Commentary | Tampa Bay Buccaners coach Greg Schiano can't find a win but claims his locker room is not lost

November 10, 2013 

Schiano And Kelly Football

FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2013, file photo, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano watches from the sideline during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals in Tampa, Fla. Before Schiano became Tampa Bay's head coach, Chip Kelly turned down the Buccaneers. Kelly also turned down the Browns and Eagles a year later before changing his mind and leaving Oregon. When the Buccaneers and Eagles meet Sunday, the two coaches will be on opposite sidelines. (AP Photo/Reinhold Matay, File)



If you can't find a win, the only recourse is to say you haven't lost the locker room.

It's keeping Greg Schiano from the evaporation machine.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach is sending out smoke signals that his locker room exudes peace and harmony.

He has no Richie Incognito on his team, and no one has taken rookie Johnthan Banks in the back of the woodshed to teach him a lesson.

Schiano doesn't allow $15,000 dinners that rookies are expected to pay. If the veterans are hungry, he sends his yearlings down the street to McDonald's.

There are no trips to Las Vegas. If the Bucs want to get away, he flies them to New Brunswick, N.J., to watch tapes of his old Rutgers games.

The locker room is still at One Buc Place, the Schiano mob argues. Come and see for yourself if you don't believe it.

Losing a locker room is worse than losing a pair of shoes. No one goes to work barefooted except a lifeguard.

Schiano hasn't won a game against an opponent who had something to play for since the Bucs beat Carolina on Nov. 18, 2012, which is a span of 13 games.

But it's OK. The locker room is still there, and Gerald McCoy still has a pulpit.

Now the Miami Dolphins -- that is a locker room, which floated out to sea when Captain William Bligh Incognito arrived to make Jonathan Martin walk the plank.

The Dolphins face the Bucs Monday night in the NFL's first nationally televised soap opera. But the Fish are 4-4 and in the playoff hunt.

Mired in the Richie Incognito scandal, the Dolphins could wind up seeing their head coach and general manager fired.

They allowed a culture to exist that enabled Incognito to bully and demean Martin with racial slurs and death threats. If there ever was a locker room lost, this is it, but the Dolphins are in the thick of a playoff race.

The most nebulous over-used the term in football is losing the locker room. It's tossed around to justify outrageous assumptions and proposals.

It's like telling the teacher the dog ate your homework.

The best way to find out what is going on in the Bucs' locker room is to listen to Darrelle Revis.

The prized cornerback has some Honest Abe in him. Even if he spews the company line, Revis will eventually tell you what he is really thinking.

The $16 million man said on local radio last week that a lack of intensity is reason for Tampa Bay's second-half woes.

The Bucs are under the impression that only the first half of games count. It's a reason they are winless, though against Carolina and Philadelphia there wasn't much passion the entire game.

Tampa has scored only 36 second-half points this season and converted only 29 percent of third-down attempts in the second half.

If Schiano hasn't lost the locker room, he sure cleaned it out by sending Josh Freeman, Michael Bennett, Aqib Talib and LeGarrette Blount on their way.

There are now six former Rutgers players who have set up shop in the Bucs' locker room. They are there to provide insulation for Schiano.

Some argue the Bucs are playing hard and insinuate it has something to do with Schiano.

They fail to note every time an NFL player takes the field, he is auditioning for next year's job.

The Bucs might be playing for each other and coming together because of their lack of trust in Schiano and his game plan.

But since when did getting your team to play hard become the measuring stick for evaluating a coach. Bill Parcells' dictionary of NFL truisms says you are what your record is -- and Schiano is 0-8.

Alan Dell, Herald sports writer, can be reached at 941-745-7056. Follow him on Twitter at @ADellSports.

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