Bucs need to send a message
Oh, that hippy dippy secondary. Once upon a time, it was a defensive backfield. Now it's Fast Times at Buccaneers High.
Contestant No. 3 is backup safety Ahmad Black, who was recently cited for possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana, a first-degree misdemeanor. He was carrying not an ounce of timing.
Now? After what's already gone down? Are you kidding me?
First, there was now-departed cornerback Aqib Talib. Then there was veteran corner Eric Wright, who apparently has his own substance business pending with the NFL. And now comes Black.
Next clown up. Where's the team discipline here? Where's the head coach?
Black was also reportedly driving the wrong way on Hillsborough Avenue in the wee, small hours. Right way, wrong way, he was out on the streets where we drive, too.
After a chat with Bucs media relations, which is doing more coaching these days than the coaches, Black said, "The full story will come out later on. I'm sorry to disappoint my teammates and be a distraction right now."
He'll play against San Diego this Sunday. Oh, and he played last Sunday, too. Very well, in fact. Black forced a fumble, recovered an onside kick and made a big interception to help seal the big win in Oakland.
What kind of message does that send? Greg Schiano is all over the road here. I give him credit for dumping Talib. But that Black played last game is ridiculous. How do you talk about team discipline, then play him in Oakland? He shouldn't even have made the plane trip.
Schiano says it's being handled by "internal action." He has spoken to Black, as well as the entire team. "I really believe they understand," Schiano said. "But, yet, we had another mistake. We have to get it remedied."
Looking at the docket, I'd say some of these guys don't understand. I know it's going to be handled internally (and by the league and the courts) and I'm sure Black will make a very healthy donation to Bucs charities.
But I would have sat him in Oakland.
That would have been a real message, short of bonking heads together in the huddle. Look, stupid, you can't do this.
I'm not saying America isn't open-minded. Look at those Election Day referendums that passed in Washington and Colorado, legalizing recreational marijuana use. Maybe the Bucs should work a trade with the Seahawks or Broncos.
I wish future Hall of Famer and diplomat Ronde Barber would get these guys in a room and let them have it. Heck, they're already in a room — the one where the secondary meets.
When Raheem Morris was Bucs head coach, we questioned his ability to truly discipline his team, seeing as two of his biggest screw-ups, Talib and Tanard Jackson, were guys he'd previously shared a room with when he coached Bucs defensive backs.
Raheem could never drop the hammer, and when the losses piled up, his players stopped listening and the hammer dropped on him. Greg Schiano had a reputation for discipline at Rutgers. He didn't put up with much nonsense. He has flashed the hammer a few times since arriving in Tampa.
But these idiots in his secondary are increasingly strange and troubling, and that doesn't even factor in that this is the worst pass defense in the league. Ahmad Black should have sat, not started. You can talk about internal this and that, but when of your players is out on the road, our roads, getting in trouble, that's pretty external.
|About the writer|
Martin Fennelly has been The Tampa Tribune's leading sports columnist for many years and is always on hand with a topical and witty opinion on any Florida sporting event. He was named the Bucs UK's Writer of the Year four consecutive years from 2001 to 2004.