Greg Schiano told us there would be days like this.
During his introductory press conference, the new head coach of the Buccaneers talked about the acronym "T.B.A.," which is one of his core coaching philosophies. According to Schiano, "T.B.A." refers to:
...Trust, Belief and Accountability. Trust; 100% honesty. Belief in yourself, belief in the Buccaneer Way. Accountability; as a coaching staff and as an organization we have to hold each other accountable
And judging from some of the roster moves that have made their way down from the front office, Schiano and staff mean serious business.
Both moves netted little, if anything, in the form of compensation. Although in their defense, I don't think the Bucs made the moves with compensation in mind.
But what the moves did gain was the attention of the NFL.
Oh, and the organization.
By cutting Jackson and trading Winslow, Schiano has sent a clear signal to his players that he says what he means, and he means what he says. And when he says they need to believe in the "Buccaneer Way" of how they approach football, they'd better take him at his word.
Because Schiano is adamant about reaching the pinnacle of their sport, and will not let those who are uncommitted stand in his way, saying:
We're going to try to be the best starting today. How long that will take, I can't tell you that. When our best is the best, we're going to be Super Bowl champs. If you do your best, you can't do anything more. That's what I'm going to demand in my players, my coaches, and myself to be the best.
Now I know the Bucs are just five months removed from a 4-12 season, but don't they look, sound and feel like a football team that is finally heading in the right direction?
Better yet, doesn't it feel comforting knowing they have a direction, period?
Trust me, I am not naive enough to pretend Schiano is the first college coach to make the jump to the NFL and sound like his is destined for success. We've all seen how bad things can get in a hurry.
But for some odd reason, I can't shake the notion that somehow, someway, Schiano is different than those who have struggled with the transition before him.
Yes, his college coaching record pales in comparison to some of those who made the similar jump and ultimately fell on their face, but his demeanor appears to make up for that.
And every time I hear someone question his credentials by mentioning his 68-67 record at Rutgers, I feel compelled to point out that 49 of those wins came in his final six seasons, after his players were on board and his message had sunken in.
Not to mention, Rutgers isn't exactly Notre Dame or Alabama, meaning they weren't landing top-notch talent every spring, but were nonetheless churning out NFL-caliber talent anyhow.
So no, Schiano may not have the coaching resume of Pete Carroll or Jimmy Johnson, not that it guarantees a thing in the NFL.
But as of right now, he has certainly gotten the attention of his locker room by making one thing perfectly clear: It's either his way or the highway.
And that is one road no one wants to venture down.