Commish: Schiano and Freeman Heading Towards a Divorce?
I am a huge believer of actions speak louder than words. With that being said, Greg Schiano's actions in 2013 have shown that Josh Freeman's days as the Buccaneers starting quarterback are numbered.
Freeman's inconsistency in 2012 and the 8 interceptions he threw against the Saints and Rams last December might have led to some doubt in Schiano's mind that Freeman can be "his" quarterback.
How loyal is Schiano to a quarterback drafted by Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris?
How loyal was Schiano to the quarterbacks he recruited at Rutgers?
While at Rutgers, Schiano went with true freshmen at quarterback for three consecutive years.
After leading Rutgers to a 9-4 record in 2009 as a true freshman, then starter, Tom Savage had to sit out a game in 2010 due to a hand injury. True Freshman Chas Dodd would start that game and remain the Rutgers starting quarterback the rest of the year, even after Savage became healthy. Dodd would be the starting quarterback for Schiano to begin the 2011 season, but true freshman Gary Nova would take over mid-season and lead Rutgers to a Bowl win that season.
Anyone that follows college football knows that it is nearly insane to start one true freshman quarterback, and Schiano started a true freshman in three consecutive years.
So, who is a "Schiano" quarterback and what does he consist of?
If you look to Schiano's most successful seasons at Rutgers, Mike Teel was his quarterback. Teel was a pocket passer with limited mobility, an ability to get the ball down the field, and limited his interceptions. Teel was also a two-time captain for Schiano at Rutgers.
As we come back to the present, we see that Schiano's actions through the entire offseason and to this point have not given Josh Freeman any confidence that he'll be "Schiano's" guy much longer.
The Bucs made inquiries on a few quarterbacks this past off-season, including Carson Palmer, who had a very good debut with the Arizona Cardinals.
Former Bucs beat writer Stephen Holder had this nugget in April.
The Bucs, as an organization, aren't all that concerned about the record-breaking Freeman and the quarterback position. In fact, people close to Freeman have confirmed that Just about everyone at One Buc Place seems onboard with Freeman except for one person: Schiano.
The Bucs would then draft Mike Glennon in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft. We would later find out that Schiano recruited Glennon heavily while at Rutgers to possibly be another true freshman to come in and start for Schiano.
Schiano would continue saying that Freeman was "his guy" but it did seem hard for most people to buy it.
As we entered the preseason, Mike Glennon got a majority of the offensive snaps for the Buccaneers. This was not a surprise. The surprise was how little snaps Josh Freeman received in games to get ready for the season.
"I get the distinct impression that if Josh Freeman struggles early or into mid-season, that Greg Schiano is not going to have a problem with making a change at quarterback," NBC football analyst Peter King said at the end of the preseason. "You could see Mike Glennon earlier than you would anticipate."
That leads us to now. The Bucs just lost to the lowly Jets and the offense was the team's Achilles heel according to Schiano.
"I don't know if I've seen a punting and kicking performance, in my 26 years, like I saw yesterday from [punter] Mike Koenen; it was just tremendous. I thought our special teams played very, very well," Schiano said at his press conference on Monday. "Defensively, we made a few mistakes, but [my] hat's off to the Jets. I thought they did some creative things to help their young quarterback and to slow us down a little bit, but, at the end of the day, I like the way we're running, and I like the way we're hitting. [We] got after the quarterback, sacked him five times. You know, the pass rush was a major discussion. We sacked the quarterback five times, hit him multiple more times than that. That's a mobile quarterback, and they have a center who's one of the best in the game to navigate and make calls and everything. So, that's a lot of good stuff that we're going to build on."
After failing to mention anything offensive-related, Greg Schiano dropped this on us.
"We just have to get the stuff that I'm unhappy with, and that our team's unhappy with – we need to go to work. Those are things that we can fix, procedural things. The frustrating thing to me is we shouldn't have to fix them."
The Jets had the absolute right game-plan on defense this past Sunday. The key to stopping the Bucs offense is to load the box, shut down Doug Martin, pressure Josh Freeman, and force Freeman to beat you through the air.
"I mean, that's going to be the formula to stop our offense. It's not a mystery," Schiano said. "We have to throw and catch. We missed open guys, and then we dropped some passes. We have to protect better; we [allowed] three sacks, but we also were hurried. If people are going to do that, you're going to have to be able to throw the football effectively, consistently, accurately, and move the ball down the field. We did at times, and at other times, we didn't."
This was the first time Greg Schiano's words about the quarterback position has matched his actions. The question is whether this is the beginning of the end for Josh Freeman.
The only way Josh Freeman can prevent this from happening is to perform well on the field.
Against the Jets, he failed in Schiano's eyes.
For more on this, tune into Fan Interference with Justin Pawlowski and Jim Lighthall weekdays from 9-12.
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