Josh Freeman entered his contract season with high hopes of proving his doubters wrong and putting a tumultuous offseason behind him. Instead, the team is 0-3, and he's been the worst quarterback in the NFL over the first three weeks.
And that's why it's time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move on from Josh Freeman.
Freeman struggled yet again in Sunday's loss to the New England Patriots, connecting on only 19 of 41 passes with no touchdowns and an interception. That brings his completion percentage for the season to a lowly 45.7 percent, a ratio that would make even Tim Tebow blush.
But the statistics don't always tell the entire story. So here's why the Buccaneers need to move on from their quarterback and replace him with Mike Glennon for next week's game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Freeman Continues to Make Bad Decisions
So far this season, Josh Freeman has made multiple bad decisions which have hampered the offense and put the talented defense in bad spots.
Freeman's three interceptions this season have all been on misguided throws that didn't have a chance of ever being successful. Let's consider each one and the circumstances surrounding them.
Interception 1 against the New York Jets: Josh Freeman faces a bit of pressure, and tries to find his safety valve Vincent Jackson. But he commits the cardinal sin of throwing late over the middle of the field, and to make things worse he airmails the pass right to a New York safety.
Interception 2 against the New Orleans Saints: Freeman faces pressure and rolls to his left. As you can see on the breakdown of the play by Sander Philipse of BucsNation, Freeman throws off his back foot to a receiver who is well covered and has a safety breaking to help in coverage. The throw was telegraphed by Freeman's eyes the entire duration of the play.
Interception 3 against the New England Patriots: Freeman throws a deep out route late and short of his intended receiver, and it's easily intercepted. He never looked at any other option and still showed poor timing as his intended receiver made his break towards the sideline.
It's this bad decision making that hamstrings the team's ability to call passing plays and keep the defense honest.
Freeman Does Not Throw Accurate Passes
Job one for a pocket passer should be to deliver accurate passes that find their intended target in the best position to succeed, right?
Someone needs to tell that to Josh Freeman, as ESPN's draft expert Todd McShay explains here:
Josh Freeman's inconsistent ball placement is killer. Overshot M Williams on good read. Missed w/in strike zone to RB Martin (prevents YAC)— Todd McShay (@McShay13) September 22, 2013
Freeman doesn't only miss his receivers altogether on a regular basis, as proven by his abysmal completion percentage, but he also fails to give them the ball in a good position to continue to run with the football.
Freeman proved this multiple times during Sunday's loss to the Patriots, but maybe none were as obvious as a sequence on a pass to Doug Martin.
Martin is open over the middle of the field, and Freeman has time to make a throw. But the throw is low and brings Martin to the ground, and he's unable to get up and run for a first down. Martin is a dynamic runner and could have made the moves necessary to gain a first down, but Freeman's throw let him down.
Freeman Is Not The Future of the Franchise
When Mike Glennon was drafted by the Buccaneers in the third round of the NFL Draft, many thought that selection meant the Buccaneers were ready to move on from Josh Freeman. And with his early struggles this season, it was certainly reasonable to wonder when Greg Schiano would pull the trigger and make the change at quarterback.
And that's why Tampa Bay fans went crazy on Twitter when Albert Breer of NFL Network tweeted the following.
Uh .. Mike Glennon is warming up on the sideline for Tampa.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) September 22, 2013
It came as no surprise to many that the Buccaneers would consider making a change, and it brought the harsh reality of the situation to the forefront.
Josh Freeman isn't going to get a new contract in Tampa Bay. He's not the future for this team under Greg Schiano or any other head coach.
Mike Glennon never got a chance on Sunday, as Freeman remained in the game until the end. But Freeman's continued play into the fourth quarter only served as a reminder that he's not the franchise QB the Buccaneers have been looking for since their inception.
Is Mike Glennon going to be better than Josh Freeman? Probably not. But teams that start off 0-3 rarely make the playoffs, as NFL.com pointed out in this photo essay.
Since 1990, no team that has started 0-3 went on to the Super Bowl. Only three teams that started 0-3 since 1990 went on to make the playoffs: 1998 Buffalo Bills (finished 10-6), 1995 Detroit Lions (finished 10-6) and 1992 San Diego Chargers (finished 11-5).
And with a lackluster quarterback, it's unlikely that the Buccaneers will be like those three miracle teams who were able to turn their seasons around.
Should the Buccaneers bench Josh Freeman?
So let's see what Glennon is by giving him a real dress rehearsal for the remainder of the season. NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell was quoted by NFL.com's Marc Sessler as saying that Glennon had some of the best tools in the draft this year and that he'd prefer Glennon over Geno Smith.
The Buccaneers aren't going anywhere in a loaded NFC South with Josh Freeman at quarterback. So the team should cut its losses, give Mike Glennon a shot and keep an eye on the college ranks to see if the franchise quarterback they need is currently playing at Louisville, Oregon or UCLA.