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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs decide to bench QB Josh Freeman

25

September

The Bucs have given up on Josh Freeman as their franchise quarterback.

On Tuesday, they made the decision to bench the five-year pro and start rookie Mike Glennon Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

On Wednesday morning, coach Greg Schiano informed both Freeman and Glennon of his decision. Freeman will serve as the Bucs' No. 2 quarterback Sunday.

However, the Bucs will seek to trade Freeman before the October 29 deadline, most likely for a conditional late round pick, and those in Freeman's camp are eager to make that happen. But the Bucs won't rush it. They have more than a month to see if a contending team has an injury at the position or multiple suitors emerge.

Schiano announced that Freeman was still the Bucs' starting quarterback on Monday, even though he failed to complete 50 percent of his passes for the third straight game. Schiano wanted to take a few days to think about the decision and meet with the coaching staff and general manager Mark Dominik.

Freeman, the 17th overall pick in 2009, is 24-35 as a starter for the Bucs.

With Freeman under center, the Bucs have lost eight of their last nine games. In the last six games, he has thrown four touchdowns and 12 interceptions.

The idea behind making the change to Glennon now, rather than waiting until the bye week after the Cardinals game, is to give the young quarterback a chance to play Sunday and then have two weeks to review his mistakes and make corrections before the game against the Philadelphia Eagles Oct. 13.

The Bucs team captains were informed of the decision Wednesday and many of them saw it coming and didn't disagree with it. The locker room is not expected to be divided over the decision.

While Freeman played better in Sunday's 23-3 loss to the Patriots and was victimized by dropped passes, the Bucs did not feel he was going to ever be consistent under Schiano.

The Bucs also question Freeman's leadership qualities and maturity. He missed the team picture before the start of the season and was late to his own quarterback camp during the summer for what he described as car trouble. Receiver Vincent Jackson was forced to step in for Freeman at the camp.

Freeman was stripped of his duties as team captain this year after serving in that role three previous seasons. Schiano denied speculation that he had rigged the captain's vote.

The Bucs believe Glennon will be a better 'game manager.' Running back Doug Martin is the second-leading rusher in the NFL and the defense is vastly improved.

Finally, since the Bucs had no desire to continue with Freeman, they felt they needed to take the remainder of the season to find out what they have in Glennon.

Selected in the third round (73rd overall) in April from North Carolina State, the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Glennon was the third quarterback taken in the draft behind the Jets Geno Smith and the Bills' E.J. Manuel. Both players have been starters since Week 1.

Schiano never seemed to embrace Freeman as the Bucs' quarterback, even after he set club records for passing yards (4,065) and touchdowns (27) in a season. The team decided not to extend Freeman's contract. During the off-season, Schiano said he wanted to bring in competition at quarterback, wasn't wedded to Freeman as the starter and wouldn't mind if Glennon won the job in training camp.

 

 

 

 

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 1:53pm]

    

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