Greg Schiano's status for the 2014 season is still up in the air, with the second-year head coach's job hanging in the balance after a 4-12 season.
One thing is certain, however. If Schiano is allowed to return in 2014, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not be successful.
The Buccaneers did not struggle in 2013 because of a lack of talent, nor did they struggle because of injuries or off-the-field distractions. They struggled to win football games because they were poorly coaches, and the team seemed ill-prepared Sunday after Sunday.
So while there are reports that Schiano will be safe, such as this one from Jay Glazer of the NFL on Fox...
Per @JayGlazer these coaches will be: OUT: Frazier, Schwartz, Shanahan MAYBE: Allen, Ryan, Munchak SAFE: Garrett, Coughlin, Schiano, Philbin— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 29, 2013
...it would be a mistake for the Buccaneers to keep the head coach for another season of disappointment.
Here are the three main reasons why Schiano would fail if given a third chance in Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered Week 17 last in the NFL in total yards on offense, and despite posting 290 yards (which was an improvement in recent weeks), they failed to gain ground on the Jacksonville Jaguars and finished the season as the worst offense statistically in the NFL.
This is thanks in part to instability at the quarterback position, but it's tough to blame a rookie quarterback who tied the NFL record for most multi-touchdown games in a season with eight.
Glennon ties NFL record for most multi-TD games by a rookie QB.— Pewter Report (@PewterReport) December 29, 2013
In fact, it's impossible to blame Glennon, who was the best rookie quarterback in his class, yet saw his offense finish behind the New York Jets and their rookie Geno Smith as well as that of EJ Manuel and the Buffalo Bills.
Eyes could then turn to the running game, but the Buccaneers averaged over 100 rushing yards per game and did so without their top running back for most of the season.
So what's the real problem with the offense for the Buccaneers? The coaching and the playcalling.
As Doug Farrar of Sports Illustrated pointed out earlier this year, the offensive scheme in Tampa Bay wasn't good enough to promote success at the quarterback position. That's why it's even more impressive that Glennon had the solid season he had as a rookie.
The second-half offense for Tampa Bay was horrible all season, scoring only seven touchdowns on offense in the third and fourth quarters across 16 games. This is further proof of a staff that was outcoached and failed to adjust and adapt on a weekly basis.
Sander Philipse of Bucs Nation summed the Tampa Bay defense up well when he tweeted this opinion during the Week 17 game.
This feels like the 2011 defense again.— Sander Philipse (@Bucs_Nation) December 29, 2013
Of course, 2011 was the final season under Raheem Morris, a head coach who lost the locker room and saw the team lose 10 games in a row to close out the season.
So what made Schiano's 2013 defense similar? Breakdowns, mistakes, errors, penalties and otherwise a unit not playing up to its potential.
For example, since Pro Football Focus (subscription required) began charting statistics in 2008, the Buccaneers have surpassed 120 missed tackles in a season three times: Raheem Morris' final year in charge, and both of Greg Schiano's seasons at the helm.
So Schiano's defense has the tackling consistency of a team that gave up on its head coach. Simply preventing yards isn't enough, especially with a offense as anemic as the one for Tampa Bay. Allowing big plays on busted coverages and failing to contain quarterbacks and allowing them to scramble for big plays translate into missed opportunities and eventually lead to losses.
Schiano has a history as a defensive coach, so struggles on that side of the football fall squarely on his shoulders. He has proven he doesn't actively ruin a defense, but he certainly doesn't get the most out of the talented players he has on that side of the ball.
Lack of Discipline
When Greg Schiano was hired, he told the media at a press conference (as reported by Rick Brown of the Lakeland Ledger) that his team would be built on trust, belief and accountability.
Fast-forward two seasons, and it seems the accountability and belief might be fading away.
Another personal-foul penalty on Ted Larsen -- 12 yards, and Bucs have set team record for penalty yards in a season.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) December 29, 2013
The fact that an NFL head coach who preaches discipline, accountability and trust can see his team rack up a team record in penalty yards is embarrassing enough. But considering that this is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers franchise, which has seen its fair share of awful football teams over the past four decades, it's all the more shameful.
Sunday provided more examples of how Schiano's teams were without discipline and unable to prevent costly mistakes.
During a sequence in the third quarter, the Buccaneers reached midfield and were faced with a 3rd-and-1. There was confusion among the personnel, so the team took a timeout. This is a second-half timeout in a two-score game, so it could have proven to be costly if the Buccaneers were able to make a comeback.
Coming out of the timeout, tight end Tim Wright would false start on what would be a successful QB sneak, and the Buccaneers were forced into a longer third down try.
This frustrating series of events unfolded far too often over the course of the season, and it raises questions about the ability of the disciplinarian that Schiano claims to be.
A Look Ahead
The Buccaneers will have the seventh pick in the NFL draft, and have a good amount of cap space to work with heading into the offseason. It's very possible that the team that takes to the field in 2014 will be even better than the one that competed this season.
Which is why it's even more important to change coaches, as Greg Schiano has proven he's not capable of winning with a talented team.
The Buccaneers had more talent in 2012 than they did in 2010, when Raheem Morris led the team to 10 wins. Schiano managed only seven wins in 2012, but considering it was his first year and he was installing new systems, there was room to forgive the former Rutgers head coach.
Can the Buccaneers make the playoffs with Greg Schiano as head coach?
However, after adding a Pro Bowl safety in Dashon Goldson and an All-Pro corner in Darrelle Revis, and losing only one key starter from the year before (defensive end Michael Bennett), the Buccaneers had more talent in 2013 than they did in 2012.
They found a gem in undrafted rookie tight end Tim Wright, and received contributions from backup running backs Mike James and Bobby Rainey to ease the pain of the loss of Doug Martin
So with a roster that was at least as good as the year before, if not better, Schiano could muster only four wins, none of which came over playoff teams.
There are no indications that Schiano can improve moving forward. He's regressed as a coach, and his team has been disappointing since a 6-4 start in 2012 gave Tampa Bay fans hope of a playoff berth.
So if reports of his return are true, then prepare for yet another year of disappointment in Tampa Bay.