Greg Schiano's Fingerprints Are All over This Tampa Bay Buccaneers Victory
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You wanted an introduction to Greg Schiano? You got one Friday night at Sun Life Stadium, where there was no sun, only rain, Dolphin misery and Buccaneer glee.
Schiano's fingerprints were all over this team; you could see it, couldn't you? He promised to run the football and that's what your team did, effectively, successfully. Folks who wanted to banish LeGarrette Blount to the bench in favor of Doug Martin will have to replay the first half a few times and take notes.
They'll have to run that fourth-down touchdown dive by Blount a few times. Can you spell airborne?
Can you remember the constant third-and-short failures from the Raheem Morris campaign of 2011? Looks like they're gone along with those dastardly slow starts that became the Greg Olson trademark.
While Schiano's prints were all over the on-field product, new offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan put his thumbprint on the offense. "I like the play-calling," said former Buc great Johnny Lynch, who took this one in as the television analyst.
There wasn't much to dislike about the play calling. It was a real live, balanced, we can run and pass offense, wasn't it?
Beastly offensive line, wasn't it? It was an offensive line that imposed its will on the Dolphins inside the five, wasn't it? Forget the wide receivers, man-up, throw in the beef, we're coming right at you and you're not going to stop us is what the Bucs looked like inside the five.
Did the offense surprise you Friday night?
Refreshing, wasn't it?
Josh Freeman looked good, Blount and Martin looked good. Offensive line is as advertised, pass when necessary, the guys will catch it, won't they? Luke Stocker and MIke Williams showed up.
What wasn't to like about the brief show by the first unit?
Wait a minute, what's up with this Orlovsky guy? Yeah, Dan Orlovsky, the replacement for the often-confused Josh Johnson, yeah, that Josh Johnson, the deer-in-the-headlights backup last season.
All this Dan guy did was go 8-for-8 for 91 yards, 76 of them to Tiquan Underwood. Orlovsky-to-Underwood, it wasn't Montana-to-Rice, but you could have fooled me. Who were those guys?
The defense wasn't as offensive as we pictured it might be.
Roy Miller was a beast and his sidekicks, Adrian Clayborn and Gerald McCoy, showed up; so did Michael Bennett. Not a bad start. They'll get a lecture about those offsides penalties, but they'll get past that; Schiano will make sure of that. Details.
Raise your hand if you like Lavonte David. Thought so. He's everything he was advertised to be and more. This cat was all over the field, got himself a pick, made a gem of a tackle on special teams. Welcome home, Lavonte. He played his high school ball in Miami.
Describe your feelings after this win.
Mason Foster played well, He had the hit of the game in the second quarter: he crushed a Miami ball carrier at the line of scrimmage. Nice to be a veteran, not a rookie, eh?
You get the picture by now. Sure, it was good but seriously, it's is time to curb the enthusiasm.
Schiano was reserved as he left the field at the half. "We need to tackle better," he said as he looked into the television camera.
He was right. There's a lot this team needs to do to improve. But that's the key word here, "improve."
Yes, this looks like a vast improvement over last year's mess. And that's good.
Sure, there was bad out there, like Preston Parker bad. Parker, who has looked good in camp, looked like a man headed for the waiver wire Friday night.
He had a personal foul penalty called on him early, a 15-yarder. Later, he muffed a punt and lost the fumble. Put stuff like that on film and you can end up without a job.
That's not the Buccaneer way.
There was enough of the new Buccaneer way to enjoy in this first game.
These were the Dolphins, a team without a quarterback, for now.
There's a long way to go, but the good news is that Schiano's message is getting through.
And that's a good thing, isn't it?.
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