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Replacement ref Jim Core: Greg Schiano was the toughest NFL coach to work with

Two of the NFL’s replacement officials who worked the first seven weeks of the NFL season (including preseason) appeared on Showtime’s “Inside the NFL” Wednesday night to share some of their experiences. As expected, Jim Core and Wayne Elliott had a number of interesting stories to share with the show’s viewers, including accounts of players who swore at them and fans who left them voicemails telling them to kill themselves.

One particularly interesting piece of info came when the officials were asked who the most difficult coach to deal with was. With little hesitation, Core singled out Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano.

“He’s college,” Core explained. “The rest of them acted at a different level. You could just tell working with them that they were at a different level than what I felt he was at.”

A lot of NFL coaches would agree that Schiano is still “college,” as evidenced by the outrage he has caused by instructing his players to play hard until the final whistle under any circumstances. But with all the yelling and insults replacement refs had to hear, that says a lot that Core was able to single out one head coach.

Elliott, who was the official who made the announcement that the Seahawks Hail Mary stood as called on the field, said he received hundreds of angry voicemails from Wisconsin fans but one admirable one from Mike McCarthy. He said McCarthy told him he handled himself with class whether he agreed with the call or not.

Surprisingly enough, both officials said they would do it again if they had the chance. Some of their coworkers have said they were nothing but pawns in a business deal, but it sounds like Elliott and Core were willing to accept that for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

Pete Carroll fully supports Greg Schiano’s approach to kneel-down play

A number of mixed opinions have surfaced since Greg Schiano ordered the Bucs to play hard until the final whistle against the Giants last Sunday. Tom Coughlin was the most upset about it and Justin Tuck didn’t seem too far behind. Jerry Jones thinks the kneel-down play should be eliminated altogether and we here at LBS don’t see what all the fuss is about. Neither does Pete Carroll.

During his press conference on Thursday, the Seahawks head coach praised Schiano for the approach.

“I’m glad it was brought up like this because I think it was a competitor competing and I don’t think there is anything wrong with that,” Carroll said according to Pro Football Talk. “That’s exactly what you should do: Try to win the game. And there was a chance to win the game on that play and I thought Greg did exactly the right thing. And I would do exactly the same thing if in the same situation. So I don’t see where there’s any reason to think other than that. It’s about competing to try to make the play to win the football game. That’s it. And protect your quarterback.”

When asked why he hasn’t done the same thing if he thinks it’s such a smart play, Carroll said he simply hadn’t thought of it. If that’s the case, I guess he’s saying we can expect to see the Seahawks do the same this season if they find themselves down one possession with their opponents in the victory formation. We’ll just see about that.

Photo Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

Justin Tuck on Bucs kneel-down antics: ‘I thought it was a classless play’

If Greg Schiano sticks to his guns and does not change his approach in kneel-down situations at the end of games, he’s going to make a lot of enemies across the NFL. Whether playing hard until the final whistle is right or wrong (we gave our opinion here), Tom Coughlin and the Giants didn’t appreciate it. Justin Tuck reiterated that on Tuesday.

“I’m trying to be political, but I’m just going to go out and say it: I thought it was a classless play,” Tuck said according to the NY Post. “I thought it had no place in the NFL, and that’s how you get guys hurt. I’ve been in the league for eight years, that’s the first time that I’ve ever seen that.

“There are guys who have been in the league a lot longer than I have, and that’s the first time they’ve seen it. So, if that’s how he wants to play it, he can do that to them, and everybody else. It’s not going to be an issue, until somebody blows their knee out. Or gets some prime guy hurt on national TV.”

Tuck went on to add that he’s not saying the play is illegal but simply that he doesn’t agree with it. The thing I don’t understand is all the talk about how somebody is going to get hurt. If the offensive line blocks like they would on any other play when the defense is coming after them, they have no more chance of getting hurt on that play than any other throughout the course of the game. I realize the issue has to do with the defense diving at the offense’s knees, but as we mentioned before Rutgers forced four fumbles using the approach under Schiano. At least now opponents will know to expect it.

Photo credit: Jim O’Connor-US PRESSWIRE

Outrage over Greg Schiano, Buccaneers’ actions on kneel down is ridiculous

The Giants and others in the media are complaining about the Buccaneers’ behavior on the last play of Sunday’s game, and I’m not really sure why.

The Bucs were down 41-34 and had just given the ball to the Giants after an interception by Josh Freeman. Sure they were upset about blowing a 27-13 lead and then turning the ball over in the final minute, but the game wasn’t over when they supposedly breached an unwritten rule by leveling Eli Manning and some offensive linemen while trying to cause a fumble in a desperate attempt to get back in the game.

Now this may be a dumb question, but … please tell me why, after competing for 59 minutes and 55 seconds, should the Buccaneers have stopped trying with five seconds left? The game was not over. The whistles hadn’t blown. There were still five seconds left and the Giants still needed to run one more play.

You think it’s that simple to snap a ball and take a knee before the defense gets to you? I suppose you’re the kind of person who doesn’t find it necessary to putt from three feet away. Why should NFL teams give their opponents gimme putts without making them hole-out? They shouldn’t because getting off a snap and kneel down still requires some blocking and a clean exchange from the center to the quarterback. And that’s why the Bucs were still trying hard on the last snap.

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Tom Coughlin upset with Greg Schiano over Giants-Bucs ending

Tom Coughlin got in Greg Schiano’s face when the two were headed for their postgame handshake following the Giants’ 41-34 comeback win over the Buccaneers on Sunday.

Coughlin was upset that the Buccaneers busted up the gut and knocked over Eli Manning when the Giants lined up in the victory formation to kneel down at the end of the game. Tampa Bay was likely upset that Josh Freeman had just thrown an interception to seal the victory for New York, and they tried busting through the Giants line and to Manning out of frustration.

The Bucs were taking out their anger on the wrong source; they should be looking at themselves for blowing a 27-13 third quarter lead.

Video via The Big Lead

Greg Schiano: If you’re the least penalized team in the league, you’re not trying

When you’re watching a football game and a graphic comes across the screen telling you that one of the teams is the least penalized team in the league, that is typically seen as a positive characteristic. The fewer the penalties, the more disciplined the team. That’s the line of thinking for many fans and coaches, but not for new Tampa Bay head coach Greg Schiano. In his opinion, if you aren’t getting penalized you aren’t giving it your all.

“The silly penalties are the ones where you line up offsides. That’s just silly, right?” Schiano said during an interview with WDAE’s Ron and Ian on Tuesday. “You’re just not paying attention to details. And then there’s the execution penalties, where you’re playing hard and you happen to fly over the top and hit somebody out of the hit zone. You’re going to get a penalty for that. I don’t want to slow our guys down too much that way.

“It’s a fine line between being a physical, aggressive football team and getting a flag. You gotta be careful. I don’t ever want to be the least penalized team in the league, because I don’t think you’re trying hard enough then. But I certainly do want to be in the top 10. That’s where you should be. You should be — five through 10 is a great place to be as a penalized team.”

Opinions on penalties vary depending on coaching style and schemes, but Schiano has a point. The Bucs ranked 29th in the NFL last season with more than seven penalties per game, so obviously they had a discipline problem. However the Colts, Jaguars and Redskins were all among the five least penalized teams in the league, and we saw how their seasons turned out. The 49ers, who were widely considered to have the NFL’s best defense, ranked 25th. The Super Bowl champion Giants were right in the middle of the pack at No. 14.

The Bucs are leaning on Schiano to help them fix a number of things this season. A simple look at the number will tell you that penalties don’t tell nearly the entire story.

Thanks to Sports Radio Interviews for transcribing the quotes
Photo credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE