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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

Buccaneers spend nearly $150 million in first 24 hours of NFL free agency

We knew Tampa Bay’s 4-12 season last year didn’t set well with the people in the front office, but we did not anticipate that the Bucs would go to such extreme measures in an attempt to right the ship. General manager Mark Dominik said earlier this offseason that the Bucs were going to be big spenders heading into 2012, and he stuck to his word by spending nearly $150 million in the first 24 hours of free agency.

On Wednesday morning, the Bucs announced the signings of former Saints guard Carl Nicks and former Lions cornerback Eric Wright, each to a five-year contract. Nicks’ contract is reportedly worth $47.5 million — including $31 million guaranteed — which would make him the league’s highest-paid guard. Wright’s contract is believed to be worth $37.5 million, including $15.5 million guaranteed.

The Nicks signing isn’t the only transaction that will make Josh Freeman a happy quarterback this week. On Tuesday, the Bucs locked down one of the best free agent receivers on the market when they inked Vincent Jackson to a five-year deal worth $55,555,555. Why all the 5s? A tribute to Freeman’s No. 5 jersey, of course. Jackson’s deal includes $36 million guaranteed.

As you can see, new head coach Greg Schiano will have plenty to work with in his first season in Tampa. By committing roughly $80 million in guaranteed money to three of the top free agents on the market, the Bucs front office has shown that it is serious about turning things around in 2012. And just think, the offseason is barely underway.

Chip Kelly Backs Out of Buccaneers Job, Says His ‘Heart is with College Football’

In an announcement that should surprise absolutely no one, Chip Kelly has decided to stay at the University of Oregon. On Sunday night, reports surfaced that Kelly and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were finalizing a deal for him to become their next head coach. We were skeptical about why Kelly would make the jump merely a week before National Signing Day and fresh off a Rose Bowl victory, and apparently for good reason. According to the Register-Guard, Kelly told a source, “I’m staying” just before midnight on Sunday.

“His heart is with college football and Oregon and he’s no longer being considered,” Bucs general manager Mark Dominik said according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Money was obviously not the issue here, as Kelly signed a six-year extension worth $20.5 million with Oregon in 2010. Our suspicion was that he might have been on the verge of pulling a Pete Carrol and leaving before the program was sanctioned by the NCAA. Either Kelly is willing to deal with the Willie Lyles scouting services situation or he’s been given reason to believe it will not be an issue.

In any event, the Bucs will have to continue their head coaching search and Kelly has some holes to full with his offense.  LaMichael James and Darron Thomas have already announced their decisions to turn pro, so Chip will have to find a new quarterback and a new running back to grasp his high-tempo spread offense.  I’m sure the Ducks are glad to have him back.

Chip Kelly Reportedly Finalizing Deal to Become Tampa Bay’s Head Coach

Oregon football coach Chip Kelly reportedly is negotiating to become the new head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

KGW-TV in Portland first reported that Kelly was close to signing a deal to become Tampa Bay’s coach. The Tampa Bay Times confirmed the report, and said Kelly met with the team’s owners and GM last week. He reportedly was one of eight candidates to interview for the position. ESPN’s Adam Schefter confirmed that negotiations are ongoing.

You might be wondering why Kelly would be leaving Oregon a week before National Signing Day and coming off a Rose Bowl win. We have a few ideas.

We’re guessing Kelly is taking a page out of the Pete Carroll playbook and bolting before the NCAA comes down on the program. Oregon was under scrutiny for its relationship with street agent Willie Lyles, whom they paid $25,000 ostensibly to land recruiting prospect Lache Seastrunk, who later transferred to Baylor.

Upcoming NCAA sanctions could be part of the reason quarterback Darron Thomas surprisingly announced his decision to turn pro.

Vernon Davis: Buccaneers Gave Up, Didn’t Play Hard Enough

Coming off their fourth quarter comeback against the Eagles in Philadelphia last weekend, the 49ers put on another impressive show Sunday. San Francisco routed Tampa Bay 48-3 to improve to 4-1 for the first time since 2002.

The Niners posted 418 yards of offense, with 213 coming on the ground and 205 in the air. Tight end Vernon Davis caught two of Alex Smith’s three touchdown passes, and said after the game he felt like the Buccaneers gave up. Actually, he says he told Tampa Bay during the game to play harder.

“They were really frustrated.” Davis said. “I mean, I felt like they gave up. That’s what I saw. I felt like they gave up. I was trying to tell, I think it was Barber, Ronde, I was telling him: ‘Get your guys. Get your guys. Y’all got to play harder, y’all got to play harder.’”

Is that embarrassing or what? I’m not sure at what point Davis felt like Tampa Bay had given up, but it’s sad to hear him say they did (and it seemed clear that was the case).

Detroit came back from a 27-3 deficit to the Cowboys. Being down 24-3 at halftime and even 31-3 in the third quarter certainly wasn’t insurmountable, but Tampa Bay didn’t make much of an effort. So much for this “yungry” business in Tampa, huh?

Raheem Morris Even has a ‘Yungry’ Hat

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ motto entering the season was “yungry.” The saying was created by the team because they fancied themselves a young and hungry bunch. Apparently they’ve subscribed to that motto so heavily that head coach Raheem Morris even had a hat customized to say “Yungry.”

Their intentions are good, but they’re a far cry from what they were last season. Quarterback Josh Freeman threw for 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions last season. This year, he already has two picks and only two TDs. Maybe playing as mistake-free as he did last season was impossible to duplicate.

They were able to pull the game out in Minnesota Sunday, but this team is lacking the surprise factor they had going for them last year. Their defense is average and their offense isn’t explosive enough to compete with the elite teams. How they handle the Falcons at home Sunday will say a lot about where they are as a team. I’m not expecting a win.

Pic via NFL.com, tip via LBS contributor Patrick Crawley

Buccaneers Replacing Players’ Playbooks with iPads

Coincidence?  I think not.  Just one day after a trash truck mishap resulted in parts of the Packers playbook being scattered about the streets of Green Bay, we find out that the Buccaneers have handed out iPads to their players instead of traditional playbooks.  Head coach Raheem Morris has decided to try the new approach with his players, one that they will probably enjoy more than having to thumb through a traditional binder.

“We give these playbooks out, and by the end of training camp, we collect them so nobody sells them on the Internet,” Morris told the St. Petersburg Times via Shutdown Corner. “They become game books. If you need a reference to go back, you can pull up a blitz from camp and look at it.

“Then it got to the point where we said, ‘Hey, let’s put some of the video on there … from the season. How about practice? How would (Josh) Freeman like to go home and watch practice again? How would ‘Free’ like to sit there and watch third down from Detroit and Miami so when he comes to work the next morning, he’s seeing the tape again and putting it all together?'”

Frankly, I’m stunned more teams haven’t adopted this approach.  You can do so many things with the iPad that one would think it would destroy the limitations of a regular binder full of sheets of paper. How long before someone designs an app specifically for football coaches to create plays on an iPad? Or does that already exist?  Maybe someone should propose the idea to Carl Crawford’s agents.