- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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Amid the rubble of Tampa Bay’s 41-0 loss to New Orleans on Sunday, there was a bizarre moment that indicated the Bucs could have even more problems than their losing streak.
Linebacker Adam Hayward and assistant coach Bryan Cox had a verbal altercation that quickly turned into a physical one in the second quarter and the two had to be separated.
“I’m not happy about it but I do know it’s been resolved,” coach Greg Schiano said. “I think you chalk it up to heat of the moment. Guys are very passionate. Adam is a very passionate player, Coach Cox is a passionate coach. I know they’re very close. I think it’s more of a family spat in a frustrating time than anything that I’m deeply concerned about.
“I know they’ve already smoothed that over. But again, it’s not what a football team that I’m the head coach of [does]. It’s been addressed, it will be addressed and we’ll move forward from it. But it need not happen again.”
It’s true that Hayward is an emotional player. Cox was known for being emotional when he played in the NFL. Although Schiano said the situation has been dealt with, you have to at least wonder if the Bucs are experiencing internal problems.
I don’t think things are out of control the way they were last year when Raheem Morris was the coach and players did as they pleased. But Schiano has brought a style of coaching that is the exact opposite of what Morris used. Schiano runs a very tight ship and his players are asked to follow a stringent set of rules.
That appeared to be a good thing as the Bucs got off to a 6-4 start. It’s easy for players to buy into anything when a team is winning.
But the Bucs now are 6-8 and the incident between Hayward and Cox makes you wonder if Schiano’s ways are starting to wear on the players.