With the NFL season concluding Sunday night with the Eagles thrilling 41-33 victory over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII, attention turns almost immediately to the remaining job openings and also, who might fill roles on the Patriots staff?
That’s because on Monday afternoon, the Lions officially announced Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia as their new head coach. That obviously leaves a void at that important position, but also Patricia might be taking an assistant or two with him from New England.
And, that’s where former Bucs coach Greg Schiano may be in the mix to join Bill Belichick’s staff as an assistant of some kind.
A report in Boston said Thursday night that Schiano would be interviewing, perhaps to replace Patricia or at least for some role on the defense in New England.
Per source, Greg Schiano is expected to interview for the Patriot’s defensive coordinator position when Patricia goes to Detroit.
— Gary Tanguay (@Gary_Tanguay) February 2, 2018
However, that report was countered Friday in Columbus, OH, where Schiano has been the defensive coordinator for Ohio State the last two years, by prominent writer/columnist Tim May:
An impeccable source has told me NO interview has been set up between Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and the New England Patriots. FYI
— Tim May (@TIM_MAYsports) February 2, 2018
Now, obviously, what does “NO interview has been set up” truly mean?
It means that one could have been set up at any time, since that tweet this past weekend or that the Patriots are waiting until today/tomorrow to have conversations about staff replacements.
It’s also very possible, that May nor anyone else, truly has any idea if Schiano and Belichick, who are tight in the coaching fraternity, have talked previously and privately/informally recently, about him coming to Foxboro to help.
This much we know: it was a debacle in December, where Tennessee fans revolted at the negotiations going on with Schiano and their then-athletic director Jack Currie about the Vols head coaching job. The fan revolt and social media venom directed at Currie and the program ended any chance of Schiano getting the job.
Currie was subsequently fired by the Tennessee administration later that week for his bumbling of their coaching search, and the Vols hired Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt.
And ultimately, the national negative attention on Schiano that weekend means he’s just as “radioactive” now, as he was when the Bucs fired him after the 2013 season.
Further, it’s likely Schiano will never be able to get a prominent college head coaching job, now. At least not in the next 2-3 years, if ever.
Not only with the Tennessee controversy recently, but he had a mediocre record at Rutgers. And then, his dismal two years in Tampa Bay, where at one point he lost 13 out of 14 games over two seasons and was fired, will make any athletic department ask “is that the best we can do?”
So, if he’s looking to leave Ohio State, now and get back into the NFL, Belichick is the key. And this may be his only chance at it in the short term to get back.
Belichick previously personally endorsed Schiano to the Glazer Family in Tampa about the Bucs job, and also backed him in December around the Tennessee controversy.
The Buccaneers and Patriots held joint August practices in Tampa and Foxboro in Schiano’s two seasons before playing New England in preseason games.
Throughout Monday and into the evening, the website Football Scoop continued to report that Schiano is, in fact, leaving Ohio State to come to New England in some capacity. And, they even added to the report that he’s bringing University of Minnesota defensive coordinator, Robb Smith, with him:
This morning we reported Greg Schiano to the Patriots…we can now add Schiano is bringing Robb Smith (Univ of Minnesota DC) to the Patriots as well (per source) https://t.co/JfPd1BELrK
— FootballScoop Staff (@FootballScoop) February 5, 2018
Smith was a defensive assistant previously at Rutgers and with the Bucs under Schiano. However, in their story, they also relayed that Smith denied the report that he’s leaving the Gophers on Monday night.
It should also be noted that the second high school national signing day is coming up on Wednesday.
So, Schiano for the Buckeyes and Smith for the Gophers have recruiting classes that are both uncertain of what those coaches are going to do.
Does Schiano really want to leave Ohio State and get back in some form to the pros?
We are about to find out.
Final injury updates for Bucs and Jaguars Sunday games
As the Buccaneers get set to head to New York to play the Giants and the Jaguars are preparing to host the Steelers Sunday, it’s time to take a look at the injuries in those two games. (Reminder the Dolphins have their bye week for this weekend.)
Here’s a look at the latest:
For the Bucs, there Friday injury report has defensive names littered all over it and the news is not good for some of them.
After we were told by a source that Lavonte David was going to try to play Sunday, he apparently was overruled by the training staff and head coach Dirk Koetter, etc, and the Pro Bowl linebacker will be inactive with his sprained knee. Likewise, Vinny Curry will miss another game at defensive end, his fourth in the last five with a sprained ankle.
It’s the same situation with second year safety Justin Evans, who will miss the game with an injured toe suffered in the game with Washington last week. Defensive end Carl Nassib, who’s been a pleasant find off the waiver wire at the beginning of the season, is questionable with a left elbow injury suffered agains the Redskins, although he was able to practice on Friday.
The Bucs also list their receiver Chris Godwin as questionable with an ankle injury, and another important injury is starting center Ryan Jensen, who’s questionable with a hamstring injury. If Jensen is unable to play Sunday, then Ali Marpet, starting at left guard this year, but who played center a lot of 2017, would likely take his place.
The Buccaneers opponents, the Giants, had four players on their injury list this week, but all of them are now slated to play in the game on Sunday.
For the Jaguars match-up, they have two significant injuries to update, starting linebacker Telvin Smith was able to practice this week with his shoulder injury and is listed as questionable, but expected to play against Pittsburgh. There is concern for defensive tackle Marcell Dareus with a triceps injury and he is also listed as questionable. Dareus will likely be a game time decision.
Defensive back A.J. Bouye has been bothered by a calf injury, but he is also expected to play after being able to practice Thursday and Friday and listed as questionable. Coach Doug Marrone also announced that tackle Erik Flowers, who left last week’s game with tendonitis in his knee will start on the makeshift Jaguars line.
As we wrote earlier in the week, Jacksonville placed Center Brandon Linder on injured reserve with a knee injury suffered in last week’s lost Indianapolis.
The Steelers have no significant injuries, despite Ben Roethlisberger and James Conner both being on the injured list,. They will both be playing on Sunday. Connor was a much bigger concern having been in concussion protocol earlier after suffering one in the win last Thursday night over Carolina.
However, he cleared the protocol and was able to fully practice this week.
Bucs DE Jason Pierre-Paul ready to go get Eli Manning Sunday
It’s one of those juicy subplots that we see all the time now in professional sports. A player gets to go against his old team and show them that maybe they made a mistake and letting him go. In this case on Sunday, Bucs defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul will battle against his old team, the New York Giants. And that means, against a lot of former teammates.
One in specific, quarterback Eli Manning, maybe less than thrilled.
JPP has been one of the most dominant edge rushers in the NFL over the last decade, nevertheless, the Giants elected to trade into the Buccaneers back in March.
So when the organization that you won the Superbowl with in 2011 has decided to move on without you, there’s naturally going to be some questions from the media about you playing against them for the first time. And, you going against their borderline Hall of Fame signal-caller, Manning.
Such was the case Wednesday in the Buccaneers locker room prior to practice:
"It's been checked off since I left there, and I'm pretty sure they know I'm bringing the house down. At the end of the day, it is what it is. I just know once I get there I'm going to be going 100 percent."
— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Buccaneers) November 14, 2018
Pierre-Paul has already energized the Bucs pass rush and has eight sacks in the first nine games. This includes a streak of five consecutive games with a sack earlier this season. That is the first time since Simeon rice in 2002 that a Buccaneer had five straight games with a sack in a single season.
And coming into Sunday at The Meadowlands he has 66 1/2 of them in his career and would love nothing better than to take down the leader of the G-Men.
And while the Giants did look better on offense in their Monday night comeback win over the 49ers, it has clearly been a struggle for them to pass protect, specifically, throughout the early part of this season.
Pierre-Paul has to have been salivating watching their offensive line whiff and get run over in game after game.
Further, Buccaneer defenders like pro bowlers Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David, plus players like Will gholston Brent Grimes and young safety Justin Evans went against Manning in a Tampa Bay’s win last September against the Giants.
A game that the Buccaneers squeaked out 25-23. A game where is Eli Manning threw it 49 times and wasn’t sacked once by the Buccaneers front seven. That’s a pass rush that was last in the NFL in sacks a year ago.
However, that was 2017. And, circling back to Pierre-Paul, he hopes to change that starting Sunday.
And, while it will be weird for him to dress in the visiting dressing room at MetLife Stadium and stand on the visiting near sidelines, he’s ready to put all of that aside, try to help the Bucs climb off the canvas and get a win in the Big Apple.
What is status of Bucs LB LaVonte David’s injured knee?
It’s been a rough enough last seven games for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now comes word that another prominent defender may miss this week’s match-up with the Giants. A report Tuesday afternoon said that linebacker Lavonte David has been diagnosed with a knee sprain and his status is in doubt. That may not be the case, though. More on that in a moment.
Source tells me that Bucs' linebacker Lavonte David has a sprained MCL, jeopardizing his status for Sunday's game against Saquon Barkley and the Giants https://t.co/o1z9kUSbMj
— JennaLaineESPN (@JennaLaineESPN) November 13, 2018
David was injured in the third quarter of Sunday’s lost to the Redskins, while making a tackle. He was examined underneath the “mysterious blue tent” and was initially diagnosed as being questionable to return to the game. He did return and played in the fourth quarter of the 16-3 loss to Washington.
And, a source with knowledge of David situation told F.F.I. on Monday that David had been examined, and it was not believed to be a serious injury. Further, the source told us that David would wear a knee brace this week in practice and be able to play in the game on Sunday.
The seven year veteran and two-time Pro Bowler is one of the key players on the Buccaneers defense and currently has 71 tackles with nine of them for losses. And he’s being counted on more heavily after Pro Bowl middle linebacker Kwon Alexander tore his ACL in an October game with Cleveland and will miss the rest of the season.
The Bucs have also seen starters in the defensive backfield Vernon Hargreaves and Chris Conte already placed on injured reserve back in September. Also Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy missed two games with a calf strain and has not looked a hundred percent in the last two games with Carolina and Washington since coming back from the injury.
If David is unable to play or is limited on Sunday, the Bucs will count more heavily on reserve linebacker Devante Bond. Bond has seen more playing time after Alexander’s injury and will be asked to increase his responsibilities in the middle of the Buccaneers defense, as well.
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