Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The day has finally come for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Josh Freeman has been benched.
The inconsistency of Freeman has worn thin on the patience of head coach Greg Schiano as he has benched the five year veteran for rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.
So, what should the Buccaneers do looking forward?
Stick with Mike Glennon
Unless something drastic happens, Glennon will start for the Bucs the rest of the way in the 13 remaining games. It’ll give the Bucs brass a long hard look at Glennon and his skill set to determine if they think he is the future of the franchise.
We all know he has a massive arm, but consistency will be a big concern here. In the preseason, Glennon only completed 47.1 percent of his passes while throwing three touchdowns and three picks.
Glennon only played two full seasons of college ball though despite being a part of NC State for four years. Taking out his first two years where he sparingly played, Glennon completed 60 percent of his passes, throwing for 7,085 yards and 62 touchdowns. However, he also threw 34 picks which in college is an alarmingly high number.
The reality is the Bucs don’t really know what they have in Glennon still. They have 13 games now to figure it out.
Sep 22, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws a pass during warm-ups against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Free agent market
The crop of available free agents at the end of the season is not where the Buccaneers will be finding a franchise quarterback, unless Jay Cutler makes it out of Chicago. Even if Cutler becomes available, do the Bucs want a 30-year-old QB? Cutler is a great player so the Buccaneers will definitely have interest if he hits the market but that remains to be seen.
Cutler aside, the best options are Chad Henne, Tavaris Jackson, Derek Anderson and Rex Grossman. All four have a lot of experience as starters, but they are nothing more than career backups now and are far from the franchise quarterback the Bucs need.
There are a handful of good quarterbacks who could be available by trade but there only appears to be one that the Bucs could make their franchise quarterback and that is Kirk Cousins.
The Washington Redskins backup played extremely well last season when Robert Griffin III went down with his ACL tear. He threw for 466 yards in three games with four touchdown passes and three interceptions.
Cousins is young enough (25) still and has the full experience of being a three-year starter at Michigan State where he holds a number of school records and has led his team to big bowl wins, such as the 2011 Outback Bowl.
While Cousins could be a franchise quarterback, other available options via trade don’t provide that. Kyle Orton is a good quarterback, but he’s getting up there in age and the Bucs don’t want a part of that. Nick Foles in Philadelphia played well a year ago when Michael Vick went down injured and could be an option as could Matt Moore in Miami. While all three are good players, they aren’t however franchise quarterbacks.
Sep 14, 2013; Lexington, KY, USA; Louisville Cardinals quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) before the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Commonwealth Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
2014 NFL Draft
Teddy Bridgewater and Marcus Mariota are the two big names in this years draft class and there is no doubt that they will become franchise quarterbacks. But whether the Bucs can get their hands on either will come down to not only their record, but how desperately other teams may want either player.
The Vikings, Raiders, Jaguars, Cardinals and Browns are also in need of a long time franchise quarterback so the Bucs will have to fend off stern competition for either player, or any other possible franchise quarterback. For a more detailed look at the 2014 quarterback class, click here.
The Bucs are in trouble. They will give Glennon 13 games to make the job his own, but if he doesn’t the Bucs are going to be on the prowl for their franchise quarterback. The free agent class doesn’t cut it unless Cutler becomes a free agent, while the trade market only has one possible option in Kirk Cousins. The draft is where I believe the Buccaneers will get the quarterback they now so desperately need.