Last Saturday, Roy Cummings published a column blaming Josh Freeman for the ugly drama we've seen over the past two weeks. The column is at once right on and completely beside the point at the same time. It's a wonderful defense of the benching of Josh Freeman, but lost in that defense is the fact that Greg Schiano has not come under attack for benching or even releasing the quarterback. He's come under attack for everything that surrounded it.
Those attacks may be unfair, of course. We don't know where all the leaks are coming from. What we do know, however, is that some of them have had to come from within One Buc Place, because that's the only place that would know about missed meetings and photo shoots. That means those leaks happened under Greg Schiano, and that's a problem.
And now, the team's quarterbacks coach is complaining about Josh Freeman to the Tampa Bay Times. Freeman was apparently never "the type of quarterback" Greg Schiano wanted, even though Glennon is basically a less mobile, less strong-armed version of Freeman. The headline of the article is that Freeman didn't fit in the team's scheme.
That sounds like a bunch of nonsense. First of all, you guys all accepted the job with Josh Freeman in place. He was not some unknown quantity when you came to Tampa. He's not someone you got stuck with. You chose this job, and with it you chose him. Second of all, once Mike Glennon came in you actually changed the offense a little to fit his strengths more. Shocking, right? Third, what is your offense anyway? The first three games it seemed to consist of "run deep and win jump ball battles" -- which fits Freeman as well as any other offense, I guess.
If he didn't fit the scheme, why didn't you trade him this offseason? Why did you even take the job if the quarterback in place didn't fit what you were going to do? Why didn't you go the McDaniels route and trade him while his value was high? Or better yet, why didn't you adjust your scheme, the way you did with Darrelle-- never mind. The argument the Bucs should be making is much, much simpler than that. It isn't that he didn't fit the scheme. He just didn't play well. Period. That's all there is to it. And that's why you move on -- everything else is just noise.
This goes back to the whole "acting like a bitter ex" thing. Josh Freeman wasn't playing well, and it was perfectly feasible to bench him for his performance. In fact, when you sold the move that way, few people balked, but that's not where it stopped. Josh Freeman's camp probably leaked a bunch of stories (though I'm not buying for a second that they leaked the drug program story). That's not a good look for them, but it's what you expect of agents and players when they want out of a situation.
Here's the thing, though: there's no need for the Buccaneers to reciprocate, and some of those leaks had to come from the Bucs. More than anything, Bucs fans appear to be upset with Greg Schiano over losses and over the constant drama, not over Freeman's benching. From MRSA to Josh Freeman to reported player discontent to a new story coming out every day over the past two weeks -- that's the real problem. Not the fact that Josh Freeman was benched. That's perfectly justifiable.
Josh Freeman is gone. He wasn't playing well. Move on, Bucs. Stop talking about him. Stop trying to spin these stories. Stop blaming him, even if he's at fault. You have nothing to gain. And if things don't improve now that he's gone, you're going to look awfully foolish.