The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have turned a major corner recently, and I’m convinced at this point that Mike Glennon is the best rookie quarterback this year. He came into the draft class with as much upside as the next guy, because he had, by far, the most talented arm in the class with his terrific arm strength and solid accuracy. The concerns on Glennon, though, were mental and legitimate, as Glennon was awful under pressure at N.C. State and had a poor final year in college. But Glennon was used as a game managed by the Buccaneers early on, made smart plays, easy throws, and genuinely looked decent.
Even though the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons pass defenses have major issues, Glennon still needs to earn all the plaudits in the world for his incredible play in those two wins. The Buccaneers win over the Lion was a massive upset, and these past two wins may have caused Greg Schiano to have saved his job. It’s a very fair question to ask, but it’s one with a myriad of answers and none seem to be more valid than the others. Yes, the Buccaneers have looked a lot better and Glennon definitely deserves another year as the team’s starting quarterback (the Bucs have been vindicated for releasing Josh Freeman to this point, though the way in which the situation was handled isn’t exactly forgivable), but Schiano also lost the respect of his players earlier this season and those fundamental concerns have not been quelled.
But it is important to remember that these concerns tend to be exaggerated or come to the surface when a team is losing. I mean, just look at the Washington Redskins for reference. Nobody criticized Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan in the Redskins playoff season last year. No, we were all praising them. All of a sudden this season, most people are blaming one or the other for the Redskins problems. Maybe the same blame game has happened to Schiano as a result of his losing, and that’s the main reason why people knocked him, actually. The most convincing arguments were, “Schiano can’t be stubborn and run his ship if he’s always losing. But if this talented team were winning, then he can run his team as a dictatorship.”
The question is, have the past two wins been enough to save Schiano? My thinking is that we still need to wait, but Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera wasn’t afraid to throw his support to Greg Schiano. The Panthers and Buccaneers are set to square off this week, and the Panthers are a scary playoff team. If the Bucs can upset the Panthers and win a third straight game, then Schiano has a strong case for staying.
Here’s what Rivera said, via the Pewter Report’s Mark Cook, “Just stay the course. Look, he’s been successful, he’s had success, he was successful in college, major college football, he’s had some success as a coach in the NFL, now it’s just a matter of time. Last year I was in the same situation and we got on a roll at the end of the year and now this year we’ve gotten on a roll again. It’s just so hard to win in this league and you’ve got to develop your team first. I think people have to be willing to take the lumps and accept it. There was a time back in the day when guys would be drafted in the first and second round and nobody expected him to play until three-four years down the line. Now you draft a guy and everybody says why isn’t he on the field, he’s a bust.”
Ron Rivera definitely knows what it feels like to be on the hot seat, because he was on the hot seat for quite some time before the Panthers started winning big this season. Now, nobody questions Rivera’s ability to be a good head coach in this league, but I think these are two different cases. First of all, Rivera’s placement on the “hot seat” was based on pure idiocy and unfounded speculation. The Panthers had very little talent, were in the beginning stages of a rebuild, and Rivera didn’t run his team like a dictator either. Beyond that, the Panthers were winning more than the Buccaneers despite less talent. We overrated the Bucs talent, but the team should not have been winless for as long as they were.