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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Bucs’ soap opera hard to watch

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Published:   |   Updated: September 13, 2013 at 06:25 AM

TAMPA — Josh Freeman missed the Bucs team photo last week.

I’ve got news for you:

He’s going to miss the Bucs team photo next year, too.

Six whole days into the 2013 season and it’s that polluted, toxic even.

Let’s take a vote.

Everyone who thinks Freeman will be back, raise your hand.

Everyone who thinks Greg Schiano doesn’t truly believe in Josh Freeman, raise your hand.

Everyone who thinks Josh Freeman doesn’t truly believe in Greg Schiano, raise your hand.

Six days into the 2013 season and we’ve got an Apocalypse Now bullet train flying down the tracks, already filled with The Case of the Missed Team Photo and, more ludicrous, The Case of the Missing Votes — the story roundly refuted by all in pewter: that the head coach, the grand tabulator, rigged the returns to keep No. 5 from being elected a captain by his teammates.

Absurd story. Insanity.

Still:

This thing is done, over.

I don’t think Josh Freeman is back next season, if he lasts that long.

Who’s got the bye week in the pool?

I don’t think Schiano wants him back.

And I don’t think Freeman wants to be back.

This is a bad situation.

Winning football teams don’t act this way.

Would it have made a difference if the Bucs had beaten the Jets?

Will it make a difference if they beat the Saints this Sunday?

Not in the long run.

Schiano and Freeman said the right things Thursday, emphasizing an unshakable bond.

“I do trust Josh,” Schiano said. “We share a lot of things together.”

“I do, absolutely,” Freeman said when asked if he trusts Schiano. He added, “Coach rigging the ballots or something? Coach would not do that. I’ve got 100 percent confidence. That’s a big thing with Coach: trust and accountability. Of course I trust Coach.”

Believe them?

Do their actions back it up?

Let’s take a vote.

Freeman currently is the Incredible Shrinking Quarterback. It’s inside his head, and I don’t know how it’s getting out of there. His head coach hasn’t helped.

If you ask me, Schiano has decided that Freeman isn’t his guy.

I think Freeman has decided the same thing about Schiano.

Schiano’s problem, a real one, is that rookie Mike Glennon isn’t a winning alternative right now, especially given that the money and talent in the building say Win Now.

It’s toxic right now. That a conspiracy theory of Schiano fixing the captains vote — as raving lunatic, Captain Queeg as it would be — could gain legs even for a moment speaks to all of it ... seriously, the idea of the head coach superseding the voice of his team, or miscounting votes ... One for Josh, two for Vincent, one for Josh, three for Davin ...

Ridiculous.

There’s still no stopping the real mess.

Freeman’s brainless act (or was it?) of oversleeping that photo shoot (that’s a leader?) as his Toes On The Line boss waited, is a window to a disconnect that won’t change, even if Freeman rallies against New Orleans.

I think the Bucs’ narrative, dictated by Schiano, is set if this season falls apart: Freeman takes the fall. And Freeman will leave, happily, I think, free of Schiano as much as Schiano is free of him.

Bucs defensive lineman Da’Quan Bowers had Thursday’s best line. On Freeman and the team snapshot, Bowers said, “He’ll get on in there. That’s why we have Photoshop and all those type things.”

It will be make believe. Like this trust stuff.

Who thinks this is a pretty picture?

Let’s take one last vote.

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