TAMPA — Local and national pressure continued to build against embattled Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano before Thursday night's nationally televised matchup against the Panthers.
Tampa radio station 102.5 FM purchased “Fire Schiano” billboards throughout the Bay area, encouraging the Glazer family to dismiss Schiano, who has a 7-16 record on the Bucs sidelines after 11 seasons as coach at Rutgers.
Veteran reporter Michael Silver wrote a scathing column for NFL.com, portraying Schiano as a stubborn college coach out of touch with NFL players. Silver also quoted former Tampa Bay defensive end Michael Bennett, questioning the bond between Schiano and his players.
“I think (Schiano) just wants to flex his power,” Bennett told Silver. “He has small (man's) syndrome. I still talk to guys who are there and trust me, there's not much respect for him in that locker room.”
After leading the Bucs with nine sacks in 2012, Bennett signed with the Seahawks as a free agent.
Fans at the stadium were in a foul mood.
“I just want him gone,” said Jacob Johnson, a season-ticket holder from Port Orange who held up a homemade sign: Fire Schiano. “He has gotten rid of some great players and tried to build his own little Rutgers team. It hasn't worked.”
Fred Tort of Carrollwood wore a supermarket bag over his head with “0-7?” and tears coming from his eyes.
Bill Callaghan of Safety Harbor wore an old Warrick Dunn jersey with a homemade “Schiano Is Dunn” sign.
“Look, I wish we could win 10 straight games and get in the playoffs, but the likelihood of that is slim to none,” Callaghan said. “I just want us on the right path and we're not there now.”
“They need a GM who can fix this,” said Walter Contis, a 25-year season-ticket holder. “I'm sick of it. I can't watch anymore. I've paid my dues and deserve better, and I know I speak for a lot of long-time fans.”
Progress, but no wins for Glennon
In his fourth start, Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon continued to make incremental progress, but he still doesn't have a victory to show for it.
Glennon completed 30 of 51 passes for 275 yards and a touchdown.
For Glennon and Bucs coach Greg Schiano, there are no moral victories.
“His development is certainly important, but we're about winning,'' Schiano said before the game. “Mike's development is in a lot of different areas, but it's part of the bigger goal, and that's to win the game.''
“I'm extremely tough on myself,'' Glennon said. “I think all quarterbacks at this level are. No one wants to succeed more than ourselves. I've made some good plays. I've made some bad plays.''
The Panthers seemed impressed.
“He has a great arm, he really does,'' Panthers coach Ron Rivera said before the game. “The quarterback does a nice job getting the ball out.''
“He's an intelligent guy,'' said Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, a former Boston College player who faced Glennon during ACC games with N.C. State. “He's one of those prototypical guys who's going to sit back, a pocket guy who can make all the throws.''
The Bucs released defensive end Trevor Scott and promoted wide receiver Skye Dawson from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. Scott, who had three sacks in a preseason game at Miami two months ago, was flagged for roughing-the-passer last week at Atlanta, nullifying a third-down incompletion by Matt Ryan. … Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp, who played nine of his 13 pro seasons in Tampa, will be profiled Tuesday night on NFL Network's “A Football Life.'' … Former Bucs Quincy Black, Mark Robinson, Tony Mayberry, Mark Royals and Mark Carrier attended the game. … The Panthers have outscored opponents 31-5 in the opening quarter this season. … Carolina has won four of five after an 0-2 start. … Less than a week after throwing 22 balls in Vincent Jackson's direction, Bucs rookie quarterback Mike Glennon targeted Jackson only twice in the opening half, completing one pass for 29 yards. … The Panthers converted all four of their third-down opportunities in the first quarter, including two runs by quarterback Cam Newton. … A muffed punt return by Tampa Bay's Eric Page late in the third quarter marked the game's first turnover. Four plays later, Newton found running back Mike Tolbert for a 3-yard TD pass, triggering a mass exodus in the stands at Raymond James Stadium. … Tampa Bay was outgained 92-15 in the third quarter, including a 56-3 discrepancy on the ground.