What a difference two wins make. The "Fire Schiano" signs were nowhere in sight yesterday at Raymond James Stadium.
Fans that wanted to run Greg Schiano out of town weren't anywhere near the tunnel when the Bucs coach walked off the field with a 41-28 win over Atlanta.
Players inside the Bucs locker room admit that after falling to 0-8, there were concerns that Schiano's job was in jeopardy. After all, they had just lost 13 of 14 games and were beaten badly by the Carolina Panthers on national TV.
Despite immense pressure from outside the Bucs organization, Schiano never has wavered.
He didn't let his critics see him sweat, and his players noticed. Schiano's resolve has paid off with two straight wins and his players that stuck with him during the dark times are now defending their coach.
"When you are a leader, you are going to get questioned in some tough times," said David Joseph. "He had some really tough times, but the guy is tough as nails, man, he's tough. He was able to take all the criticism and keep guys together, and now it's finally paying off for him."
There's been a trend around the league that teams coming off Monday Night games have a hangover the following Sunday.
Schiano challenged his team this week not to fall into that trap, and they stood up to it. When asked how they avoided a sluggish rebound, Joseph said Schiano.
"Coach did a great job," he said."With all this being said, no one give Coach Schiano much credit. We had a tough, tough first half of the season, and he's been able to keep us together. Really since the first time that he's been here, I can call us a family now."
Joseph isn't the only Buc that's standing up for Schiano.
"I agree a lot," said Lavonte David. "There's been a lot of stuff going on throughout the whole year and you see a guy like that keeping his head up – keeping the fight going. We can't doing anything else but just to feed off that."
"You want to make him proud, not just our teammates, make him proud. He put us in great positions. He takes care of us at practice, so we just try to come out here and prove a point. Play football like we know how to play."
Saving their coach is still a work in progress.
There are six more games and the evaluation continues, but if the last three weeks are any indication, the Bucs are finally moving in the right direction.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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