Just a few weeks ago, it appeared that Greg Schiano’s job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could end at any point. The Team started the season with eight straight losses, and had exiled the team’s former franchise quarterback after Josh Freeman and Schiano could not work out their differences.
A lot has changed since then. The Buccaneers have won their last two games, beating the Dolphins by a field goal for the team’s first win. From there the Buccaneers dispatched the woefully incompetent Atlanta Falcons to improve to 2-8. With the Bucs seemingly on the right track, we have to wonder. Is Greg Schiano saving his own job?
To fully understand the question, we must first understand the circumstances. In the midst of the Buccaneers’ losing streak, Josh Freeman was seen as a problem player with a bad attitude. Had the Buccaneers let him continue as their starting quarterback, his attitude would have only pulled the team ever lower. Even if he were allowed to stay on as a backup quarterback, his presence would have likely festered.
Removing Freeman wasn’t only brilliant because it removed a problem player. It also provided an excuse that had the potential to save Schiano’s job. Because the Buccaneers are now winning with a seemingly stable locker room, it appears, at least outwardly, that Josh Freeman, not Greg Schiano, was largely at fault for the team’s losing ways.
Although the Bucs are moving in the right direction, there’s a long way for Schiano and Tampa Bay to go before we feel comfortable calling Schiano’s job safe. After all, his team has won just two games, and they’ve beaten teams that aren’t likely headed to the postseason.
Schiano’s job will likely come down to the outcome of three upcoming games. This weekend, the Buccaneers play the Lions, a team that could very easily win the NFC North. Then, the Bucs will head to Carolina to play possibly the hottest team in the NFL, the Panthers. Finally, the Buccaneers will travel to New Orleans to play the Saints in week 17. If the Buccaneers are able to pull out two of those games, plus a couple of their more “winnable” contests, Schiano may be able to hang onto his job for another season.
The Buccaneers owe much of their success of late to the efficiency of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon. In seven games, Glennon has thrown eleven touchdowns to just four interceptions. In addition, Glennon is completing over 60% of his passes, meaning the Bucs are able to sustain drives that would otherwise be falling flat.
On the other hand, Josh Freeman was actively killing the Buccaneers’ drives when he was in the game. In the three games Freeman appeared in with Tampa Bay this season, Freeman completed just 45.7% of his passes, totaling just two touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions in his short time on the field.
It’s too early to say that Greg Schiano has saved his job with the Buccaneers, but it’s perfectly fair to say that he’s given himself a chance to hang on through the season. To this point, the Buccaneers have only topped a couple poor teams. Once the Buccaneers face a couple higher quality opponents, we’ll know much more about the team and Greg Schiano’s chances of being back with the Buccaneers next season.