Posted September 12, 2013

Turmoil in Tampa Bay doesn’t bode well for Josh Freeman’s future

NFC South, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Josh Freeman went 15-of-31 for 210 yards, with a touchdown and an interception in a Week 1 loss to the Jets. (Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

With his contract expiring at the end of this season, and the Buccaneers using a third-round pick on Mike Glennon, all signs pointed to this being a make-or-break year for Josh Freeman. Week 2 has not even arrived yet, and the situation may have broken already.

And the future for head coach Greg Schiano hardly looks much rosier, based on recent reports out of Tampa Bay.

Mike Florio reported Wednesday that the Buccaneers had held a players-only meeting following an 18-17 loss to the Jets on Sunday. He later amended that report to clarify, via sources, that the meeting had occurred prior to that game. The need for a closed-door meeting following a Week 1 loss would have hinted at some major underlying issues in the locker; a pre-Week 1 session is an even more alarming red flag.

Part of that meeting, per Florio, “included the raising of concerns regarding the legitimacy of the vote that resulted in … Freeman losing the captain’s ‘C’ from his jersey.”

Freeman had been a Bucs captain from 2010-12, after starting nine games as a rookie in ’09. That he lost the honor headed into this season was a rather surprising turn of events.

“I know one thing, Josh is going to lead. Josh is a leader, so I’m not concerned about that,’’ Schiano said after the team’s captains were announceed. “It just so happens Josh is on a team with other strong leaders. But I wouldn’t read into that that Josh isn’t a leader. I’ll tell you, to a man, I think every offensive player will tell you, ‘We follow No. 5′.”

The Tampa Tribune reported that prior to losing out in the voting, Freeman actually missed the annual team photo. The Tribune also reported that Schiano emphatically denied anything seedy went on during the process of picking captains.

“That story is 100 percent inaccurate,” Schiano said.

Whatever the case, the growing unrest in Tampa Bay does not reflect all that well on Schiano, and it certainly bodes poorly for Freeman. Schiano added to the angst when he told reporters that Freeman “overslept and missed the team meeting Monday.”

Freeman had been with the Bucs for three seasons before Schiano stepped in as head coach. The now veteran QB finished 7-9 last year in Schiano’s debut season, though he continued to struggle with inconsistent performances. The 17 interceptions Freeman threw was down from 22 in 2011, but still more than all but four QBs fired last year.

Now in Year 2 of his reign, Schiano may have some extra leeway, but his no-holds-barred attitude apparently has ruffled some feathers in Tampa Bay. Schiano has drawn a line in the sand as head coach, jettisoning players like Eric Wright and Kellen Winslow — the former after some off-field issues, the latter after Winslow skipped a voluntary workout last summer.

Schiano may opt sooner rather than later to ensure that his entire tenure is not tied to Freeman’s performance. Glennon struggled during the preseason (33-of-70, three TDs, three interceptions), but Schiano said his rookie was “picking it up” in mid-August.

There’s been little to no indication that the Buccaneers plan to extend Freeman’s contract beyond 2013, so Glennon, for now, appears to be the future at that position. As the firestorm around Freeman grows, a change at QB could be approaching rapidly.

This story definitely does not seem like it’s headed toward a joyous conclusion for the Freeman-Schiano pairing.

40 comments
RedHandNYCity
RedHandNYCity

Team leaders don't oversleep and miss team photos. They're there first and watch everyone else leave.

Jean
Jean

Freeman oversleeps and misses team photo--it bees dem genes,again.

T.Christian
T.Christian

TEBOW!! Those T-tards will fill your stadium. The defenses will part and Tebow will lead the bucs to the promised land!!! Hallelujah!!!!

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

If the players discussed their votes honestly amongst themselves and did their own count, and discovered a different result than what the coaching staff claimed... that is indeed dire news for Schiano. Players have to be able to trust their coach.

And you know, considering Schiano's established character profile to this point (going back to his time at Rutgers), I really wouldn't put it past him at all to alter the vote because he thought the result should be different.

ricktorrey
ricktorrey

In Freeman's first three years he made good progress. He has the size and athletic ability to compete as a QB in the NFL. But ability alone is just not enough to keep him as the starter for Tampa Bay. He just has not put in the work to get to where he needs to be to maintain his starter status. Too bad. He blew up millions in salary because of the one thing he doesn't possess.........heart.

DSM
DSM

I see little to admire in Josh Freeman. Separately, although Schiano did a great job in elevating the Rutgers program through fine recruiting and PR, he was not regarded as a solid tactician, which is why his teams suffered many more upsets than they achieved and never reached a major bowl or won their weak conference.

WilyCoyoteSuperGenius
WilyCoyoteSuperGenius

The Bucs are an utterly dysfunctional organization. That was proven with the contract they gave Revis. $16 million for a guy who makes one tackle.

WHO*IS*ESPN
WHO*IS*ESPN

Schiano is a jerk and an idiot.  see ya in college next year.....D2 league

vader41dv
vader41dv

These primadona's can't take it can they...lol Correct OLD..Grow the "F" up. Prove them wrong, do you really need to have the "C" on your jersey to show them what you really mean to the team.. 

Old Schoolers
Old Schoolers

Grow up Josh.  Johnny football, and Ndamukong Suh are already 1-2 in the running for biggest jokes in the sporting world.  You're going to have to do better (worse) than this to move into the top two.  You are acting like a spoiled 5-year-old (my apologies to all 5-year-olds) but other than your selfish little self, NO ONE CARES.  

DeeEmm1
DeeEmm1

All of that sounds good to my Saints. Thank you Tampa, we'd LOVE to start 2-0 this season.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Schano is a joke.  I said it last year after his debacle of telling his defenders to rush a kneel down play.  The players are not going to have any respect for someone that is that level of an idiot.  If the players found through their meeting that Freeman did have the votes to be a captain that means Schiano screwed Freeman, and he has totally lost the team.  What a freaking dumb idiot.  He is fired after this season.  Next time Tampa don't hire a d*uche from a small irrelevant university.  

btcvsolo
btcvsolo

Ooooo...when did the Jets relocate to Tampax?

NoQNoSuperBowl
NoQNoSuperBowl

Schiano is in over his head. And a classless guy besides. 

Jean
Jean

@leehwgoc Most probably cause fo mixup bees dat de locker room can't count !!.

Joseph44
Joseph44

Totally agree he was great at recruiting but horrible x and o guy.

Kristian
Kristian

@WilyCoyoteSuperGenius Do you really understand football at all?  If your cornerback is making a lot of tackles, he's probably not very good.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@WHO*IS*ESPN I was astounded when he was hired.  Belichick loves him.  LOLOL.... yeah he is done already.  By now every team should know to stay away from anyone Belichick loves or endorses.  They are all failures.  

Kristian
Kristian

@vader41dv What makes them primadona's?  A lot of NFL players are college educated and act like professionals.  Judging by your writing style and inability to even construct a sentence, that's probably more than we can say for you. 

AnthonyPatterrson
AnthonyPatterrson

@vader41dv Poor reading comprehension. The players QUESTIONED THE LEGITIMACY of the vote that stripped him of the captaincy. Schiano denied any illegitimacy in this. What article did you  read?

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@vader41dv Huh?  Who said Josh gave a crap?  It comes across like the entire team that voted for Josh was bothered by the "count".  They know who they voted for, Josh didn't.  

Kristian
Kristian

@Old Schoolers 1. Read story.  2. Comprehend what you read, read it again if you must.  3. Comment. 

Skipping step 1 or 2 will make you look like an idiot when you get to step 3.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@playLIKEyourFAKEfianceJUSTdied It is absolutely comical how much it was mentioned when he was hired that Belichick totally respects and is a close friend of Schiano.  Not surprising to find out he is a total d*uche and joke of a coach.  Birds of a feather you know.

vader41dv
vader41dv

@randomdeletion That's football, go all out until the clock hits zero...this be a good spot b.s. is killin the game. I grew up playing all out on every snap

Hendo
Hendo

@btcvsolo It's pretty clever how you put a x on Tampa. You should be proud.

DSM
DSM

@Joseph44 Amazingly, Peter King of SI and Bill Bellicheck were big boosters of his NFL potential.

vader41dv
vader41dv

@Kristian @vader41dv College educated yes, but not all professionals. If I were a college coach, I'd never leave cause I only have to deal with them on average of 3 years, play hard for your university and go get your $$$$ and become, yes become a primadona. Having the "C" on your jersey means more bonus money, maybe that's why hes mad, cause he can't collect on it....

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@vader41dv @randomdeletion Duh, everyone knows to go all out on every snap.  Only an idiot thinks that applies to the kneel down.  Hence Schiano is an idiot and none of his players can respect that.  Your defense of it suggests that every other coach in the country is not coaching his players to go all out on every snap if they don't attack the line on a kneel down, which they don't, so you too would have to be an idiot to think every single other coach in the country is wrong.  

DSM
DSM

@Kristian @DSM @Joseph44 I was very pleased by his Rutgers turnaround, but never saw pro potential, since his strengths were much better suited for college--charming recruits and boosters. I would love to ask King and Bellicheck why they think he would succeed when far more successful college coaches--Saban, Spurrier, Holtz, Petrino--did not.

Kristian
Kristian

@DSM @Joseph44 The key word being "potential".  Schiano did have the potential but now the guy just needs to go back to college.  He's already lost this team and I can't see any NFL team getting on board with the way he does things because he's losing games instead of winning them.  It works for Bellichick because all he does is win.

TomSchmidtbauer
TomSchmidtbauer

@WHO*IS*ESPN @Hendo @btcvsoloYes but it does seem as if Tampa Bay is bleeding internally & now it is coming out publicly.  I am very sorry for the analogy put that way but...... if the shoe fits?