When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano in the last off season they knew what they were getting, someone who took names and kicked asses.
You don't have to look far on the internet to find some describing Schiano as a bully but you also don't have to look far to find many of his loyal followers praising him for not standing for bad behaviour and dealing with the culprits with an iron fist.
One report I've read said that Coach Schiano made Rutgers what they became under him by getting rid of the bad eggs, regardless of their talents. In the early days of his life in Tampa Bay he has taken a similar attitude to ill-discipline.
Some of Schiano's earliest work was to get rid of the likes of Kellen "still without a club" Winslow and Tanard "banned again" Jackson. Both very talented players, players that with Tampa's current secondary woes and lack of Tight End production, that the organisation could maybe do with now.
But the idea is right. Jackson has proved to be a waste of tatlent by getting himself banned again for the season and Winslow has wandered aimlessly around the NFL looking for someone to love him. Neither have been missed this season on the whole and neither will be going forward.
If these two characters were as polarising within the locker room as they were amongst interested fans and media then they had to go. You can't have a happy setup ruined by one or two bad eggs. My only problem with this type of hard nosed policy is when it is not consistant.
In his time with the Bucs, Aqib Talib has been arrested in connection with a domestic incident in which a gun was fired, was involved in a fistfight with fellow rookie Cory Boyd, allegedly battered a taxi driver, charged with resisting arrest without violence and simple battery and this season has been suspended four games by the NFL for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.
Add to this multiple reports from fans and staff that he operates with a large, intimidating entourage and you cannot help but to form an imagine of a less than desirable young man. So why has Talib not been part of Coach Schiano's cull?
The answer, in my opinion, is that he is needed and wanted because of his skills on the field. It could be argued that both Winslow (age, knees) and Jackson (constant suspensions) were not worth keeping around for on the field reasons and so were released for off the field reasons. It is hard to not see this as double standards.
In the same ilk is big money free agent signing Eric Wright. Wright is likely to be banned soon for also violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances. Again shouldn't this type of behaviour carry a hard line punishment akin to that of Winslow and co?
I understand that both Wright and Talib's recent misdemeanors may be due to stupidity in selecting their supplements pre-season but how can you be sure? Why isn't Wright being punished for what amounts to drug taking like Tanard Jackson was? Six months into a big money contract and another star player on the field could be held up as the reason.
I'm not saying that Schiano should instantly cut everyone who is accused of anything but if you are taking a hard line on the bad eggs then surely that hard line has to be maintained. If it isn't then you can be seen to be playing favourites and that in itself can have more of a detremental effect on a locker room than one or two players with a bad attitude.
Talib especially is very lucky to have avoided the knife so far with his trail of bad behaviour but I do believe that he is being retained because he is one of the best cover corners in the league and not because Coach Schiano believes he has been or will be rehabiliated into a role model.
Wright maybe be the victim of bad luck and stupidity but it is another example for when the time comes, be in a month or five years, that the knifes are out for Schiano that he may not have had everyone on an even playing field.