Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano began his Wednesday press conference explaining the Josh Freeman benching by saying that on Monday, when he said Freeman was still the starter, Freeman still was.
But after talking with General Manager Mark Dominik and ownership, it became clear a change was coming.
Citing the fact that Freeman had lost eight of his last nine games, Schiano said rookie Mike Glennon gives the Buccaneers the “best chance to win today,” and that the chance to get a game in before a bye week was important.
And it apparently isn’t a short-term move.
“We’re moving forward with Mike as our quarterback,” Schiano said. “That’s our plan.”
Schiano called it a “performance-based” decision, and made it clear Freeman was being judged on his struggles in the back half of last season, making several references to the nine games. He used the same phrase when asked if reports of Freeman’s off-field issues (such as missing a team photo) played a role.
He also pawned trade questions off on Dominik, allowing him to keep his hands clean in a divorce proceeding that seemed inevitable.
Now, he has to sell to a locker room a rebuilding effort around a rookie quarterback. Schiano referenced the success of other teams in the playoffs with young quarterbacks, not flinching from a direct question as to whether Glennon is comparable to players such as Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson.
“I think Mike Glennon is Mike Glennon,” Schiano said. “I think he’s going to help us win a lot of games.”
Schiano said Freeman would be Glennon’s backup this week, but dodged repeated questions about Freeman’s future.