TAMPA, Fla. – Less than five seasons after 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 the 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 have dropped 8 of 9 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.
LIONS: Reggie Bush said he will play against the NFC North-leading Chicago Bears on Sunday, a week after missing a game with a banged-up knee.
CHARGERS: Right tackle D.J. Fluker was the only starter on the offensive line practicing as San Diego began preparing for the Dallas Cowboys.
Otherwise the line was made up of a mixture of backups as the Chargers compensate for a wave of injuries.
Not participating were left tackle King Dunlap, left guard Chad Rinehart, center Nick Hardwick and right guard Jeromey Clary. Dunlap has a concussion, Rinehart has turf toe, Hardwick has shin splints and Clary a sore clavicle.
Hardwick and Clary could play Sunday.
• Former Chargers and University of Georgia defensive back Paul Oliver committed suicide at his Atlanta-area home, a medical examiner said.
Oliver, 29, was found dead Tuesday night in Marietta, about 20 miles northwest of Atlanta, Cobb County Medical Examiner’s investigator Tim Weaver said.
Oliver died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Cobb County police Sgt. Dana Pierce said.
RAIDERS: Matt Flynn might finally get another chance to start a game at quarterback in the NFL.
After being beaten out for starting gigs the past two preseasons in Seattle and Oakland, Flynn could start this week for the Raiders with Terrelle Pryor recovering from a concussion.
Flynn got his first extensive work with the first team at practice since falling behind Pryor on the depth chart in training camp and could start Sunday against Washington.
Pryor has not been cleared to return to practice yet after getting hurt late in Monday night’s loss in Denver when he was knocked out on a helmet-to-helmet hit by linebacker Wesley Woodyard on a draw. Pryor thought Woodyard should have been fined for the play but it was determined to be legal by the NFL because Pryor was a runner between the tackles.
TEXANS: Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus said he’s been fined $15,000 for a hit on Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco.
Mercilus was fined for a play where his helmet hit the chin of Flacco. Mercilus was given a penalty for roughing the passer.
Mercilus said he plans to appeal the fine.
JETS: Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner injured a hamstring at practice and his status for Sunday’s game at Tennessee is uncertain.
Milliner, the team’s top draft pick in April, was limited at practice after the injury.
GIANTS: After a 38-0 loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Giants are promising only one change for Sunday’s game in Kansas City against the Chiefs.
There is going to be an attitude adjustment.
Win or lose, the Giants (0-3) aren’t going to have another no-show performance against the Chiefs (3-0).
“I think the better Giants team is going to show up this week,” receiver Victor Cruz said. “It’s a different mind-set. Today’s practice was completely different than what we had in the past. The energy was different. The feel was different. We’re excited. This is where I think we turn the page and make a good run and get a couple of wins.”
An upbeat coach Tom Coughlin is promising a more physical team. And if practice was any indication, there was a little feistiness to the workout.
“These guys are hungry, being 0-3 and especially the way we lost that game,” punter Steve Weatherford said. “We wanted to win that one for Coach and we didn’t play well.”
COWBOYS: Receiver Dez Bryant was fined $7,875 by the NFL for a throat-slashing gesture that resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty last week against St. Louis.
Bryant made the gesture while celebrating a 2-yard touchdown catch in a 31-7 victory against the Rams on Sunday.