Bucs Cut Freeman

The Josh Freeman era in Tampa Bay is officially over.

The Buccaneers cut him on Thursday, more than a week after he was benched in favor of Mike Glennon following an 0-3 start. The Bucs tried to trade him, but they didn’t find any takers. So they said “adios.”

Here is the official statement from General Manager Mark Dominik from the team’s official website:

 “We made the decision today to release Josh Freeman. We appreciate his efforts over the past five seasons, but we felt this was in the best interests of both Josh and the Buccaneers.”

Not only does this mean this ugly saga is over, it also means head coach Greg Schiano is next in line to be the fall guy if this season keeps spiraling out of control. If the team doesn’t show any improvement, it’s hard to picture Schiano being the head coach for much longer.

Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

Bucs Blow It Late Against Cardinals

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

The Buccaneers had a 10-0 lead over the Cardinals on Sunday heading into the fourth quarter. The Bucs were starting a rookie quarterback, who played like…well, a rookie. Yet with the game on the line, Tampa Bay found another way to blow it.

Jay Feely’s 27-yard FG with 1:29 remaining proved to be the difference as the Bucs lost, 13-10.

There is one play in particular that has Bucs fans calling for Greg Schiano’s head (again.) With just over three minutes remaining, and nursing a seven point lead, the coaching staff called a pass play with Tampa Bay deep in its own territory. Mike Glennon picked a bad time to throw his first career NFL interception. Patrick Peterson picked it off, and on the very next play, Carson Palmer found Larry Fitzgerald for the game-tying touchdown.

Glennon had a chance to mount a comeback in the final minute. But he was picked off by Peterson again, and that was that.

Glennon finished 24-of-43 for 193 yards and a touchdown to go along with the two picks. He had some good and some bad moments, typical of what you’d expect from a rookie making his first start. Mike Williams caught the scoring pass in the first quarter. Doug Martin could only muster 45 yards on 27 carries against a Cardinals’ defense that’s among the best in the league in stopping the run.

The defense is not the problem here. This unit has been playing fairly well, and Sunday was no different. They intercepted Palmer twice, including the first by Darrelle Revis as a Buc. When you only give up 13 points, you normally have a good chance of winning. But these are anything but normal times in Tampa.

So now, the Bucs are 0-4, and fans are furious with Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. It’s hard to argue with that, since Tampa Bay has scored a measly 44 points through the first quarter of the season. Will we see another change soon?

The Bucs have their bye week next week. Praise the Lord for that.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Week 4 Preview: Buccaneers vs. Cardinals

On Sunday, the winless Buccaneers will host the Arizona Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

The headline here is obvious: this will be rookie Mike Glennon’s first career NFL start.  He takes over for Josh Freeman, who was benched this week after an ineffective first three games.

Glennon takes over an offense ranked 31st in total yards.  The Bucs have only scored 34 points in three games, and six of those came on an interception return.  So it’ll be a challenge for Glennon to put points on the board.  He does have Doug Martin in the backfield, who’s rushed for nearly 300 yards so far.  Expect him to see a lot more action in an attempt to take pressure off the rookie quarterback.  The Cards, however, are third-best in the league in stopping the run.  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson suffered a rib injury against the Patriots.  It’s unclear whether he’ll be able to play on Sunday.

Defensively, the Bucs will try to control the league’s 26th-ranked passer, Carson Palmer.  The Cardinals rank 23rd in total offense.  That’s bad, but not as bad as Tampa Bay.  And just as the Bucs got blown out in New England last week, Arizona suffered a similar fate in New Orleans.

Kickoff is at 1:00 on FOX.  Your announcers are Sam Rosen and Heath Evans.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Bucs Bench Freeman After Abysmal Start

The decision that seemed inevitable has finally been made. Quarterback Josh Freeman is walking the plank.

The Bucs, off to an 0-3 start and sputtering badly on offense, have benched Freeman in favor of Mike Glennon. The rookie from North Carolina State will make his first career NFL start on Sunday against the Cardinals at Raymond James Stadium.

After setting passing records last season, Freeman never got his act together through the first three games of 2013. He completed just 45% of his passes (43-of-94) for 571 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Tampa Bay has only scored 34 points through three games. Only Jacksonville has scored fewer. Yes, his receivers have dropped some passes. But in the NFL, when things are not going well, the quarterback is the first player on the offensive side of the ball to take the fall. And if things continue to go south, how much longer will Greg Schiano be the head coach?

Then there are the off-the-field issues: missing the team photo, not being elected as team captain. Freeman is in the final year of his contract, and you have to wonder if he’s played his final game in Tampa Bay. There are rumblings that the Bucs are willing to trade him.

The Bucs picked Glennon in the third round of this year’s draft. He becomes the third rookie QB to start in the NFL this year. Geno Smith (Jets) and E.J. Manuel (Bills) are the others.

The way things have gone so far, Tampa Bay had to do something to shake things up. We’ll find out if Glennon is the Bucs’ quarterback of the future. He has 13 games to show what he’s got, starting Sunday against Arizona.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Inept Bucs Fall To 0-3 With Loss To Patriots

Another week, another awful performance by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense.

The Bucs could only muster three points on Sunday afternoon against the Patriots in a 23-3 loss. The Bucs are now 0-3, and in sole possession of last place in the NFC South.

For the third game in a row, Josh Freeman failed to complete 50% of his passes. He finished 19-41 for 236 yards, and an interception to former Buccaneer Aqib Talib late in the first half that led to a Patriots’ field goal. He also missed an open Tim Wright in the end zone. Vincent Jackson dropped two passes, including one that would’ve set up the Bucs inside the Pats’ 5. The Bucs turned it over on downs twice. Ryan Lindell missed another field goal. It was a day of missed opportunities, especially in the first half.

And eventually, you knew that Tom Brady would start catching on with his young receivers. Kenbrell Thompkins caught both of Brady’s touchdown passes in the second quarter as the Pats built a 17-3 halftime lead. The way the Bucs offense has been playing this year, there wasn’t much hope of a comeback.

Doug Martin rushed for a hard-fought 88 yards.

After committing double-digit penalties in each of the first two games, the Bucs only had four penalties against New England.

So now, the Bucs face more of the same questions. They have a quarterback who can’t complete half of his passes. They’ve only scored 34 points through three games, and one of those touchdowns was Mason Foster’s interception return against the Saints. The defense is much-improved from last year, but they can’t do it all. How much longer will Greg Schiano stick with Freeman? The coach seems adamant that Freeman’s his guy. Some of us would beg to differ.

Next week: The Bucs return home to face the Arizona Cardinals.

Photo Courtesy: Associated Press

Week 3 Preview: Buccaneers at Patriots

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new-found soap opera rolls into Foxboro this weekend for a matchup with the undefeated Patriots.

So, how many penalties will the Bucs end up with this time around? They had 13 in Week 1, and ten more in Week 2. The flags have been very costly. Can the Bucs clean up their act in a hurry? They’re going to have to, for them to have any chance to get a win in New England.

Josh Freeman is completing just 45% of his passes through the first two games. There are still plenty of rumblings surrounding his relationship with head coach Greg Schiano. We’ll let the local/national media deal with those “reports.” All we know is Freeman’s on-field performance has been less than subpar so far.

Dashon Goldson will play against the Patriots. His one-game suspension for his hit on Darren Sproles was overturned this week, though Goldson was fined $100,000.

With everything surround the Bucs these days, Doug Martin is not a player to be concerned with. He’s rushed for over 200 yards through the first two games.

The Patriots are off to a 2-0 start, though a lot of the talk has been about how un-Patriot-like they’ve played so far. You have to think – eventually they’re going to break out of their funk.

Kickoff is Sunday at 1:00 on FOX. For the third week in a row, your announcers are Kevin Burkhardt and John Lynch. Lynch has had pretty of time already to criticize his former team.

Photo Courtesy: USA Today

UPDATE: Goldson’s Suspension For Hit Overturned

UPDATED 9/18: Dashon Goldson will be able to play against New England after all.  On Wednesday morning, the NFL overturned his suspension.

Below is our previous write-up, when the suspension was first handed down:

 

As if the first two games of the season weren’t painful enough, the Bucs will play the next one without hard-hitting safety Dashon Goldson.

Goldson was suspended for one game without pay on Monday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Darren Sproles during Sunday’s loss to the Saints.

Goldson has a knack for drawing personal foul penalties over the past few years.  I questioned the two he received in the opener against the Jets.  But this hit was definitely helmet-to-helmet contact.  He got fined for his actions against the Jets, and now he’s been suspended for next Sunday’s game against New England.

Bottom line: Goldson needs to clean up his act.  I know he’s a hard-hitting safety, but if the refs are going to keep penalizing him for the way he hits, he needs to adjust, whether he wants to or not.

Photo Courtesy: AP