Four more quarters. That's all that's left of this horrid season. One game left in our Bucs nightmare. A season full of promise and excitement brought down by a troubled QB, staph infection and staff infection.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were supposed to take that next step this season. They were supposed to be the Panthers. Yet, here we are with the team staring at an inconceivable 4-12 record.
If this is our Bucs life, let's see the afterlife.
Someone has to pay for this disaster of a season. Mark Dominik? Greg Schiano? Mike Glennon? Sullivan and Sheridan? All of the above?
Someone. You can't do the same thing over and over again and expect different results (although Mike Sullivan tried that Sunday with the running game).
Something must change. Let us discuss.
1. Look, I understand the Glazers don't want to become Raiders East. I also understand that Greg Schiano did exactly what they asked him to do. Clean up a franchise in disarray and get rid off all the bad apples off the field. Return some respectability to the franchise. Forge Buccaneer Men. Teach the young Bucs how to be professionals. Mission accomplished.
But winning shouldn't be optional. If this were his first season then yes, by all means, keep him and see if he turns it around. Few coaches survive 4-12 in their second season or beyond. Marvin Lewis was the last - but he had four seasons of at least 8 wins to fall back on. Eric Mangini went 4-12 in his second season. How did that turn out for the Jets?
Marty Schottenheimer went 4-12 in his second season with the Chargers - but he had 20 years of NFL experience and 281 victories to fall back on.
You don't want to change coaches every season. It never works. You need to give coaches time to build their team and gel. But this football team isn't gelling. It's falling apart.
Last season Schiano lost 5 of his last 6. Then proceeded to lose his first eight games. That's losing 13 out of 14 games folks. It's tough to do that in today's NFL. Then they had a little spurt in the middle of the season where they won 4 games. Now they've lost 3 of their last 4 with a likely fourth loss in the offing.
The defense has gotten a little better but the offense is terrible. His quarterback can't throw for more than 150 yards. His running game is going backward. His offensive line is a sieve.
In today's NFL where every rule is geared toward the offense - the Bucs can't break 200 yards of total offense.
There in lies your problem, folks. Schiano is an old school coach. Old school can't win in this league anymore. Its ironic that as we approach Black Monday we remember that the Glazers' first choice in this endeavor was Chip Kelly. Kelly's offense is obliterating the league and his team is on the verge of winning a division title in his first season.
No one really knows what brought the Glazers to Schiano. It certainly wasn't his record at Rutgers. It wasn't his empty trophycase. Perhaps they saw the disciplinarian and after mad house that was Raheem's regime they decided they wanted him to set the table and clean out the bad apples.
They knew he had to win quickly, so they finally opened up the checkbook after six years of doing nothing.
There might be 3 years left on Schiano's contract - put these are the same owners who pay $16 million a year to a corner. $3 million a season is a drop in a bucket for these guys.
It's all about belief. The Panthers believed in Ron Rivera enough to give him one more year. But then again, his teams always finished strong and gave you reason for hope. He also never lost more than 10 games. Do you truly believe in your heart of hearts that Schiano can put out this dumpster fire he created and put a winning football team on the field?
I don't. I honestly can't see how they can. Even Raheem had a 10-6 season with a less talented roster than what we see here. The table is set. There's talent on this team and a very quick turnaround can be had.
This ownership fired a perennial playoff coach because he couldn't win the Super Bowl. They fired a coach who won them a Super Bowl after a 9-7 season. Winning used to mean something to this organization.
It should again.
2. I've seen all I need to see from Mike Glennon. Enough to make a judgement. He's not the guy. Sure, he has moments here or there that can make you pause. We know he'll get better with experience. There's a few things that he can't change, though. His release and his inability to move.
Look, certainly Glennon was getting pounded by the Rams defensive line on Sunday. The offensive line apparently has packed it in and Glennon took a beating. But let's talk truth here. If you're on a three step drop - you can't hesitate in the NFL. You can't wait for a receiver to be so wide open that no one can possibly intercept a pass. That doesn't happen in the NFL too often. You have to quickly read, diagnose and get rid of the fricking ball with accuracy. That's what NFL quarterbacks do.
Glennon's inability to quickly read the defense cost Tampa Bay at least four of the seven sacks yesterday.
Its not just that, though. As Gur and Sander have constantly pointed out - Glennon doesn't deliver the ball with accuracy, which prevents his receivers from making plays after the catch. Completion percentage doesn't equal an accurate throw.
Bottom line, Glennon has quarterbacked one of the worst offenses in Buc history - and considering the Bucs' history - that's saying a lot. Tampa Bay hasn't been dead last in the league in offense since 1983.
He isn't getting better, he's getting progressively worse. Perhaps if he returns to the bench, sits a while and watches a veteran like Jay Cutler take the helm for a couple seasons, he can see what it is to be an NFL quarterback and the light will come on.
Right now he just looks like a gun shy prize fighter who took one fight too many.
If Schiano married himself to Glennon, they both need to go.
3. Mark Dominik shouldn't escape, either. If Freeman truly had personal issues, Dominik should have had a back up plan that didn't include a 3rd round draft pick from NC State. He tried and failed to secure Carson Palmer - who has led the Arizona Cardinals to a 10 win season, including an upset in Seattle.
He failed to trade for Nick Foles, whose lighting it up in Philly.
But hey, isn't that Dominik's story? Never a backup plan. How long did he wait for the Darrelle Revis trade to come together - allowing quality corners to move to other teams?
He signed Dashon Goldson to a contract no other team in the league would sign him to. How's that worked out? Carl Nicks has played in 8 games in two years. Where is the depth at receiver after V-Jax and Mike Williams?
On the lines?
Look, no one is saying the Bucs should have all-pros backed up by pro bowlers. Every roster has a give and take.
The bottom line is Dominik is 28-51 as a GM. The Glazers like him and trust him as their football guy. He took the heat and toe'd the company line when they went through their financial crisis struggling with their payments on Man U. There's some loyalty there for that.
But they rewarded that loyalty by opening up the checkbook and giving him what he wanted. He chose poorly.
The team is riddled with Pro Bowl players making a lot of money and under performing (some of that is coaching but some of it is not investing wisely).
While the last two drafts have certainly yielded some promising talent - his first three drafts were abysmal. The arrival of Eric Stokes from Seattle as the director of college scouting could have something to do the improvement in his drafting. Maybe Schiano does as well, although the Bucs haven't drafted a single player from Rutgers during his tenure - so you wonder how much say he has. Then again, Glennon was his guy so who knows?
4. It goes without saying that Mike Sullivan needs to either take the Army job or find somewhere else to work. Honestly, I wonder if it's truly Sullivan's fault the offense has gone down the crapper. He had one QB with personal problems and another with the grace of a galloping giraffe.
He's had his offense ripped apart by injury, poor line play and substandard quarterback play.
We don't know the amount of interference Greg Schiano does during gameday. We've all seen the NFL Films stuff. Greg saying into his headset, "Let's take a shot here guys."
That's not a play call, it's a suggestion. Sullivan is still calling the play. Schiano tells him, "Let's get the running game going," It's not Schiano calling three consecutive dives into the great wall of St. Louis.
Then there's that inability to score in the second half thing. That no es bueno. Is that all Schiano?
5. The heat's been off Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan because his unit has played better. The defense can take a lot of the glory for the Bucs modest four wins, but it certainly doesn't absolve them of the late fourth quarter leads they blew.
Still, if the offense gave them even just a little more support in the second half of games, this team could easily have 8 wins.
But there's the Q Tex stunting that former Buc and SB Nation blogger Steve White calls out every Sunday that never seems to work. There's the not putting Revis on the team's best wide out.
Why did it take 15 weeks to realize Daniel Teo-Nesheim shouldn't be starting in Canada, none-the-less the NFL?
I'm still not convinced Sheridan knows what the hell he's doing either.
6. Okay, so we've talked the nuclear strategy of firing everyone and let God sort it out. You can't fire somebody just to fire them. You have to have a better option.
For me, the front office criteria is simple: Winners. I want a GM with extensive experience that has won games in the NFL. Sorry Buc fans, that eliminates Derrick Brooks.
A guy like Bill Polian who has a Super Bowl Championship on his resume. Scott Pioli, who was Belichick's right hand man and filled the Chiefs roster with an abundance of talent.
Jerry Angelo certainly has experience and an 87-73 record that includes an NFC Championship.
If the Bucs decide to pick an young executive, I'd prefer they keep it in house and promote Eric Stokes. He had a big hand in building the Seahawks into the power they are today.
7. For coach, again its all about experience. This time, however, I want an offensive guy. Offense wins in this league now. If your team is scoring points, it'll put butts in the seats and W's in the left column.
Brian Billick has won a Super Bowl and was supposed to be an offensive guru but let's face it - the Ravens didn't win that championship on offense. In fact, Billick didn't have an offense that ranked higher than 14th in his tenure with the Ravens.
Ken Whisenhunt's name has been popular - but to me he's like Jeff Fisher. Good enough to get you to .500 but not much better than that and he had a losing record at Arizona. He did have a couple good offenses at Arizona and his San Diego Chargers offense is ranked 6th in the NFL.
Jay Gruden has been OC for some pretty solid offenses in the league (Cincinnati is currently 10th) but has no NFL head coaching experience.
There's Josh McDaniels...stop laughing. Yes, he's the guy who drafted Team Tebow in the first round. But he won games with Tebow. TEBOW.
Then again, without Tom Brady, McDaniels offenses have been downright abysmal.
Mike Sherman almost got the job with the Bucs last time. He definitely has an impressive NFL resume with 5 seasons with 10 or more wins, but he runs with old West Coast offense which doesn't seem effective in today's NFL.
There's the up-and-coming offensive coordinators like San Fran's Greg Roman, Seattle's Darrell Bevell and Denver's Adam Gase (the latter just 35 years old).
Jim Caldwell had a three year stint as Indy coach following Dungy's retirement. In his first two seasons, he was 24-8, but in season 3 Peyton Manning got hurt and the Colts fell off the face of the Earth. His offense is similar to the Saints spread but it hasn't been very effective in Baltimore (although he does own a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens).
8. So now we talk quarterback. While I'm definitely not against drafting a guy for the future - the Bucs are in win now mode. There's too much talent on this roster to be wasted by a rookie QB.
Looking at the potential free agents - the pickings are mighty slim.
The best of the bunch are Jay Cutler and Michael Vick.
The thought of Vick running the Bucs offense makes me want to throw up. I'm not too crazy about Cutler either...and truth be told, he may not leave the Bears.
The rest of the group is frightening. Freeman (uh, no), Chad Henne, Shaun Hill, Derek Anderson...I think I'd rather go with Glennon than any of these bums.
Matt Schaub is likely finished in Houston. He may be a decent stop gap until the Bucs can draft a guy (or said rookie is ready).
If the Cowboys complete their collapse, Tony Romo may need a change of scenery.
There's always Ryan Mallett, but for that you might as well draft some one.
Ugh. It looks like the Bucs will have to find their answer in the draft. There's been quarterbacks who came in as a rookie and led their team to the playoffs. Wilson, RG III and Luck come to mind.
There's going to be some really good QB's in this years draft. I don't watch much college football outside the SEC, so I'll leave the crack analysis to gurus like Draft Phantom, Justin Pawlowski and the guys over at the Pewter Report.
As an SEC guy, I've admired from a far the amazing Johnny Manziel. His off-the-field antics are a major worry for me, as is his smallish frame. But the dude just wills his team to victory in the toughest conference in football.
AJ McCarron has two championship rings - but he seems more of the game manager mold to me - not really THE GUY.
I've mentioned previously my admiration for Aaron Murray of Georgia - but he's not going to go higher than the 4th round - especially with that ACL injury.
I'm not a Mettenberger fan at all. Wasn't impressed with him at all.
9. If you noticed, we didn't spend much of this 10 Things talking about the game. What's there to talk about really? Typical Bucs. Early lead, fizzle in the second half, weird decisions by the coaching staff. Not much in the area of adjustments. Lavonte David being brilliant. It's the same as it's been for 10 other Bucs games this season. Hopeless.
10. I think Keith Tandy is terrible in coverage - but damn if the kid doesn't have a nose for the football.
Bonus: One final message for the Glazers. There's a time for patience and faith and there's a time to own up to your mistakes.
Make sure you're identifying the correct choice.
Firing a coach after two seasons isn't ideal - but sometimes it does work. Ask Denver or Kansas City or San Francisco (although technically Singletary had three seasons since he spent his first year as an interim coach). Singletary, btw, had a higher winning percentage than Schiano. So did Ray Perkins.