After three mediocre seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s looking like Josh Freeman’s days are numbered or close to being so in Tampa. According to the Tampa Times, head coach Greg Schiano isn’t “on board” with Freeman leading the team, and 2013 is looking more and more like a make-or-break season for the former first-round draft pick.
Whether that’s because the head coach didn’t draft Freeman or because he feels he hasn’t seen enough, everything you’ve read and heard about the Bucs looking into quarterbacks in free agency and the draft has been driven almost exclusively by Schiano.
The past few seasons have been tumultuous at best for Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman. He came onto the scene in 2010, leading the Buccaneers to a 10-win season but following up that performance with a 2011 season that saw him drop to the icy depths of the terrible quarterbacks around the league. 2012 was a mix of Freeman’s 2010 and 2011 seasons, with the former Kansas State product looking really good at times, but also looking absolutely incapable of being a reliable franchise quarterback.
Add this to the fact that Freeman was drafted by Raheem Morris, the failed Buccaneers coach who coached the team from 2009 until his firing after the 2011 season. Freeman has shown signs of improvement, but they’re almost always canceled out by him falling into his old and terrible habits of rushing and forcing plays. It’s something that frustrates Buccaneers fans and obviously Schiano as well.
Take for instance Freeman’s bi-polar nature from last season. In one single drive, Freeman can take the heat of a blitz, fumble the football, recover under pressure and hit a line drive pass over the middle and in double coverage to Tiquan Underwood for a big first down play. Freeman would then characteristically follow that up by forcing a pass that ended up intercepted, thus killing all the momentum and glory he had previously been working to set up.
It’s this reason that Schiano is looking elsewhere, but as this offseason proved, he’s not yet committed to de-committing from Freeman. The Buccaneers recently re-sgined backup Dan Orlovsky who will provide no competition whatsoever for the starting gig. But the team did give Matt Cassel, Chase Daniels and Carson Palmer good looks before they ultimately went elsewhere and as the Tamp Times reports that was all Schiano’s idea.
The most important thing to take out of all this is that if the Buccaneers are going to win in 2013, it’s going to be with Freeman. If that success eludes Tampa for another straight year, it won’t be Schiano paying the price, it will likely be Freeman, as the issue about his contract expiring after this year is going to be a major theme throughout the season.