TAMPA — Deposed Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman, who was among the inactive players for Sunday's game, watched the 13-10 loss to Arizona from a suite at Raymond James Stadium rather than the sideline.
“It was a mutual decision,'' head coach Greg Schiano said of Freeman viewing the game from the suite.
“With all the happenings of the week, it was the best thing for our team.''
According to Freeman's agent, Erik Burkhardt, the decision was not mutual.
“Lie,” Burkhardt said in a text message response to The Tampa Tribune.
Freeman was in the locker room after the game but has not spoken to local reporters since Schiano announced Wednesday he was benching the fifth-year player in favor of rookie Mike Glennon.
“I have no comment at this time,'' Freeman said as a horde of reporters chased him from outside the locker room toward the parking lot.
The day after his benching was announced by Schiano, Freeman shunned local reporters and agreed to an ESPN interview, acknowledging his desire to be traded.
The final installment of the interview aired Sunday morning, with Freeman acknowledging he missed the team photo because of a power outage at his home.
An NFL.com report Sunday, citing unnamed sources, said Freeman missed team meetings this past week, leading to his inactive status Sunday. Veteran Dan Orlovsky was active for the first time this season as Glennon's backup.
Meanwhile, several national analysts weighed in on the situation.
“At the end of the day, you're responsible for your own career,'' Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter said in his role as ESPN analyst. “He is completing less than 50 percent of his passes. In this day and age, we are not letting no one play who does not complete more than that, even in high school. So, Josh, you have not been responsible. You have had plenty of opportunities to grow your football game.''
But according to Fox analyst Howie Long, there's more to the story.
“We're talking about a quarterback who is young and two years ago was a Pro Bowl-level quarterback,'' Long said. “The writing to a certain extent was on the wall. The team was splitting snaps from the beginning of the season. What kind of message does that send to your franchise quarterback? This kid needs to take care of the inconsistencies and get it together. I don't think we've seen the last of Josh Freeman.”
Nowhere to run
Two weeks after rushing for 144 yards against the Saints, Bucs running back Doug Martin found few creases Sunday as the Cardinals limited him to only 45 yards on 27 carries.
“We don't feel like anybody can run the football on us,'' Arizona coach Bruce Arians said. “They got after him, but he's a great back.''
Martin has an even 100 carries on the season and his average of 3.4 yards is well off the 4.6 average he boasted during a Pro Bowl rookie season.
“It's tough when they put so many guys in the box against our rookie quarterback,'' Bucs guard Carl Nicks said. “But that doesn't mean we shouldn't run the ball better than today. That's on the offensive line, and we'll take the responsibility for that.''
Too many yellow flags on the field
Once again, an official's flag dropped to the ground and once again, Bucs safety Dashon Goldson was on the wrong end of the call.
Goldson, who signed in March as a high-priced free agent from San Francisco, was called for unnecessary roughness on the first play of Arizona's game-winning drive as rookie wide receiver Jaron Brown leaped and caught a 19-yard pass from Carson Palmer on the right sideline.
Goldson was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver. The 10-yard penalty gave the Cardinals a first down at the 9-yard line and, four plays later, former Jesuit High standout Jay Feely broke a 10-10 tie with a 27-yard field goal.
“I'm trying to abide by the rules,'' Goldson said.
Goldson has been fined three times this season by the league, though he successfully appealed a one-game suspension levied for his hit against Saints running back Darren Sproles in Week 2.
Early in the fourth quarter against the Cardinals, Goldson pulled off a fake punt play with Tampa Bay leading 10-3. On fourth-and-1 from the Bucs 25-yard line, Goldson took a direct snap from Andrew Economos and dashed 22 yards around left end.
“It was a good call,'' Goldson said. “They saw something on film and it was my job to execute it.''