- Josh Weinfuss, ESPN Staff Writer
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TEMPE, Ariz. -- Following the final play of Arizona’s 13-10 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, it was easy to tell Cardinals coach Bruce Arians wasn’t quite basking in the delight of evening his record at 2-2.
He had called the simplest -- and most gratifying -- of plays for a coach: the kneel down. Except it wasn’t simple against the Bucs and coach Greg Schiano. Tampa Bay rushed the Cards’ first kneel down, knocking down Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer on the play. And the Bucs rushed again on the second kneel down, which ran out the clock.
Arians wasn’t happy. He barely shook hands with Schiano and had some words for a Tampa Bay assistant coach, according to a replay of the game.
“That’s their style,” Arians said Monday. “I have no comment on it.”
But some Bucs fans did.
One fan called into Schiano’s radio show Monday and told him the move was “bush league,” according to JoeBucsFan.com.
Schiano, as expected, responded, saying he leaves the decision to rush the kneel down up to his players. He also admitted it’s never worked in the NFL. And he wants people to stop complaining.
Here’s Schiano’s entire response, per JoeBucsFan.com:
“I can say it’s misunderstood. Maybe I’m misunderstood. Who knows? But there’s a couple of things that I can tell you. No. 1, it’s an organized play. It isn’t just a mayhem of diving.
“Has it worked here yet in the NFL? No. Has it worked before? Sure. It’s worked or I wouldn’t do it. You know, we’ve caused several balls to be put on the ground in the past in doing this. And there’s a technique, a series of techniques that are involved.
“But most importantly, you know, I want everybody to know, our players, I ask our players, ‘If we don’t want to do this, we don’t do it.’ I mean, that’s where I am. I’m not going to force guys. Because is there always a risk involved? Sure. I mean there’s always a risk involved when you’re hitting other people. And I’m talking about a risk for our players.
“But, you know, when your players believe it can give you an opportunity, now why do they believe? Because they’ve seen the video. They’ve seen the ball on the ground in a situation that that shouldn’t happen. So I think that they understand if done correctly, there’s a good opportunity. …
“When it’s a one-score opportunity, and especially a field goal opportunity and there’s time left to do it, that’s part of our beliefs. And guys can disagree with it, call it, you know, there’s no bush league to it. You know it’s coming. And if anybody saw it, Gerald McCoy was shaking his head telling [Arizona], ‘We’re coming.’ So I mean, you know what, run the play. If there’s time on the clock, run the play. I’d like people to quit complaining, and that’s what we’re going to do, and get ready for it.”
Schiano said he won’t force his players to do it, but he’s not forcing them to stop, either. Arians is a veteran of this league. Schiano, well, is not. There are unwritten rules that are followed. This is another example of Schiano trying to bring a college gimmick to the NFL, and like mostly everything else, it doesn’t look like it’s working.