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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are, on paper, an extremely viable playoff contender in the NFC. This offseason, general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano did a fantastic job of addressing the team's primary need (the secondary) with the trade for cornerback Darrelle Revis, the signing of safety Dashon Goldson and the drafting of cornerback Johnthan Banks.
However, as is the case with most teams, they will only go as far as their quarterback takes them. And right now in Tampa, there are significant questions surrounding signal-caller Josh Freeman.
Freeman is entering the final year of his rookie deal, and it's telling that the team didn't even try to extend his contract this offseason. Freeman is a lame duck and needs to have a "prove it" year if he's to return as the Bucs' starting quarterback in 2014 and beyond.
The fifth-year quarterback has been below average in the preseason, with the moldy cherry on top of a spoiled sundae being Saturday night's effort against Miami. In that game, Freeman completed six of his 16 passes for 59 yards. That's not the kind of performance Dominik and Schiano were looking for in the team's critical third preseason game.
The team drafted North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon in the third round of April's draft. If Freeman struggles when the regular campaign opens, don't be shocked if Glennon is inserted into the starting lineup. The Bucs are ready to win now, and they can't afford to be trotting out an albatross at the game's most important position.
Just call Freeman "General Custer." This could very well be his last stand in Tampa Bay.