In his first real public comments since the day after the season, Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano went to lengths to clarify the last thing we heard from him.
Speaking to the media at the scouting combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, Schiano gave quarterback Josh Freeman a glowing endorsement. Depending on how you look at it, the message may seem a lot different from what Schiano said in January when he said he wanted to bring in competition for Freeman.
"At the end of the season, the day after the final game, I probably said something that got a lot more attention than I meant for it to, and really it was about,'' Schiano said. "At that point, every year that I’ve been a head coach, I step back and evaluate every phase of our program and that takes a while. And I even said I don’t know if I was the right guy. Let me figure that out first and we went through the staff and every player.
"The one thing I believe in is that competition is healthy. So I made the statement that I want competition at every position and it’s my fault, but it kind of stood out at the quarterback position more than any other.''
I think Schiano’s latest stance on Freeman is probably a more accurate portrayal of where things stand. At the end of the season, Schiano may have been talking out of frustration after the Bucs lost five of their final six games and missed the playoffs. He also could be talking the way he is now because he’s had a chance to look at the list of potential free agents and the draft class and perhaps come to the conclusion that it’s going to be hard for the Bucs to find a better backup than Dan Orlovsky.
"Josh Freeman is our quarterback and I believe that with Josh Freeman, we’ll be able to accomplish our goals,'' Schiano said. "That’s my belief and our organization’s belief. We’ve been busy working and I haven’t had a chance to clean that up so I’m glad I had an opportunity to today.''