Has Greg Schiano stolen Josh Freeman's "swagger?"
There's a guy on Yahoo! Sports who says that Tampa Bay Buccaneer head coach Greg Schiano is a bully.
Mike Silver's column has the tag "expert" on it, so are we to expect that Silver is some sort of "expert" on pro football?
If you look to define that term, maybe you'd lean more towards a guy like former Buccaneer coach Jon Gruden. If you listen to him on Monday Night Football, yes, he would be an expert.
Which brings us back to Silver and back to "the bully" that he claims Schiano is.
It's been my great fortune to spend a previous life as a football beat writer. Worked my way up the ladder from solid high school ball, to big-time college football then to the NFL. It took 10 years. Met some solid coaches along the way, but then, yes, there were a lot of guys in there that you would describe as "bullies."
A head coaching job in college is the perfect place for a "bully." In most instances, they have total lockdown control over the program and the young players and they take advantage of that circumstance. I've seen coaches bully their players, bully administrators, bully fans, bully media, hell, they bully everyone that they can get away with bullying.
Saw a classic bully, a guy named Jim Leavitt, who was once upon a time the football coach at the University of South Florida. He fit the definition to a "T" or a "B" as in Bully Extraordinaire. It eventually cost him his cushy job here in Tampa—he allegedly grabbed a player in front of the team and shook him. He was fired and USF later paid him to settle a lawsuit. He got a lot of money, $2.75 million—a nice reward for being a bully.
Do you think Greg Schiano scares Josh Freeman?
Bullies are everywhere and if you watch Schiano long enough, you know he's a control freak. Most bullies are control freaks; maybe not all control freaks are bullies.
But our point today is that Schiano may be a bully. If that's the case, well, eventually it could backfire on him, or not.
Last Sunday, if you watch Freeman, he's a quarterback without confidence, he's a man without swagger. There's no fire in his eyes. He looks every bit the part of a kid who has been bullied.
He's afraid and we're not about to speculate what scares him but we'll drop a hint and say that his last name starts with an "S."
The thing with bullies is that they prey on fear. Lack of fear sends them on their way and they head to their next target. They take the path of least resistance.
Freeman is approaching a career crossroads. Next season is the final year of his contract with the Buccaneers and decisions will have to be made. If he's not "the guy" it will set this franchise back at least five years.
But if you think back to 2010, he looked every bit "the guy" and someone needs to go back and find out what made Freeman "that guy" and bring "that 2010 guy" into 2012 and get this offense rolling.
Right now, he's looking like a scared guy and he shouldn't.
Do you think Josh Freeman is "playing scared?"
If there hadn't been a 2010, then yes, we could start calling for the head of Josh Freeman. But that's not the right thing to do here.
I believe his teammates believe in him. He's a captain.
Not sure Schiano believes in him or any one else to any great degree right now.
Schiano's done a fine job with this defense but he appeared to cross the line at the end of the game when he ordered his now infamous "crash dive" not once, not twice, but three times. After each one, he ordered a time out. At one point you could see him screaming at the guys and if you read lips, and he made it easy to read lips, he did drop an F-bomb on them.
This isn't Rutgers and although he says he caused some last-play fumbles there, he never told us if Rutgers recovered any of them or won any games in the last second because that stuff worked.
Maybe it's just a bully having his way, showing everyone what a "tough guy" he is and how his team is going to be "tough" even to the bitter end.
That's fine if he wants his team to have some "swagger." Swagger is good, especially when you combine it with talent.
But in all of this mess, the guy who has no "swagger" right now is Freeman. He doesn't look like a "tough guy" out there.
He looks like the victim of a bully. A deer in the headlights with a car bearing down on it.
And that won't cut it on Sundays in the NFL.