Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Drop The Mike: There Is No Quarterback Controversy With The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I will begin this article by admitting that I am not a fan of Josh Freeman. As of the end of 2012, I don’t trust him to deliver accurate passes needed to convert key plays, and feel he is too inconsistent to be counted on in important in-game situations. He’s fully capable of doing nearly everything a NFL quarterback needs to do, but he just fails to do so on occasions, and in a league where even the worst of teams can play to within a possession of the best teams, mistakes can be very costly.

I think my stance on Josh Freeman was pretty apparent at the end of last season, and while I have had some time to evaluate his season as a whole, I still feel he is frustrating and inconsistent and has a lot to prove in 2013.

But there is no way on God’s beautiful green Earth that Mike Glennon is going to start at quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2013, provided a healthy Josh Freeman is available to play.

I understand the old saying that the backup quarterback is every fan’s best friend, and there are a million other clichés to explain the reasons why fans grow dissatisfied with starting quarterbacks. But let me present three reasons as to why Mike Glennon is not going to be taking over for a healthy Josh Freeman in 2013

Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

He hasn’t even been that bad.

I kn0w Josh has been frustrating. I have yelled at him through my television plenty of times over the past few years. But he’s not been as bad as you think. Last season he had a frustrating final month, but considering that 8 of his 17 interceptions came over the course of two games, that means he had an otherwise acceptable year with two negative games. And as I pointed out in my article breaking down Josh Freeman’s interceptions, he tends to throw more picks while the team is trailing, as he has a “Captain Comeback” mentality that tends to result in Josh trying to do too much.

And remember around week 10 last season when Josh was one of the best quarterbacks in the league, leading an efficient offense with a strong running game? That guy still plays for the Bucs, as well. This isn’t a Mark Sanchez situation, where there is literally no redemptive qualities. Josh Freeman had 27 touchdowns and passed for over 4000 yards last season with a makeshift offensive line in front of him. He’s not bad enough to be eclipsed by a third round pick…

There is too much invested in Josh Freeman.

… especially considering Josh Freeman was a first round pick back in the days when huge contracts were given to first round picks (especially QBs). So there has been a ton of money, time, and faith invested in Josh Freeman since he was selected, and the team has no reason to stop now, when they’ve had so many other chances to bail on him and move on. Josh was always seen as a bit of a project, considering that he lacked the accuracy and decision-making needed to be an elite NFL quarterback from day one. His success as a Buccaneer cannot be ignored, especially when considering the investments made.

Imagine you run a restaurant, and you buy the nicest steaks available and hand them to an awful chef. The steaks may occasionally turn out to be delicious, but there are bound to be plenty of mistakes and poorly prepared meals. Josh Freeman was brought to a team in need of a quarterback, and lacking in talent at skill positions, and has been handed from “chef to chef” as coaching changes and personell changes have led to a lack of consistency. He still has all the qualities required of a very good NFL quarterback, they just need to be brought out and accented well by his coaches, by his teammates, and by his own decision-making and work ethic.

Mike Glennon is not qualified to be the Buccaneers’ savior.

The Buccaneers have aspirations of making a playoff run this season, and Mike Glennon is not the guy to take them there. He’s going to be capable of running something resembling the Buccaneers offense from day one, because he has the arm to make all the throws needed. But there’s a reason that he was taken in the third round of the NFL Draft. He’s got decision-making concerns, and doesn’t inspire the confidence in his ability to perform on such a high level right away. He’s a project, just like Josh Freeman was, and while he may develop into a very good NFL signal caller, he’s not even close to being there yet.

The Bucs are going to give Josh Freeman every chance this season to prove he’s the guy to bring the team back to the playoffs for years to come. They’ve invested a ton of time and effort into him, and they’re not going to give up on him now. Mike Glennon may wind up being a quality NFL QB, but it’s not going to be in 2013. Josh Freeman, like him or not, is going to get his chance to prove if he’s a true franchise quarterback. And for the sake of the sanity of every member of Buc Nation, let’s hope he is.

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