Heat keeps coming for Bucs' Schiano
Local and national pressure continued to build against embattled Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano before Thursday night's nationally televised matchup against the Panthers. Tampa radio station 102.5 FM purchased “Fire Schiano” billboards throughout the Bay area, encouraging the Glazer family to dismiss Schiano, who has a 7-16 record on the Bucs sidelines after 11 seasons as coach at Rutgers.
Veteran reporter Michael Silver wrote a scathing column for NFL.com, portraying Schiano as a stubborn college coach out of touch with NFL players. Silver also quoted former Tampa Bay defensive end Michael Bennett, questioning the bond between Schiano and his players. “I think (Schiano) just wants to flex his power,” Bennett told Silver. “He has small (man's) syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there and trust me, there's not much respect for him in that locker room.”
After leading the Bucs with nine sacks in 2012, Bennett signed with the Seahawks as a free agent. Fans at the stadium were in a foul mood. “I just want him gone,” said Jacob Johnson, a season-ticket holder from Port Orange who held up a homemade sign: Fire Schiano. “He has gotten rid of some great players and tried to build his own little Rutgers team. It hasn't worked.”
Fred Tort of Carrollwood wore a supermarket bag over his head with “0-7?” and tears coming from his eyes. Bill Callaghan of Safety Harbor wore an old Warrick Dunn jersey with a homemade “Schiano Is Dunn” sign. “Look, I wish we could win 10 straight games and get in the playoffs, but the likelihood of that is slim to none,” Callaghan said. “I just want us on the right path and we're not there now.”
“They need a GM who can fix this,” said Walter Contis, a 25-year season-ticket holder. “I'm sick of it. I can't watch anymore. I've paid my dues and deserve better, and I know I speak for a lot of long-time fans.”