By Chris Burke
December 30, 2013

Greg Schiano was 11-21 in two seasons as head coach of the Buccaneers. Greg Schiano (left) was 11-21 in two seasons as head coach of the Buccaneers. (Cliff Welch/Icon SMI)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers opted for sweeping changes after concluding a disappointing 4-12 season, firing both head coach Greg Schiano and GM Mark Dominik on Monday. It had been rumored in recent days that Schiano might be atop Penn State's list of candidates should Bill O'Brien leave for the NFL, and perhaps that potential flirtation pushed the Glazer family (Tampa Bay's owners) over the top.

"The results over the past two years have not lived up to our standards," the organization said in a statement. "We believe the time has come to find a new direction."

Tale of the tape: Schiano was 11-21 in two seasons as head coach; Tampa Bay was 28-52 in Dominik's five seasons as GM.

BLACK MONDAY TRACKER: Updates on latest firings, rumors

What Went Wrong: Schiano set the bar relatively high over his first 10 games with the Buccaneers, pushing his team to a 6-4 start and playoff contention in 2012. But Tampa Bay lost five of its final six games last season plus the first eight in 2013 -- a 1-13 stretch that really cranked up the heat.

The real tipping point may have come at quarterback. The Buccaneers attempted again this season to turn Josh Freeman into a franchise player at that position, only to watch as he lethargically forced his way out of town. Rookie Mike Glennon provided a boost, briefly, but struggled down the stretch.

Tampa Bay also dealt with multiple MRSA outbreaks in the locker room, including one that led to kicker Lawrence Tynes fighting the franchise over the origin of his illness. Such a situation cannot be held against either Schiano or Dominik, but it added another trying element to a situation that was spinning out of control.

An early injury to star running back Doug Martin did not help matters either, though it's worth pointing out that the Bucs were 0-6 with him in the lineup. Tampa Bay finished with the 30th-ranked offense in the league, while the defense regressed as the season went along -- including a 42-17 Week 17 meltdown in which the Saints passed for 370 yards.

Roster Outlook: Financially, the Buccaneers are well set up for 2014, with an estimated $10 million in cap space plus some carryover from 2013 savings. They have a long list of potential free agents, but none of them really appear to be of critical importance.

And the remaining roster could give the next coach/GM combo a chance at a quick, Chiefs-like turnaround. Martin should be healthy again for 2014, with wide receiver Vincent Jackson also back off a 78-catch season. The line is steady and some unexpected players -- Glennon and RB Bobby Rainey, for starters -- emerged as contributors.

There's also that Darrelle Revis guy on defense, paired with 2013 second-rounder Johnthan Banks at corner. In front of them, LB Lavonte David has developed quickly into one of the NFL's best at his position, joining elite DT Gerald McCoy.

The cupboard is far from bare.

Possible Replacement(s):

You May Like