Tampa players-only meeting focused on Schiano’s style

AP

So what was the pre-Week One players-only meeting in Tampa all about?

Recently, running back Doug Martin told Pro Football Talk that the meeting was aimed at collecting concerns that could be passed along to the coaching staff.

Albert Breer of NFL Network has more details of how the process unfolded, and the results.

Players, per Breer, didn’t like Schiano’s “overly rigid and rugged coaching methods.”  So they got together, collected their complaints, and first-year safety and defensive co-captain Dashon Goldson took them to Schiano.

“When you come into a place and you have to change some things, you’re not looking for a whole lot of suggestions at the beginning, because first you gotta figure out who your guys are,” Schiano explained to Breer.  “Now, I really know who our guys are because they wouldn’t be here if they weren’t our guys.  I really appreciate their feedback.  But some of the pictures that have been painted . . . it’s not like they’re outside the door with torches, ‘We must change!'”

But changes apparently didn’t come quickly.  As one player told Breer, “He came into the team meeting, said you guys gotta trust me, we’re in half-pads that day, then the next day, it’s back to the same thing.”

“I’ve been coaching 26 years, and there are gonna be some things you’re gonna disagree with, and you gotta trust me because I’ve been coaching longer than some of you have been alive,” Schiano said.  “And then there are some things I gotta trust them on.  They’re doing it, and if they don’t feel they can, then we have to adjust. But that isn’t new — Is that new this year? — it’s been my whole career, that’s how I’ve operated.”

Still, Breer reports that some players are now questioning Schiano’s credentials after the 1-5 slide to end 2012 and the 0-2 start to 2013.

There’s reason for optimism.  As Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com points out, Schiano is currently in a position similar to Bill Belichik’s predicament after two games in 2001.  The Pats lost 11 of 16 in Belichick’s first year and started 0-2 in 2001.  A 44-13 win over Peyton Manning and the Colts helped turn things around in Tom Brady’s first career start.

While a 44-13 outcome may be a bit unrealistic today, it’s not out of the question for the Bucs to beat the Pats, which could go a long way toward getting the players to buy in.