Report: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Bench Starting Quarterback Josh Freeman

Josh-Freeman-throwingIn what can be classified as a not too surprising move, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have benched starting quarterback Josh Freeman and will be replacing him with rookie third-round pick Mike Glennon when they host the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Freeman, who jumped on to the scene with a stellar sophomore campaign back in 2010, has failed to meet expectations since. The embattled quarterback has thrown the most interceptions in the NFL since the start of the 2011 season and is just 11-23 in his last 34 starts. After compiling a 95.9 quarterback rating and throwing 25 touchdowns compared to six interceptions in 2010, Freeman has turned the ball over 51 times in the last two-plus seasons.

There was a growing rift between the players in Tampa Bay and second-year head coach Greg Schiano. The brass made a decision to strip Freeman of his captaincy prior to the start of the regular season, a move that we questioned by players on the roster. It has also been reported that Freeman missed the team photo towards the end of August, which could have been a precursor to his captaincy being taken away.

As it is, Adam Schefter is reporting that Glennon will be promoted to starter. The first-year signal caller was a surprise pick of the Buccaneers in the third round of April’s draft. Despite the fact that Matt Barkley among others were still on the board, Tampa Bay went with a quarterback that seemed to be more of a project backup early in his career.

I had the following to say immediately after Tampa Bay selected him in the spring…

Horrible pick, just horrible. Sorry, I can’t phrase it in another way. With Matt Barkley still on the board, Tampa Bay goes with a prospect that reminds me of Ryan Lindley. No value on a project quarterback.

This move speaks more to Tampa Bay not expecting Freeman to be a part of its team beyond 2013. At 0-3, its simply not in position to contend for a playoff spot in the ultra-competitive NFC. In short, Schiano and Co. are looking more towards the future.

Surrounded by weapons in both the running and the passing game, Freeman has run out of excuses. Today’s move to bench him in favor of a wide-eye project quarterback pretty much indicates that Tampa Bay is prepared to move on.