Over the last few months rumors have abounded that head coach and Greg Schiano and quarterback Josh Freeman don't have the best of relationships. On Monday, both Schiano and Freeman made it clear there are no issues and Schiano also said that Freeman is the Bucs quarterback in 2013.
During Bucs head coach Greg Schiano’s end-of-year press conference last January, Tampa Bay’s on-the-field boss mentioned bringing in competition at the quarterback position.
Since that time, fans, media and everyone in between, has wondered exactly what that meant. From cryptic tweets by national writers to interviews Schiano himself has conducted, the door seemed opened to Freeman being challenged not just in the future, but even possibly this season.
On Monday, following the first of the Buccaneers OTAs (organized team activities), Schiano seemed intent on slamming the door shut on the possibility that rookie quarterback Mike Glennon could unseat Freeman in 2013.
“Nationally, [the reporters] don’t sit with me every day like you guys do,” Schiano said. “From the day we arrived, our whole program [was about] competition. We haven’t always been able to have it because you can only get so many guys on your roster, but that’s what we believe in. It’s the most competitive sports league in the world. There’s someone that wants my job; I know I’m competing with somebody, that if I don’t get it done someone’s going to take my job.
“So it is competition and I love it, but we have our starting quarterback – it’s Josh Freeman. I’m not looking to find a new one, but I do like to have quality depth at every position, and when you get that – just naturally these are the most competitive guys on the planet – and it raises everybody’s level.”
Schiano asked if the national perception – and even some local ones – that he isn’t sold on Freeman as the Buccaneers starting quarterback had any validity.
“That’s inaccurate,” Schiano said. “I’m just trying to be honest with them when they ask a question. I told you guys from the beginning that I’m going to shoot you straight. I’m just trying to tell the truth. That I believe in competition, but also, that Josh Freeman is our starting quarterback. And maybe I should just not say anything and then it would not be an issue. But Josh knows how I feel, and you guys know, and I know that Mike Glennon does too. I told him the day we drafted him. I don’t’ sweat it.”
Freeman was asked just after practice if he had any issues with the Bucs bringing in Glennon.
That’s the way it works on any team, honestly,” Freeman said. You want to have the best, most talented team you can possibly have. They feel like – and it’s true – Mike’s a very talented player, but we’re going to learn together, I’m going to try to help him as much as I can. I just had my first year in the offense last year, and there are certain ways to study and learn different things, a lot of it is terminology, but it will all come with time. But I’m excited about Mike, excited to have him aboard and ready to get this thing rolling.”
Schiano said he isn’t worried about the perception held by some pressures Freeman.
Yeah, but I don’t think it bothers Josh,” Schiano said. “Josh is a confident guy. He knows this is his team. I don’t’ think it bothers him one bit. I think he’s ready to go have a great year, and that’s what we’re working for.”
Freeman said having Glennon is the best situation for the team.
“No question, you want to the best possible option behind you,” Freeman said. “I feel like Dan is a great player and they decided to grab a younger guy, and Mike is a perfect fit. You look at it and down the road if we’re making a run or whatever and something happens to me, you want a guy that can keep it going and win some games.
"Honestly, we’re pushing full tilt. With (new QB coach John) McNulty, we get in there and we meet a lot of extra time. Because the system is still fairly new to me and I’m trying to watch as much tape and learn as much as I can from our experiences last year. And also watching some stuff with the Giants, some concepts they were working with, some formational things. So it’s been a very productive offseason, and I’m glad to have Mike aboard.”
Both Schiano and Freeman tried to put the rumor that they have a frosty relationship to bed.
“Yeah, believe it or not, we actually do have a good relationship,” Schiano said. “Contrary to some of the reports.”
Freeman reiterated what Schiano said.
“Coach and I have a great relationship,” Freeman said. “I go up there at least every week and we sit down and talk about ball, we talk about the team, we talk about life. And I know coach Schiano extremely well. He’s a guy that you’re proud to play for.”
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