Greg Schiano may have been a control freak (or "detail-oriented", as he likes to put it), but he didn't get to control the one thing any coach wants to control: the quarterback position. Greg Schiano was forced to start Josh Freeman in 2013 by the Glazers and Mark Dominik against his wishes, according to Max Luckan.
It's no secret that Schiano loves Mike Glennon. When asked about Glennon and the quarterback situation in his farewell press conference on Monday, Schiano said "I think we got it right. I just think we got it right late." He defended Glennon's play and would probably try to get Glennon to come out in 2012 if he had to do it all over again.
But this points to far bigger issue: meddling owners who won't let coaches coach, and a disconnect between the general manager and head coach. That's the sort of thing that can bury football teams -- and it did, in this case.
That wasn't the only disconnect we saw this past season. Mark Dominik gave up a pair of high draft picks and a whopping $16 million for Darrelle Revis, only to see him do things Sean Smith could have done just as easily. Some of that may have been due to Revis' recovery from injury, but that was never communicated clearly. Throughout the offseason we saw reports that Dominik and Schiano were engaged in a power struggle -- one apparently lost by Schiano, though neither party came out as a winner in the end.
This is the sort of thing the Glazers must avoid in the future. For a football team to function, the general manager and head coach need to have a good working relationships, and they need to be generally on the same page. And in conflicts, final say should be unambiguous. The general manager controls personnel, while the head coach controls the on-field product. If the head coach thinks starting a different player is the right move, he should be able to do so. If the general manager wants to draft a different player from the head coach, the GM should win out.
Of course, that's easier said than done. Drafting a player the head coach won't play is not going to do much for you, while starting a player the general manager has tried to replace won't be very beneficial either. Which is why a solid working relationship between the two is crucial to success. But in the end, each job comes with its own domain.
In none of these cases, tough, should ownership be making football decisions. The general manager or head coach should not turn to ownership to force his opinion on the other party. That's how Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones are made.
Will the Glazers be able to avoid these pitfalls going forward? Will they be able to keep their mitts out of football business? Their apparent pursuit of Lovie Smith would solve one problem, and possibly introduce another. Presumably they'd hire a general manager who carried Lovie Smith's approval -- but then there's the danger of focusing too much on short-term roster building, something head coaches tend to do a lot while general managers try to safeguard the future of the team.
As with any company, an NFL team has several competing interests it must balance. Different decision makers can have different visions of what needs to happen, and there need to be clear rules to resolve conflicts. The head coach needs to be allowed to head coach, and the general manager needs to be allowed to..general manage. But they also need to do it cooperatively, with no acrimony and no power struggles. See: not what has happened the past few regimes in Tampa .
Well, no one said being an NFL owner would be easy. Better get it right, Glazers!
- Greg Schiano retrospective: A college mentality and an old-fashioned philosophy
- Daily Bucs Links: Saying goodbye to Schiano and Dominik
- Buccaneers contact Lovie Smith, favorite to be next Tampa Bay head coach
- Buccaneers general manager candidates include Marc Ross, Jerry Angelo
- Jeff Tedford would join Lovie Smith as offensive coordinator