The New England Patriots are gearing up for their second preseason game tonight against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Gillette Stadium. As Twitter went ballistic with Tom Brady’s suspected knee injury, there were talks if coach Bill Belichick would still be “friend” with coach Greg Schiano had Brady suffered a more serious injury. Good news is that this speculation is irrelevant right now, but it certainly served as a “wake-up call” to protect Brady at all costs and a reminder to Nate Solder (and everyone else for that matter) to “do your job” and do it well.
While coach Schiano doesn’t follow a strict-military oriented discipline like coach Belichick usually does, coach Schiano shows that discipline, work ethic, and hard work is a must to succeed under his leadership. It’s no secret their friendship started to flourish during Steve Belichick’s years as a Rutgers Scarlet Knights long snapper. But the mutual respect and admiration for defensive football strategy philosophy that both share, really started dating back in the late 1990s when Schiano was the Chicago Bears’ defensive backs coach and Belichick the New York Jets’ assistant head coach and defensive coordinator.
“I’ve always had a lot of respect for Greg”, coach Belichick said of coach Schiano during his press conference. “I think he did a great job when he was at Chicago, when he was at Miami and during his whole career at Rutgers. He brought that program up and made it one of the top programs in the country. They do a great job with student-athletes there; they have a long record of success with those guys. He took a program that wasn’t used to being at that level to national prominence on a consistent basis.”
Coach Schiano looks up to coach Belichick achievements and it serves as an intriguing quest to bring a different spin to football as he said to The Tampa Tribune, “The achievements are what make people look at him and say, ‘What’s he doing that’s different from everybody else?” But once you start to unpeel that, you see what’s different. He has a very unique ability, because of his expertise with the game, of simplifying things for the players and preparing the players. And at the end of the day, that’s what’s it’s all about. That’s what coaching is. “That and his expertise in personnel. He’s very, very sharp in that. So, you take his ability to teach, his ability to simplify things and his ability to identify personnel matchups, that’s why he’s so successful. And that’s why I try to use what he does as a template for what I want to do.’’
And by no means is coach Schiano somehow “plotting to steal” Belichick’s ideas as he said, “You have to coach in your own personality and your own beliefs. “Bill and I have a lot of similar beliefs when it comes to football, yet schematically there are a lot of differences.”
Has anyone who worked closely with coach Belichick (Scott Pioli, Jim Schwartz, Eric Mangini just to name a few) really succeeded in coping-cat Belichick’s football strategies? The only person who I believe comes a bit close in terms to personnel developing is Baltimore Ravens General Manager and Executive VP Ozzie Newsome. Nobody come even close to know or guess what Belichick football strategies really are.
While I’m very happy and grateful to have the opportunity to have my football and my husband’s Buccaneers cap autographed by coach Greg Schiano (and a picture taken with him while he autographed my items) after the Bucs Football Night Practice kickoff this year (yeah, my husband, Kurt Westbrook is a Bucs fan and for the love of football, I couldn’t resist not going to the night practice, which such opportunity opened up for a Tiquan Underwood autograph as well); however, tonight in the field (and in our household, although civilized) will be a different story. Week 3 will be even more of a different story. Bucs will be Bucs and Pats will be Pats in a not so “friendly” territory for the Bucs. While respect exists, on game-time, friendship will have to be put aside.