Salvage a season? Or season a rookie? Those are the two choices the Bucs are looking at after an 0-3 start to the season.
The Bucs are not going to fire Greg Schiano, they just aren't. I don't think the Glazers want to pay another coach for not coaching -- and honestly, they shouldn't have to. Everyone is pointing fingers at Greg Schiano but his staff is loaded with NFL coaching experience: Mike Sullivan, Bill Sheridan, Bryan Cox, John Garrett, Dave Wannstedt, Butch Davis.
Wannstedt and Davis were head coaches in the NFL. Sullivan and Sheridan won a Super Bowl with the Giants in 2008 -- so this staff is loaded with NFL experience. Not only loaded with experience but Greg Schiano relies on it, so honestly, if Schiano was being too rule tough on players, if he was pulling college-level moves at the pro level and it was backfiring, not working, not clicking -- you know that staff, with the strong personalities on it, would be saying something to Schiano.
Now, that doesn't mean he is listening. I'm assuming he is, but you know if he is getting to be too much of a micro manager, he is being told about it.
Plus, at this point I don't think the problem is with Schiano, I really don't. I do think that Mike Sullivan's offense lacks an identity. I do think that John Garrett, the wide receivers coach, needs to turn up the heat on all the dropped balls we are seeing.
It's not Schiano's fault that the offense can move the ball between the 20's, but when it comes to scoring points, they just go invisible. That falls on Mike Sullivan and the offensive assistants. So play calling is obviously part of the problem, and there are other issues.
The team is thin at receiver. They haven't started a game with a real right end yet. Their third receiver Kevin Ogletree is showing us why he couldn't catch on in Dallas.
But the biggest issue is Freeman's performance. I'm not talking about running the offense, I am pointing to football fundamentals, the ability to throw the ball with accuracy. Five years in, that should be automatic, but it's not.
So, that returns us to the question: Salvage a season or season a rookie? Is it time to bring in rookie QB Mike Glennon? That answer is yes. Because essentially Freeman is producing like a rookie. In three games, he's thrown two touchdown passes, his completion percentage is 45 percent -- dead last out of the 33 QB's who have lined up this season. His average yards per pass is just over 6 yards. Plus, he's not throwing like a five-year veteran, his passes are usually too high, too wide, a bit behind, sometimes low. So yards after a catch are difficult because, before the wide receivers can make a play with the ball, they have to make a play just to catch it. All of this adds up to one thing -- start the rookie.
The timing is almost identical to 2009 -- the Bucs taking on New England with Josh Johnson running the offense, the team was on its way to losing seven in a row. Freeman hit the field in the fourth quarter and then was the starting QB coming out of the bye week -- going 3 and 6 the rest of the season.
Same kind of scenario now. The Bucs are 2 and 8 in their last 10 games. The schedule doesn't have a lot of soft spots in it, other than maybe Arizona. So start the rookie, get him going in the Cardinals game and then use the bye week to review that game and get ready for the Eagles.
The bottom line is this: I don't think the Bucs feel comfortable with Freeman and he won't be around next year. So why not start Glennon, see what he can do the rest of the season, and then they will know if they need to make a move for a QB in the draft in 2014.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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