Last Sunday afternoon, Geno Smith started his very first game as quarterback for the New York Jets. On the Buccaneers’ side of the football, Josh Freeman started his 57th.
Smith, a second round draft pick, is considered one potential future for the Jets, or at least more so than Mark Sanchez. Josh Freeman’s future in Tampa Bay is far less certain.
Freeman entered this season more dead man walking than any other quarterback in the league, ironically except for perhaps Sanchez. Freeman is in a contract year and the Bucs have made no indication that he is their long term solution. If anything, they’ve made remarks to the contrary. They even drafted his potential successor, current backup Mike Glennon, in the third round last year so Freeman could hear that uncomfortable breathing down his neck.
Most fans in the area consider Glennon’s coup d’etat a foregone conclusion, the sooner the better for all the Freeman haters residing in the Bay Area, of which there are plenty. One local radio station is even holding a contest awarding callers for predicting which week Freeman will surrender his starting spot.
On a Sunday when the Buccaneers should have won a game they didn’t, one can make the argument that the rookie Smith (24-38, 256 yds, 1 TD) outplayed Freeman (15-31, 210 yds, 1 TD). In a back and forth game, Freeman was seconds away from leaving East Rutherford with his 11th career fourth-quarter comeback. Instead, Smith got his first.
But Freeman was not the reason the Bucs lost. Well, not entirely.
Either way you slice it, the Buccaneers start the season 0-1, yet another burden for Freeman to carry.
For Freeman, this season holds no excuses. He has one of the best, young running backs in the game, one of the best wide receivers in the game, a serviceable offensive line and a defense that looks like it will give him every opportunity to win.
But someone has to take a fall for a sub-par season and Freeman is the likeliest of candidates. He has fifteen more games to prove he can lead this team. While he’s attempting to do so, the Glazer family will watch him very, very carefully. After all, they’re the ones having to write that fifty million dollar check. That’s the going rate for AVERAGE starting quarterbacks these days. Faces of the franchise go for considerably more.
Here’s the worst case scenario for the Buccaneers. The Bucs go 7-9, 8-8 or maybe even contend for a playoff spot (unlikely but still possible). Or let’s say the Buccaneers finish worse than that but it’s not Freeman’s fault. He has what boils down to be a nondescript season. He doesn’t play great but he plays well enough to put his team in a position to win, as he did last Sunday. The season ends. The Glazers must then decide whether he’s their guy, whether to sign him or whether to cut ties, if they haven’t secretly done so already.
The Buccaneers have never really had a franchise quarterback, which is amazing considering they’ve been around for almost forty years. Vinny Testaverde is Tampa’s all-time passing leader with 14,820 yards. That came in over six seasons. New Orleans Saints’ quarterback Drew Brees has that many in his last three.
What this tells us is that the Buccaneers are desperate for a quarterback to build their franchise around and they still don’t know whether Freeman is that guy. Cut him and start from scratch. Keep him and take your chances. These are decisions the Glazers will soon have to make and I don’t envy them for it.
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Defense! Defense! DE-FENSE! If the other team can’t score you’re in the game! What a revelation! The Bucs of the past did it with DE-FENSE! and who played QB? It really didn’t matter because they played DE-FENSE! The lowly Jets should never have moved the ball on the Bucs… And especially in the 4th quarter with the game on the line… Why the talk about Freeman? It’s all about the DE-FENSE!
I agree, Dwin, but ultimately, we have to talk about the guy. He’s coming up on a contract and the Bucs will have to soon figure out whether to pony up for the kid or start anew.
It’s a quarterback’s league these days.
Freeman lacks leadership ability and even Trent Dilfer showed that when he quarterbacked the Ravens to their historic Superbowl win. And the anal retentive Bucs` fans mocked his game . Bet they wouldn’t have minded having Dilfer in the subsequent years after that Superbowl win . Gruden ruins quarterbacks , he doesn’t help in improving their game . He never has done , and it is a myth concerning what he was able to do with Rich Gannon . Gannon was already a good player , he merely needed the right environment around him with good players .
Freeman`s play .. against the Jets was at best slightly above average .. (15-31, 210 yds , I TD, 1 INT) 67.9 QBR rating
Tell me what you see in Freeman`s game that can be deemed a real positive ? The Bucs down the years have never worked on establishing have a good quarterback even during the year they won the Superbowl with Brad Johnson of all people . But it did make a difference having guys such as Brooks , Barber , Lynch and Sapp on that roster .
Tell me who the Bucs now have as a leader of any kind on their current roster ?
I’m not sure if Freeman is the main problem. Where are his options? He has to have more targets than just Jackson and Williams. Where’s the tight end when you need him? That throw to Martin was one of desperation. The third receiver did not catch a single pass.
It may be that Freeman doesn’t read defenses very well. It may be that the offensive game plan is not very good.
To tell the truth I don’t know.
I know this though, the Bucs have had some very good quarterbacks and let them go too soon. Doug Williams, Steve Young, and Vinny were pretty successful after they were cast off by the Bucs.
Be careful what you wish for you haters out there or haven’t you ever heard the name Christian Ponder before?
It’s obvious Freeman has lost the trust of that team, unable to be its leader. I imagine that’s why his teammates took away his captaincy. Maybe they’ve already sealed his fate.
I hope it didn’t sound like I was defending the guy in the post. Far from it.
As far as leadership goes, that team is comprised of a lot of parts that have barely spent any time playing together. Someone will have to step up on both sides of the ball and create some sort of cohesiveness before they can put together any sort of winning streak.
I don’t think Freeman’s the main problem either but he’s an easy target and the guy does have a tendency to make some ill-advised passes.
Don’t you just get the feeling he’s gonna be made the fall guy for a bad season? Sounds to me like the guy’s got fewer and fewer friends within the organization.
Dude! Awesome article!
Look at how the Bucs have been comprised since Schiano has taken over and tell me what you see by way of the draft picks and free agent acquisitions ?
Bucs’ draft pick history .
Bucs’ team stats in 2012 and through week one 2013 .
Freeman’s problem has been his lack of <a href=http://pro-football-reference.com/players/F/FreeJo00/splits consistency . Great when there are those come from behind wins but not so great with , fumbles , interceptions and dumb decision-making
quarterbacks in 2012
Freeman`s career splits
Thank you, Black.
But how did you vote in the poll?
I get all that.
Now let me ask you this.
You’re the Glazers.
What do you do?
Fire Dominik, Schiano AND Freeman and totally start from scratch?
Although many Bucs fans would likely agree with that move, do you think we’re really ready for another three to four years or “rebuilding?”
Both you and I know that this mess started from the remnants of Gruden’s last days with the Bucs and carried on . Jon Gruden could not spot talent if he were asked to pluck it from a tree , And in terms of a scouting staff , in reality what have the Bucs really got ? Members from a school for the deaf dumb and blind ?
Freeman is in a contract year and there is no way in hell that the front office will pay him what he seeks . He simply does not have the talent to merit such a reward .
Mark Dominik is proving that he is a flash in the pan and not some sort of wunderkind as a general manager ,. As for the Glazers they are simply prepared to “rip off” the idiot members of the Hillsborough County Government and the city of Tampa , I mean , where else can you find such a bunch of blowholes within municipal and county governmental agencies who will actually believe any piece fecal matter being uttered out of the mouth of a member of the Glazer family ?
I see that the Geno Smith ‘era’ … has finally arrived ? Another overwhelming display of incompetency by the former W Virginia quarterback .
Left you a response concerning my most recent piece.
Gruden’s been gone a long time, Al. It’s about time we stop blaming him and move on already. It’s been long enough.
I do think our defense is back on the way to being close to what it was. The pieces are in place. They just need to execute. Honestly, when’s the last time you saw a Buccaneer defense hit as hard as they did last Sunday?
And it’s starting to look like your boy Brady is getting frustrated with his offensive weapons… or lack thereof.
What you have failed to understand is that Gruden hamstrung the franchise with several outlandish contracts that remained on the books for a number of years after his departure . Don’t you get it, that it limited the franchise’s moves in the free agency market ?
Jon Gruden deserves the blame for that solely and some of the asinine draft picks during his tenure that simply did not pan put . Carnell ‘Cadillac ‘ Williams . Cadillac , my rear end , ran more .like a Dodge Pinto .
Gruden in 2014 along, with Lynch and Derrick Brooks are in their first year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame .
Schiano doesn`t know the meaning of the word “defense ” .
MLB piece Somewhere over the rainbow
When those two Auburn running backs came out of college, Cadillac and Ronnie Brown, they were both thought to be the real deal. As it turned out, they both failed to live up to expectations.
I still can’t blame everything on Gruden. He didn’t negotiate contracts and tell the Glazers who to sign for how much.
I’m not defending the guy. I’m just saying he’s been gone for a while now. To blame our current woes on him doesn’t make any sense.
For two years, after Gruden left the organization was still paying monies to players who were simply no longer with the team . And you , of all people should know that Jon Gruden worked in close conjunction with GM Bruce Allen . So try and say that because he has departed , it means nothing , concerning the ongoing issues of the team is simply idiotic .
It restricted the team’s maneuvering in the free agency market . And you don’t think that if they were better positioned in that aspect , it would not have changed the fate of the franchise ?
The Bucs are their own worst enemies and it will remain that way for a considerable time .
As a coach Greg Schiano has failed miserably in instilling discipline into this team and that is evidenced in their play and lack of urgency .
Bucs vs Saints .
Here’s something that is likely to bring a smile to your face .
If true , addition by subtraction for the Bucs ?
I could see where that would end up happening, Al. The only question is how it affects his season.
The Bucs, at least not since Raheem Morris left, have admitted to having any confidence in the kid. Neither have his teammates.
I have a feeling this could end ugly.
Not only will it end ugly , but it could lead to some serious upheavals within the front office as it relates to Mark Dominik . The first domino to fall could very well be the general manager . It was at Raheem Morris’ instance that Josh Freeman was drafted when a number of analysts and fans question the pick to begin with. Four years later and the franchise is still no better off than it was before . Now the organization has a coach who allegedly is trying to instill team discipline but none of that has been exhibited at all on the field of play , because Greg Schiano , himself lacks discipline as a head coach.
Another world title fight another controversy created in the sport and this time not only are the judges to blame but also the Nevada State Athletic Commission . Cynthia ‘CJ’ Ross one of the judges in the Saul Canilo Alvarez vs Floyd Mayeather fight scored the bout a draw , when it was clear that Alvarez had not done enough to win any of the twelve rounds of the contest . Keith Keiser , the Executive Director of the State Athletic Commission does not feel that the reputation of Ross was impugned by her decision and scoring . Personally , I believe that she left her seeing eye dog at home and was guided to the ringside by a visually sighted individual , either that or she gave some ##ad to several senior officials from the commission , in order to be one of the adjudicators for the fight .
The Rangers are falling out of the AL wildcard race faster than Obama’s popularity amongst Conservative thinkers . Next stop the Rays , as Maddon’s team hits another iceberg (Rays’ remaining schedule) . Which of those games or series do you believe that the team is capable of winning at this juncture ?
Dropped this piece , so and when you’re ready .
No news, is good news , unless it is happening in the world of sports ….
Anyone now trying to suggest that Freeman would be a good backup QB on a team should look at the player’s stats over the course of his career . Be enlightened , not stupid .
I’m not too sure where to assess the blame here, Al, but something needs to be done before the pirate ship runs aground.
Before we’re so eager to dump Freeman, what are our other options? And I’m guessing all this drama reflects a lack of leadership. That’s gotta come from Schiano’s camp, no? Does he have the confidence of his team? Does Freeman for that matter?
The Rays beat up Garza pretty good last night. If they can take three out of four from Texas, that’ll put ’em in real good shape in the wild card race.