TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have spent this week saying that the perceived minefield of unrest -- a result of reported situations involving quarterback Josh Freeman and cornerback Darrelle Revis -- is a bigger deal outside the team's facility than it is inside in the building.
Maybe that's because it didn't just come up.
According to sources involved, players mobilized a month ago in an attempt to get coach Greg Schiano to adjust what they felt were overly rigid and rugged coaching methods. After an August training camp practice, first-year Buc Dashon Goldson called the group together for a players-only meeting in the locker room.
The idea was to create an open forum, and Goldson took the complaints to Schiano. The coach addressed the team the next morning, telling the players that he would listen, but that they needed to trust that his way would lead to on-field results.
"When you come into a place and you have to change some things, you're not looking for a whole lot of suggestions at the beginning, because first you gotta figure out who your guys are," Schiano said when asked about the meeting. "Now, I really know who our guys are because they wouldn't be here if they weren't our guys. I really appreciate their feedback. But some of the pictures that have been painted ... it's not like they're outside the door with torches, 'We must change!'
"It's what I ask them to do: Give me feedback if you feel there's anything that needs to be said."
Goldson downplayed his leadership in the meeting, saying there were a number of Buccaneers players involved.
But having been in San Francisco under hard-liner Mike Singletary, and then the uber-intense Jim Harbaugh, the sixth-year veteran safety was able to bring perspective to his teammates on what works and what doesn't.
"I thought it was good, it was a good meeting, getting to hear guys' opinions on certain things," Goldson said. "We expressed that stuff, pulling together as a team. We have a lot of young guys out here, it was expressing what the expectations should be, being a professional, and at the same time, doing what's right."
Players had been upset about the nature of Schiano's second training camp with the Bucs, which some viewed as unrelenting, and that prompted Goldson to solicit feedback.
Even after that, some players didn't feel like enough changed, with one saying that, "He came into the team meeting, said you guys gotta trust me, we're in half-pads that day, then the next day, it's back to the same thing."
Part of the problem for Schiano, according to those around the team, has been continuing to sell his methods in the wake of the 2012 Bucs' 1-5 finish, with some players privately questioning his credentials. But others felt that those days in August did have a positive effect -- particularly because it was Goldson who stood up and said something.
"The leader that Dashon is, he was just trying to make sure that the atmosphere around here was loose," said another new Buc, Darrelle Revis. "So him bringing us up, asking us what we think about certain things around here, that's key for a leader to ask that question because we're here the majority of the time. It's six days out of the week -- we only get Tuesday off -- so you want the environment to be a little loose around here, and that's all I think Dashon was trying to do, get input with what we see as players."
Revis added that now, "I think we're fine. Everyone's being themselves. We're just trying to prepare for this week. No one's acting funny or different in any way."
Schiano agreed that Goldson's presence did add weight to the August situation.
"Dashon was one of the guys in the meeting, and he ended up being elected a captain, so I think it's appropriate," the coach said. "They weren't big things, it was little things, like practice methods, ways we might be able to get more out of a period if we did this, or 'we need some more of this, coach,' or 'we're not seeing enough of that.' So there were some procedural things and some football things."
Schiano said that it was more difficult to change and adjust in his first year, as he set up his program, and now he can be more open to tweaking on the fly. Where that happens now, with the stakes raised, remains to be seen.
"I've been coaching 26 years, and there are gonna be some things you're gonna disagree with, and you gotta trust me because I've been coaching longer than some of you have been alive," Schiano said. "And then there are some things I gotta trust them on. They're doing it, and if they don't feel they can, then we have to adjust. But that isn't new -- Is that new this year? -- it's been my whole career, that's how I've operated."
And he emphasized that he'll continue to monitor any potential internal strife.
"The first meeting we had, I told them, this is the way we're gonna do things, this is our DNA, this is what we're about," he said. "But I learned a long time ago that I'd learn more from the players than anyone else, because the players are the ones that are doing it. So I strongly encourage the players, the leader to express to me if there are any concerns, if there's anything that can make us better."
Follow Albert Breer on Twitter @AlbertBreer.