Commentary | Tampa Bay Bucs' Greg Schiano borrowing Joe Maddon magic to make Bucs contenders

Schiano borrowing magic from Maddon to make Bucs contenders

adell@bradenton.comNovember 14, 2012 

If you are a Bucs fan, close your eyes and see a world beyond your wildest imagination.

Witness the Tampa Bay Rays dressed in cleats, helmets and shoulder pads.

Bucs head coach Greg Schiano is Joe Maddon, albeit a little younger and without the wide rim glasses and occasional orange hair.

These are your Tampa Bay Bucs Rays and their coach, Greg Joe Maddon Schiano.

He is a blue collar guy born in Pennsylvania, who was raised along the Jersey docks.

His best friends are Tony Soprano and Dr. Phil, and we heard there is a connection to Sigmund Freud and Bill Parcells, among the most mentally gifted in their profession.

The Schiano part is not as warm and fuzzy as the Joe part, though he can fix more things than Sarah Palin's old friend Joe the Plumber.

This Schiano guy won't smother you with love because it's not the manly thing to do in his world. But as he has said many times, the only people he cares about are those 60 guys who call themselves Bucs, and you get the point.

Greg Joe and Joe Greg; they never run out of optimism and are willing to share it with everyone.

The Greg Joe who wears his Pewter proudly is a tough-love kind of guy who can motivate others to break though granite walls with brute strength and passion.

They never run out of examples.

Bucs undrafted rookie cornerback Leonard Johnson is Sam Fuld, the kid nobody wanted to have, but everybody wants to keep.

Doug Martin is a younger Evan Longoria, a home run hitter a franchise can build on.

Rookies Lavonte David and Mark Barron are your David Price and Matt Moore, young guys who give you a full game every time they take the field.

They are racking up tackles at the same rate Price and Moore strike out hitters.

Vincent Jackson is your Fernando Rodney. His presence makes everybody's job easier.

Things have gotten so rosy at One Buc Place even Bucs GM Mark Dominik is being talked about in the same breath as Rays' genius Andrew Friedman.

Friedman isn't saddled with E.J. Biggers and the Kellen Winslow-led motley crew Dominik brought in before Schiano

kicked them out.

The Bucs have won three straight, four of their last five and at 5-4 are contenders for a playoff spot. They are doing it with a patched up offensive line, undrafted cornerbacks nobody wanted and a pass defense that every quarterback sees as a way to get a big contract.

Maddon does it in reverse with a batting lineup that is somewhere south of your deepest swamp. He touches hitters' shoulders with a magic wand, and guys who couldn't hit their way out of a paper bag are providing hope.

You wish Greg Joe Maddon Schiano was your father because you would be hitting 60 homers, rushing for 100 yards or winning 20 games.

Just a few months ago, no one outside of Tampa Bay believed in the Bucs, like nobody believed in the Rays not that long ago.

But Greg Joe Maddon Schiano never panics and never spreads negativism, just like Joe Greg Schiano Maddon.

The Bucs are even being nice to their fans.

But the best thing the Bucs borrowed from the Rays is a belief that once you put on their uniform you are capable of great things.

Schiano even sounded like Maddon recently when he said, "It doesn't matter where you were drafted, we are going to play who gives us the best chance to win."

They are eccentrics, but aren't most geniuses?

Maddon has his computer and sabermetrics.

Schiano has his finger on the air conditioner, making sure room temperature is right at 67 degrees, and the Bucs chef didn't put too much salt on the food.

Both are sticklers for detail.

What all this means is that successful coaches have similarities regardless of the sport.

But at the moment no one is doing it better than Greg Joe Maddon Schiano.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7080, ext. 2112. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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