The Josh Freeman era in Tampa has come to an end, the only real surprise being the timing, not that it happened at all. Conventional wisdom said he’d have at least this week’s game against Arizona to turn things around, giving Mike Glennon the bye week to prepare to start. But it seems obvious that mounting dissatisfaction — both within the team and among the fans — pushed the Bucs to make the move sooner rather than later.
I don’t think it’s necessarily waving the white flag on the season, but it’s definitely a move designed for next year. We now have thirteen games to see what Glennon has got. We either find out we have our newest quarterback of the future, or we find out we need to draft one next year, from a class that should be rife with talent at the position. Neither of those was going to happen if we kept plodding along with Freeman.
I also get the sense that, rather than the team quitting on Greg Schiano, they quit on Freeman. Apparently the team captains had no objections to this move, which tells me there was at least some level of frustration with how Freeman was running the offense. You can argue that the scheme wasn’t right or that his receivers dropped passes, but even a decent quarterback should be able to overcome those things. You look at E.J. Emanuel in Buffalo and Brian Hoyer in Cleveland and wonder why if they can do it, why can’t Freeman? It’s a league that’s bending over backwards to accommodate the pass, where 300 yards happens at the drop of a hat, and Freeman seems to struggle to break 200.
I just wonder if his heart is in it. Like I’ve said before, there doesn’t seem to be any passion to his play. There are rumors floating around that there’s some larger reason for his malaise, be it personal demons or some kind of addiction, but for whatever reason, Freeman doesn’t seem to want to put in the effort it takes to be great. Which makes the maddening flashes of brilliance he displayed over the last five years even more frustrating. Imagine what he could do if he put his mind to it.
Instead, the search for Tampa Bay’s franchise quarterback continues. Knowing our luck, Freeman will follow in the footsteps of the likes of Doug Williams, Steve Young and Trent Dilfer and wind up with a ring somewhere else. Not that I wish him any ill, it just seems we always let someone go only to see them thrive somewhere else. It would be nice to see someone we draft on the offensive side of the ball turn into a multi-year Hall of Fame player like we managed to do for defense back in the late 90s.
So we’ll see what Glennon has in him, and if the team responds to the change. It’ll determine his future, and most likely that of Schiano and Mark Dominik. And if nothing else, it’ll keep the Bucs in the headlines for the next few weeks. Just not for the reasons any of us would have hoped for before the season began.