Josh Freeman

Calm Down People

October 08, 2013 at 09:52am by Scott   •  20 Comments »


There’s been a lot of talk about the state of the Bucs and the how this team is spiraling out of control and how Greg Schiano needs to be fired now and blah blah blah. It’s all over sports radio and the web that this team is already dead and buried and it’s Schiano’s fault. I don’t know how we became so impatient that a coach needs to be successful immediately in order to not get fired.

I realize there are arguments to be made that Schiano isn’t doing well. The Bucs are 0-4 to start the season and they have that record with a ton of talent on the roster. They seem to be regressing in certain aspects of their game. And there are more leaks and drama on the team than there has ever been in the past. But I’m going to lay most of that on Josh Freeman. We all knew Freeman was inaccurate and made bad decisions coming out of college (like, for example, coming out of college). We discussed it on this site and so did every other outlet. But he was big and strong and mobile and Raheem Morris really liked him and he was finally a chance for the Bucs to have their first true franchise quarterback in decades. And with the youth movement, there’s no way they were going to stick with someone like Jeff Garcia or Brian Griese. So I get it. But three and a half years of starting games and never finding consistency is long enough. You can blame the multiple offensive coordinators and quarterback coaches if you like, and there’s some validity to that. But when you combine his lack of productivity with his apparently lackadaisical approach to team obligations, it just wasn’t going to work.

This write-up by Roy Cummings gives an account of the last few weeks of the Josh Freeman era. Missed obligations by Freeman followed by leniency by the Bucs led only to more missed obligations. I had always heard that Freeman was a hard worker and forced other players to be accountable. Whether that was always exaggerated or used to be true but fell off in later years, I’m not sure. Whatever the case, Freeman ended his tenure as a Buccaneer as a slacker. And if Greg Schiano is intolerant of anything, it’s being a slacker.

(As much as I’ve ripped on Cummings over the years, that is a very even-handed look at the situation. But if you don’t trust Cummings, maybe you’ll believe Ronde Barber’s assessment of the situation: “The best thing that they did was release Josh. Somehow, someway that situation had to end. It had gotten toxic from both sides. Josh was manipulating, everybody felt like Coach was manipulating, but I don’t feel like Greg was that kind of guy. Greg wants what’s best for this team. I think he can get the locker room back. I want to see him get the locker room back.”)

Now that Schiano has Mike Glennon, the quarterback he wanted, he’s on the hook for the team now. But he’ll still need a couple years to groom Glennon. And this bullshit about Mark Dominik being on the hot seat has to end now. This team is stocked with talent at every level of both the offense and defense. Everybody keeps pointing at his drafts like they’re failures, but he has found some excellent players over the last couple years. The top end of the 2012 draft looks especially awesome. And it’s not just drafts. He also signed some free agents that have produced good numbers. It’s Dominik’s job to give Schiano the pieces he needs to succeed and I think he has done that. Glennon is really the only unknown piece (and unfortunately the most important one). Everywhere else — running back, offensive line, linebackers, secondary, wherever — he’s got legitimate stars.

The only issue now is that all three of the main guys — the general manager, the head coach and the quarterback — are all tied together. If Glennon fails, the team fails and that will fall on Schiano who will have not been able to succeed with tons of talent and his own quarterback. And if Schiano fails, that will fall on Dominik who will have hired two coaches who couldn’t get it done. But again, I think Glennon needs to have the rest of this year and all of next year to be tested before any real assessment can be made of any of them.

So listen, the Bucs aren’t going to the playoffs. They can’t win the division unless Drew Brees spontaneously combusts and I can guarantee there will be two teams better than them when the wildcards shake out. So the pressure is off, and you’ve got to watch the games with that attitude. When Glennon makes a mistake, look at it as a learning experience for him. Watch Gerald McCoy get better every week and watch the defense go from good to great. If they win, hey that’s awesome. If they lose, that’s a better draft slot next year. If you’re a Bucs fan from way back, you’ve been through this before and you know the possibilities are wide open. But continue to watch and continue to support. They’re still our team.

20 Comments to “Calm Down People”

Mark S

Mark S (October 08, 2013 at 11:53am:

I get your points and they are good ones, but throughout Josh’s tenure he has been praised by both coaches and management as “doing everything we have asked of him.” It was said repeatedly and without any indication that Josh did not do even more than asked. Schiano said it again as recently as week 2 of the season. So Greg when were you lying to us when you told us Josh was doing everything or now when you tell us he is a slacker?

The other objection is how he misuses the talent Dominik has given him. Revis has been misused as noted by many with the weak defense that we “can’t play man-to-man all the time.” The zone schemes they have employed are the least effective of their defensive schemes. Our offensive line is supposed to be a strength and we have one of the best young backs in the NFL, but when we need to run to close out a win we get stuffed. Something is wrong there. Either name the players who are ineffective or change the coaching. Could it be that the former Wisoconis OL coach is not up to what is needed in the NFL?

As for Dominik I think he should stay. He has been very good at getting talent. He has been excellent at managing the Cap and because of that we can add more talent next year. He has been less than good at hiring coaches. They need to take a different tack and bring in a consultant to work with Dominik and the Glazers on the next hire.

The Bucs set this year up as a coming out party for a team that has talent across the board. The expectation was set by them that we had a shot at making the playoffs. Yet we start 0-4, which again raises questions of whether they are up to the job. I am still a Bucs fan but it looks like it will be a while before I will be a happy Bucs fan and honestly I don’t think Schiano will be the coach when that happens.


scott22 (October 08, 2013 at 01:57pm:

I think it’s also important to keep perspective about what’s going on around the league. Two of our divisions rivals are sitting at one win, playing some of the teams that we’ve played (wins against St. Louis and the Giants); other supposedly “good” teams (Giants, Redskins, Steelers) have been god awful this year. I also think its fair to say that in some aspects we have played better than Carolina and Atlanta. It’s not all bad. Like Scott says, it’s good to see our defense improve (at least in play and skill, if not in coaching/scheming) week to week.


jarldg (October 08, 2013 at 04:46pm:

He’s ALIVE- and for all of the bitching, no one is going to stop watching. Tampa hasn’t been reliably good for a decade so anyone without the stomach for their play is long gone.

Win, lose, or draw- I hope Barron and co. fuck up some players from Philly on Sunday.


Meatmaster (October 08, 2013 at 10:33pm:

Thanks for the awesome clicky dude. I’m with you on this. I just want to see kickass defense.

Matt Price

Matt Price (October 10, 2013 at 01:16am:

Scott, Thanks for this. This has been driving me nuts. With sports radio’s need to sensationalize and idiot rumor sites like Florio passing off Florio’s paranoia for news, and moronic rage the order of the day, this has become intolerable.

From the get go, they ran with stories which people in the know… Bucs players shot down. Yet, there was never a retraction. To the contrary, they just kept building the house of cards. Then it turned into speculation and character assassination. It was bullshit.

Look, I don’t know if Schiano is a good coach or not yet, but I firmly believe he’s built a better team. Our defense is getting stronger, our players seem to care about losing, and I see improvement in a lot of little things. The problem has been, from what I’ve seen, an offensive scheme that doesn’t give the QB enough options and a QB (Freeman) who is just not accurate. When I watched his last couple games last year, he was missing passes that an NFL QB simply shouldn’t.

As for Dominik, he’s done a great job. He took a talentless team and stacked them with talent. Our salary cap situation is excellent. And each new season gives me hope (something I haven’t often been able to say about the Bucs I’ve loved since they were born).

Has Dominik done poorly with coaches? Maybe, but I can’t blame him if he has. It was obvious that Morris was the choice of the owners, so that’s hardly his choice. And don’t forget that we weren’t able to find a coach and Schiano was like a desperation choice because there was no one else who would take the job.

Right now, I think that all it would take to fix the team is a better offensive scheme, something more West Coast like, so the QB has options over the middle and dump off options. I think that change alone would make a world of difference.

I’m with you Scott.


mcLovin (October 10, 2013 at 10:04am:

My concern is the window, we are built to win now. I know they’re young in a lot of areas and chock full of talent, but there are a few key players that will be getting old if the development of Glennon does take a season and a half. RB’s have a short shelf life, Nicks, Joseph, VJax, Revis will all be getting up there in football years. They will not be able to win without a qb, and if he doesn’t blossom and instead fails, then we’re looking at a new regime which will take even longer to develop their qb and schemes, which leads to even the young ones being old by then, etc, etc.
I like Dominik overall and think he’s the right guy, I don’t like how he did not get a real TE or third receiver, that’s hindering them. And I can’t figure out the difficulty in finding a coach.
I like Schiano as well and I hope it’s just the Freeman circus that has caused these distractions, but something seems wrong there. I’m also a baseball fan and can’t help drawing similarities to last years Red Sox under Bobby Valentine. With pretty much the same roster, (even less, bye Crawford, Gonzalez and Beckett), a new manager comes in and takes them from worst to first. I think if Dom picked someone with NFL experience this team would be doing what everyone expected, he’s got a great roster overall, but think he picked the wrong person to lead them at this time. Schiano would’ve been great if a complete rebuild was in the works, but the roster had been overhauled by then, all they needed was a disciplinarian. Hopefully I’m wrong and they right the ship without years of delay.

Mark S

Mark S (October 10, 2013 at 10:35am:

I wish the best for Glennon, but if the season is really over, then the best thing to do for the franchise is to take adavantage of opportunities to improve the team next year. One such opportunity would be to trade Penn to the Seahowks. The Seahawks have a terrible LT and Penn would be a huge upgrade for them. It may be the one piece they need to win the superbowl.


manbearpig (October 10, 2013 at 09:40pm:

Revis said they are gonna win Sunday so I guess ill have to watch.


manbearpig (October 11, 2013 at 11:26am:

This is fucking terrible. My wife works at our local children’s hospital CHKD and deals with these cases daily. Sick world we live in.


Scott (October 11, 2013 at 11:40am:

Unconscionable. I can’t even imagine what that would feel like. Evil is real.

Huge respect to your wife for working in that field. The world and those kids need people like her to do that work and I sure as hell couldn’t do it. No way would I have the heart or stomach for it.


manbearpig (October 11, 2013 at 01:40pm:

Thanks man. She comes home with some awful stories. I don’t know how they do it either. She’s definitely not as thick skinned to it now that we are parents as well. Here’s one of her most horrifying cases. It’s one of the most disturbing things that has happened around here.

Hope all you fellas are well.
Go Bucs!

worker b

worker b (October 12, 2013 at 06:08pm:

We all heard Freeman was a hard worker, etc., until Schiano arrived on the scene. We also all saw Freeman win 10 games despite a terrible defense a couple years ago. What we haven’t seen is Schiano resembling a professional football coach, handling a pro quarterback competently, or winning games.

The last straw for me was when he blamed his silly end of game routine on the players. I’ve seen enough.


Louie (October 13, 2013 at 04:52pm:

0-5 and 1-10 out of last 11. Defense regressed seriously today.


manbearpig (October 13, 2013 at 05:31pm:

Someone let me know when Schiano is gone. Until then I’m done. Not as a fan, but just giving a shit. Out coached every week. They have talent. There’s no other explanation.
I do however wonder why Sullivan was coaching from the booth today. Maybe he and Schiano are also butting heads. You know, Sullivan didn’t come from Rutgers. Guess he will be under the bus tomorrow.


Darren47 (October 14, 2013 at 12:27pm:

Scott – I’m a bit surprised and even disappointed with your take on the subject. I know Dominik and the Bucs have provided you with fantastic access, but this blog post honestly reads like state sponsored propaganda. Calm down, seriously? Let’s see.

1. Schiano is 1-10 in his last eleven games with the sole win coming against the Falcons in week 17 when their playoff seeding had already been clinches.
2. $250mm in FA commitments since Schiano joined the Bucs in 2012 and he has 7-14 to prove it.
3. This is a touchy subject, but he estranged and bullied Freeman out of town. As soon as last season ended – failing to endorse him to the press, pursuing Carson Palmer in free agency, and then drafting one of his lost high school recruits. Let’s not forget that Josh, despite his shortcomings, literally put a near talentless 2010 Bucs on his back and dragged them to 10-6 (missed out on the playoffs due to a tiebreaker with the eventual SB champs Green Bay).
4. The team has been a media circus and embarrassment all season; MRSA, Freeman, Victory formation bombs, etc..

Raheem was fired for a 10 game losing streak and Schiano is at 10 losses in the last 11 with a far more talented team. Doesn’t it make sense that he too is shown the door?

Mark S

Mark S (October 15, 2013 at 09:11am:

I do not agree with Scott’s position on Schiano, but I would never infer he had sold out because of favorable treatement received from the Bucs. That is just plain mean and nasty. An apology is in order.


Darren47 (October 15, 2013 at 01:15pm:

It wasn’t an insult, just hyperbole. I’ve been reading/commenting long enough that I hoped Scott and the readers wouldn’t read it as meanspirited. My bad, bros.


Scott (October 15, 2013 at 01:29pm:

To be clear, I haven’t spoken to Mark Dominik personally in about 10 months. He didn’t ask me to take it easy and no one in the Bucs is compensating me for my take on the situation.

1) It is a dismal record, yes.

2) Free agents are just one piece of the puzzle. They also have to perform. Carl Nicks has been hurt, Vincent Jackson has been good (although he does drop his share of passes) and Eric Wright was a bust. Dashon Goldson has been keeping up his end of the deal, albeit with more personal fouls than we would like. Revis is the only one that I could blame on Schiano because I don’t think he’s being used to his potential. Still, I’m not a defensive coach. It’s easy for me to say that without seeing the playbook or knowing the scheme.

3) A new coach wasn’t happy with the quarterback he inherited. This isn’t uncommon. And 2010 was a long time ago. If he could keep up that level of production consistently, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But he could never pull himself back up to that level. He is inaccurate, makes questionable decisions and still doesn’t have his mechanics down. How long do they continue the Freeman experiment before it’s time to cut bait?

4) The MRSA is inexcusable. That shit has to stop now. And I don’t mind the aggressive play in the victory formation as long as the game is within a touchdown. You play to win the game.

Hiring a head coach isn’t the same thing as hiring a short order cook. You need to commit to a guy for the long haul so he can fully implement his system with the players he wants. If Schiano loses 12 or more games, I won’t be able to defend him. But while he’s grooming a rookie as a starting quarterback, he’s going to lose some games. Coaches need time. It took Tom Landry six seasons before he made a playoff game. People who expect to have instant success are going to live in disappointment most of the time.


jampersands (October 15, 2013 at 09:34pm:

Has anyone heard anything more about the bizarre reports of Schiano video taping sideline players that were smiling or laughing during losses? Or anything more about his supposed leak of Freeman’s drug program status? If either of those allegations has substance behind them, I’m done with Greg Schiano. Period.

My only other contribution is to stick up for Dominik. The guy may not be able to hire a head coach, but he’s consistently found excellent players that have filled holes on our team. Nicks is an all-star when healthy, and his MRSA infection isn’t anyone’s fault. Eric Wright was a miss, but not a huge one. Jackson and Goldson have been solid additions.

I’m all for cutting ties with Freeman. The guy started out this year having the worst season of his career, after a pretty mediocre one last year, so I completely understand the move.


jampersands (October 15, 2013 at 09:49pm:

One other thing: I’m really tired of people blaming Schiano, or Dominik, or any single person for the Buc’s MRSA problems. You think they don’t want it gone worse than anyone else? They’ll do ABSOLUTELY everything they can to get rid of it. The problem is, it’s not that easy.

In fact, it’s not easy at all. MRSA is extremely resistant to most chemical and pharmaceutical antibiotics, and it only takes one single, microscopic, bacterial colony to survive in order for the disease to re-emerge. Every single hospital in this country deals with MRSA infections on a yearly basis. In any place that has medical personal and people seeking treatment, it’s a fact of life. In all likelihood it was a member of the training/rehab/medical staff that infected the first player. To top it all off, most people that carry the bacterium somewhere on their bodies don’t know it, because it doesn’t always cause acute infection. A large percentage of health workers are colonized by MRSA, often in their nasal passages, and remain completely oblivious. Likewise, numerous players with the Bucs and many other teams could be infected and simply not know it (see Kellen Winslow, Joe Jurevicious, others). It’s so pervasive that some hospitals have considered testing doctors and nurses for MRSA, but the truth is most would test positive, and then what do you do? Treat 50% of your staff with aggressive antibiotics for weeks on end only to have them get reinfected the instant they return to the hospital?

It’s not a problem with an easy solution. Pouring bleach over everything and everyone just doesn’t cut it. I guarantee that every NFL team will deal with MRSA or another drug resistant bacterium at some point in our life time. Most probably already have, but have been lucky enough that the infection remained isolated o a single player (all except the Browns, that is.)

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