Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

QB Freeman didn't fit in Bucs' scheme

Bucs QB Josh Freeman, eluding a Panther, was at his best when scrambling. But that didn’t fit into the offensive game plan.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times (2012)

Bucs QB Josh Freeman, eluding a Panther, was at his best when scrambling. But that didn’t fit into the offensive game plan.

TAMPA

If you can put aside the skipped meetings, missed team photo and accusations of leaked medical information and rigged captain votes, the real reason given by the Bucs for benching QB Josh Freeman was he didn't play well.

Forget that Freeman lost eight of nine starts before the plug was pulled. Or he failed to complete 50 percent of his passes during an 0-3 start this season.

The Bucs say they didn't like Freeman's inability to function within the structure of their offense.

Freeman has thrived during his career in chaotic situations, when plays broke down and he was able to extend them and drive downfield with his strong arm. The Bucs even tried to create some of those looks within their offense.

But Freeman was never the type of quarterback coach Greg Schiano wanted. You have to wonder if ownership or GM Mark Dominik prevented him from being put on the trading block after 2012, when his value was still high.

In the end, coaches say, it came down to Freeman's lack of production in a hopelessly stalled offense.

"I think you look at the numbers from the first three games, and a lot of it we didn't execute," quarterbacks coach John McNulty said. "He's 45 percent. You can come back and say, 'Well, here's four drops.' But in the end, I think you just evaluate the whole thing together, the production. And over time, where are we headed?

"It's certainly not an easy decision (to change quarterbacks). You know what the effect is on the community, the guy himself, the people in the locker room. It's not something that's taken lightly. But at some point, you have to call it. It was time."

One more factor, McNulty said: "Mike's progress had something to do with it."

That would be rookie Mike Glennon, who threw two interceptions over the final three minutes of his first start, a 13-10 loss to the Cardinals last week.

Glennon is a gym rat who can make all of the throws, a paint-by-the-numbers passer who will stick with his progressions and dissect defenses.

"He's a very intelligent, hard-working, grinding player, and this is his life," McNulty said. "It's the hardest job in football. I think it has to be your life. It has to be that important to you that you feel the weight of the whole team on your shoulders. You can't just go out there and say, 'Oh, I blew it.'

"As long as I think the players know this guy is grinding through everything … I think it makes the team feel like we can rally behind this guy."

But Glennon has a lot of growing up to do. The third-round pick from N.C. State isn't likely to produce like last season's bumper crop of rookies: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson. His lack of mobility will put even more of a premium on protection. Freeman's scrambling covered up a lot of bad offensive line play.

"It's not to say he's never going to make a mistake, but rarely is he off mentally," McNulty said of Glennon. "He sees things very well, and he's just able to adjust very well to things. And he gets the ball out: physically, accurately, quickly. He's got that combination going.

"His brother (Sean) was a starter at Virginia Tech. He's been a football guy his whole life. He's a football junkie. That's sometimes who you are."

UH-OH LINE: A lot was made about the Bucs finally having guards Davin Joseph and Carl Nicks on the field together. But neither has played up to expectations.

There's a good reason for it. Joseph missed all of 2012 with a torn patellar tendon. Nicks missed the second half of 2012 with a plantar plate injury in his toe, contracted a MRSA infection this season and missed all of the preseason and the first two games of the regular season.

"At times, they've resembled what I think they're going to be," Schiano said. "At other times, no. You've got to remember Davin took 25 snaps (in the preseason), Carl none.

"I want it to be now, too. But we've got to give them a chance to all get cohesive. It's got to happen sooner than later. But I'm also not naive to the fact it's not plug and play."

Rick Stroud can be heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620. Follow him on Twitter at @NFLStroud.

QB Freeman didn't fit in Bucs' scheme 10/05/13 [Last modified: Saturday, October 5, 2013 5:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. For starters: Rays at Twins, looking for another with Odorizzi starting

    Blogs

    UPDATE, 11:01: No Dickerson today as the Rays go with seven right-handers.

    Here is the lineup:

  2. Why the Lightning would consider trading Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — This summer, the Lightning could trade one of its most dynamic young players ever.

    Tampa Bay Lightning left wing Jonathan Drouin (27) celebrates with his team on the bench after beating Chicago Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling (33) to score his second goal of the period and to tie the score at 4 to 4 during second period action at the Amalie Arena in Tampa Monday evening (03/27/17).
  3. Why the Lightning should keep Jonathan Drouin

    Lightning Strikes

    Keep him.

    Jonathan Drouin is live bait. The Lightning is ready to run the hook through him and cast him out there again. Drouin has enough talent for the Lightning to meet some defensive needs in a deal.

    Keep him.

    Lightning wing Jonathan Drouin celebrates after beating Los Angeles Kings goalie Peter Budaj during the first period of Tuesday's win in Tampa. [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times]
  4. This Tampa Bay Lightning wing rides the newest wave of fan interaction

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There are photos of Lightning fan Shaun Egger as a toddler at center ice at the then-Thunderome, aka Tropicana Field. He's played in the Lightning's high school hockey league for Palm Harbor University. But his closest personal encounter with players had been waving through a crowd after a training camp …

    Tampa Bay Lightning player J.T. Brown wears his anti UV glasses as he talks over the headset with a hockey fan while they play against each other on line in an XBOX NHL video game in Brown's game room at his home in south Tampa. The fan chose to be the Washington Capitals and Brown, of course, was the Tampa Bay Lightning. Brown interacts with fans through video game systems as he streams the games live on Twitch with plans for the proceeds to go to charity.
  5. ‘Biggest fight' behind her, Petra Kvitova returns ahead of schedule

    Tennis

    PARIS — Five months after a home invader's knife sliced into her left hand, Petra Kvitova will return to competitive tennis at the French Open, a last-minute decision to make her comeback earlier than expected.

    Petra Kvitova adjusts her hair during a news conference at Roland Garros Stadium, where she will make her tennis return at the French Open. Kvitova's left hand was badly injured by a knife-wielding intruder in December; she has recovered ahead of schedule. [Associated Press]