I found myself thinking about this watching the game against the Seahawks. Do I believe? Do I believe they can hold the lead? My answer was no. I questioned the team holding a 21 point lead early in the game and never felt like we had the game locked down. Do I believe Mike Glennon will lead the team on a game winning drive late in the 4th quarter or overtime? Again, my answer was no. As good as he was statistically, I have seen nothing from him that would make me believe he would lead us to victory.
Why am I asking this? Because I have to wonder how much of the losing, both this year and last, was the players vs the coaching. Possibly even the GM, but we'll get into that as well. I'm not looking to open old wounds, or get anyone riled up, but I think it's honestly worth looking at the players we have now, the players we had last year and before and question if the players that are gone were the problem or if the coaches/GM made the right decision in letting them go, but we're still losing.
I can start with Michael Bennett. One of the more vocal former Buccaneers now playing for the Seahawks. Sure, he had a bum shoulder which supposedly led to the Bucs not pursuing him. But he has played 300 snaps for the Seahawks this year with 8 solo tackles and 5.5 sacks. Our best replacement, Te'o-Nesheim, has 296 snaps but only 5 tackles and 1 sack. The supposed heir apparent, Da'Quan Bowers, is relegated to the bench and nowhere near the "double digit" sacks the coach said he expected before the year began. Bennett was vocal when he signed with the Seahawks, stating "They acted like they didn't want me". Other articles quote an unnamed player from last year stating "It's like playing in Cuba" playing for Schiano. So, regardless of whether it was Dom that made the decision or Schiano, there were obviously issues with this coach and staff. Do you believe we did the right thing letting Bennett go? I don't, but I'm not sure he'd have returned unless they made him feel more "wanted" before free-agency.
Another former player was EJ Biggers, who is now with Raheem Morris in Washington. He's not lighting it up in the Redskins secondary, but he's played 208 snaps, got an interception this past weekend, plays special teams and is a serviceable CB. Do you believe he's better than Leonard Johnson or Danny Gorrer? I do, and think we could have kept him around as a CB with starting experience and no off-field issues like Wright (who we cut anyway). Another is LeGarrette Blount for the Patriots. For a guy that can't catch, I find it odd the Patriots are using him on kick returns. I thought you had to catch the ball before you return it? He's averaging 4.5 yards per carry, has 2 TDs and is a fine complimentary back and fairly inexpensive. His performance has outperformed what we got in return in Demps and a 7th round pick. Of course, Mike James had a nice game, but Blount had proven ability to gain 1000 yards a season in the starter's absence. Do you believe we have been making good personnel moves since Schiano has gotten here? Do you believe it's Dom making these moves without Schiano's input? To me, these really seem like Schiano moves more than Dom, but I could be wrong.
Lastly, the one move that will cause a ruckus. Freeman. Yes, I know, he was inconsistent. Good riddance. But wait a minute. Do YOU believe Mike Glennon will lead a 4th quarter comeback? You know how I feel. Regardless of his stats, I have seen nothing from Glennon that says "We're gonna win this game even if I have to do this myself". With Freeman, we were always in games (with the exception of 2011 when the D gave up ridiculous 1st qtr points) and the offense typically had a lead in the 4th quarter, whether we won or lost. 2010 we won more, 2012 we lost more. Even in 2013, we led 2 games with Freeman, only to lose late. With Freeman, I believed we had a chance. I was disappointed more often than not, but not with Freeman, with the defense, the coaching, the loss. With different coaching, different scheme, would Freeman have gotten wins instead of losses? We'll never know, but he always put us in position to win. Do you feel like that with Glennon? Do you feel like we can come back and take the lead in the 4th with Glennon at the helm? I don't, even Schiano has said "We're not at the point where we're going to come storming back and score 30 points"
So, what I'm getting at is whether or not it's time to start questioning not only whether the team can win with this coach, but to start questioning whether or not he's making good decisions with personnel. Did he tell Dom "Let Bennett walk, Bowers is gonna get double digit sacks this year"? Hard to say, but it sure looks like he's whiffed on a few personnel decisions. Those whiffs may take Dom down with him, as Dom backed him up and did what was asked (if indeed they were Schiano's wishes, not Dom's).
Do you believe Schiano has made poor personnel decisions? Do you believe he's let guys go that are better than the guys we have? Do you believe he could do further harm if given the chance in the last 8 weeks? If there is one reason to let Schiano go and insert an interim coach, it's to stop the damage. If the team risks Doug Martin's health by playing him next week, that will be further long term damage. We have no chance to make the playoffs this year. Don't risk Martin. James looked fine. At least give us a chance next year, stop the damage this year, Fire Schiano NOW!!!