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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Swing the ax, Schiano must go


Published:   |   Updated: December 29, 2013 at 08:17 AM

TAMPA — Necks on the line.

It's the big finale in New Orleans.

Will it end with a whimper or a bang for Greg Schiano?

One way or another, it needs to end.

The ax should fall.

There are still people out there holding out, beyond all reason, insisting that today's result, whether the Bucs finish 5-11 or 4-12, is key.

Why?

I mean, what should Bucs fans say to Schiano at 5-11?

Congratulations — you're Sam Wyche.

The ax needs to fall.

More than once, in fact. Schiano is 11-20 as Bucs head coach. Bucs GM Mark Dominik, in his fifth year of his eternal rebuilding plan, has made a pile that reads 28-51.

I just don't think this is the coach to take the Bucs to the next level. Or the general manager for the job, either.

I don't want to hear about a changed culture. The culture is 4-11. A new age of discipline? Yes, this is the most disciplined 4-11 team in the NFL, no doubt about it.

I don't think an improved defense is enough. I don't think the idea of giving Schiano a full year with Mike Glennon as starting QB is enough. I don't think ownership not wanting to make a change, or afraid to admit another mistake, is enough.

The Glazers are looking at a mess. They don't want to swing this ax. I bet right about now they're wishing Chip Kelly had come here.

Instead, they're looking at a head coach they can't possibly, honestly, sell to this community, even with him using a rookie quarterback as a human shield.

They're still looking at a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs since 2007 and hasn't won a playoff game since taking the Super Bowl. They're looking at a two-coach losing streak, at a team that has become a non-essential item in a town it should own.

In 2013, expectations were high — high. Remember that.

The ax should fall.

I don't want to hear that there are no other coaches out there. There always are. It's just a matter of finding the right one.

Tony Dungy was. Jon Gruden was, in the moment.

Greg Schiano isn't, as much, if not more, than Raheem Morris wasn't. It isn't an assault on his character or integrity, which he clearly has. It's about 11-20, and it should be.

The Glazers opened their wallets — I saw the moths fly out — and spent money. For that, they get 11-20.

I don't want to hear about Josh Freeman, though his post-Bucs career has been laughable. That shouldn't be why Schiano keeps his job.

I can't get past that 0-8 start.

It's simple: Do you really see Greg Schiano as the man who'll turn this around?

At 0-8 and slightly beyond, Schiano loosened up his game plans and his personality. But he'll go right back to who he was next season, rigid, stubborn, playing for close games and then not winning them.

Leopards don't change their spots.

The Bucs need another year of that?

Sometimes you stay with your guy and it works out. Carolina stuck with Ron Rivera, and the Panthers have turned it around. Maybe the Glazers think that about Schiano and Dominik.

I'm still not seeing it.

This reminds me of when the Bucs went and brought Sam Wyche back for another season after the Bucs, having started out 2-9, won four of their last five in 1994. Given new life, Sam went 7-9, losing four of his last five, and he was gone — and Tony Dungy was in.

Why wait?

By the way, Schiano is poised to lose four of his last five.

This isn't the guy.

The ax needs to fall.

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