On Wednesday, the Buccaneers benched Josh Freeman and handed the offense over to rookie Mike Glennon. By Thursday night, Freeman said publicly what everyone figured he'd been thinking since he was demoted: He wants out of Tampa Bay.
“Like I said, it's uncomfortable to say," Freeman told ESPN's Josina Anderson about wanting to move on from the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2009. "It might not sit well. It might not feel good, but the bottom line is for me as player I can't worry about everyone else. I can't worry about what everybody is doing. I just have to focus on the best situation for me.
“Obviously the head coach has come out and said that this isn't the place for me to be a starting quarterback," Freeman continued. "He doesn't think that I give this team the best chance to win. I don't agree, but at the same time I'm the player and he's the coach. Whatever happens next, I'm moving on. I'm going to be excited to go out and make the most of any situation.”
CBS NFL Insider Jason La Canfora wrote earlier this week that Freeman's benching wasn't a surprise: "It has long been apparent Freeman had no future in Tampa with [Greg] Schiano as coach -- Schiano never endorsed or embraced him long-term -- and this situation has festered for about nine months now, during which time the topic of a potential Freeman trade has been broached by various parties, inside the organization and out."
And while Freeman has been abysmal through three games, completing just 45.7 percent of his passes, the sputtering Bucs' offense isn't all his fault. An ill-fitting scheme hasn't helped, either.
"The system under coordinator Mike Sullivan is a deep-ball passing offense," CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco wrote Thursday. "That's why Freeman's completion percentage, the number being touted by his critics, is a horrendous 45.7 percent, the worst in the league. His passer rating is also the worst in the NFL at 59.3. There aren't a lot of intermediate routes in this offense."
And that offensive philosophy doesn't look to change under strong-armed Mike Glennon. Either way, Freeman's now the odd man out.
"It all gets back to this,” Freeman told Anderson about demanding a trade. “You know I don't for a number of reasons. But bottom line is, if you want things to change, something has got to change. At the end of the day, yes. I think that moving forward that might be, that is going to be probably the best option.”
In recent weeks, before Schiano decided to go with Glennon, we wondered how Freeman's career might have been different if he had found the right coach and the right scheme. Now we just might find out.