The Buccaneers coaches probably aren't better than last year's coaches

Brian Blanco

Positivity is a great thing for a fan. Unfortunately, we have a burden to be realistic -- and realism says that the relentless spin on Lovie Smith's coaches is a bit over the top.

A new coach is in town, bringing along a professional coaching staff. Finally, those guys will get these players to play well. There should be automatic improvement just from not having Greg Schiano around. The idiotic schemes are finally gone. The position coaches aren't straight out of college (you know, mostly).

Optimism is fun, though pessimism has its attractions, like allowing you to be a sarcastic ass. But optimism isn't reality. And in this case, much of this is motivated reasoning. To feel good about the upcoming season, the changes made have to be positive -- and that means everything that was different last year has to be bad, too, including the coaching staff.

When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Greg Schiano, one of the reasons we assumed improvement was that the team quit on Raheem Morris, and that his coaching staff wasn't very good. That was born out by the fact that a lot of Morris' coaches weren't re-hired (and he's still stuck as a position coach in Washington, D.C.). The assumption of automatic improvement turned out to have been a bit of a failure, though.

The reality is that we don't really know any of this. It's an assumption that, to a large extent, is not realistic. I will say that the scheme improvements are real -- there were genuine overall scheme problems with last year's team. But that doesn't mean the new schemes will be perfect, either, especially on offense. But individual coaches -- we don't know whether they're any better.

Yes, Greg Schiano had some inexperienced coaches on his team. Yes, some of those coaches came from college or even Rutgers -- but they were still professional football coaches, who have coached football for their entire careers, most of whom are still employed as professional football coaches. In addition, several of Lovie Smith's coaches also come directly from college. Most notably, the rock star offensive coordinator and his main assistants.

We can't pretend that Greg Schiano's people were completely incompetent, and that these new coaches are the best thing since sliced bread. They're all professional football coaches. They're not nincompoops. They know what they're doing -- yes, even the fired coaches.

Individual coaches may be an improvement. Offensive line coach George Warhop and defensive line coach Joe Cullen have received rave reviews -- but then, new coaches often receive rave reviews. It feels like we've penned stories on how these new (offensive/defensive) line coaches were going to make a massive difference every other year. That assumption is just an assumption, often unfounded, and nothing more.

The reality is that from the outside looking in, we can't evaluate the quality of these coaches in any meaningful way. Some individual coaches may be better, others may be worse. Some may make a massive difference, others may not. And at the end of the day, the players are still the ones who are going to have to do the work -- and generally speaking, coaches don't suddenly make a bad player, good.

So, is it nice to tell ourselves stories that these new 'professional' coaches will make a big difference? Yes. It'd be a lot nicer if those stories were grounded in reality.

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