Pat Yasinskas | ESPN.com
“The only thing I can say to the fans is, if they can hang in there, we’re going to be good,” Schiano said Monday. “If they can’t, we’re still going to be good, and they’re welcome back. I’m not being smart; I mean that.”
The Buccaneers are 0-5 and have been in the news for more than just their futility on the field. There was the public feud between former Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman and Schiano, which ended with Freeman being released and signing with the Minnesota Vikings.
And on Sunday, Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik said the team “would welcome” an investigation into how Freeman’s status in the NFL’s substance-abuse program was leaked to the media.
The controversy doesn’t end there. The Bucs also have had three players dealing with MRSA infections, and that’s caused the NFL Players Association to get involved. Even a member of the Backstreet Boys called for Schiano to be fired.
Schiano said he understands fans’ frustration.
“At the end of the game, I’m disappointed just like they are,” he said. “I understand anything and everything that’s disappointment. The fact that our fans care as much as they do, I think that’s awesome. When we get it turned around, it’s going to be really special.”
So what does Schiano see out of his winless team that gives him confidence that things can be turned around?
“We’ve had plenty of opportunities to win every football game we’ve been in this year, and we’ve found ways to lose them,” Schiano said. “Now, I’m accustomed to being on the team that finds ways to win them. So I’m not doing my job. I’ve done it before and I need to do it again, where we expect it and we go do the little things that allow you to win.”
- Previously covered NFC South for ESPN.com
- Covered Panthers for The Charlotte Observer from 1999-2008
- Began journalism career with The Tampa Tribune in 1990