘Hey we are doing exactly what he is telling us to do, and we aren’t winning football games. So it has to be on the coach.
“You know what I think, we put way too much on these players meetings, players only meetings. The coach has to give you a plan and then you can go out and – because it’s not always about the X’s and O’s sometimes it is about the Willies and the Joes. You have to put some things together; you have to have your ball club believing in what you are doing. I don’t really think the Bucs believe in what they are doing. And right now without Doug Martin, what is their identity?”
Sapp was asked by the morning crew on NFL AM his thoughts on the Bucs scheme and how cornerback Darrelle Revis is being used.
“And then on defense I have never been around a football team when you call out one of the big dogs like DeSean Jackson did to Darrelle Revis and you don’t sic your dog back on that little dog,” Sapp said. “You have to be kidding me? You want some of this Revis Island buddy? Get on here, it’s famished, no water, it is going to be a long afternoon for you. And then we roll the coverage somewhere else? We know how this works when you have a dominant corner. But for some reason down here in Tampa, they forgot how to play defense.”
Sapp continued his thoughts on the issues with the schemes employed by Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan, including the use of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
“Once you play dominant defense, they you have a chance to go out and give your offense a chance to win it at the end of the game, with a Josh Freeman, with a young quarterback with a running game,” Sapp said. “The one thing that has always been strong in Tampa is the defense. And right now they are wasting Gerald McCoy on the left side not moving him, flipping him from side to side. He is the exact player I am if not bigger and better. But if you let him swing side to side and let him find the mismatch and then once it starts upfront, then you have started a fire that runs through the whole defense. And there is not a better backend in the NFL then what we have in Tampa, and we are not taking advantage of it.”
Before his segment ended Sapp went back to his thoughts on Revis, and the Buccaneers inability to put him in the best position to succeed in Sapp’s opinion.
“I am watching the scheme not fit the man,” Sapp said. “Because I am a firm believer that it is not the scheme. You can draw up all you want, but it is the man in the scheme with the skill. And you are telling me someone is coming to Tampa and they are telling me, ‘Sapp we are going to give you one-on-ones all day. And what I am not going to show up for the one-on-one?’ You want my No. 1 cornerback that we are paying $16 million to? Go out there all day long and we are going to see if he is worth $16 million and we are going to see if you can catch a pass on him. We are fixing to find out if he is back from the ACL. You have everything in that challenge you want down here in Tampa, and for some reason Schiano and company. ducked it. I don’t understand that.”
But Sapp wasn’t the only on putting Schiano on blast. NFL.com writer Michael Silver wrote a scathing piece published on NFL.com Thursday morning, and quoted former Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett and a other sources who described the players’ disdain for Schiano.
In his article Silver wrote; “Barring a shocking and almost inconceivable turnaround during his second season of running the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ultra-tight pirate ship, he’ll likely leave with a whimper, dashing back to college football during or after the conclusion of this miserable campaign.
With an 0-6 record in 2013 and 11 defeats in his last 12 games dating back to last November, Schiano is underperforming in an unforgiving industry, which is reason enough for the Glazer family to fire him. Yet this coaching faceplant transcends losing.
As the Bucs prepare to host the Carolina Panthers on NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football,” it’s abundantly clear that Schiano and the NFL is as poor a fit as Yasiel Puig and the NLCS, on so many levels. Most glaringly, the autocratic Schiano operates with an inherent deficit of respect, both for America’s preeminent sports league and for the men he’s trying to lead.
And yes, you’ll notice I used the word men. That’s because I’ve spoken to enough people who’ve played for Schiano during his two NFL seasons to conclude that he treats his players like children, which is a major reason he has lost his locker room.
“How bad is it there? It’s worse than you can imagine,” says one NFL player who spent 2012 with the Bucs. “It’s like being in Cuba.” Silver went on to quote Bennett.
“I think he just wants to flex his power,” Bennett says. “He has small (man’s) syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there, and trust me, there’s not much respect for him in that locker room.”
Schiano and the Buccaneers need a win desperately on Thursday night and the criticism of the organization has evolved from the local media and fans to the national level. Without a drastic turnaround, the heat on Schiano may be too much for the Glazers to ignore, and changes may come sooner rather than later.
You can see the full Sapp interview and read the full Silver article here.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, surfing and family time at the beach. In addition, Cook can be found in front of a television or in Doak Campbell any time the FSU Seminoles are playing. Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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