Greg Schiano's firing seems to be a question of 'when' rather than if, but not everyone agrees. Roy Cummings of the Tampa Tribune told The Kirk and Dinger Morning Show that there's a 20-30% chance of Greg Schiano returning to coach the Buccaneers next year. Yes, you read that right: 20-30%. "Look at the situation objectively," Cummings said. "They've been in an awful lot of football games, they've proven they can compete in this league, and they've had injuries which is a big part of what's going on."
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the man is 0-8 and 1-13 over the least 14 games. The one win in that streak came against an Atlanta Falcons team that had nothing to play for in the final week of the season. The win before that was a ridiculously improbable comeback driven by a quarterback who is (deservedly) no longer with the Bucs. And unlike with Raheem Morris, we can't exactly point at a lack of talent on this team to excuse that record. Quite simply: this is unacceptable.
So yes, let's look at it objectively:
- He's lost four games this season where he had a chance of over 95% to win. That requires bad luck, but it also requires some pretty bad decision making. That's been a theme throughout his NFL career and even going back to college, by the way.
- This team has spent more in free agency and trade over the past two years than any other NFL team, and they're still 0-8.
- Coaching has been a major culprit, with malfunctioning schemes on both sides of the ball.
- Injuries happen in the NFL and can only be an excuse if they're excessive. That has not been the case for the Bucs. Injuries happen to every team.
- There have been constant off-field issues and drama for the Bucs this year, most of which was completely avoidable. I'm not counting MRSA, because that's not something Schiano can be blamed for, though the handling of Lawrence Tynes was less than perfect.
- The Bucs are probably the most talented team to ever go 0-8. Even with an iffy quarterback situation this team has more than enough talent to win games.
- Yes, Schiano faced a change at quarterback. One he engineered. Away from a quarterback he accepted when he took the job. To a quarterback he spent a third-round pick on. And let's be clear here: only one other NFL team is 0-8, and yet many of the other NFL teams underwent quarterback changes that weren't as planned for due to injury. That is one weak excuse.
- The fan base hates his guts. That is not an exaggeration: Greg Schiano has completely lost this fan base, to the point where frequent personal attacks are all too commonplace.
At this point, Greg Schiano's likely going to get a chance to finish the season. But if he can't start winning a lot of games and start winning them very, very quickly -- he should (and likely will) be fired. How do you tell your fans that the coach they loathe will return for another season after losing game after game after game? You can't.
The only way I can see him returning is if the Bucs win at least four games over the last eight games, and he probably has to win more than that to save his job. Here's the remaining schedule: Dolphins, Falcons, @Lions, @Panthers, Bills, 49ers, @Rams, @Saints. Football Outsiders gives the Bucs the ninth-toughest remaining schedule in the league.
I'm having a hard time finding more than two wins, let alone the four to six Schiano would need to have a hope of keeping his job. Even if he gets to that total, there's no guarantee he'd get to stick around.
Yes, Schiano has had some bad luck. Everyone does when they lose close games. But he's also lost games due to poor coaching, poor schemes, and poor play out of an extraordinarily talented team on both sides of the ball. That's his responsibility. And right now, that means he's a dead man walking, and he certainly doesn't have a 20-30% chance of returning. Not unless the Glazers have completely lost their minds.