Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan has been stretched to his limits with fans suggesting that he is misusing his players.
The most criticism he has received is in regard to his handling of key offseason acquisition Darrelle Revis, who has been featured in zone packages rather than man-to-man defensive coverage.
According to Jenna Laine of Sports Talk Florida, Sheridan finally lashed out against the fans on Thursday:
What I want to invite them to do is join us. I get here about 5:20 [a.m.] every single morning, and they’re more than welcome to hang around here until about 11:00 [p.m.] for the first four nights of the week and they can help us put the whole game plan together.
But Sheridan wasn't done there. After sending out the invitations to the fans, he spoke more specifically about Revis and decided to bribe them with free soda:
We’ve got all the free cokes you want in the building and we’ll be happy to take those suggestions on how we can better use Darrelle. Trust me when I tell you we painstakingly game plan how best to use all of our personnel not just Darrelle.
Advice has not only been pouring in from fans, but also experts like Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders and ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski. In his weekly "Jaws Bites" feature, Jaworski argues that one of the best cover corners in the league should be matched up in man coverage more often:
Last week vs. the Eagles, Revis was given help on 20 of the Eagles 32 pass plays (62.5 percent), with only being singled up in man coverage on 12 snaps in the game (only 2 of those plays was he on “Revis Island” by himself) – this style of Defense is not a good fit for the best cover CB in the NFL with the high majority of zone coverage schemes they play with.
Sheridan, who was the 2009 New York Giants defensive coordinator when they finished 13th in total defense, has the Buccaneers ranked as the 16th overall defense after serving two years with the Miami Dolphins as a linebackers coach.
As Laine points out, Sheridan has used Revis in a combination of different coverages including, but not limited to, man-to-man. Head coach Greg Schiano weighed in on the topic following practice earlier in the week:
We position [Revis] in a way he plays a lot of one-on-one coverage and again we give him flexibility because of his experience, just like we do [safety] Dashon [Goldson], there’s flexibility there because these guys are experienced players.
Whether Sheridan was trying to ruffle the feathers of fans or he genuinely wants them shadowing him during practices, this probably won't end well.