The Buccaneers are counting on Greg Schiano to lead them back to respectability and transform Tampa Bay into a consistent winner - much in the same way he made Rutgers matter again.
The 45-year-old former Scarlet Knights coach was hired yesterday, more than three weeks after the Bucs fired Raheem Morris following a 4-12 finish.
The team scheduled a news conference for today to introduce Schiano, who inherits a team that allowed the most points in the NFL this season.
“Coach Schiano is a bright, meticulous teacher who knows how to get the most out of his players,’’ general manager Mark Dominik said. “He built and ran a pro-style program at Rutgers, and he’s a defensive-minded coach whose teams have always been characterized by toughness and a physical style of play.’’
Schiano was at Rutgers for 11 seasons, taking it from a college football laughingstock to a program that has had winning records in six of the last seven years. He was an assistant coach in the NFL with the Bears from 1996-98.
The Scarlet Knights appointed offensive line coach Kyle Flood as interim head coach while the school searches for Schiano’s replacement.
The Bucs fired Morris Jan. 2 after Tampa Bay lost 10 straight to end the season, most of them by double-digit margins. The collapse following a promising 4-2 start came only a year after the NFL’s youngest team went 10-6 and narrowly missed the playoffs.
The Glazer family that owns the team interviewed at least 10 candidates for the opening, including Oregon’s Chip Kelly, who turned down the position earlier this week.
Irsay irked at Manning
Two days after Peyton Manning publicly complained about the dour atmosphere at Colts headquarters following a 2-14 season and a rash of firings, owner Jim Irsay introduced his new head coach and then stunned everyone by calling his franchise player a “politician’’ who had decided to air dirty laundry.
“I don’t think it’s in the best interest to paint the horseshoe in a negative light,’’ Irsay said. “I think one thing he’s always known . . . you keep it in the family. If you’ve got a problem you talk to each other, it’s not about campaigning.’’
The comments suggest there is a rift between Manning and Irsay, who is six weeks from a deadline to pay the four-time MVP a $28 million bonus or risk losing him as a free agent. And it all blew up on a day the team wanted attention focused on new coach Chuck Pagano, the Ravens’ defensive coordinator who takes over as head coach with a host of problems to address.
The biggest question mark is Manning, the face of the franchise and the primary reason for its run of success. He is clearly upset with the fallout of the Colts’ dismal season in which he never played a down after Sept. 8 neck surgery - his third such procedure in a span of 19 months.
The saga took an even more dramatic twist this week.
Manning told the Indianapolis Star his only real conversation with new GM Ryan Grigson had come in passing and that the vast overhaul at team headquarters had him “walking around on eggshells.’’ He said it wasn’t healthy for his healing, then said he had no idea where Irsay stood on the question.
“I have so much affection and appreciation for Peyton. I mean, we’re family. We always will be and we are,’’ Irsay said. “He’s a politician. When it comes to being competitive, let’s just say on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest, we’re both 11s. So there’s been plenty of eggshells scattered around this building by him with his competitive desire to win.’’
Manning quickly began a quest to mend fences. Within hours of Irsay’s comments, Manning told the Star he didn’t intend to start a public feud.
“Mr. Irsay and I owe it to each other and to the fans of the organization to handle this appropriately and professionally, and I think we will. I’ve already reached out to Mr. Irsay,’’ Manning said. “I wasn’t trying to paint the Colts in a bad light, but it’s tough when so many people you’ve known for so long are suddenly leaving.’’
Raiders finalize deal
The Raiders formally agreed on a four-year deal to make Broncos defensive coordinator Dennis Allen their head coach. Allen is Oakland’s seventh coach since 2003. The Raiders have gone nine straight seasons without a winning record or playoff berth.