Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Jan 2012

Bucs Hire Greg Schiano

Adam Schefter is reporting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to hire current Rutgers football coach Greg Schiano as their next head coach. Schefter first reported the news this morning, and unlike the Bucs' pursuit on Sunday of Oregon head coach Chip Kelly, this deal seems to be done.

While Rutgers never really reached the upper echelon of college football programs, Schiano did an excellent job of developing and maintaining a Rutgers program that had struggled to achieve anything like sustained success. He'd previously turned down opportunities elsewhere, including the head coaching job at Michigan, and Peter King noted this isn't the first time his name has been mentioned in connection with an NFL job.

While the college to pro transition is generally not a fruitful one, and Schiano isn't as schematically interesting as Kelly, he's one of a handful of college coaches I thought could a good NFL coach, and I'm interesting in seeing how he does.

Posted by: Tom Gower on 26 Jan 2012

39 comments, Last at 01 Feb 2012, 5:54am by 3.14159265


by dryheat :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 2:54pm

Bill Belichick has had a disproportionate number of Rutgers players on the team and practice squad the last few years, and he commented fairly recently that he liked guys coming out of that program because they knew how to work, exhibited professionalism, and were extremely disciplined and fundamentally solid. I think Schiano will do well.

by Will Allen :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 3:07pm

I always think a guy who brings a program like Rutgers' to a higher level has a decent chance to be a good NFL coach; he likely has to be a decent talent evaluator and teacher, because he doesn't wake up, Barry Switzer-at-OU-style, and have easily identifiable superior talent fall into his lap every morning.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 5:34pm

He may do well in Tampa, but an endorsement from BB doesn't mean much given the rather poor track record of other guys he's backed over the years.

by Cro-mags (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 6:37pm

Belichik pumps everyone's tires, doesn't always work out for everyone else.
Vernon Gholston?

by markus (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:40am

Do these Pats fanboys never get tired of talking up Bellichick's favorites? This dude never even coached for the Pats, but the mere fact Bill said a couple good things about him is enough to brand him a surefire success in the NFL. Yeah, right.

by dryheat :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 9:27am

Man, you're just missing the point...probably intentionally so you can get a shot in at the Patriots, Belichick, and/or Patriots fans.

The fact that Belichick actively signs his players because, according to him they are ground in fundamentals, professional, and hard-working. That comes from coaching. If one of the greatest coaches in history, by action - not words, thinks that someone does a great job of coaching players, he probably does.

That being said, there are obvious differences between the college and pro game that many coaches are ill equipped to handle. My gut says that Schiano has a good chance to be successful, especially with a youngry team.

by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 7:10pm

The vast majority of NFL players are professional, hard-working and disciplined. For anybody but the total freaks in terms of talent, it's impossible to make the NFL without having those attributes. So, Belichick likes Schiano. That doesn't mean that Rutgers or Schiano are somehow unique. Lots of college programs--particularly those that find a way to crack the top 25 without the benefit of top 25 recruiting classes--exhibit those same traits.

And if you're going to use the "Belichick likes him, so he must be a good coach" argument, then you'd better be prepared to explain why so many of his other favorites have failed. Based on your argument, Josh McDaniels is still "probably" a good coach and offensive coordinator. But pretty much every single Broncos and Rams fan would differ with that assessment.

by RickD :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 8:48pm

I don't know about McDaniels as a head coach, but I think McDaniels has proven he can be an effective coordinator. He didn't become a much worse OC between '07 and '11.

Maybe personnel had something to do with it?

by sundown (not verified) :: Sat, 01/28/2012 - 12:28am

You're 100% right... having a Hall of Fame quarterback and other top offensive players (not to mention the Hall of Fame head coach) had EVERYTHING to do with it. His offense in Denver never matched what he'd inherited and he took a St. Louis offense that was like 25th before he arrived backwards. You'd have thought the Rams would have gotten better by a mixture of better attitude and sheer luck, but he actually got them to regress. If that's being "effective" in your book, I'd hate to see what failure looks like to you.

He's had two shots at succeeding away from NE and bombed at both. And the Pats didn't miss a beat after he left. Nobody objective person could possibly believe he's anything other than a product of great circumstances under Belichick and Brady. Maybe someday he will prove differently, but he's done nothing to earn the benefit of the doubt to date.

by Boston Dan :: Sun, 01/29/2012 - 11:50pm

"I don't know about McDaniels as a head coach, but I think McDaniels has proven he can be an effective coordinator."

No, genius, that's not a compliment of McDaniels HC abilities. I hope that two paragraph screed felt good.

by markus (not verified) :: Sat, 01/28/2012 - 1:43am

You homers get funnier with every post. You don't know about McDaniels as a head coach? What, the 5-17 run before they fired him wasn't bad enough? The 59-14 home loss to a Raiders team that had a losing record at the time is the mark of a guy who's getting it done? Hillis for Quinn? Cutler for Orton? Knowshon Moreno in the first round? Trading up for Tebow and then never having the guts to start him? You missed all that? He didn't get much worse from 07 to 11? What is that based on other than your desperate hope that he isn't going to mess up the magic the Pats have going?

This is what I don't get. You've got a Hall of Fame head coach. He might even be the best ever, even the people who hate him would have to at least listen to that argument. Why not just revel in his success rather than giving credit for his accomplishments to a bunch of guys who clearly don't deserve it? It's like you're worried it's going to somehow tarnish him if you admit his assistants can't hack it anywhere else. If anything, that makes him even greater.

by Andrew Potter :: Sat, 01/28/2012 - 3:25am

The manner of your comments lead me to think your ESPN.com bookmark is broken. By all means argue the points, but any chance you could cut down on the personal attacks? They're adding nothing whatsoever to the discussion, and ruining an otherwise interesting comment thread. Thanks.

by Boston Dan :: Sun, 01/29/2012 - 11:50pm

"I don't know about McDaniels as a head coach, but I think McDaniels has proven he can be an effective coordinator."

No, genius, that's not a compliment of McDaniels HC abilities. I hope that two paragraph screed felt good.

by 3.14159265 (not verified) :: Wed, 02/01/2012 - 5:54am

What will it say about Coughlin if he beats Belichick twice on the big stage? Will that make Coughlin the best coach ever?

No jinx intended Giants fans.

by dryheat :: Sat, 01/28/2012 - 10:27am

1. Yes, maybe the majority of NFL players have those qualities. If they don't they wash out of the league pretty quickly unless they're that phenomenally talented. However, if your talking about rookies, that's clearly not true. Belichick currently has 4 Rutgers alums on the team, and he's had others off and on. That's probably the same number of Florida alums (top of my head I count Spikes, Hernandez, Cunningham, Warren) but RU isn't in the same stratosphere as UF, quite obviously.

Belichick talks up everybody publicly, with the exception of Fred Mitchell, Eric Mangini, Charlie Casserly and Tom Jackson. I'm not making the argument that because Belichick says a guy is good that he is. The fact is that these guys like Nate Jones and Alex Silvestro, who were little regarded out of Rutgers, have proven to be players worthy of being kept over high-round draft picks and proven veterans.

I see that as a very strong reflection of Schiano's coaching.

by Anon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 10:30pm

Having the Bill Belichick Talent Quality Approval isn't very complementary these days, considering the state of his roster and the amount of draft prospects he has discarded within the first 3 or 4 years of their careers (to wit: Laurence Maroney, Chad Jackson, David Thomas, Brandon Meriweather, Darius Butler, Terrence Wheatley, Kevin O'Connell, Shawn Crable, Brandon Tate)...

I think his work in turning The State University of New Jersey, GODDAMN RUTGERS, into a perennial winning-record, bowling team is nothing short of outstanding. But I still have some reservations. Among them, the huge growth in Top250 national high school prospects from New Jersey in the last years. I always had the suspiction that much of his success comes from having got there first, ala Howard Schnellenberger with his State of Southern Florida, and building the pipeline to his university.

I have seen a fair number of Rutgers' games, and I have found the play-calling on offense doubtful. This, from the glorious Rice-Leonard days, to the Kenny Britt days and to this day.

He seems to be a decent person too, not likely to have outbursts like Raheem Morris did, nor throwing players under the bus. He handled the Eric LeGrand issue kind of well, for instance.

by Anon (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 10:31pm


by markus (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 12:51am

The only thing that might save the dude from the Belichick curse is the fact that he never actually coached for him. Notice how most all of the Hoodie's disciples quickly fall out of favor because they're egomaniacs who can't even get along with their own staffs and players, let alone their bosses. They all also have that brief moment when it looks like they'll be the first disciple to really succeed (Mangini's first year with the Jets, McDaniels starting 6-0, Haley winning the division with the Chiefs), only to have everything collapse shortly afterwards. Didn't Mangini name his kid after Brett Favre? And I just talked to a Pat fan the other day who was telling me how Charlie Weis was going to turn KU into a top 25 program. Because, you know, the Notre Dame thing was such a success.

by Southern Philly :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 2:34pm

Todd Haley never coached for Bill Belichick.

by Cro-mags (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 7:50pm

Is Belichik trying to foist off his assistants on other teams or are they desperately trying to lure away short tenured assistants (Mangini, McD) in an attempt to recreate what he has done?

I never got the sense that one of BB's priorities is trying to prepare a bunch of his assistants to leave his team and coach elsewhere. Successfully or not.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Mon, 01/30/2012 - 8:43am

Maybe BB just realizes he was wrong, and releases his mistakes quicker than other coaches. I don't know if thats likely, but it's a possibillity

by Led :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 3:32pm

What's the over/under for days until there's news about an NCAA investigation of Rutgers?

by houle (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 4:08pm


by RickD :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 4:18pm

Grumble, grumble, I was going to say "thousands" but it's been a number of years since I graduated. I was going to say "why would Rutgers of all schools have some kind of investigation, unless it were to determine why they were so bad for so long?" But really, you never know.
For years and years, decades, really, Rutgers failed to keep the best New Jersey HS football players in state. Usually Penn State got the best pickings, but other schools like BC, Syracuse, Va. Tech, Pitt, etc. got many. In theory, Rutgers could improve solely by doing a better job of in-state recruiting, and I think Schiano accomplished that.
Of course violations in recruiting are like holding along the offensive line. It happens so much it's a surprise when it isn't happening.
Wow. As an alum, I really suck at defending my alma mater.
Now, if Wesleyan (CT, my other alma mater) had some kind of recruiting scandal, I'd be really surprised.

by Led :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 6:15pm

I only say that because I believe Schiano turned down the UMiami job when it was open as well as other NFL opportunities, saying he wanted to stay at Rutgers. He's been successful and is very popular already, and there's still has a lot of low hanging fruit left in terms of local talent, as you suggest. But now he's ready to jump...for the Bucs? It has a Carroll to Seattle feel to it.

by IB (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 10:19am

He wanted the Penn State job. Now he didn't get it, and for obvious reasons might not really want it any more.

by speedegg :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 7:42pm

Haha! I hear you dude. Buddy that played football said it was outrageous that the NCAA didn't catch more violations and level more sanctions to all schools. Of course, the NCAA regulates tweets to recruits and arbitrarily hands out punishment, so this might be a case of hammering the low-revenue schools.

Hope Schiano does well. The Petrino thing in Atlanta was a really bad way to end.

by markus (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 5:02pm

They wanted Chip Kelly, but this is probably a safer choice. He's got some NFL experience, which I think is huge mostly because contacts are what will help him land top-level coordinators. Kelly who had never coached in the pros and had only run a big-time college program for a couple seasons might well have struggled to get top lieutenants, imo.

by Joshua Northey (not verified) :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 5:12pm

I posted the below in scramble to someone's suggestion that Tampa "epically collapsed" last year.

"It is not really an "epic collapse" Tampa was not nearly as good as they looked 2 years ago. Morris is fell prey to that oldest of coaching failures "don't win too early".

Going 10-6 will such little talent on the roster was a huge mistake, especially after a 3-13 year. If he had simple gone say, 6-10 he would have had a much better chance of keeping his job after going 4-12 this year.

The NFL makes the silliest personnel decisions. Not saying he was a good coach, but 4-12 is about what I would expect out of that roster."

Any Tampa fans or other people have an opinion on this? I thought Tampa greatly overachieved in 2010, and was not at all surprised to see them falter.

I also think the phenomenon of succeeding too early as a coach is an interesting one.

by Dean :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 5:17pm

Time has shown that they weren't that good after all, but there were a LOT of people around here drinking the Kool Aid.

by Andrew Potter :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 5:28pm

It's not just that they went 4-12, it's HOW they went 4-12. They didn't just have an inferior record; several of the performances were embarrassing in attitude as well as on the scoreboard. If he'd gone 4-12 with a team that had injuries and some unlucky breaks, he might still be in a job. Instead he went 4-12 with a team that had completely given up by the end of the year.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 5:31pm

As a raving Bucs fan, I never thought the team was "10-6" good, nor do I think they are "epic collapse" bad. As for Morris, I thought he did a phenomenal job keeping guys motivated during 2010, but he proved himself incapable of dealing with losing and keeping people focused during a bad stretch. His gung-ho, high-fiving enthusiasm worked well when the team was implausibly winning at the end, but when the team started to falter in 2011, it utterly fell apart. Blown assignments, bad fundamentals, constant mistakes, and it simply got worse. So, in effect, a good coach when he didn't really need to be, but he just could not right the proverbial ship and keep that team focused when they needed something resembling leadership. Granted, part of that is the youth of the team; there were three players on the roster last year 30 or older, and one of those was inexplicably Fat Albert Haynesworth (the other two were Ronde and Jeff Faine). There was just nobody around to pull the team together, and it was really, really ugly in every possible sense of the word.

There were lots of little things last year that contributed (short offseason for a young team, erratic line play, terrible safety play, OLB issues, rookie MLB, Gerald McCoy hosing his arm again, OL issues, WRs not showing up and/or running the wrong routes, Freeman repeatedly forcing the ball to a slowing K2, and no back who could pass block even if the other team put a 90-year-old arthitis-riddled grandmother in at DE, I could go on for ABOUT FIVE THOUSANDS WORDS HERE), but the team still has lots of potential. I do think with some veteran leadership or a coach willing to calm his team down Tampa would have won 6-7 games last year, which would have been really an expected result with the harder schedule and no longer being on the receiving end of all the late-game luck of 2010. The team simply felt . . . dumb last year, like the lack of focus and discipline made mistakes pop up at the wrong time every week. The moment things started going downhill, that team completely and utterly fell apart. Raheem Morris might be a decent coach some day, but, last year, he simply didn't have the ability to keep people going in the right direction.

As for "epic collapse" (which was my line), dropping your last 10 straight, only three of those ten by less than 10 points, and lost five games by more than 20 points does count as an "epic collapse" in my book. They gave up 41 to the Jaguars, who had scored 20 once all season long. That team fell apart like no team I can remember.

In case you're wondering, I did not, in fact, enjoy the 2011 football season.

As for Schiano, I'm far from excited, but I'm happier with him than Chip Kelly, who just seemed far too Spurrier-ish for my liking. I still believe Freeman will be an excellent QB, and I'd rather not see him killed in some crazy, quick-read, spread offense. All I know about Schiano is he's made a team from a so-so conference pretty competitive, and Belichick really likes him.

Also, and this is very important, he is not Brad Childress. I cannot state that with enough emphasis.

by qsi :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 3:26am

Much as others have commented, I didn't think the Bucs were 10-6 good in 2010, nor were they fundamentally 4-12 bad last year. There is talent there, but it is more a matter of that talent being led properly to realize its full potential. When the Bucs were 4-2 after beating the Saints and Falcons, it looked like the team was on its way to challenging for the division title. And beating those two teams did have a AGS component to it, but there was some genuinely good play as well.

Unfortunately, the loss to the 49ers proved to be the template for the rest of the season. Actually, the evisceration at the hands of the Patriots in the preseason presaged the problems we saw, and showed how the Bucs could make great stomp-fodder. After that game Rah said something to the effect that he deliberately had not prepared or planned for that game to see what would happen (IIRC).

In any case, with decent leadership and more discipline the 0-10 slide could have been averted. There were winnable games in that slide, and a more motivated, cohesive, better disciplined team would have won a few. MilkmanDanimal has already covered this comprehensively.

I'm not sure about Schiano, but at this point he has to be better than Rah, and more importantly, will be able to assess dispassionately where Rah went wrong. I hope.

by stephenbawesome :: Thu, 01/26/2012 - 8:00pm

I'm biased, but he's a strong hire.

Good high character coach who instills a high work ethic and preaches accountability. Has a habit of graduating mature young men. Will help that young roster.

His defensive schemes are excellent. Great usage of question multiple front, like Belichick. Loves speed/agility on defense to get guys swarming to the ball

Always played well in that stadium, too.

by Raiderjoe :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 3:39pm

G. Schiano big sidelone screamer. Going to try to be ike b. Cowhermaybe. Goig to havw to go that route
.scream a lot, instill discipline players, curse at refs. If wim soon will do good in nfl. If tema dowsn't do good 2012, schiamo going to be up agains t it

by Ambientdonkey :: Sat, 01/28/2012 - 5:19pm

I've seen Schiano employ a 1 man defensive line on 4th and 1, against a team that had already run for over 200 yards on the day. Maryland converted that 4th and 1. I'm not overly impressed with his schemes.

by Hudson River Crossing (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 8:27am

You guys are all ignoring the biggest part of this story...

Man, this just DEVASTATES Rutgers' recruiting four days before Signing day!!!! The best class in school history, and set to ink Darius Hamilton and probably Devin Fuller this week. The mass exodus is going to be uggggly.

I'm going to go snap a photo of the Rivals Rutgers recruiting homepage, because we'll never see that many stars ever again.

Screw you Greg!

by Hudson River Crossing (not verified) :: Fri, 01/27/2012 - 8:29am

"Has a habit of graduating mature young men. "

Like Kenny Britt!!

I kid, I kid. He does seem to live up to that "character" blather, for the most part. Though I think Anthony Davis and Ray Rice were both ready to commit violent bloody murder on Sunday, which might have changed his whole record on that score.

by towishimp (not verified) :: Tue, 01/31/2012 - 7:51pm

Yeah, Rutgers's recruiting class is a bigger story than the hiring of an NFL head coach (on a primarily NFL site).

As a Bucs fan, I'm not crazy about the hire, but I'm not bummed about it either. I don't know much about him, so it's a "wait and see" thing for me.

The Bucs definitely underperformed last year. I knew they'd be coming back to earth after the year before, but they were unwatchable by the end of this season. I felt it was clear that they weren't trying, and that's on the head coach.