Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is playing the final season of his rookie contract as his team declined to sign him to a contract extension this past offseason. Many in the media have parced the words from second year head coach Greg Schiano and speculated that he might have issues with Freeman under center. That speculation was ignited by the selection of North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon in the 2013 NFL Draft.
While Schiano was the head coach at Rutgers, he tried to recruit Glennon before the lanky quarterback selected North Carolina State. While his arm strength plays into the down field vertical passing style Schiano favors, his debut on Thursday night was less than spectacular.
On his first play, Glennon electrified the hundreds of fans at Raymond James Stadium with a dazzling 61-yard completion to newly acquired tight end Tom Crabtree. After that play, Glennon settled down and looked like, well, a rookie. He looked awkward in the pocket at times and while showing off his big arm, showed everyone that this kid needs work. Lots of it as the Buccaneers were steamrolled by the reigning Super Bowl champions, the Baltimore Ravens 44-13.
Ideally, the Buccaneers would likely prefer to hand the second string quarterback duties over to Glennon, but Tampa fans have to be wondering what would happen to the 2013 season if the starting job was handed to Glennon if something were to happen to Freeman. Sure, Dan Orlovsky isn’t headed to Canton at the end of his career, but he seems to be a safer bet backing up Freeman at this point.
Freeman has to prove that he is the franchise quarterback that the Buccaneers thought he was when they drafted him. He teases fans with periods of spectacular play but struggles with consistency. He has the most complete arsenal of offensive weapons surrounding him since he arrived in Tampa, the rest is up to him in 2013. It was just one game, but it appears he won’t have to be looking over his shoulder waiting for Glennon to unseat him as the starter at this point.