Behind Enemy Lines: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After scoring on a beautiful 80-yard touchdown drive to open their Week 3 matchup against the New Orleans Saints, the Arizona Cardinals closed out the contest with 10 empty possessions — eight punts and two interceptions — en route to a 31-7 blowout loss.
In addition to getting routed on the road, the Cardinals sustained notable key injuries to outside linebackers Lorenzo Alexander and Sam Acho, both of whom were placed on season-ending IR Monday.
Instead of returning to the Valley following Sunday’s loss in the ‘Big Easy,’ Bruce Arians’ squad will remain on the road this week, preparing in Sarasota, Fla. ahead of their upcoming showdown with the Tampa Buccaneers Sunday.
The good news for the Cardinals is that Greg Schiano’s Bucs are already in a state of disarray just three weeks into the season.
From a lack of discipline to shaky quarterback play to a coach quickly wearing out his welcome in the NFL, the 0-3 Buccaneers head into Week 4 in desperate need of a reset button.
Friday, September 27
• Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Freeman says trade best option (ESPN.com)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman, who lost his starting job to rookie Mike Glennon on Wednesday, says a trade is “probably the best option” for him.
In an interview with ESPN’s Josina Anderson on Thursday, Freeman discussed his benching and whether he wants out of Tampa.
• Bucs planning to make Freeman inactive Sunday (TampaBay.com)
One night after his unauthorized interview with ESPN in which he said he wants to be traded, Josh Freeman may be demoted again by the Buccaneers.
The team is planning to make Freeman the inactive third quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.
• Bucs’ Crabtree out for Sunday, top WRs questionable (TampaBay.com)
Greg Schiano said tight end Tom Crabtree, who hasn’t played this season after spraining his ankle last month, still isn’t healthy and will miss Sunday’s game.
Bucs receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, out of practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with injuries, took part in Friday’s drills but are questionable for the game against Arizona.
• Revis-Fitzgerald battle could be Sunday highlight (TampaBay.com)
Darrell Revis, 28, and Larry Fitzgerald, 30, have become among the best at their positions in the NFL, but the two Pro Bowl players have only gone head-to-head once in the regular season, back in 2008.
That makes Sunday’s showdown at Raymond James Stadium, where the Bucs’ Revis will likely match up often with the Cardinals’ Fitzgerald, a special treat.
• Bucs notes: Glennon ‘athletic enough’ (TBO.com)
The last time Darnell Dockett posted three sacks in a game before Sunday’s loss to New Orleans, the Cardinals were facing the Steelers in the 2009 Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium.
And while Mike Glennon basically ran out of necessity in college, he could find himself on the run Sunday if Dockett breaks free.
• Fennelly: Bucs’ Freeman not gone but will be forgotten (TBO.com)
Once upon a time, it was all about 5. Once upon a time, in 2009, Josh Freeman threw three touchdowns and willed the Bucs to a comeback win over the Packers — his very first NFL start.
Once upon a time, in 2010, Freeman threw 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions. Once, he was a franchise quarterback. Thursday, he was an empty locker.
Thursday, September 26
• After Further Review: Freeman the scapegoat for Bucs’ bad scheme (CBSSports.com)
Has Freeman been great? No. Has he been adequate? After a bad first game, I would say he has done some good things and some bad things. You can clearly see by studying the past two games on tape that there are reasons for the offensive problems and reasons why the Bucs have looked so bad throwing it.
• The Inevitable Benching of Josh Freeman (Grantland.com)
Is Freeman playing poorly enough that he deserves to be benched? I think so, yeah. Freeman’s numbers through three games are pretty gruesome: He’s completing 45.7 percent of his passes and averaging a mere 6.1 yards per attempt. Those are sub-Tebowian numbers.
• Bucs benching Josh Freeman is a move for the future (TampaBay.com)
Just two days after defiantly saying Freeman was his starting quarterback, coach Greg Schiano said making the move to rookie Mike Glennon was about giving the Bucs the best chance to win now.
That cannot possibly be true. There’s no way a third-round pick who has never taken a real NFL snap gives you a better chance to win right now than a veteran who has started 59 NFL games and won 24 of them.
• Glennon says he’s ready to lead Bucs (TampaBay.com)
The 6-foot-6 Glennon actually followed Wilson as the starter at North Carolina State, throwing for 31 touchdowns in each of the past two seasons and showing enough that the Bucs drafted him in the third round (as the third quarterback selected). Like the Bills’ EJ Manuel and the Jets’ Geno Smith, he’s thrust into a starting role and the high expectations that now come with being a rookie quarterback.
• Fennelly: QB change won’t end Bucs circus (TBO.com)
Schiano simply didn’t want Freeman to be the Bucs’ quarterback. He didn’t trust him. He didn’t believe in him. It crept into this franchise and festered. This wasn’t a panic move. It was premeditated.
• Double Coverage: Cardinals at Buccaneers (ESPN.com)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers aren’t the only NFL team practicing in the Tampa Bay area this week. The Arizona Cardinals are practicing at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as they get ready for Sunday’s game.
Cardinals reporter Josh Weinfuss and Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas talk about Sunday’s game.
• Schiano needs to be right about Glennon (ESPN.com)
Schiano showed he wasn’t wed to Josh Freeman when he confirmed Wednesday that he was benching the fifth-year quarterback. Now Schiano has tied his entire future to Mike Glennon.
Wednesday, September 25
• Bucs will bench Freeman for Glennon (TBO.com)
The benching comes with the Bucs 0-3 heading into this Sunday’s home game against the Arizona Cardinals and two days after Schiano said Freeman was still the team’s starting quarterback.
• Bucs decide to bench QB Josh Freeman (TampaBay.com)
However, the Bucs will seek to trade Freeman before the October 29 deadline, most likely for a conditional late round pick, and those in Freeman’s camp are eager to make that happen. But the Bucs won’t rush it. They have more than a month to see if a contending team has an injury at the position or multiple suitors emerge.
• Bucs made play for Carson Palmer (ESPN.com)
“My agent had said that Tampa had been contacting him a lot,” Palmer said in a conference call with the Tampa Bay media Wednesday morning. “I would have been very excited to be there. But I’m excited and happy to be where I am and I’m excited about our future.”
• Buccaneers should trade Josh Freeman (ESPN.com)
Freeman’s contract is up at the end of this season and there’s no way he’ll get a new deal in Tampa. The best thing the Bucs can do right now is try to trade Freeman for a draft pick. The Bucs would be doing themselves and Freeman a favor.
• Josh Freeman Trade: Buccaneers likely to get conditional late-round pick (Bucs Nation)
Kevin O’Donnell of Fox 13 and Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times both report that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will seek to trade Freeman, with Stroud noting that they would likely accept a conditional late-round pick. With Freeman under contract for just 13 more games with a cap hit of some $6.9 million, his trade value is minimal right now.
Tuesday, September 24
• As misery mounts for Bucs, defeats are in the details (TBO.com)
Bucs coach Greg Schiano and his players might not see eye to eye on everything, but on that point they definitely agree. In the wake of his team’s third loss in as many outings, Schiano said Monday the defeats are in the details.
• Team Irrelevant? For that, Bucs are a contender (TampaBay.com)
Once again, the Bucs are staring down another television blackout, which would deny fans a chance to see the sizzle of their offense.
Does it matter?
• Schiano plans no change for the Bucs’ offense, including QB (TampaBay.com)
Despite an offense that has produced one trip to the end zone in the past two weeks and is ranked only ahead of Jacksonville for the fewest points in the league, Bucs coach Greg Schiano isn’t shaking things up.
• Demps added to active roster (Buccaneers.com)
The two-week exemption the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had to evaluate Jeff Demps ended on Monday afternoon and, as was wisely expected, the team chose to activate the running back/kick returner to their 53-man roster.
• Bucs have mad playoffs after 0-3 start (ESPN.com)
That’s logical since only 3 percent of the teams to start 0-3 have made the playoffs since the NFL went to its current postseason format in 1990. But, under some unique circumstances prior to 1990, the Bucs started 0-3 and made the playoffs.
Monday, September 23
It’s getting uglier for the Buccaneers – ESPN.com
This time, it was not some last-second loss. This time, the bulk of the blame cannot fall on Josh Freeman.
This time, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply played a horrible game and showed that, contrary to popular belief, Freeman isn’t the root of all their troubles.
Missed Chances Derail Bucs Offense – Buccaneers.com
One of the main offensive issues the Buccaneers will focus on when they examine the game tape on Monday will be the manner in which their scoring chances slipped away.
Sticking together key for winless Bucs – TBO.com
If adversity brings teams closer together, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have the tightest locker room in the National Football League.
Play-making woes hinder Bucs’ production – TBO.com
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has never been much of a statistics guy. Consequently, he said he doesn’t pay much attention to the numbers that are compiled to rate a quarterback’s play.
Good thing, because his are not very pretty.
Numbers say it’s already a lost season for Bucs – TampaBay.com
Since the NFL expanded the postseason in 1990 to include six teams per conference, only three have started 0-3 and made the playoffs — and none in the past 13 seasons. Meantime, this is the 12th time the Bucs have started 0-3, and the only time they rallied to finish with a winning record was the strike-shortened 1982 season when they went 5-4 and made the playoffs.