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September 27, 2013 @ 6:29 am
Current rating: 3.80 Stars/5 Votes

SR's Fab 5 - 9-27

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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How does Josh Freeman's slow start in 2013 compare to the one in 2012? Did Greg Schiano's head games affect Freeman's performance? Which assistant coaches are failing the Bucs offense? Have the Bucs had success playing zone defense? Why is Tampa Bay's offense so out dated? Why should Schiano be fired if the Bucs start 0-5? Get the answers and more inside scoop on the Bucs in this edition of SR's Fab 5.
SR's Fab 5 is a collection of inside scoop, analysis and insight from yours truly, Pewter Report publisher and Bucs beat writer Scott Reynolds. Here are a few things that caught my attention this week at One Buc Place:

Greg Schiano benched Josh Freeman a week earlier than most expected. Many believed Sunday’s game against Arizona would be Freeman’s last stand. Win that game and play well and have a chance to move on as the Bucs’ starting quarterback. Lose that game and move on – to another team.

Instead, the Bucs will start rookie Mike Glennon, who has a lot of potential, but should not be confused with RGIII, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, or even Geno Smith or E.J. Manuel for that matter.

On Wednesday, Schiano said he now believes that Glennon gives the Bucs the best chance of winning after saying that Freeman gave the team the best chance to win on Sunday and Monday.

The good news for Freeman is that he has been 1-8 in his last nine starts and it will stay that way. I say that because he’s not starting on Sunday, and Schiano could be 1-9 in his last 10 games as head coach. In other words, Freeman can’t be blamed anymore. The target for criticism has solely been removed from his back and is now squarely on Schiano’s back.

Expect Bucs fans – and even some in the media – to fire away on Schiano come Sunday afternoon if Tampa Bay loses its fourth straight game of the season and Glennon doesn’t play well, and here’s why.

While many were growing impatient with Freeman’s development, the Bucs fan community had not quite given up on the team’s first-round pick in 2009 – but Schiano did. Most can’t understand why a player that was completing 62 percent of his passes saw a drop in completion percentage to 54 percent last year and to 45.7 percent this year.

So what’s changed since Freeman became the first Tampa Bay quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards and set a franchise record with 27 touchdown passes?

In his season-ending press conference last year, Schiano told the media that everyone had to compete for their jobs the next season, including the quarterback, before clarifying that statement over a month later at the NFL Scouting Combine and suggesting that Freeman was his starter.

At Schiano’s direction, the Bucs didn’t sign Freeman to an extension and let him enter a contract year in 2013.

Then the Bucs flirted with Carson Palmer prior to the draft and it gets out into the media.

Then they drafted a quarterback in the third round in Glennon, but Schiano maintains that Freeman is the starter.

Then weeks later on May 19, Schiano said he is “not against” Glennon beating out Freeman as the starter.

Then Schiano clarifies his statement, saying that Freeman is still the starter.

Then Schiano spends most of the preseason playing the backup quarterback, Glennon, rather than preparing Freeman for the regular season and getting the first-team offense in sync. (By the way, Greg, the offense still isn’t in sync nearly two months later.)

No wonder Freeman has had trouble performing.

It’s called head games.

The 80’s rock band Foreigner wrote a song called “Head Games,” but I digress.

Unfortunately, Freeman wasn’t mentally strong enough – or felt too alienated from his head coach – to overcome it, and now he’s on the bench. Some would suggest that if he’s not mentally tough enough to deal with the specter of him not being Schiano’s guy then he shouldn’t be leading an NFL huddle on Sundays. There’s some validity to that.

Others will point to the fact that Schiano’s rigidness of forcing players to fit into his system and ways of doing things, and his unwillingness to conform to players and play to their strengths, and suggest he ruined Freeman. There’s some validity to that, too, even though Schiano has publicly denied any culpability in Freeman’s downward spiral in Tampa Bay over the past two years.

Yeah, right.

Believe it or not, Tampa Bay was in a similar situation last year. The Bucs were 1-3 heading into the bye week. A win on Sunday against Arizona and they will have an identical mark as they did a year ago before racing out to a 6-4 start.

Freeman started off slowly last year, too, before catching fire after the bye week. Here is a comparison of how Freeman started off the 2012 season and how he his 2013 campaign has begun:

Freeman’s Start In 2012
Week 1 win vs. Carolina: 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) for 138 yards with 1 TD, 0 INTs
Week 2 loss at NY Giants: 15-of-28 (53.6 percent) for 243 yards with 2 TDs, 2 INTs
Week 3 loss at Dallas: 10-of-28 (35.7 percent) for 110 yards with 1 TD, 1 INT
Totals: 41-of-80 (51.2 percent) for 491 yards with 4 TDs and 3 INTs

Freeman’s Start In 2013
Week 1 loss at NY Jets: 15-of-31 (48.4 percent) for 210 yards 1 TD 1 INT
Week 2 loss vs. New Orleans: 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) for 125 yards 1 TD 1 INT
Week 3 loss at New England: 19-of-41 (46.3 percent) for 236 yards 0 TD 1 INT
Totals: 43-of-94 (45.7 percent) for 571 yards with 2 TDs, 3 INTs

The biggest differences in the first three games – aside from a 1-2 record last year and a 0-3 mark in 2013 – is the drop in completion percentage from 51.2 to 45.7, the increase in passing yards from 491 to 571 (80 more yards) and two less touchdowns this season than a year ago. Even though he's played slightly worse, the Bucs could very well be 2-1 right now if the defense wouldn't have given up two late field goal drives.

It’s noteworthy to point out that the similarity in Freeman’s woes against defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. In 2012 when Ryan ran the Dallas defense, Freeman struggled mightily in a close Week 3 loss to the Cowboys. Facing Ryan again – this time with the Saints – Freeman continued to struggle, evidenced by his less than stellar performance in Week 2.

So what did Freeman do in Week 4 against Washington? He completed 24-of-39 passes (61.5 percent) for 299 yards with one touchdown and one interception and played his best game up to that point in the season.

After the bye week, the Buccaneers won five of their next six games as Freeman threw 16 touchdowns and just three interceptions in that span. He didn’t complete fewer than 52.8 percent of his passes in any of those six games, and had a completion percentage of 60 percent or higher in two of those contests.

Would Freeman have been able to turn it on in Week 4 against Arizona as he did a year ago against Washington?

We’ll never know. It’s Glennon’s show now.

It’s not too late for the talent-laden Bucs to turn the season around. Keep in mind that the combined record of the three teams Tampa Bay has played is a combined 8-1 through the first three games of the season.

However, the key is the Arizona game. It’s as must-win as it gets for Schiano and his future in Tampa Bay, and for the Buccaneers and the future of their 2013 campaign.

The Cardinals are surrendering an average of 26.3 points per game, but the defense has many formidable veterans in defensive linemen Darnell Dockett and Calais Campbell, linebacker Karlos Dansby and John Abraham, and defensive backs Patrick Peterson, Yermiah Bell and rookie Tyrann Mathieu, who has a forced fumble and an interception in the first three games of his NFL career.

The logic behind starting Glennon this week as opposed to after the bye week is three-fold. First, the next two games – Arizona and Philadelphia – are at home, and that’s always a better option for rookie quarterbacks instead of making their initial starts on the road.

Second, the Bucs feel that Glennon’s learning curve can be accelerated with him having a game under his belt prior to the bye week, so that he can review his own game film – good and bad – and use the extra week to make the necessary adjustments to his game, in addition to having extra prep time for the Eagles game.

And finally, the Cardinals are banged up on defense, losing three linebackers – Sam Acho, Alex Okafor and Lorenzo Alexander – to injured reserve, in addition to having safety Rashad Johnson (finger) and linebacker Kevin Minter (hamstring) likely out for Sunday’s game with injuries. The Bucs feel like Glennon can better handle an Arizona defense that is less than 100 percent healthy.

Glennon’s only predicament might be the fact that he might be without starting wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, who are dealing with rib and hamstring injuries, respectively, and starting tight end Tom Crabtree, who is still recovering from an ankle injury. That means Glennon’s targets on Sunday may be Kevin Ogletree, Eric Page and Russell Shephard at wide receiver and Nate Byham at tight end.

And Freeman doesn’t give the Bucs the best chance to win this Sunday? Really?

The Buccaneers passing game is having a hard time connecting in 2013. Quarterback Josh Freeman has been more inaccurate than usual, and when he was on target, his receivers have dropped passes. Running back Doug Martin, who usually has good hands and was expected to be worked more into the passing game this year after catching 47 balls for 472 yards and a touchdown, is tied for the league lead with four drops.

Wide receiver Vincent Jackson had two dropped passes at New England before exiting the game with a rib injury. Tight end Tim Wright dropped a touchdown pass against the Patriots.

Wide receiver Kevin Ogletree disappears from the offense for big stretches of games, and then struggles to stay in bounds near the sidelines when he is targeted by Freeman. Ogletree, who is the team’s third receiver when the team goes to a three-wide set, has been a disappointment thus far, catching just three passes for 40 yards and one touchdown in three games.

Consider that Eric Page has only seen action at wide receiver in one game (at New England) and has already caught three passes for 55 yards.

With Freeman struggling with accuracy this season, and receivers struggling to get open and catch passes, it’s fair to point out that the Buccaneers have two new assistant coaches in quarterbacks coach John McNulty, who was Arizona’s quarterbacks coach last year, and wide receivers coach John Garrett, who coached tight ends in Dallas last year.

It would be one thing if Tampa Bay’s quarterback problems were to be isolated to just Freeman, whose completion percentage has fallen from 54.8 percent last year to 45.7 percent this year, but they are not. In the first preseason with McNulty, who replaced Ron Turner as the team’s QBs coach, none of Tampa Bay’s quarterbacks had a completion percentage higher than 50 percent, which was what backup Dan Orlovsky was able to produce.

Freeman only completed 46.2 percent of his passes in August. Glennon only completed 47.1 percent.

In the 2012 preseason, Freeman and the other quarterbacks performed much better. Freeman completed 18-of-34 passes (53 percent) for 164 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Orlovsky completed 15-of-20 passes (75 percent) for 150 yards with one touchdown and no picks. Third-string quarterback Brett Ratliff completed 22-of-43 passes (51.2 percent) for 226 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions.

With Turner’s guidance, Freeman performed better in the regular season, completing 54.8 percent of his passes for 4,065 yards with 27 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. Since he left, the Bucs quarterbacks have been incredibly inaccurate. It’s one thing to have one quarterback not complete more than 50 percent of his passes in the preseason, but all three?

One of the more astonishing statements I’ve heard in quite some time from any coach in Tampa Bay came from McNulty this summer. When asked how he would personally help Freeman, McNulty said the following.

“I think the knowledge part of it and the comfort part of it working with him where he says, ‘Hey, this doesn’t make sense to me,’ or ‘Can we do this or that?’” McNulty said. “Mike [Sullivan] has been great at saying, ‘Okay, if that’s what he wants to do, we’ll try to bend it that way.’

“I think it’s just more of a comfort in the system because he has the physical ability to do it. I’m not trying to teach a guy how to throw a ball. I try to stay away from altering a guy’s mechanics and trying to get him to get comfortable with a system.”

Listen to that again.

“I’m not trying to teach a guy how to throw a ball. I try to stay away from altering a guy’s mechanics …”

The quarterback coach’s job is to continue to teach the quarterbacks how to throw and how to maintain proper mechanics or improve mechanics when they stray. This is not the first time the McNulty-Schiano combination has ever come under fire. You can read this article for some background if you wish. (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/53300-greg-schiano-oc-john-mcnulty-not-helping-rutgers-cause)

The NFL is a results-oriented business, and right now, McNulty is not getting results and is looking like a bad hire. He can turn it around if he can get Glennon to rapidly develop into a starting quarterback that is capable of winning games as a rookie, and to be more accurate.

“In our college evaluation of him, [Glennon] was 56 percent [completion rate] as a senior, but he was higher than that other years,” Schiano said. “He had an incredible amount of balls dropped on him his senior year. Before that, he had [a completion rate] in the mid-60s, and even in the high-60s.”

Actually, Schiano’s facts are slightly off. Glennon was a 58.5 percent passer as a senior, and completed 62.5 percent of his passes as a junior. The 6-foot-6, 225-pound QB did complete 69.2 percent of his passes as a sophomore, but he only had nine completions and 13 attempts that year.

In his North Carolina State career, Glennon completed just 60 percent of his passes, which is decent. But it’s not in the mid-60s or high-60s like Schiano suggested.

“I think he is an accurate quarterback, but he hasn’t done it at this level,” Schiano said. “This is a different level, we know that, so that’s yet to be determined – can’t wait to see it. I believe he’s going to be [accurate], but as I’ve said many times standing behind here, you’ve got to go do it.”

McNulty has to do it, too, and coach Glennon up right.

As for Garrett, who is replacing the popular P.J. Fleck, the Bucs receivers aren’t off to a real hot start to the 2013 season. Last year through three games, Mike Williams caught seven passes for 104 yards (14.8 avg.) and two touchdowns. Through the first three games, Williams has 11 catches for 126 yards (11.5 avg.) but just one touchdown.

Vincent Jackson has hauled in 15 receptions for 265 yards, but has yet to score a touchdown and has been plagued by drops to start the 2013 campaign. Last year through three games, Jackson had 10 catches for 194 yards and a touchdown through three games.

Tampa Bay’s high-priced third receiver, Kevin Ogletree, has been a disappointment with just three catches for 40 yards and one touchdown and a couple of drops through three games. The Bucs are also one of three teams in the NFL that don’t have a reception over 40 yards.

Garrett’s not producing results, either, and now Jackson and Williams might not play on Sunday due to rib and hamstring injuries, respectively. That means the Bucs’ receivers might be Ogletree, Eric Page and Russell Shephard, and Garrett has his work cut out for him.

Sometimes new assistant coaches can step right in and not miss a beat. Mike Tomlin seamlessly replaced Herman Edwards as Tampa Bay’s defensive backs coach in 2001, and Joe Barry made the Bucs forget about Lovie Smith the same year. But defensive line coach Jethro Franklin was not even in the same class as Rod Marinelli, and he was promptly fired after one disastrous year.

The same fate may await McNulty and Garrett unless their respective units produce.

Some Bucs observers are scratching their heads as to why the team is playing so much zone defense, especially with the acquisition of cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is widely regarded as the best man coverage defender in the NFL. That’s something that Revis has reportedly grumbled about at One Buccaneer Place.

But to think that the Bucs are playing nothing but zone defense is incorrect. Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan realized that head coach Greg Schiano’s desire to play a high-pressure man coverage scheme had its limitations. The New York Giants game last year where Eli Manning, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks lit up Tampa Bay’s defense for 510 yards, and an 80-yard touchdown strike from Matt Ryan to Julio Jones in a home loss to Atlanta were just a few of the instances where the Bucs’ defense was exploited in man coverage.

Credit Sheridan for playing a lot more zone defense in Tampa Bay’s 21-17 victory at Atlanta to end the season, holding Ryan under 300 yards passing with just one touchdown, and limiting the Falcons’ longest pass play to a 28-yard catch by Jones. Since that triumph in Week 17, Sheridan has done a nice job of mixing zone and man coverage up, and it’s working.

Compare the stats from the first three Bucs games last year with the first three games this season:

First 3 Opposing QBs In 2012
Week 1 – vs. Carolina: Cam Newton – 23-of-33 for 303 yards 1 TD 2 INTs
Week 2 – at New York: Eli Manning – 31-of-51 for 510 yards with 3 TDs 3 INTs
Week 3 – at Dallas: Tony Romo – 25-of-39 for 283 yards with 1 INT
Total: 79-of-123 (64.2 percent) for 1,096 yards with 5 TDs, 6 INTs

First 3 Opposing QBs In 2013
Week 1 – at NY Jets: Geno Smith – 24-of-38 for 256 yards with 1 TD, 1 INT
Week 2 – vs. New Orleans: Drew Brees – 26-of-46 for 322 yards with 1 TD, 2 INTs
Week 3 – at New England: Tom Brady – 25-of-36 for 225 yards with 2 TDs, 1 INT
Total: 75-of-120 (62.5 percent) for 803 yards with 4 TDs, 4 INTs

In 2013, the Bucs have given up 293 less yards and one less touchdown through the air through three games compared to a similar stretch to start the 2012 campaign. In the first three games of 2012, Tampa Bay’s defense surrendered 67 points, an average of 22.3 points per game. In 2013, the Bucs defense has given up a total of 53 points in three games, an average of 17.6 points per contest.

“We try to have balance,” Sheridan said. “We self-scout, just like the offenses do. So we self-scout and we try not to get too lopsided in any schematic thing whether it’s man or zone or two-deep or one-high. Just like the offenses do, we self-scout and try and have a balance so that when you’re getting prepared for us you can’t say, ‘Hey they’re always going to be in this,’ or ‘In this down-and-distance they always play these kind of defenses.’ We try and prevent that, so I appreciate [fan] concerns, but in our minds we don’t want to do anything all the time. That would be too easy to exploit and attack. So we try to have a balance and keep [opposing teams] guessing and we try to disguise what we’re doing.”

So far it’s working, even if Revis Island isn’t in full effect.

On Thursday on the Booger and Rich Show on PewterReport.com’s radio partner, 98.7 The Fan, former Bucs defensive tackle Booger McFarland said he received a text from former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski, who said that Josh Freeman’s play through the first three weeks of the season didn’t warrant benching by head coach Greg Schiano. Later on Thursday’s show, former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy disagreed with Freeman’s benching.

But one of the most interesting – and I believe truthful – commentaries on the disconnect between Schiano and Freeman and the head coach’s mismanagement of the quarterback came from ESPN’s Jeff Chadiha, who wrote a column titled Bucs’ Top Problem Is Greg Schiano.

Here is a very revealing excerpt:

A good head coach would figure out how Freeman blossomed that year (2010) and find ways to replicate that success. A stubborn coach would do what Schiano has been doing for most of his first two years in Tampa. Play mind games. Push the notion that competition brings out the best in players at all positions. Act as if he can use the same disciplinary tactics that worked on college kids at Rutgers and achieve similar success with grown men.

If Schiano took a good look around the NFL, he would find a changing landscape in regard to young quarterbacks. The teams having the most success are finding ways to play to their quarterbacks' strengths. They build up their confidence by creating a user-friendly environment. They find success with young players because a little thing like trust goes a long way.

The teams that struggle with their young quarterbacks are just as easy to spot. The New York Jets failed to put decent weapons around Mark Sanchez (and then added Tim Tebow to the mix for a circus atmosphere). The Jacksonville Jaguars have done the same with Blaine Gabbert, while giving him three head coaches in three years. The San Francisco 49ers had Alex Smith all screwed up for five years until Jim Harbaugh became his head coach in 2011. Now Smith is leading a revitalized Kansas City Chiefs team that is thankful for his leadership and efficiency.

The point here is that all young quarterbacks go through growing pains and having a wishy-washy coach with a grating personality doesn't help. In fact, Freeman's situation in Tampa feels very much like what happened with Smith in San Francisco pre-Harbaugh.

I must say that I agree wholeheartedly with Chadiha. I think Schiano has played a role in stunting Freeman’s development and ruining him to an extent. The guess here is that if the Bucs go 0-2 with Glennon as the starter Schiano is in deep, deep trouble.

Not only would the Bucs be 0-5 this year, they would be 1-10 in the last 11 games under Schiano dating back to last year. That’s absolutely ludicrous for a team with as much talent as Tampa Bay has, and coaching – and the disconnect between Schiano and the players – would be to blame.

If Tampa Bay starts the season 0-5 Schiano needs to be fired in-season and replaced with Dave Wannstedt in October as the interim head coach. In my eyes Glennon shouldn’t be used as an excuse to buy more time for Schiano if the team whimpers to a 1-10 record in the last 11 games. Enough time. Too many losses.

At 0-5, it’s time for general manager Mark Dominik to show some guts, end the ridiculous media circus and constant distractions in Tampa Bay and fire Schiano, or have the Glazers admit their mistake and move on in 2014 to pursue Bill Cowher or a head coaching candidate that actually has had success in the NFL.

If Schiano’s gamble with Glennon pays off and the Bucs are suddenly 2-3 with wins over Arizona and Philadelphia, more power to him and he’s bought himself more time to see how this whole thing plays out for the rest of the season. If Tampa Bay can’t match last year’s win total of seven victories this franchise is going backwards under Schiano and it’s time for a change in January.

FAB 5. Here are a few things to hold you over until the next edition of SR’s Fab 5:

• The Buccaneers have started the 2013 season facing 3-4 defenses, and that will continue on Sunday when the Cardinals come to town. Tampa Bay played the New York Jets, the New Orleans Saints and the New England Patriots – all of which have a 3-4 scheme as the team’s base defense.

Although Arizona has changed defensive coordinators from Ray Horton to Todd Bowles, the Cardinals still play a 3-4 defense. The biggest difference was under Horton the defensive linemen were responsible for occupying blockers and freeing up linebackers. Under Bowles, the defensive linemen are allowed to shed blocks and go after the quarterback.

One of the biggest differences has been seen in the play of defensive tackle Darnell Dockett. Under Horton, Dockett notched five sacks in two years. In the two years prior to Horton’s arrival, Dockett notched 12. So how has the 10-year veteran from Florida State played under Bowles? He already has three sacks through three games.

• It’s a tale of two defensive ends in Tampa Bay. On one end of the spectrum is Adrian Clayborn, the team’s first-round pick in 2011, has successfully bounced back from a torn ACL that cost him the final 13 games of the 2012 season to post 14 tackles, two tackles for loss, two sacks and a pass breakup through the first three games of the 2013 campaign. Clayborn’s 14 tackles are the sixth-most on the team and tops among defensive linemen.

Da’Quan Bowers, the Bucs’ second-round pick in 2011, cannot seem to crack the starting lineup despite being given the opportunity to after the release of the team’s leading sacker, Michael Bennett. Instead, Bowers is only the starter in dime defense – not base defense or nickel defense – and has just one tackle through three games. Starting left end Daniel Te’o-Nesheim has recorded four tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack, and fellow reserve defensive end Trevor Scott has three tackles.

• If you believe, as I do, that there are some serious, serious flaws in the offensive game plan put together by offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and Greg Schiano (don't think he doesn't have any input because he does as the offense is a hybrid of the New York Giants scheme and Rutgers), this is an absolute, must-read article by SI.com's Doug Farrar. Read this article and you can see why benching Josh Freeman is probably a mistake right now.

• Outside of two missed field goals by kicker Rian Lindell, Tampa Bay’s special teams units have played pretty well. Punter Michael Koenen is averaging 44.9 yards per punt, with a 42.6-yard average with five punts downed inside the 20 and no touchbacks.

The Bucs are covering kicks and punts well, holding opponents to averages of 22 yards and nine yards, respectively. Tampa Bay’s return games, featuring wide receiver Eric Page, are doing quite well. Page is averaging 30 yards per kickoff return and 7.8 yards per punt return with a long of 28.

Page credits the enthusiasm of veteran coach Dave Wannstedt, who is Tampa Bay’s special teams coordinator, for the success.

“The first thing he does is bring energy,” Page said. “He gets you pumped up and you feel like you are learning a lot. He’s intelligent and he has us playing hard. He’s a legend in my book.”

• Kudos to the Glazers for stepping up and lifting the blackout for all of the remaining home games. I doubt any of those games will be a sell out given the team's 0-3 start and all of the negative press and controversy that head coach Greg Schiano has created with his handling of players and the benching of quarterback Josh Freeman. Lifting the blackouts had to be done by the Glazers and it's essentially waving the white flag of surrender for the 2013 season – a disappointing season that will likely lead to a house cleaning at One Buc Place, in addition to drafting a new QB in the first round in 2014.

• And finally, I want to thank each and every one of you for visiting PewterReport.com on a daily basis. We are experiencing record traffic for the month of September, and it is my hope that you continue to spread the word about PewterReport.com to the Bucs fans in your life. Share articles, such as this SR’s Fab 5, with your friends, family and co-workers via e-mail, Twitter and Facebook.

At PewterReport.com we work very hard to not only stay on top of the latest big stories, but also stay out in front of the next wave of Bucs news before it even happens to give Tampa Bay fans a preview of what’s to come, such as detailing the pitfalls of Greg Schiano benching Josh Freeman for Mike Glennon in a column on Monday before it happened on Wednesday, and being the first to have player reaction to how Glennon is progressing behind the scenes.

Here are some more examples from recent SR’s Fab 5 columns alone:

In SR’s Fab 5 – 9-6, we forecasted that after a quiet preseason safeties Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron would start making some noise across the middle in Week 1, and they did with knockout hits Jets tight end Jeff Chamberlain and wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, and how defensive end Adrian Clayborn, who has two sacks to start the season, was ready to return to his rookie form when he led the team with 7.5 sacks.

In SR’s Fab 5 – 9-13, we discussed how the lack of a quality tight end is hampering Josh Freeman’s offensive production, which is true. We also revealed that wide receiver Eric Page is making a favorable impression at One Buccaneer Place prior to going out last Sunday and catching the first three passes of his career for 55 yards.

Also in that column, we claimed that Da’Quan Bowers was not close to becoming a starter and that Daniel Te’o-Nesheim was outperforming him, which remains true through the first three weeks of the season. We also said that middle linebacker Mason Foster would get the responsibility of covering Saints tight end Jimmy Graham in Week 2 and was up for the challenge. Foster responded with an 85-yard interception return for a touchdown against New Orleans.

In SR’s Fab 5 – 9-20, we talk about the great start to the season for Tampa Bay’s linebackers and Barron, who is leading the team in tackles, and both Barron and Lavonte David split a sack on quarterback Tom Brady. We also lobbied for the Bucs to keep speedy running back Jeff Demps over Peyton Hillis, which happened last week.

To get the cutting edge Buccaneers news you need to know, visit PewterReport.com every Friday for the latest SR’s Fab 5, and every Saturday for my new column, SR’s Pick 6, where I pick six things I’m looking for in the Bucs’ upcoming game.
Last modified on Friday, 27 September 2013 22:24

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  • avatar

    I want a reporter to ask Schiano, how do put out a dumster fire.
  • avatar

    One thing is for sure,Freeman and Schiano are a couple of smart fellers...
  • avatar

    Scott, you're way off base thinking McNulty should work on Freeman's mechanics. Why bother? He still is erratic and could never demonstrate the ability to lead. In addition you seem to chastise McNulty and Sullivan for being flexible yet intimate that Schiano's inflexibility is a problem. Regardless, the media seems to be ganging up on Schiano and giving Freeman a lifelong pass. I've seen enough to know he's a loser. The sooner Freeman is a Viking or Jaguar, the better.
  • avatar

    I agree with this article completely. This organization has a long sad history with QB's Freeman has the skills to win but when you have a scheme that is lame even the best QB's will look bad. Schiano never designed the offense around Freeman's skills and when you run on first down every time it is easy to defend against. When all is said and done, unless a miracle happens with glennon this season is toast, and schianno will have two failed QB's on his resume, and likely be out of the NFL. After this weekend, it will be time to start searching NFL mock draft sites to see who we can pick up in 2014. And of course start talking about next yrs coach. Dominic had my confidence up until this. But after next month when we find that freeman was traded for a6th round pick, he may be on his way also.
  • avatar

    Lot of misguided people think Shiano's leadership style is comparible to Bill B. Patriots have a love hate relationship with their coach. Our players just plain HATE Shiano. Its clear. He cant use Josh as a scapegoat any longer. Bucs officially on the clock. Hire Bill Cowher. A real coach.
  • avatar

    Scott Reynolds, perfect article and i respect you damn much for that. Perfect. BucFans who don´t like to hear bad things about this team need to understand a fact in life, football and general: to get better, you also need to understand/see the bad and correct it. That´s all Scotts article is about. I salute this man! Menthal Standing ovations - for having the guts to write it down. Everything he mentioned was pretty appearent and he backed it off with FACTS (great job with the links you posted; they light some shines on the issues). Shiano is what he is: A great talent evaluater; Bad coach. He has the wrong job - or he should surround himself with brains that have a clue (like Tomlin-Dick Lebeaue connection).. With that being said, what is there to critize about in that article? The sheme on offense isn´t good - Thats right. Shiano doesn´t seem to accept that, all way back to his college times (great link to other article - that is what some Rutgers-follower said all over: Shiano got talent there, but didn´t use it correctly). AND finally: Instead of being a man and going straight (what i liked about shiano) it is now clear that he ruined Freeman on purpose. That´s a huge one and can´t be accepted. one things should be clear now(if it wasnt already). Shiano needs to go into the scouting department or to get fired! The GM wanted to get ChipKelly and Shiano was just his desperation signing. Im not sure about keeping GM (mostly because of draft history), but HC should be already gone.. AGAIN: Scott this article was amazing, i can´t believe it hasn´t opened all the minds/eyes on here, RESPECT!!! GoGlazers!, make a move: make Shiano GO.GoBucs!
  • avatar

    It was time to sit "Michael Jackson" and bring on "Napoleon Dynamite."
  • avatar

    SR- There is a DEFINITE change in your writing style this year..PERIOD. Talk about Sciano's ego..look in the mirror. I look forward to your "other" article that is not pro Freeman. You have certainly lost your objectivity and even if I do agree with you assessment it is nonetheless bias. In the past, you would not have to explain yourself by stating another article is being written that is not favorable to Freeman you would have pointed both sides in ONE article. @buddah- You are 100% correct. Raheem developed Freeman this way. I wrote a similar comment about a week ago. Most people do not see how big of a deal this can be. I have seen it happen several times in business. Freeman is NOT a leader. QB HAS to be a leader. NO team wants Freeman and there are some bad teams out there. A point could be made about his salary but if any team bought into Freeman the way SR is presenting him then some team would take a chance IMO. I'd be surprised if we can get a 5th rounder for him. I do give credit to Schiano in that he now knows it is all on him. This CRAP about Sciano getting more time because of the rookie QB is absolutely ridiculous. He is GUARANTEED his money! I'm not sold on Sciano but tell me any second year coach in similar circumstances that doesn't have a lot to prove.
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    Honestly guys it drives me crazy when teams change coaches (I was actually torn on the decision to fire rah because he didn't have high quality players) but I truly believe schiano along with mcnulty and Garrett deserve to be fired. As a life long bucs fan I am not even looking forward to the card game. SR I would love to know how the glazers feel after going all in this season? If schiano rubs some of us the wrong way can you imagine dealing with him on a daily basis and having him in control of your future? Why did we hire a loser from Rutgers anyways? Lets get a pro coach next time please I wanted Arians before he was with the colts and look what he's done? Is it too late to beg Gruden to come back?
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    We will all find out tomorrow how good or bad Schiano is.His QB is at the helm- they guy he wants/needs to succeed.lets see if he can coach up Glennon and build him into a starting QB or at least serviceable..If Glennon is mildly successful its a win for coach and his way- if his QB implodes,then its going to be a long dramatic season with all the action/talk being about anything but football.....I am interested in seeing how Glennon acts on the sidelines as much as how he performs on the field,hopefully he will be more of a presence then Josh..ugly or pretty,I just want a W....
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    SR - Thanks so much for this one. I really appreciate the candor and i can sense the frustration you have for all of us fans from what's happening with the head coach of the Bucs. As long as it's not the Raiders, Josh's next team just became my second favorite NFL franchise. And that's only because of some kind of birth defect I have that won't seem to allow me to shake loose of being a Bucs fan. I'm so tired of this entire situation. I like Dominic but the fact that he helped pick Schiano has me very close to ready to jettison him as well. We've been told, as fans, by multiple sources in the NFL (think Tom Coughlin) that this guy is Mickey Mouse. He majors in minor things (toes on the line, crashing into other teams in the victory formation, etc). I hate myself for having to turn on our coach but what he's done to Freeman is really unforgivable. And now we see that he's brought us an offense from the 1970's. That's just terrific.
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    I went back(on youtube) and watched Freeman's highlights from college and then the 2010 season. I also checked out Glennon. I also checked out joe flacco's college highlights. Glennon reminds me of flacco to some degree. Kid has a cannon and will pull the trigger.
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    Thoughts and opinions. If I had a QB with questionable accuracy, iso routes might be a necessity. Maybe Josh was holding up the offense. Quick slants with bad accuracy equals interceptions. Number one priority is ball security. The defense is improved. Attitude is better. I look at it as the ships back on course.
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    Your strong dislike (hatred) for Schiano is unbecoming. The man was handed a mess of a team that was in serious need of a culture change.....All losses are not equal, SR. This team is competing. They are on the cusp. They just need a QB who is on board, not doing his own thing, not expecting the coach to adjust to him, and throw with accuracy and good decisions. Freeman was not that QB.... IMO Freeman is a crybaby who doesn't like his coach and is going to let it affect the way he plays and acts around his teammates. Freeman violated the first rule of TEAM; the coach is in charge. Maybe Glennon doesn't do any better, but he couldn't do much worse. Letting Freeman stay at QB at that level of performance was unacceptable. The coach et. al. made the right decision.
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    This is a meat grinder business. Freeman just didn't have the grizzle to stand up to the grinder Schiano. We've all seen the clip of Simms, and Parcels going at one another on the side line. I remember seeing it with Starr, and Lombardi. The passion from both player, and coach, most important respect. It just wasn't there for these two, can we just move on? Freeman was milk toast, now he's just toast.
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    Horse: You've been on and off more buses than Ralph Kramden. Here's my take regarding this who's to blame, Freeman or Schiano debate. Most of us don't know what is going on inside the head of young Josh Freeman, but clearly he is a sensitive young man who was negatively affected by Coach Schiano's style and the enormous pressure that comes with being a NFL QB. Don't know what is going on inside the head of Greg Schiano either, but clearly he is a stubborn man who thinks he knows more than anyone else regardless of the results his methods produce. It's never been a marriage from the day they met. So now our head coach has cast his fate with a greater unknown rookie QB. I'll cheer for whoever is coaching on the sideline and under center and hope for the best. I think we all want the team to find immediate success with our new couple. Sadly, if this talented team continues as it has the past three seasons, big changes are on the way. Wonder if Richie and Tony need a new challenge.
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    Shiano is terrible. Glennon is garbage. The offensive coordinador's play calling is simply offensive. Have you researched the qb coaches track record? Pittyful. Id be looking to jump ship too if was Josh. Seasons over folks. Shiano = Sabatoge. Sorry Revis, McCoy, David, Barron, Martín, VJax, M.Will, Joseph, Nicks... Wasted talent.
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    I praise the coaches and front office for making Freeman earn it. He showed he didn't put in the extra time and that he didnt want it. He wanted to be "guaranteed money" and we saw his true colors. Joe Flacco Didn't cower to that challenge. Freeman did. Snookin247. How do you know these things? Are you clairvoyant, or do you have impeccable sources? You have made other statements like this. If you have something personal against him, say so. What confuses me is how did he regress so quickly? We have an insecure BULLY as a HC. Just watch his behaviour on the sidelines. He loves to ream people out as he did to the Stephens kid while Dave Wannstedt watched. We might win Sunday, but after that we are in big trouble in my opinion based on the schedule. Hopefully, they fire him by mid season.
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    Have the details of coaches contract ever been looked over and discussed? when we finally got rid of Heem and the stink he put on this franchise and locker room ,no self respecting coach was coming to town..enter Schiano..a disciplinarian sent to clean up the locker room and get the team back in order..he cleared out a few troublemakers and got the situation back under control.. We are actually in a great place now to attract an actual NFL coach..Schiano cleared house and has help to expose an under performing QB..We can tank this season and be in an even better place to snag a new coach and a QB out of a promising looking Draft class..The Glazers lose some dough and pay coachs contract( they have done it before) but get a cleaned locker room,a promising defensive squad,and no more hot and cold QB who we are all hoping would develop....seems like coach might have already done what he was supposed to do..if he wins.he stays..if he loses,no big deal- we will go on without him..
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    Geez SR. Grind axes alot? Freeman stunk before this year or last. They couldn't extend him as he wen't 1-5 down the stretch last season. Also, he was the QB(and captain I might add) of the team that quit on RahRah Morris, who was an ardent supporter of Free. Soap opera aside, Freeman didn't have the leadership qualities needed to be an NFL QB. No team wants him as a starter. Not St. Louis, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Oakland, Arizona, San Diego, Tennessee, or Carolina. None of them. There is a CLEAR reason for that. He is done.
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    What makes you think Schiano is going anywhere?? Get a clue. They were shopping for Carson Palmer in the off season. What does that tell you about Freeman's future?? He would have had to light it up in the first few games for them to even think of a contract extension. The dye was cast for Freeman at the end of last season. Schiano has done everything they asked him to in year one. He turned the team culture around and he made the team competitive. All the problems from last year look to be fixed save for one...the QB production. Freeman was NOT Schiano's guy. I think Schiano knew coming in that unless Freeman stepped up and became not only an accurate passer but a LEADER he was history. This offense needs a leader. Someone who can come in and command the huddle and make the team believe again. Freeman did not believe in himself so how can he make others believe in him? I don't know if Glennon is the answer. All I know is that Freeman proved after 5 years that he was certainly a major part of the problem. Once the offense gets clicking we do not have to score a lot of points to get wins. This defense will only get better and we should get back to the days when Brad Johnson could come in and take an offense to the Super Bowl because the defense was so dominant. We just need consistency and someone who doesn't make a lot of mistakes.
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    I am generally 100% supportive of PR's writers but I have to say the first two bits of this article are awfully nitpicky, and I completely disagree with them taking the stance that Schiano is responsible for where Josh is on his learning curve today. Could he have stunted Josh's development? I guess, but compared to what? Continuing to coddle and make excuses for Josh's inconsistent play? Or the idea in the excerpt that QBs go thru growing pains, as if this deep into Josh's career it's okay he can't execute basic fundamentals? Give me a break. We blew the pick. We lived with it. Wasted a lot of time on him. Still every bit the project he was when we drafted. Time to go.
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    I used to play ball back in the day and coach now for many years. A saying we use as coaches goes like this: Lose a game with talent it is between the ears...lose many games with talent it is the coaching!
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    Lots of good information, Scott, as usual. However, I don't agree playing zone in the last game last season was the DC's Coaching. What PR reported at the time was that Schiano got frustrated with the losses and took over the Defense for the last game and went back to the Tampa 2 and he won. Lets face it, the Falcons had already made the playoffs and eased off. They probably just set their game plan for the man to man they saw on the Bucs film and were caught by surprise. Sherman is the fool that lost two games playing a stupid three or four man front and the rest of the defenders guarding both sidelines this year and more last year--he has to go too. We just can't keep losing games with stupid defense.
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    All I heard since the season begun is "Get rid of Freeman". Now I here is " I can't believe the coach droped Freeman like that". Come on, you can't have it both ways. There is alot of you should of,could of,would of out there. Everybody seems to know how to fix this team, but do you really? It seems like everybody is jumping off the band wagon before it has a chance to get going. You know who i'm talking about, don't you. I chose to be positve about this team. There is still 13 games to play and I will not judge this team based on 3 games that they have played. If changes need to be made at the end of the season then so be it, but until then i'm behind this team 100%,
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    farber you just made a blanket statement about all you heard was "Get rid of Freeman". Yes you heard it a lot, but not by all Bucs fans. Fans were split on Freeman. Some Bucs fans aren't looking for things both ways, I think you have just heard from two different camps, BUT ONLY LISTENED TO ONE OF THEM!!! I have consistantly been in the Freeman camp and I still am. A team is made up of a lot of players other than just a QB. I also was happy when the Bucs hired Greg Schiano, but I am disappointed that Schiano has been so rigid. I believe that he jumped out of Freeman's camp last season and allowed a rift to be created between them. It's easy to say Freeman is not mentally tough, but it's hard when everything is stacked against you, as it was for Josh. Things have degenerated so far, that the only option left is to trade Freeman or fire Schiano. My guess is Freeman is gone by October 29. The bad thing is the team has allowed Freeman's value to plummet. If I was the Bucs, I would eat some of his salary and get a higher draft pick for him. I just wonder what team he will win the Super Bowl with !! It would probably be JUST if Freeman walks as a free agent and the Bucs get no compensation and he leads his new team to a Super Bowl victory. The Bucs caused this problem and now they can't have things both ways. You can't constantly berate your QB and then expect to get good value for him in a trade. Whatever teams gets Josh is getting a diamond in the rough. I wish him the best of luck.
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    Schiano is another case of a good college coach that can't adapt to the pro game. Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier and Nick Saban are all members of the same club. In college they had total autonomy because they were coaching young kids who had no personal wealth and had to toe the line. In the pros, the top 15% to 20% of the roster makes more than the coach does. People like myself can't relate to making that kind of money. I don't see how those players can stay as grounded as they do. If they get cut or traded they can still live in luxury for the rest of their lives if they are prudent investors. So obviously a different approach is needed with players of this ilk. The idea hit me between the eyes when I saw 20 homes of NFL players on line today. In fact they showed Dashon Goldsons luxury condo overlooking the Bay at Marina Del Rey. Goldson appears to invest in real estate that is practical and in line with his contract. The Chicago O-lineman Jermon Bushrod just signed a 35 million dollar contract and he moved into a $790,000 brick home in a Chicago suburb. Now there is a guy who has a head on his shoulders. Reminds me a little of ex Bucs DT Dave Logan who signed a big contract and continued to drive his old beat up Plymouth station wagon. Some of the other players obviously have delusions of grandeur. You can see it in the palaces they live in. Now granted, they earn it by playing the worlds most dangerous sport, but you can also see why so many of them go broke after their playing days are over. I was surprised to see how modestly Tony Dorsett lives considering the money he made as an active player. Tony's home is on the market for $930,000. I guess that's why TD has a net worth of 5 million long after his retirement.
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    @kram0789...don't be too upset of Dom goes too, his draft record is not better than average...it is attrocious: As Head of Scouting he was chiefly responsible for advising on (if not setting) the draft board from 2001 to 2008 when we drafted 70 players....Joseph, Zuttah and Hayward are the only ones still on the team and the only others to see the field were Talib, Ruud, Cadilac, Q Black, T Jax, and Trueblood. That makes 9 out of 70 picks to even see the field and arguably only 2 of worth. Since 2009 when he got full control: 36 picks in total....20 are still on our roster (that means about half the guys picked in the last 5 drafts are gone)...of those 20 only 14 will see the field this weekend...and of those 14, 10 are starters....and probably only 7 are worth writing home about (Barron, David, Martin, McCoy, Foster, Clayborn, Williams - 2 probowls)...so he's certainly done better when given the GM job over the HoS job, but this looks a long way from what I would call better than average...or even acceptable really. And if you want to take a different perspective to see just how awful he is at spotting talent, you should take a look at the 90 names I didn't mention here....a veritable who's who of nobodys....
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    How about some originality? This is lazy reporting. Nothing original here. The buzzards are circling the prey. Schiano is not going anywhere, and I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by the team's performance this week. Glennon's arm is just about as strong as Freeman's and his football IQ is 100 points better. Raheem ruined Freeman by coddling him and treating him like a star before he had earned it. This defense is vastly improved, yet very little is being made of the fact it's Schiano's defense. The jury still is out. There's good and there's bad. Let's just wait and see. Looking for a big game from Doug Martin and the offensive line this week. Bucs 24-Arizona 15.
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    The Bucs may rally together and win this upcoming game, but I would have to disagree with you about Glennon's arm and football IQ. His velocity was measured at 49, which is the lowest for this year's draft class. Freeman's velocity was measured at 57. Glennon threw 17 INT's last season, equal to Freeman's mark. The difference was that Freeman was throwing against NFL CB's and NFL schemes, and he took 16 games to do it instead of 12. Glennon may be better in this offense than Freeman, but there is NO evidence to show this will be the case.
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    Great article. Lots of facts to back up the analysis. I am not that high on Schiano. Maybe he will adapt but right now I don't think he gets the best out of his players. I believe we have enough talent to win but for some reason our players on offense cannot make plays. Unfortunately, I am high on Dominik. He has run better than average drafts, gotten outstanding players in free agency and after all that we are in good shape cap wise. I say unfortunately, because Schiano was his guy and usually if your guy goes so do you. I would be sorry to see Dominik go.
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    For all of the angst surrounding the team, this is still the team I have rooted for since I was a 6 year old kid in Brandon back in '78. While I have tried to be objective in order to figure out the problems, I still want them to win. As Bucs fans, we survived the horrors of the Bennett/Perkins era and relished the glory of the Dungy/Gruden era. My great hope is that the current chaos is just a small detour on our path back to winning. GO BUCS!!
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    a-bomb we survived the Hugh Culverhouse era and miraculously so did the Bucs, thanks to the NFL negotiated TV contract. The new look Bucs were the team that Tony Dungy built and developed and Jon Gruden cashed in on. Today the Bucs again appear to be a rudderless ship adrift in the Gulf of Mexico surrounded by man eating sharks just licking their chops. I agree with SR that the Bucs problem wasn't Freeman. In my mind there is no way Glennon is a winning option over Freeman. If a fish stinks, it stinks from the head. This team is totally demoralized and it is obvious.
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    @cremdonado...after reading your post I suddenly want to visit my garden. I have now forgotten Freeman - wow did that happen fast - all I am staring at is an AWFUL coach, a great D, and a rookie QB who doesn't have a chance....fortunatelty we can probably fix those problems quite quickly (well be 2014 anyway) if the Glazers are willing....come on Glazers...hear your fans...Schiano must go! Ready 4 Teddy! Marriotta (marry anyone but Glennon)! Hungry 4 Hundley!
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    I would like to have seen Freeman, or any QB we go to operate in a system where he has constant check down options and not have to rely, constantly, on 50/50 receiver routes. Your receivers are not going to win the jump ball battle every time. In a system such as ours a QB completion percentage and passer ratings will always suffer especially when you have no tight end, etc providing options over the middle. Yes, our coaching staff, OC to be specific, has to be more creative and coach much better. Every team we have played, and lost to, have provided, "Escape Hatches" for their QBs when Revis, Goldson and Barron have shut the long range passing game down. They can adjust. Why can't we? It appears our OC is content with continuing to try the same thing over and over and expecting a different result
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    I rarely comment but this one of the best Fab 5's in a while. But then again, there's lots of drama surrounding the team so that "helps". What's happening now with the team is a blessing in disguise. Its a win-win really. It's a win because Freeman can move on and be successful with another team, if he wants to and if they use him right. Its a win for the Bucs because we get to see what Schiano and Glennon are made of. That way we can see where this team is headed. IMO - This team will tank, lose lots of games, Schiano, Sullivan, McNulty, and a few other coaches get fired. We hire a coach with NFL experience to now takeover a team with talent, not like we were before without it. And we draft a stud QB EARLY in the first round next year. Thats the best situation. This staff can't get it done. With the weapons we have we got outplayed by the Jets. For years, even with Gruden, the offense looks unimaginative. We have got to get a coach that plays to the strengths of the personnel. This boils down to coaching. Look at the Saints, they got their HC back and a new DC and they're winning, not regressing. Unless Napoleon Dynamite turns into Joe Flacco THIS season, I don't see how Schiano can keep his job. No matter how much money is left on his contract. They fired Gruden with money left on his contract too. A change is coming. Hopefully for the better.
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    I hope the Glazers are taking notes on coach,he is a problem. The Freeman situation is exposing his weaknesses much like his campaign to expose Free has damaged Freeman..He has already damaged Freeman and left him with little trade value( great job coach) all so he could have HIS QB start..his ego means more to him that the Bucs and I hope the brass is noticing..I wish Glennon all the best but it appears coach is ready to send him to the wolves..again,is it the best for the Bucs or for coach's ego? Trace it back as far as you like- freeman never had a chance with coach..Coach was brought in for his discipline and for a track record of shaping boys into men- question is,when and who is gonna help coach be a man?the petty mind games and ridged ways are a thing of the past and it seems more about ball swinging and less about football with him.A coach is like a gardener he must tend to his fields,plant the seeds,feed and nourish his players,Support them and protect them..When they mature and bear the fruit of his hard work,we win football games and we have the seed stock to continue to strengthen the crops..coach forgot to water Freeman,and he has withered away..he is feeding Glennon now- but as soon as next Monday,he could stop watering that plant too...Be warned..
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    cremdonado, very good!
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    The correct answer is that both Freeman AND Schiano are disasters http://nfl.si.com/2013/08/07/fixing-the-qbs-josh-freeman-and-the-lag-between-potential-and-greatness/
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    Cowher is not coming here nor any other big name Coach. Norv Turner, Zimmer, like Scott said would be okay; I am not sure about Jay Gruden as he might get intimated by all the veterans on this team. Please for Gods sake not Wannnstedt! He didn't do much for Miami or anywhere he was in the pro's. Butch Davis would be a good next Head Coach. Just my opinion.
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    I would L-O-V-E to see what Bill Cowher could do with this talented squad and one of the young QBs who will be available at the top of next year's draft. if the bucs start 0-5 or 0-6 we can get them primed for bill with the lesser mustache of Dave Wannstedt
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    I loved this article and SI.com article linked within. I have been baffled by the lack of underneath game for Freeman and the lack of adjustments on the part of the coaching staff. And where is the screen game? There hasn't been one at all and you possess Doug Martin. I don't get it. I've seen some beautiful screens to Shady McCoy and others this season and the Bucs have an offensive line capable of pulling this off. We'll see. I'm happy to not have to see Freeman stare somebody down anymore without scanning the field. I will say that first. But I would not at all be surprised to see Freeman go elsewhere and play as a very capable quarterback wherever he lands next a la Testaverde, Young, Williams, etc. Will he have the level of success these other players did? Remains to be seen certainly. He has always seemed to diagnose a play slowly and not scan the field. I'm happy to see those issue go. But he's had some great moments also. I could easily put 2 of the first 3 losses on the coaching staff despite mediocre play by Freeman. He didn't lose those games. Anyways, this horse has been sufficiently beaten to death. Go Glennon.
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    Good Article Scott and I see "no hate and anger" in your words, right Haley? I got off the Freeman bus late year and I am not going near it. I got off the Schiano bus after game 1 this year when I knew he was not the Coach for us. Sullivan and Sherman are ancient old men in this new NFL. Like me, they need to retire. I am still on the Buccaneer team bus and trying to help them through traffic by supporting the team. Go Bucs!
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    Horse. I can side with you on your points. After reading the article outlined in the following link I see why our coaching staff echos the phrase, "We have to coach better." http://nfl.si.com/2013/09/26/tampa-bay-buccaneers-josh-freeman-mike-glennon/
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    Of course Freeman had a very poor 16 TD and 22 Int record in Raheem's final season, so of course that couldn't have been Schiano's fault. And he started off so well the following year under GS before going into the tank. Something in his up and down play just doesn't make sense but the truth should come out soon.
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    PR. I agree with you on the coaching staff screwing up Freeman. Yes, Freeman never was a top 10 QB but he is better then he has payed the last couple of years. I remember being so mad when the Bucs drafted Freeman. I didnt think he was that good in college. Then I saw something that 2010 season. He lead like 5 game winning comeback drives with a team that has half the talent this team does. I truely believe its becasue of the coaching, both QB coach and Head coach that he wasn't successful this year. They never played to his strengths. Freeman is not good at being a pocket passer, having to read defenses, and making check downs. Freeman is good when the game is on the line, he is rolling out of the pocket ,and making the defense repect his scrambling ability. Will Freeman ever be a probowl top 5 QB, probably not. Was he good enough to win a superbowl for us, yes. I think he is just as good as Rothlesburger, Flacco, and even Brad Johnson was. Freeman is def better then Glennon. I think it would be interesting to see if Gleenon does worse then Freeman the next couple games and Dom fires Schiano would the interm head coach give freeman another shot. Or even more interesting would be if Glennon gets hurt, would Schiano go back to Freeman? McNutty needs to be fired. What good is a QB coach if he doesn't try to fix the QB's problems and mechanics. As for the defense playing zone this year I completely disagree with your article. Yes, this years defense has given up less yards and one less TD then 2012 while playing zone but its not because they were playing zone. I believe it has to do with the players not the zone coverage. If we had the same secondary last year we have this year playing man, do you honestly believe we would have the same stats. Dont try to make it out like us playing Zone is the reason our secondary is better. We def did not have the personnel to run man last year and it showed. This goes back to playing to your players strengths. Let Revis shut down half the field and then either play zone or double coverage the remainder of the field. Thats why he makes 16 mil a year. We could have picked up a good 6-10 mil a year CB to play corner that would be as good as Revis is in zone coverage and kept our 1st round pick.
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    The comparison of Freeman to Roethlisberger and Flacco IMMEDIATELY caused me to stop reading your comment. Freeman is nowhere near as talented a pocket passer as either of those two. And he can't even hold a candle up to Brad Johnson's game managing ability. Also you talk about the zone vs. man coverage argument. Did you know that our D does have some mixed packages in there where Revis is locked up playing man on one WR to isolate that threat and allow the remainder of the secondary to zone out the other threats. Our defense will be great this year. We do play zone, and we do play man. Take a look across the NFL, there are NO teams that play one or the other exclusively, and there are no teams that are consistently putting the same sets out on the field. This is a passing league, and we have to vary our pass defenses or else we will get shredded by any team that knows how to study film (all 31 of them). I do agree that there are some adjustments to be made to our D, like for example I think our Prevent package needs to be tweaked to put a presence in the middle of the field, I also think that we don't need to stunt with the DL as often as we do. But hey, i'm not the DC am I?....
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    "At Schiano’s direction, the Bucs didn’t sign Freeman to an extension and let him enter a contract year in 2013". I doubt very seriously if you have facts/sources to prove this, but that hasn't stopped you guys from writing crap like this before.
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    What if Freeman would have broke his leg at the end of the fist quarter of the NE game? Glennon would have come in, finished the game, and would be starting Sunday. 90 percent of the articles written and the opinions expressed this week would involve the rest of the season, the upcoming Cardinals game, and the lifted season blackout. All this what if crap and all the negative BS about Josh and the coaching staff would never have materialized. Oh we would be blaming somebody for something it's our nature. Football is football, enjoy it for what it is. Remember the off season when we didn't have it? Go Bucs,,,,,,,,,,,
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    @rocko...let's hope so. @a-bomb...that sounds about right. @bucterp...yup. @jiggyjoe...LOL too sure. Finally, as the unidentified player said last year (and everyone should have listened) "can we please just send these guys back to college"!
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    Scott great read, as a media professional I see great balance and fairness in this article and you are 100% spot on. At this point i'm going to enjoy the development of the defense as I dont see the coaching or O getting any better, my bet is She She gets fired mid-season.
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    The fact that the really knowledgable football folks are not supportive of the move to Glennon is telling. I feel the frustration with Freeman as well, but it is very clear that Schiano did not put him in a position to be successful. This scheme is predicated on making contested throws to receivers who are essentially covered by today's NFL standards. There is no designed separation, the whole idea is to isolate the big receivers- 1970's style. It will cause Glennon to be a low percentage passer as well. I guess there is always the hope that Martin runs for 300 yards. Schiano's refusal to adapt to his personnel will be the reason he is unemployed at the end of the year.
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    Very interesting, quality article Scott and all. What I want to know is: What do the players REALLY think about the Freeman benching? Not what they are saying to the press, but maybe some off the record comments from a trusted source. Do they think Freeman let them down and change is overdue? Or do they think Schiano ruined him? If they think the former, we have a chance to pull together with Glennon. If it's the latter, then this ship is doomed.
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    Scott, thanks for the link to the SI article by Farrar. I encourage everyone to take a look at it. Very informative. I do believe that our coaching staff is playing a role in the Freeman collapse. Our play design is awful As a fan, you can sense rhythm is missing; and the article lays it all out nicely.
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    Well, we wanted to be like the Giants and we have turned into the Jets with the Giants record.
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    Wow PR's take on Freeman is as inconsistant as....well, Freeman. Sour grapes cause Shiano pulled the plug before you said he would? Come on, we all saw this coming so why the hand-wringing? After 5 seasons I think we can all agree Freeman is unsalvageable. It was time for a change.
  • avatar

    Josh Freeman is gone and I approve the move. He will have the chance to move on and show the NFL that he is better than what we saw lately. Whose fault is it? Doesn't matter now, everybody including Freeman should look forward. Schiano and the predominantly Rutgers coaching staff is now in the glaring hot spotlight of the media and the fans. He has bet the farm on a rookie QB, through no fault of his own, will feel the enormous weight of turning the franchise around. Schiano has not endeared himself to the media so he better win and more than a few games or it's going to get ugly quickly. Let's not be naïve, with Freeman gone, it's unrealistic to think that the penalties will stop, no balls will be dropped, the offensive scheme will be more creative, the TEs will start catching the ball, a Wes Welker-type slot receiver will be catching ball across the middle and we will instantly be able to close out games with the same conservative defensive minds calling plays. If you're honest with yourself and you've looked at remaining the schedule, you should be concerned, very concerned! And thanks to the Glazer's generosity, good or bad, we will get to see every single play.
  • avatar

    Thanks Scott. A few thoughts: 1) the worst thing we could do is have a mediocre season like 8-8....we either need Glennon to prove me wrong and become the next Russell Wilson, or we need to go 0-16...anything in the middle and I really worry that this coaching clown show will be back next year. 2) just to clarify my disdain for Schiano and co., the handling of Freeman has been poor (as you point out and reference by your colleagues' articles) but Freeman was always an average QB at best - he wasn't going to win us games on his own but he was good enough for us to win some games (so not a great coaching effort but not really my problem with the crew)...no, my issue with the coaching staff is on Sunday (Monday to Saturday they have shades of good and bad)...on Sunday they are just plain AWFUL (regularly out-coached)...for example: a) an insistence on running the ball into 8 and 9 man boxes, particularly when we have small leads approaching half way through the game (aka, trying to run out the clock way too early) - Giants game as an exmaple; b) an insistence on trying to substitute players for no apparent reason (Roy Miller for Garry Gibson on 4th down against Denver costing us a 15 yarder and giving Manning a 1st down on a 4th down...which of course Manning converted into a TD); c) the insistence on using the worst designed prevent D in history (i.e., leaving the middle of the field wide open thinking that the clock will run out...it didn't against Wash, or Philly, or the Saints, or the Saints again, or the Jets...); d) if you're given lemons make lemonade - why do we insist on playing horrible TEs regularly (the Pats had a similar issue this year and they regularly lined up with an extra OT...destroying us) - why can't our coaches show a little "in-game" adjustment capability; e) no "in-game" adjustments - like letting Grahame catch 150 yards over the middle before you decide it may be time to change (hint: you don't need to wait until half time to change); f) the insistence on making Freeman a pocket passer - why?...he was second in the league in QB rushing yards once upon a "better" time; g) statements like "we don't want to be the least penalized team in the league - some penalties are good"...well you got what you wished for (by the way, which penalties are the good ones - the illegal formation that cost us the TD or the personal foul that cost us the game) - discipline is discipline (if that's your style of coaching), you can't have it only when you feel like having it (like for team pictures); I could go on...
  • avatar

    Everything proves that PR has no clue how to guage a football team. It all starts up front and both lines are better than they were under Gruden or Morris. I like Where we are going with our young players. We have to find a leader at QB and I think we have everything in place to be competitive everywhere else. Lets start the search now. I praise the coaches and front office for making Freeman earn it. He showed he didn't put in the extra time and that he didnt want it. He wanted to be "guaranteed money" and we saw his true colors. Joe Flacco Didn't cower to that challenge. Freeman did. He said what we wanted to hear but he showed he wasn't in it mentally. He knows where guys line up, Manning would not snap a ball unless everyone was in the right spot. Freeman doesn't have the mental capacity to do that and execute the reads. Enough said, time to move on.
  • avatar

    I am not convinced both lines are better. Defensive line looks like it is in the positive direction but the o-line seems very iffy currently.
  • avatar

    VA_Buc30 - I'm not bitter at all. I didn't want Josh Freeman's deal extended before the season. Him getting a contract extension wouldn't affect me at all. I strongly suggested it for one main reason ... it could help Freeman's mind be clearer and might help keep him focused. There's an argument to be made that could have helped Freeman had a better start to this season going into 2013 with the confidence that he's the team's franchise QB moving forward, but the truth is we'll never know because that didn't happen. And if he would have started off this way had he been extended, the Bucs might have made a huge mistake. Maybe they really avoided one. Again, we'll never know. I'm not saying Josh Freeman is without blame. At PewterReport.com we have documented the loss of captaincy issue, Freeman being late for team meetings and missing the team photo. Those are all contributors to this situation for sure. But there is more to it than that. There's more to the story and that's what I wanted to illustrate in this week's SR's Fab 5. I'll have some not-so-nice commentary about Freeman in a future Fab 5. Don't think I'm just pro-Freeman and anti-Schiano, because that's not the case. I really don't have a dog in this fight. Actually, I'm hoping Mike Glennon, who was a PewterReport.com Bucs' Best Bet, plays well on Sunday and gets a win for the fan base and the players that work so hard at One Buc Place.
  • avatar

    Good article Scott!
  • avatar

    Liten I love you guys Im a faithful PR reader. but taking credit for predicting Mason Foster was up to the task of covering Jimmy graham against the saints because of the INT ummmm no. That was a great interception but graham lit us up for 156 yards in the first half alone. he ended with 179 so it was a better job in the second half but he nor anybody did a good job of covering him. just sayin I found it odd that you guys took credit for predicting that he would be up to a task he clearly was not. I love Foster by the way and im as happy with the linebackers as I have been in a long long time. GO BUCS!!!
  • avatar

    I agree 100% with VA, 80% of this article carries a VERY bitter tone. Extremely pessimistic also when it comes to the decision, this is a BUCS team website, we aren't here to read articles that ONLY focus on the negatives to a decision made by the Bucs. I believe there are several things that you failed to mention because they don't go along with "your desires" to have Freeman signed to a contract and our starter. Like the fact that Freeman has over or under thrown 28% of his passes. You could mention that, and talk about how uncharacteristic drops by veterans could possibly be linked to a lack of trust in their QB. I don't think that you can hang 100% of the blame on Garrett in any way. When I played WR (at a much lower level obviously), I know that if the QB was known for being grossly innaccurate that would have an effect on my readiness for the ball. There are several angles that can be observed here, and the ONLY angle you observed regarding the QB deciision is the one that sheds the most negative light on Schiano possible. ARE YOU A BUCS FAN? Because last time I check he is our coach right now, and Glennon is our starting QB; and a true fan should be supportive of their team no matter the circumstance. I'm not saying we have to agree with everything they say or do, but we shouldn't be on a flaming trip like SR is in this article.
  • avatar

    Glad everyone finally can see the light. We are getting back some Buccaneer defense. Mark Barron. Revis. Goldson. McCoy. David. Foster. Clayborne. One or two players step up and we will be fine next year. Schiano getting out Raheems cancers. How does Raheems secondary look in Washington. They are losing because of him.
  • avatar

    Great question 1bucfanjeff.....I was wondering the exact same thing!
  • avatar

    You can win with guys you can't count on to do their job. No one can count on Josh Freeman, he is too passive to be a QB. They gave him every opportunity to succeed. He cant make more than one read because he doesn't prepare as well as other QB's. The rumors are true and he does party too much. Glennon may not be ready but he is mentally tougher and more analytical than Freeman. time for a change and the D is looking very good. Bowers is not a problem we have Clayborne and just need Bowers to do his job. Clayborne and McCoy are stars in this league. Find someone else to Fry Scotty Reynolds. You should have been roasting Freeman's horrible preseason and camp. Lay off people that try and start questioning those who are not doing their job!!!!
  • avatar

    Another great article Scott! If some of throse rumors are true about Freeman having trouble because what he has been doing off the field, then with you it is just the opposite. Maybe that new wife of yours has helped you make some reporting adjustments or something. You have been good for years, but I think this year you have taken it to a new level! In my opinion, you have been right on the screws with whats going on with this team and more importantly, haven't been afraid to get your opinion out! Keep up the good work. This coaching staff has to go and I think Domink needs to go too. And if in fact we are 0 and 6, launch Coach Rockhead in season if need be. I hate the changes, but if ownership can realize they made a mistake, they are better off admitting it sooner rather than later on and then focusing on correcting it. I'm on board with that approach.
  • avatar

    If Glennon stinks and Freeman is still on the team, Do they go back to Freeman for the Falcons game? The next two games will speak VOLUMES and the national media is dialed in to the Bucs now, there's blood in the water. If we lay offensive stinkers for Cards and Eagles - Schiano will be squarely in the cross-hairs.
  • avatar

    They probably must be careful in case he gets hurt, and that way they might get absolutely no value for him. In addition, I don't think the BULLY will let him play again because he would lose face. People who are like that are too insecure. But will we ever know really what's really happening? Does Carimi have a staph infection? What does illness mean? Does he have a long term flu? :-)
  • avatar

    Marty and then Norv Turner never messed with Phillip Rivers mechanics/delivery, and he turned out to be pretty good. Not saying McNulty is a good coach, but I think focusing on that one statement is overblown. Also, your tone throughout the whole article sounds bitter as you were a huge proponent for signing Freeman to an extension before the season started.
  • avatar

    Thankfully the Bucs brass didn't see it the same way that SR and supposedly "many" Buc fans saw it, and made the logical choice to bring Glennon in now. It makes so much sense to bring Glennon in now, give him live fire tape to use with the coaches over the bye week to tweak things.
  • avatar

    Great article, SR. Very, very informative. I especially agree with Fab 2. I've basically been saying the same thing for weeks now. Specifically what McNulty said about not wanting to mess with a QB's mechanics. I mentioned that before as a huge red flag. As for Bowers, I agree that he hasn't played nearly well enough yet this year, but I haven't given up on him. He's earning more playing time every week and I think that's because he's getting in better and better shape. I think he'll continue to heat up as the season goes on.
  • avatar

    @PinKstob & SR: The whole idea of McNulty stating what he did is more than baffling. I'll never get that. Furthermore, if getting Josh comfortable with the system has been the focus, than what a colossal failure it has been. I know it's obvious I don't have faith in Josh making any big leaps in that part of his game, but there has been a drop-off - Not an improvement. So, is McNulty that bad, or is it his student ? If McNulty is that bad, they need to sit him at the end of the bench w/ Josh to keep him comfortable and keep him as far away as possible from Glennon.
  • avatar

    What are the chances Glennon(Bucs) go 0-5, Schiano is fired, Freeman hasn't yet been traded and regains his starter status under an interim head coach?
  • avatar

    thats how i see it
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