*** This article was written before the news of Freeman's benching. The overall gist is still the same, although things appear to be even more desperate than even I thought they were with Freeman being benched before the most important game of Schiano's life.
This Sunday will unquestionably be the most important game in the coaching career of Greg Schiano. For a few teams, such as the Steelers, Giants, or Vikings (all 0-3) this Sunday might be deemed as "must win". But neither Mike Tomlin, Tom Coughlin, or Leslie Frazier stand to lose their grip on their football team like Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, whose finger hold right now is perilously close to coming undone.
No need to re-hash how the team got to this point. We've all suffered through the tragic losses thus far, we're all familiar with report after report coming out of the ether about how the players don't like Schiano's authoritarian coaching style. We all know how to do simple math, and this team is nowhere near consistent enough to manage a winning season if they start 0-4.
So many positive things COULD happen if they get a win. The team will have a bye week to get healthy, work out the kinks, and more importantly game plan for the high flying Eagles attack in week six to give themselves a great shot at shutting down the NFL's most exciting new offense. A 2-3 record heading into the heart of schedule isn't so bad and 8-8 or even 9-7 might be attainable.
So many negative things MIGHT happen if they lose. Head's may very well begin to roll. The Arizona game is extremely winnable. They just got smashed by the same Saints team that lucked out a victory against the Bucs the week before. Revis should be able to man up Fitzgerald, leaving the Cardinals with just an anemic running game and an unproven receiving corp. With a loss, the infighting and bickering will only grow exponentially as it rots away the locker room during the bye week. Schiano will most likely have to offer someone up for execution to save his own job. Mike Sullivan, who was just being interviewed for head coaching jobs a few months ago, could be let go. Mark Dominik, who is probably in "save my own ass" mode himself with a loss this week, could overreact and fire Schiano immediately following a loss. I say overreact, but if the team is going to change direction, the bye week would be the only chance to do so and have any semblance of organization during the rest of the season.
A loss might very well put Freeman on the bench, because with the remaining schedule, an 0-4 start is the equivalent to hopelessness. They would have no chance at playoffs and might as well see what they have in Glennon before drafting a quarterback in first round next year. Freeman might even be traded during the bye week in this scenario. If you're going to bench him, at least get something for him, even if it's a 3rd or 4th round pick. Though as Sander has previously noted, there may not be many suitors out there at this point.
So yeah, Glennon is now starting. Yikes. A mistake, as I don't see how he possibly gives the team a better chance to win than Freeman, but listening to a radio interview with Freeman yesterday I got the sense that he is just over it. He sounded like a dead man walking. It was the equivalent of going through the motions. If he has mentally checked out, then Glennon is the right move.
There are just so many things hovering precariously on the edge for this team right now. Schiano and his coaching staff need a win in the the worst possible way. A win will at least give them a chance to save their season, and a loss will be the beginning of the end.
Some might say that the most important game of Schiano's career up to this point, was when he coached the Rutgers' Scarlet Knight's in a match up against the #3 ranked Louisville Cardinals. On that day, Schiano got the win and vaulted his team into their first top ten ranking in school history. Hopefully he answers the call to greatness once again and leads this team to a victory on Sunday. Go Bucs!
Disclaimer: I really, really hate when media members conjecture their way into ludicrous stories that then somehow get twisted by other outlets and subsequently get reported as facts. Not that I think lowly enough of myself to consider myself a member of the media (haha), but I want to firmly reinforce the fact that the entire article is just opinion. I have no more insight into what goes on at One Buc Place than any other fan.