Is it too late to save Tampa Bay's season? Head coach Greg Schiano doesn't think so, and that's why he's making a quarterback change. Sit down, Josh Freeman. Get warm, Mike Glennon.
And hope for the best, fantasy owner.
The worst-kept secret in the NFL these days is the loathing between Schiano and Freeman. The Bucs boss is combative even on a good day, and Freeman hasn't looked comfortable or content since the opening of training camp. That theme heated up in August - Freeman played poorly in the exhibition season, and was eventually stripped of his team captaincy. (The Bucs say they voted on team captains; the conspiracy theorists wonder if Schiano pulled some strings to get the C off Freeman's jersey.)
And now Freeman's landed on the bench, with the news breaking Wednesday morning (first reported by Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). Captain Hook strikes in Week 4.
Freeman's summer slump carried over to the real games - three Tampa Bay losses. The ugly numbers are in the Ryan Leaf/Mark Sanchez neighborhood: 59.3 rating, 45.7 percent completions, 6.1 YPA, 2 TD, 3 INT. You deserve to be benched for that type of play. To be fair, the Bucs were one play away from beating the Jets and Saints, and they outplayed New England for a decent chunk of last week's first half. But at some point, as Bill Parcells liked to say, you are what you are. Tampa Bay is just another winless, desperate football team.
Even with Freeman's lousy play, we can't be confident Glennon will be an immediate improvement. He was seen as a project quarterback on Draft Day (third round, 11th pick) and he didn't play well in August - albeit his numbers were an eyelash better than Freeman's. Put on safety goggles and have a look at these hideous exhibition stats:
In standard one-QB leagues, you're ignoring both of these guys, obviously. But Tampa Bay has plenty of interesting fantasy options elsewhere - Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams - and we have to consider how they'll be affected by the change.
Martin is the player I'm least concerned about. Sure, defenses will surely make him the target player on a week-to-week basis, but that was already the case. He's capable of running everything in the playbook, inside and out, runs and receptions. They should figure out a way for him to stay productive.
Jackson gets a tick down on my clipboard for the time being - he was averaging 17.7 yards a catch and that's not including the lengthy score he lost in Week 2 (wiped out by a non-influencing formation flag). How quickly can Glennon and Jackson get on the same page with the deep ball? Glennon has the arm strength to make the throws, mind you - but how aggressive will the Bucs ask him to be right away?
I wasn't thrilled with Williams's play in the opening three weeks, but maybe his game will get a mild push forward with the new quarterback. The Bucs don't have a tight end or third receiver of note, and Williams is the nominal possession receiver in house. But I haven't been at Tampa practice; I can't tell you who Glennon clicks with and who he doesn't. We're all flying a little blind on this.
I'm no fan of Schiano's act, but at the end of the day I can see the logic behind the move. As poorly as Freeman was playing, you might as well throw Glennon into the pool and see if he can swim. The team needs a spark - if not a massive kick in the rear. Arizona's defense is no pushover in Week 4, but teams have been throwing on the Cardinals.
And if Glennon makes a mess of his starting assignment, the Bucs can always retreat to the bunker and reevaluate things. They're off in Week 5, a well-timed bye week. It's an interesting schedule after the break: Philly, Atlanta, Carolina, Seattle, Miami. Nothing easy with that slate.
I've had my say, now it's your turn. Please share your scouting thoughts in the comments, and how you're going to approach the Buccaneers of note going forward.