TAMPA, Fla. -- Kellen Winslow had been gone from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for all of about 12 hours. From the way coach Greg Schiano answered a question about why he traded away the tight end, you would think Winslow had been gone for 12 years.
“I’m going to hesitate to look back," Schiano said. “I’m going to focus on the guys that are here.’’
Read into it what you want, but I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going on here. Schiano’s cleaning house of guys that don’t fit the new style he’s bringing to the Buccaneers.
Winslow said Schiano told him he wasn’t happy the veteran tight end had spent most of his offseason in San Diego, rather than working with his teammates. Winslow got the message on Saturday night, after he had arrived in Tampa with plans to join the Bucs on Monday. But that was too late for Schiano, who also might have had some doubts about relying too heavily on a tight end that missed a lot of practices with a sore knee over the last three seasons, even though Winslow never missed a game with the Bucs.
Schiano is a Bill Belichick disciple. He believes players should practice, at least most of the time. Schiano also believes in doing things his own way.
Schiano made it clear when he took the job that every player on the roster was getting a fresh start. That was true in some ways, but some guys were starting off with a strike against them. Winslow was one. Tanard Jackson was another. Both had issues in the past. Schiano kept them around for a bit, but he parted ways with both of them at the first sign of trouble.
The Bucs weren’t happy with the approach Jackson was taking in the offseason as he attempted to come back from injury last year. The Bucs weren’t able to trade him, so they simply released him. I’m pretty sure there will be some more casualties along the way. Schiano has made it very clear guys have to toe his line, which is about 20 yards away from the blurry line Raheem Morris used to stand behind.
“There’s really not a message," Schiano said. "It is not one of those situations. The only message I want to address is we need to be the best football team we can be. Time is our enemy. We are running out of time. Teams in our division have a head start on us.''
Intentional or not, I think Schiano has sent a very clear message. It doesn’t matter if you’re cornerback Aqib Talib, who seems to be starting off with an 0-2 count and Stephen Strasburg on the mound, or a guy with a spotless background.
If you take one step over Schiano’s line, you’re going to be talked about as a former member of the Bucs.