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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the 2013 season with uncertainty at quarterback with Josh Freeman named the starter, but appearing to be on thin ice based on comments from then head coach Greg Schiano. Schiano also influenced the drafting of Mike Glennon, who was seen by many as a direct replacement for Freeman, while others (myself included) believed Glennon would simply be a backup for the hopefully improved Freeman.
The situation could not have unfolded any worse for the Bucs, who were forced to let go of Freeman mid-season due to his poor play and hand the keys to the offense over to Glennon, who had flashes of decent play during a fairly pedestrian season.
So that means the 2014 season will begin much like the 2013 season, with uncertainty at quarterback and a coaching staff that isn’t ready to commit to the incumbent at QB. Both Lovie Smith and Jason Licht have already admitted they’d like to see competition at every position, including quarterback.
Which leads us to our first Pewter Plank Mailbag question of the offseason:
@ThePewterPlank if the new regime is to have competition at every position. How would you feel about Freeman coming back?
— Ryan Tony Smith (@RTS_424) February 28, 2014
Most fans will scoff at the idea of bringing Freeman back, as he’s seen as an enemy of the team considering his actions that led up to his benching and release from the Bucs. But he does represent possibly the best free agent option at quarterback this offseason, with Michael Vick, Matt Cassel and Josh McCown providing the only competition.
That said, it’s still very unlikely that Freeman returns to Tampa Bay.
A backup quarterback, maybe even more than a starting quarterback, must be constantly on the ready and mentally sharp. They also must be content with their role and willing to be a team player who remains content holding a clipboard and running with the backups in practice. Freeman’s 2013 antics prove he’s probably not the best fit for that sort of role.
I have a lot of respect for what Josh Freeman is capable of as a passer, but there are just too many red flags, concerns, and scars from a recently ended relationship to consider bringing him back. The idea of Freeman and his agent sitting down with the Buccaneers and hammering out a deal that’s acceptable to the Glazer family seems incredibly far-fetched.
So while you should certainly expect the Buccaneers to add a couple of quarterbacks this offseason, don’t expect Josh Freeman to be among them, even if he is the most talented option available.