The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a serious problem at quarterback. They don’t have a quarterback controversy; they have a quarterback problem, and that problem is leadership. Either they have a team that doesn’t want the starting quarterback to be a captain, or they have a head coach that went out of his way to make sure that team’s starting quarterback didn’t get elected captain. Whatever the case may be, the two leaders of the team, head coach Greg Schiano and starting quarterback Josh Freeman, are at odds, which is usually a recipe for disaster.
The disaster has already started for the Bucs, as poor leadership, a lack of discipline, and a struggling offense have resulted in Tampa Bay losing its first two games of the season; two games that Tampa Bay could have (and perhaps should have) won. Freeman has been terrible the first two weeks of the season, completing just 45% of his passes for a total of 335 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. With the weapons Freeman has around him, there’s no excuse for such a poor performance. Judging by his performance in the first two weeks, there’s little reason for the rest of the team to have confidence in Freeman. Of course, Schiano has done nothing to inspire confidence in Freeman; in fact, he’s done the opposite, most notably drafting Mike Glennon with Freeman was entering the final year of his contract.
As it stands now, Freeman doesn’t want to be in Tampa Bay and Schiano doesn’t want him there. Despite denying the reports, Freeman allegedly asked for a trade out of Tampa. If true, it would leave the Bucs almost no choice but to trade away Freeman, which could prove problematic on a number of fronts.
For starters, Glennon isn’t ready to become the starter. He was given a fair opportunity to compete for the starting job during the preseason, but didn’t pose a serious challenge to take Freeman’s job. If the competition had been closer, Schiano might have chosen Glennon to be the starter, and the fact that he didn’t indicates that Freeman still gives Tampa Bay the best chance to win, but not if his head coach doesn’t believe in him and he’s unhappy enough to request a trade.
If the Bucs do have to resort to trading Freeman, the list of potential trade partners would be slim. Even the teams that don’t have an established quarterback would be unwilling to take out their current quarterback for someone who will be a free agent following the season. Outside of Jacksonville, Oakland, and Cleveland, there aren’t any likely destinations for Freeman, and even those three teams could be a stretch. Moreover, Tampa Bay shouldn’t expect to receive much in return for Freeman considering his contract situation and the way he’s played this season.
The two options Tampa Bay has are to either trade Freeman for next to nothing and make Glennon their starter or keep a disgruntled Freeman around, knowing that he and Schiano have a rift between them that seems to get wider every day. Neither option is all that appealing for the Bucs, which is why they don’t have a quarterback controversy, they have a quarterback problem. Unless Freeman and Schiano can all of a sudden patch things up, they’re going to continue to have a quarterback problem.