First of all, this post is all about one thing: playing devil's advocate. I've got a disturbing feeling that the Glazers and some other pundits are starting to build a case for retaining Schiano for 2014. I honestly don't know how I feel about this, so I'm asking the community.
We're still seeing hard-nosed play from the Bucs. No blowouts, and some improvement. So I'm taking a moment to just point out how, or if, it may be possible for the Glazers to keep Schiano around. Please don't call me an idiot. I'm not taking sides, just starting a discussion and trying to fathom what we as fans may be subjected to next season. So here's a list of things they are starting to do better that may prove he's worth keeping around. Let me know what you think in the comments.
#1. Schiano must get more wins for any of this to matter, and the team must be competitive in every. Single. Loss in order for him to stick around. And even the losses can't be squandering leads. They must be more like a shootout scenario, coming down to who has the ball last, for any of this to work.
#2. The team, and the coaching, is starting to improve. The play calling isn't stellar, but two weeks in a row it was a little better. A more aggressive game plan in first half of the last two games proves it. The pin your ears back and rush the passer--oh my god we have a defensive line--calls at the end of the Dolphins game is a case in point. It HAS TO GET BETTER faster, but I think we're seeing that. SCHIANO IS A SLOW LEARNER, but he's starting to see the error of his ways. If he continues, he might be dangerous with this talent-laden roster.
#3. Glennon has to continue proving cutting Freeman was a smart move. I think this is the biggest thing Schiano has going for him. He took a risk on a player he loved, cut a proven starter at the most important position on the field, and the team got better. Is Glennon the answer? Who knows, but the QB play certainly is better and he looks far more confident than Freeman, and he doesn't loaf on the field. No one is crowning him king, but no one is knocking him or Schiano for the move. That move took guts. Give credit where it's due?
#3. Rookies are stepping up, proving Schiano knows how to help pick players and develop them. Glennon, Banks, James, Gholston (!) this year, and the three top rookies from last year are serious contributors, and there are a handful of rookies who have seen time. Even if all the kinks haven't been worked out in the schemes, they are clearly doing a better job of stocking the cupboard with him as HC. Maybe I'm crazy, but it feels like we're finally getting an acceptable bang for the buck out the draft these last two years. They can't all be home runs, but if you get three starters out of each draft--James was clearly capable, Banks, and Revis was technically a first rounder this past year--you're going to improve quickly. These moves weren't entirely Dominik.
I, for one, can't wait to see the roster after the next draft, no matter who is in charge.
#4. The defense. It's not perfect, but 2 yards last week rushing and a middle of the pack (15-16th overall?) rating isn't too shabby. If the offense had clicked like it did for that stretch last year, this team would be demolishing everyone. That's on Schiano. If he fixes the zone BS...wow.
#5. Most coaches get a pass for a rookie QB, plus there were a host of other problems that were beyond his control, including MRSA and no one has mentioned Barth's injury for a while. FGs have not been a granted, and if we were able to score 3 from fifty yards out, that might have had an impact on several games. There has been a lot of uncontrollable drama he can use to plead his case.
#6. The Belichick factor. I live in New England, and I hate the evil genius, but Schiano has his endorsement, and has always received accolades for having a great football mind. Belichick failed in his first HC job, and look at him now. No one wants to pass on that kind of coach.
What he Schiano to do from here on out to make any of this matter:
Never. EVER let his foot off the gas like he did in Seattle. I cringe every time he downs the ball before the half.
Stop the stupid holding calls.
Fix the personal foul stupidity that has plagued this team since NY.
Fix the zone defense or scrap it.
Crush every team with a losing record left on the schedule.
Continue to prove he can run the ball with rookies and never-weres. That says A LOT to me about Byner and the O-line development. Even Coughlin has bad years, but his teams improve.
And there's a poll...