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Tuesday, Oct 16, 2018
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Martin Fennelly Columns

Fennelly: Time for Bucs' Schiano, Freeman to deliver

TAMPA — They just played the worst team they'll play all season — and lost.

About a week before this season began (as if Sunday's impossible, inexcusable loss to the Jets was any beginning), Bucs coach Greg Schiano was talking about Josh Freeman and the swirl of opinion surrounding his quarterback.

“I tell every quarterback I've recruited or drafted, 'Quarterback and the head coach — that's life,' ” Schiano said.

So it is.

We're one week in and it's quarterback and head coach — the quarterback who needed to brush aside concerns about his game (Freeman didn't) and the head coach who needed to have his team ready to play against New York (Schiano didn't).

The Bucs are staring at 0-3, if the foam on Drew Brees and Tom Brady's mouths is any indication.

This just in: Greg Schiano neither recruited nor drafted Josh Freeman.

The Bucs just played a quarterback who'd never taken an NFL snap — and lost.

Suddenly the quarterback and the head coach need to roll one out this Sunday.

They need to put something good out there against the Saints.

What have you got for us, fellas?

The Bucs are two more losses to start the season — three losses, tops — from complete jungle madness, when people start realizing hey, Rutgers never won the Big East, either, and a Bucs search committee forming to find out which Kids and Faith Jamboree that the old left-hander, Tim Tebow, will be attending so, you know, so they can talk.

Or maybe Schiano simply hands Mike Glennon a helmet that works.

Hey, no conspiracy theories. It's coincidence that Freeman wound up with the Toys 'R' Us headset, but no coincidence at all that he was clueless as to what to do after that.

Back to the head coach.

What's the point of being a Discipline Guy, a Rules For Everything, if you can't get your team to play disciplined?

All those dumb and dumber penalties. All those preposterous boo-boos on the wackiest first offensive series of the season in Bucs history — this is what you worked on for months? Who was at the grease board in the meetings, Professor Backwards?

Last season began with us wondering about Schiano the game coach after those losses to the Giants, Cowboys and Redskins. Later, there was the game at New Orleans, where Schiano's team never even showed up. They weren't ready to play.

They weren't ready to play last Sunday, either.

Then there was the game plan, the plan of attack, which was no attack at all. It was close to the vest, tight and conservative, let's just squeak past the Jets and that rookie QB, left no margin for error. I don't think the Bucs are good enough to do that. No margin for error and here comes Lavonte David's brain cramp.

They just played the worst team they'll play all season — and lost.

And now a few words about that growing tub of goo, the starting quarterback. Yes, Josh Freeman nearly got away with a fourth-quarter comeback. But mostly he looked as shaky as he looked down the stretch last season, tighter than tight, those missed throws in the flat Sunday that even a high schooler nails.

Don't look now, but 5 is looking over his shoulder. He might talk calm and walk calm, but that's not what I'm seeing out there. It still boggles my mind that a guy who clearly has the talent to play in this league, and well, could regress like this.

The quarterback and the head coach need a good ballgame. Everyone is waiting on them.

That's life.

Hey, last year, Josh Freeman threw for a career-high 420 yards and three touchdowns against New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium. Remember?

It's easy to forget right now.

The Bucs just played the worst team they'll play this season — and lost.

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