By Tom Krasniqi
There’s a tense feeling within the walls of One Buc Place. The embattled quarterback and the head coach appear to be at odds. Both are denying it. The Bucs have played just one game so far but the tension is palpable.
Quarterback Josh Freeman missed a team photo. We know this to be a fact. A players only meeting was conducted before the Jets game. That is also a fact. Head coach Greg Schiano denied a report that he rigged the voting so that Freeman would not be named captain. That is still sketchy. For a team that has played just one game, there’s a lot of drama taking place at One Buc Place.
Long snapper Andrew Economos called the meeting to “get it together, get our focus together” before the season began. Economos and the newly appointed captains spoke at the meeting. According to Economos, the meeting was more of a “pep rally” than anything else and that the voting procedure wasn’t addressed.
As for Freeman missing the team photo, he placed the blame on himself: “I overslept, point blank.”
Freeman said he was tending to some “family stuff.” Still, it doesn’t reflect well on him as a perceived leader. He said outside of that and missing the start of his camp over the summer, he hasn’t been habitually late for functions.
Schiano fielded questions about the incident and again addressed his relationship with his quarterback. The head coach says the situation was addressed internally and also mentioned Freeman had been tardy on other occasions: “There are things that he’s been late for,” Schiano said on Thursday. “There are things that a lot of players have been late for. My thing is there’s no excuses, just excused absences.”
Uh oh. The coach and quarterback appear to differ on that front. Even though Schiano and Freeman both said that they trust each other, this doesn’t appear to be a rosy relationship.
Co-captain Davin Joseph has been late himself to some functions and stands behind Freeman. “When it comes to Freeman, I have no complaints,” Joseph stated. “I’m happy he’s our quarterback. I wouldn’t take anyone else.” Joseph said all the right things but does the team in general believe it? Does the coach believe it? Actions speak louder than words. Remember, Mike Glennon was drafted and saw significant action during the preseason.
Did we mention the 0-1 Bucs host Drew Brees and the 1-0 Saints on Sunday in the home opener? These distractions can’t help their game preparation.
As for Thursday’s injury report, there are a couple of changes for the Bucs. DE Adrian Clayborn was added with a hip injury. He was limited but he doesn’t appear to be in danger of missing Sunday’s game. LG Carl Nicks (foot) was limited again on Thursday. CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring) and FB Erik Lorig practiced in full on Thursday. CB Michael Adams (knee) has already been ruled out. TE Tom Crabtree (ankle) did not practice and is looking very doubtful.
For the Saints, NT Broderick Bunkley (calf) did not practice again and will miss a few weeks. Among the other notables on the injury report: CB Jabari Greer (back), LB Curtis Lofton (knee) and CB Patrick Robinson (foot) were limited on Thursday. WR Marques Colston (foot), G Jahri Evans (back), LB Junior Galette (hamstring) and T Zach Strief (neck) were full participants in practice.
News & Notes:
- Good news for the Bucs fans—Sunday’s home opener against the Saints did meet the 85% requirement so the game will be televised on Sunday. The team says there are still tickets available by going to buccaneers.com.
- Bucs DE Da’Quan Bowers with a comical take on Freeman missing the photo shoot: “Things happen. I’m not sure why he’s missed it but I’m sure it was something he couldn’t help. He’ll get on there, that’s why we have photoshop and all those types of things.”
- RB Jeff Demps says his role hasn’t been defined but he’s been seeing plenty of time at running back this week. He’s on the exempt list and the Bucs have two weeks to activate him to the current roster.
- Yesterday, Bucs safety Dashon Goldson said the NFL fined him a significant amount for his hit on Jets TE Jeff Cumberland. On Thursday, LB LaVonte David was fined $7,875 for pushing Jets QB Geno Smith out of bounds. David says he’s appealing.
- I asked Bucs CB Darrelle Revis if he was going to be covering Saints WR Marques Colston or TE Jimmy Graham, he laughed: “I can’t tell you our game plan. I’m sure Drew [Brees] might be paying attention.”
- The Bucs will have their home opener on Sunday against the Saints at Raymond James Stadium. You can catch the game on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM with our coverage beginning at 12 noon with the Floor & Décor Countdown To Kickoff show.
- For the latest Bucs news, keep it locked all day long on 620 WDAE and 95.3FM, your home of the Bucs and the best Bucs coverage. Don’t forget to check out the Bucs blog at 620wdae.com for the latest news and audio clips.