Reporting Justin Pawlowski
I was sick of the drama and I know that you were as well.
The showdown between Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and Josh Freeman came to its epic conclusion on Thursday with the release of Josh Freeman from the Buccaneers.
For the Bucs, this ends a 5-year span where they centered their entire franchise around “number 5″ and sold their franchise as being Josh Freeman’s franchise. This was a complete and utter failure.
Freeman’s first full season as a starter in 2010 did bring us much hope. It was a season where Freeman threw for 25 touchdowns and just 6 interceptions, all while giving fans the false belief that their savior had arrived. What many of us fans failed to realize was that much of Freeman’s success during that season came with his legs and through improvisational plays where defensive coverage would breakdown due to Freeman breaking out of the pocket.
In 2011 while still playing for both Raheem Morris and offensive coordinator Greg Olsen, Freeman would stop running and using his athletic ability. He, instead, tried to be a true pocket passer, and failed to put up the type of success he had in 2010.
During his first 3 NFL seasons, Freeman had Raheem Morris and Greg Olsen as his coaches, but for the last year and a half, Freeman has had Greg Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan in charge. There has been an argument that Freeman has dealt with so many different coaches during his tenure as Bucs quarterback that it had stunted his growth, but the fact is that he has played for two offensive coordinators in his five seasons (not including Jeff Jagodzinski who was fired before Freeman’s rookie regular season began), and both had been quarterback coaches in their past and spent most of their time with Freeman during their times as Bucs offensive coordinators.
Josh Freeman always possessed unlimited potential, but with his release on Thursday, we have come to the harsh reality that his potential will never be reached as a member of the Buccaneers. This failure falls on both the organization and the player himself. The unfortunate part of this failure is that the last five seasons where Josh Freeman was considered the “franchise quarterback,” has been a gigantic waste of everyone’s time and has led to zero playoff appearances.
It’s the biggest risk in the NFL when taking a quarterback early in any NFL draft, but it is also necessary most times to find that franchise signal caller. If you choose right, the benefits can lead to multiple playoff appearances and a possible championship, but if you miss on that pick, it can lead to years of disappointment. When you invest a 1st round selection in a quarterback, it’s a safe assumption that player will receive at least 3-4 years to develop into the quarterback the organization is hoping he’ll end up being. If that quarterback has any issues whatsoever or fails to progress and develop, the organization is stuck looking back at that time as failed time and usually ends with someone other than just that quarterback losing his job.
The days of Josh Freeman are over and so are the past 5 seasons (including this one). All eyes should be set on the 2014 season and beyond. Who will be the quarterback to start the 2014 season and give the Buccaneers loyal fan base hope of a new savior? Current rookie quarterback Mike Glennon will get a distinct advantage, having 12 more games this season to audition as the team’s answer to their quarterback woes. If Glennon fails, the Bucs will possess a very early selection in the 2014 NFL draft and select a quarterback then. With this upcoming draft already having a reputation as a “quarterback heavy” draft, this might be the best avenue for the Bucs to fix this problem.
As for Josh Freeman, he’s gone. I have zero concern as to where he goes from here or if he ever gets an opportunity to be a starting quarterback again. I have moved on, and my advice to you is to move on as well. I just don’t care.
As a season ticket holder myself for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I’m as sick as anyone to think that the last 5 seasons have been a waste. I also hope that brighter days are ahead. I still believe that the Bucs have talent on both sides of the ball. As I have stated, they probably need another quarterback this off-season, and they might also need an entirely new coaching staff to be married to this new quarterback, but that’s another article for another day.
The Josh Freeman experiment and the drama surrounding him is now gone. Hopefully, the Buccaneers can go back to just being a losing franchise rather than a dysfunctional and embarrassing franchise.