August 3, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) talks with wide receiver Mike Williams (19), wide receiver Vincent Jackson (83) and teammates as they huddle up during training camp at One Buc Place. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Stereotypes and tired narratives dominate every training camp discussion, and SB Nation listed a few of them: the disappointing player looking for a rebound season (Josh Freeman, Quincy Black, Mike Williams); the position battle that's supposed to make both players better, but isn't really a battle (Doug Martin vs Legarrette Blount, Mike Williams vs whoever, Quincy Black vs Dekoda Watson). The player who is now in the best shape of his life (Josh Freeman). The rookie who will be a total stud (Doug Martin). Not all of these narratives will turn out to be false, but we hear them every year - and quite often, they're complete nonsense.
One of the stereotypes that wasn't mentioned was the one about new coaches: that old coach couldn't control the locker room, and the new disciplinarian will surely change things completely. Or, the old coach was much too strict and the new coach has brought the 'fun' back to football. Oh, yes, we've heard the first version over and over again for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the second one happens often as well. Just look at last year's San Francisco 49ers, who saw Jim Harbaugh bring some excitement to town after the strict disciplinarian ways of Mike Singletary. Or, hey, remember when Raheem Morris took over for Jon Gruden and everyone talked about how Gruden was dishonest and his players hated him? Yeah, that turned out well in the end.
This is just a simple reminder of one fact: discipline does not equate improvement, no matter how much you'd like to see discipline. Teams have had success with disciplinarian coaches and with "players coaches" for decades. Hall of Famer John Madden ran a very loose ship, while the legendary Jimmy Johnson had some discipline, but also let the players have a lot of fun.
Yes, Greg Schiano has brought discipline back to Tampa Bay. He appears to be running a tight ship. But too much discipline can cause players to lose interest or cramp up on the field. Pro Football Focus suggested that that's exactly what's happening in Tampa Bay, although they're basing that on a few minutes of practice - hardly an educated guess, there. Still, discipline alone isn't a magical fix, even for a team that lacked discipline in the past. We will have to wait for the season to start before we can say anything about the results of Schiano's practice methods.