Last year, the Buccaneers uncharacteristically splurged in free agency. One of the free agents on whom they splurged is interested in helping this year’s potential splurge.
And, yes, I like the word splurge.
Receiver Vincent Jackson raves about his coach, Greg Schiano, and the team.
“I couldn’t be more impressed with Schiano and his staff, the way they were able to come in here in one year, coming from the collegiate level to dealing with professionals,” Jackson said, via Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “I know [Schiano] has some background in the NFL. But as a head coach, to take the reins the way he did, get his message across, get guys to buy in the way he did under totally different circumstances from years prior, he did an excellent job with that. He’s a lot of fun to play for. He’s a competitive guy, and he’s going to make sure you’re as well prepared as you can possibly be.”
Not everyone felt that way. Tight end Kellen Winslow complained about Schiano’s “toe on the line!” tendencies after being traded to Seattle. Of course, Winslow may have felt differently if he’d gotten a $55 million contract, like Jackson did.
“I would tell [free agents] it’s a top-notch organization; it’s a top-notch structure,” Jackson said. “We have a great coaching staff here. They’ve built a system and a feeling of family and continuity, not only with the team itself, but I think they’ve done a great job in the community as well.”
As losses mounted late in the year, there was grumbling about “college coaches,” an understandable reaction when considering that not every player will react well to change — especially when change leads eventually to a prolonged losing streak.
“His way of doing things was, to us, unorthodox,” defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told Stroud. “And with any new thing, change is not going to be easy. It’s going to be hard, and there are going to be growing pains. You make adjustments in the offseason, and you tweak things.”
The Bucs don’t need to tweak much to become competitive for a division title or a wild-card berth. If they can add some new players who will play well, that will help.
In the end, money talks more than anything the coaches say or do. If they’re going to hand out $55 million contracts in March, they’ll get guys they want — and those guys will be happy to do whatever the coaching staff wants.