The problems for Tampa started right away on offense, with an opening drive by quarterback Josh Freeman that sunk into a third-and-35 corner before the Bucs were forced to punt.
It was the kind of drive that raises questions about Freeman's future in Tampa, where the quarterback wasn't voted a team captain for the first time since his 2009 rookie season.
Seeing the "C" ripped from Freeman's jersey reportedly led to a players-only meeting prior to Week 1, a league source told ProFootballTalk on Wednesday. Behind closed doors, players raised concerns about the legitimacy of the voting, according to the source, but Schiano says there's nothing to debate.
"That story is 100 percent inaccurate," Schiano told reporters Wednesday, per The Tampa Tribune.
Schiano acknowledged he counted the votes, which resulted in wide receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Davin Joseph being named offensive team captains. As for Freeman, Schiano expects him to forge on, saying last week: "Josh is a leader, so I'm not concerned about that."
Questions about Freeman's leadership have bubbled up, with multiple sources telling The Tribune he missed the annual team photo shoot last week, days before the voting. Asked to comment on the matter, Freeman texted the newspaper, "You know I can't do Buc non-sanctioned interviews."
Fresh distractions arise just as the Bucs begin their season, and just as Freeman sets out to prove he's worth a new contract. For us, the bigger concern is Sunday's game tape. Freeman looked uncomfortable and running back Doug Martin was a dud, both factors in the Bucs producing one of their uglier showings on offense under Schiano.Around The League Podcast" is now available on iTunes! Click here to listen and subscribe.