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Sports

September 26, 2013

Bucs bench QB Freeman, turn to rookie Glennon

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Less than five seasons are declaring Josh Freeman was the future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the struggling franchise is tying its hopes to another rookie quarterback.

Coach Greg Schiano benched Freeman in favor of untested Mike Glennon, two days after insisting the former first-round draft pick remained the starter because he gave the Bucs the best chance to win.

On Wednesday, Schiano said several times Glennon now gives the Bucs the best chance to win. The coach said he changed his mind after meeting Tuesday with general manager Mark Dominik, and later discussing the situation with ownership — which signed off on the move.

“This is a performance-based decision,” Schiano said after practice Wednesday. “We’re not getting the job done on the field.”

The winless Bucs have lost their first three games, two on field goals in the closing seconds. Freeman has completed just 45.7 percent of his passes for 571 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Dating to last season, they’ve dropped eight and nine games, and the offense hasn’t played well throughout the stretch.

“There are a lot of reasons for it. It’s not just one guy,” Schiano said of Freeman, the franchise career completions leader who is in the final year of the contract he signed as a rookie. “But’s that’s a critical piece of it. ... The quarterback touches the ball every play.”

The Bucs did not make Freeman, who’s 24-35 as a starter, available for interviews.

Glennon was drafted in the third round out of North Carolina State, where he spent part of his college career as a backup to Russell Wilson. He will make his first pro start Sunday at home against Arizona.

The 23-year-old did not make a push to unseat Freeman during the preseason, however he feels he’s continued to grow while riding the bench and is ready to make the next step. “This is what I prepared my whole life for. I’m excited about it. Can’t wait,” Glennon said. “I’ve prepared ever since I can remember. Growing up, this is what I dreamed of doing, this is what I worked for. I’m really excited about it.”

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