Sep 22, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots defensive endRob Ninkovich
(50) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterbackJosh Freeman
(right) embrace after a game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Many fans and members of the media are ready to see Josh Freeman placed on the bench in favor of third-round rookie Mike Glennon, and there are legitimate reasons for benching the fifth-year signal caller from Kansas State. Freeman has a historically bad completion percentage (if the season ended today, he’d be among the 10 worst percentages by players throwing 90 or more passes since 2000), has more interceptions than touchdowns, and is the point man of an offense that has scored only three touchdowns in three games.
He’s regressed since last season, and even factoring in his disappointing receivers, he’s not been good enough to lead his team to victories. But benching him would be catastrophic for his coaching staff and general manager.
Sep 22, 2013; Foxborough, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) reacts during the fourth quarter of a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots defeated the Buccaneers 23-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Consider what benching Josh Freeman would mean for Mark Dominik. The Tampa Bay general manager drafted Freeman as his first pick as the leader of the Bucs’ front office in 2009, signaling a change from the Jon Gruden era with a young, talented quarterback being drafted as a franchise QB, rather than rotating through veterans and mediocre talents that Gruden would coach up to run his system.
Dominik would then whiff on most of his first 15 draft choices, meaning that Freeman and Gerald McCoy remained as the first round stars with a shot at redeeming what were otherwise weak draft classes for the Bucs’ GM. So if Freeman is benched, and his career with the Buccaneers is essentially over, Dominik will be put under pressure for the incredible lack of talent he acquired during his first two seasons in Tampa Bay.
But Dominik has somewhat redeemed himself over the past two years, finding better talents via the draft and free agency and putting a very talented football team on the field. A team that is now being coached by Greg Schiano, who would also not benefit from benching Josh Freeman.
If Schiano has any hope of keeping his job with the Buccaneers, he has to win at least 7-8 games and prove that his team didn’t decline year-over-year despite adding massive talents like Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson. And he’s not going to win more games with Mike Glennon under center than he would with Josh Freeman.
Glennon is simply not ready to help this team contend against the tough schedule the Buccaneers will face from this point forward, and Schiano knows that benching a QB he might not even like would only spell more trouble for his tenuous tenure as Bucs’ head coach.
So don’t expect any changes at quarterback in the near future, even though it’s probably the best for the future of the franchise. With the playoffs a miraculous turn of events away, the team ought to start focusing on the future, and seeing what they have in Mike Glennon would benefit the future head coach and GM of the Buccaneers. But no NFL team is going to admit defeat so readily, because there are tons of jobs on the line that all disappear after a woeful season full of losses.