At appears the coach-QB relationship in Tampa Bay is finally coming to an end. Coach Greg Schiano has reportedly never been very happy with QB Josh Freeman. Schiano came to the organization in 2012 after GM Mark Dominik drafted in him 2009, and Freeman is now in the final year of his contract. Schiano seems to be minimizing Freeman in order to start his own quarterback, either via the draft or last year's third-round pick Mike Glennon.
Like many relationships, it's easy to feel that cold shoulder. Freeman, in response, missed the team's photograph because he "overslept" last week. There were then rumors that Schiano fudged with team votes to ensure Freeman was not a team captain. Schiano then went public about a missed team meeting, another move intended to ice Freeman.
Schiano's record with the Bucs in 7-11, and it's often easy to blame the quarterback in the air-it-out era of the NFL. But perhaps Schiano should take a look in the mirror before casting blame on a 25-year old QB who has started since halfway through his rookie year.
Freeman is just entering his prime and set most of Tampa's single-season quarterback marks a year ago (he also holds many of the all-time franchise marks). Through his first four years in the NFL, he has thrown for more yards, more touchdowns and less interceptions than Joe Montana and John Elway, to name a few, and fewer interceptions (18 fewer) than Peyton Manning. And, furthermore, Freeman has done it despite playing with a new coordinator almost every year. And his win-loss record would look decidedly better if not for the 10 fourth-quarter leads Tampa has blown since he arrived.
Inconsistency should be expected from a young QB without any stability from his coaches (or defense). Schiano, however, isn't interested in any rationale, and apparently wants to start over.
Freeman is now expected to request a trade before next month's trade deadline. Either way, there's little chance that Freeman and Schiano are together in 2014, a move that seems more promising for Freeman than Schiano. Afterall, Freeman has all the tools to be successful, whereas Schiano will have a rookie QB and a questionable defense.
“But to get a guy like that at just (26 years old), with his physical (tools), in a league where a lot of quarterbacks don’t click until they get to the right situation . . . man, you’d have to be crazy not to take a hard look at it if you need (a quarterback),” allowed one AFC general manager, who was careful with his words, because of the league’s anti-tampering guidelines. “Yeah, we’re seeing young quarterbacks come right into the league and make an immediate splash anymore. But there are still a lot of examples of guys not ‘making it’ until a little bit later on. The history of the league is filled with quarterbacks who didn’t hit until they changed scenery. There are a lot of teams that would (relish) the chance to see what they could do with (Freeman).”
Schiano's loss(es) are about to become the NFL's gain.