Tampa Bay traded cornerback Aqib Talib to the Patriots at last season’s trading deadline, giving New England the player and a seventh-round draft pick, and the Buccaneers got a fourth-round pick in return.
Greg Schiano, a friend of Bill Belichick who is starting his second season as Tampa Bay head coach, said Thursday afternoon that he still feels good about the trade.
“I think any time in the draft you have picks, you have some ammunition to do things, whether you pick at that spot or you move around with those picks,” Schiano said. “That was something that was very helpful to us last year, being able to move up and get Doug Martin, so to have some ammunition I think is critical.”
Schiano wasn’t willing to say too much about Talib as a player.
“I can’t comment from the Patriots perspective and I really can’t comment on Talib since he’s under contract with another club,” he said. “But when Talib was with the Bucs, I enjoyed coaching him, he did the things we asked. I’m not naïve, there were some things in his past, but there was nothing more than I said at the time (of the trade).”
Schiano also clarified a statement he made right after the close of the Bucs’ season, when he said that he wanted competition at every position. That was taken as a knock against quarterback Josh 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 it to … at that point, every year I’ve been a head coach, I step back and I evaluate every phase of our program, and it starts with me, so that takes a while,” he said.
“And I even said, ‘I don’t know if I’m the right guy, let me figure this out.’ And then I went through every assistant coach, and as a staff we went through every single player in a series of evaluations, but the one thing that I believe in, whether it’s coaches or players, our whole life we grow up in competitive athletics, and that competition is healthy. So I made the statement that I want competition at every position…it’s my fault, but it stood out at the quarterback position more than any other.
“Josh Freeman is our quarterback. And I believe with Josh Freeman we’ll be able to accomplish our goals. That’s my belief and our organization’s belief. I have been able to clear that up, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to today.”