Josh Freeman was replaced by rookie Mike Glennon as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ starting quarterback after completing a National Football League-low 45.7 percent of his passes during the team’s 0-3 start.
Freeman, 25, had been the Buccaneers’ starter since his rookie year, when he was selected in the first round of the 2009 draft. Glennon, a third-round pick in this year’s draft out of North Carolina State, will make his first start this week against the Arizona Cardinals.
“This is a performance-based decision,” Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano said at a televised news conference. “The bottom line is that we weren’t getting the job done on the field.”
Schiano, in his second season with the Buccaneers, said two days ago that Freeman would remain the team’s starter. He said today that he decided to make a change after meetings with General Manager Mark Domenik and ownership, and that Glennon will start the rest of the season.
“We came to a conclusion as a group, made a decision as an organization, that we were going to make a change,” Schiano said. “Mark and I believe this gives us the best chance to win today. We’ve lost eight of nine games and haven’t played very well on offense over those nine games.”
Tampa Bay has the second-fewest yards passing and points scored among the NFL’s 32 teams.
“It’s not the quarterback’s fault, but that’s the position that handles the ball on every play,” Schiano said.
Freeman helped the Buccaneers to a 10-6 record in his second NFL season, completing more than 61 percent of his passes with 25 touchdowns and six interceptions. He threw 22 interceptions the following season as Tampa Bay went 4-12 and last year had his completion percentage drop to 54.8 with 17 interceptions. The Buccaneers finished 7-9.
Freeman has completed 43 of 94 passes for 571 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions this season. The former Kansas State standout was the third quarterback taken in the 2009 draft after No. 1 pick Matthew Stafford of the Detroit Lions and No. 5 selection Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets.
The 6-foot-7 Glennon has yet to throw an NFL pass. In his senior year at North Carolina State, he threw for 4,031 yards and 31 touchdowns in 13 games while tying for the National Collegiate Athletic Association lead with 17 interceptions.
The Buccaneers have a bye week following their Sept. 29 game against the Cardinals, a period that Schiano said will give coaches extra time to dissect Glennon’s first start and help with his adjustment to the NFL.
“Mike’s a smart, tough football player who loves the game,” Schiano said. “He works extremely hard, he will go out and try to do what we’re coaching him to do.”
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