It’s been a dizzying 24 hours for the Buccaneers.
Yesterday at this time, their biggest problem was a loss that would have been a win but for linebacker Lavonte David shoving Jets quarterback Geno Smith at the sideline in the final seconds of the game. Now, a two-front war has emerged, with players apparently concerned about the coaching staff, and the coaching staff (and perhaps players) concerned about quarterback Josh Freeman.
Coincidentally (or not), that sparked an effort to publicize the fact that Freeman had missed the team photo on Monday of last week, two days before players cast ballots regarding the team’s six captains.
On Thursday, coach Greg Schiano admitted that Freeman missed the team photo, explaining that the quarterback overslept.
“That was dealt with by me internally,” Schiano said.
Schiano added that Freeman has been late for things. But so have other players.
“He wouldn’t be the only one who has been late for something,” Schiano said, adding that he still trusts Josh Freeman.
Regardless, it’s clear that there’s a problem.
“Any time that as a coach you’re trying to instill winning habits in your entire football team, in your organization, really. The way we cook the food, the way we practice, the way we clean the building. We want everything to be an elite level,” Schiano said. “So when you have mishaps, you have things where guys don’t do things they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it, does it concern me? Sure it does.”
Schiano is trying not to be concerned about anything unrelated to the task at hand — preparing for Sunday’s game against the Saints. Asked about the controversy regarding whether the votes were miscounted deliberately, Schiano said he began to wonder where the talk originated but then reminded himself of this mantra: “The easiest way to be defeated is to be distracted.”
There are suddenly plenty of distractions in Tampa.