Former Buccaneers coach and most recently former Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano is looking to get back on a sideline for 2019. And it looks like, a landing spot that had been speculated for him previously, is about to be open, again.
This with a report Wednesday morning, that Schiano is at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, interviewing for possible job opportunities in the NFL.
Specifically, this report by NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport says he could be joining the New England Patriots shortly:
Ex-#Bucs coach & #OSU DC Greg Schiano is here in Mobile to explore his NFL opportunities. Nothing is done, but the spot that appears likely is the #Patriots in a top defensive role, sources tell @JamesPalmerTV and me. With Brian Flores taking the #Dolphins job, Schiano slides in.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 23, 2019
The timing is the exact same as 12 months ago, when the Patriots were in the Super Bowl getting ready to play the Eagles and it was widely known that their defensive coordinator Matt Patricia was taking the Detroit Lions job. Thus, creating an opening that Schiano was under consideration for at the time.
As it turns out, coach Bill Belichick decided to use Brian Flores, as his defensive play caller without designating him as “defensive coordinator” for 2018.
Schiano had suffered the humiliation of a very public outcry from in Knoxville,Tennessee, that the Volunteers not hire him from Ohio State, as their new head coach a month earlier in December of 2017.
Schiano stayed put at Ohio State and they once again, enjoyed a Big Ten Championship and a Rose Bowl win. However, when coach Urban Meyer retired, new coach Ryan Day dismissed Schiano for his own defensive coordinator choice making him available.
Schiano’s previous NFL coaching experience in Tampa Bay was a disaster in the win-loss column and in some other ways. After some initial success, the 2012, the Bucs lost five of their last six games at the end of that season. Then started a dismal 0-8 with Schiano running off established young quarterback Josh Freeman, who was released a month into the year. Tampa Bay never recovered finishing 4 – 12 and Schiano was fired with an 11 – 21 record.
Schiano’s Buccaneers were famously blasted nationally for him ordering his defense to “rush the kneel down formation” early in the 2012 season at the end of losses to the Giants and then the Cowboys.
Unable to secure a head coaching job in 2014-15, Schiano ended up joining Ohio State, as the defensive coordinator in 2016. It’s a role that he similarly held for Butch Davis with the Miami Hurricanes in the early 2000s.
Back to Belichick in New England: he has always been fond of Schiano, including when one of his sons played for and then, was a graduate assistant with Schiano while he coached Rutgers.
The Buccaneers and Patriots also held joint practices together during Schiano’s two pre-seasons of 2012 – 13.
Flores is expected to become the new head coach of the Dolphins after the Superbowl and it remains to be seen if Schiano will essentially be the defensive coordinator or have some other role.
Or, like the Tennessee college job, might it become muddled, too?
Bucs WR Mike Evans still not practicing
The Bucs were back on the practice field Wednesday morning getting ready for their third preseason game on Friday night with the Cleveland Browns at Raymond James Stadium. However, once again, they are without their top receiver, Mike Evans, who remains sidelined with an injury.
Buccaneers beat reporter for The Athletic, Greg Auman, tweeted that Evans was not out on the practice field during the portion that is open to the media:
Mike Evans not practicing today means Mike Evans isn't playing Friday, and he's not playing next week, which means he'll finish the preseason without a catch. He's as known a commodity as the Bucs have on their roster though.
— Greg Auman (@gregauman) August 21, 2019
Evans pulled up during a drill in Sunday’s practice and head coach Bruce Arians made mention of the injury on Monday:
“Mike tweaked yesterday…it’s nothing serious,” Arians told the media.
It is reportedly a leg injury to Evans’ quadriceps that is hampering him.
The Bucs are not required to talk about injuries, much less the severity of them, at this stage. And, it’s not believed that there will be any further updates on Evans this week.
However, it’s easy to conclude the Tampa Bay will not risk playing him in the third preseason game and is Auman tweeted, the starters never play in the fourth preseason game which will be next Thursday in Dallas.
So clearly, Tampa Bay is resting and rehabbing Evans for the season opener with the 49ers.
Evans, a Pro Bowl wide receiver from a year ago, is the top target of QB Jameis Winston. A year ago he caught for a career high 1,524 yards and also career high 17.7 avg with 8 TDs.
Evans had 86 receptions, which were the second most of his five year career, in 2018, and he’s one of three receivers in NFL history to have 1,000+ receiving yards in each of his first five seasons. Hall of Famer, Randy Moss and A.J. Green are the other two.
Evans previously dealt with a hamstring injury in the 2015 preseason and missed the season opener with Tennessee but returned the following week. However, he’s been very durable since then, playing in 47 of the 48 games the last three years, having missed only a 2017 game while suspended for his role in a fight against the Saints.
This info comes on Evans’ birthday, as he turns just 26 today.
Bucs RB Ronald Jones back at Tuesday practice
Bucs fans can exhale on the knee injury for running back Ronald Jones, at least for now.
Jones was seen at the portion of practice open to the media Tuesday afternoon with his left knee heavily wrapped but, most importantly, participating in drills in full pads.
Ronald Jones back at practice today with his knee heavily taped but moving pretty good. Certainly not 100. %Mike Evans still out but it’s not a serious. pic.twitter.com/RHDR80qfqn
— FanStreamSports JP (@FanStreamJP) August 20, 2019
Jones had not practiced the last two days of Bucs training camp with what was described as a swollen knee suffered after playing in Friday night’s preseason game with the Dolphins.
As we wrote yesterday, coach Bruce Arians provided a brief update after practice into Jones’ situation,
“Ronald’s knee swelled up a little bit and just trying to take it day to day with him.”
Traditionally, the third preseason game is the final time, where starters for the regular season play significantly. The Bucs are set to host the Cleveland Browns Friday night at Raymond James Stadium.
When asked about Jones’ chances to play or whether the team would play it safe, Arians briefly said:
“We’ll see how it is. We still got a few more days. I think Ronald’s gonna be ok.”
Jones appeared to have suffered some kind of left knee hyper-extension returning the opening kickoff on a rain-slicked turf against the Friday night. That’s what can be seen this photo on social media from Tampa Bay sports reporter Kevin O’Donnell showing Jones knee clearly in an awkward spot when he planted:
Wondering why #Bucs runningback Ronald Jones knee is sore? This is the opening kickoff Friday night against the Dolphins. Rojo didn’t practice yesterday. Looks like a hyperextension to me. pic.twitter.com/mVmW86E96x
— Kevin ODonnell Fox13 (@ODonnellFox13) August 19, 2019
Jones did carry the ball twice for 7 yards later in the first quarter of the game before being shut down for the night.
Jones has been one of the standouts of the Bucs offseason and training camp with glowing updates repeatedly from Arians about his progress and his chances of seeing significant playing time. He missed three games with a hamstring injury in a disappointing rookie year.
However, he is expected to challenge incumbent starter from last year Peyton Barber for playing time/carries, once the regular season gets underway in two weeks.
Another obvious point, if his knee was sprained or worse, the Bucs would not have had on the field in full uniform trying to run and cut, even at a reduced speed. So, that’s also a positive.
For now, we await Arians’ and the teams plans for using Jones, or not, against the Browns later today and tomorrow.