September 26, 2013

NFL Notebook: Bucs making a switch at quarterback

The Associated Press

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.

THURSDAY'S NFL GAME AT A GLANCE

49ERS (1-2) at RAMS (1-2)

WHEN: 8:25 p.m.

SERIES RECORD: Tied 62-62-3

LAST MEETING: Rams won 16-13 in OT, Dec. 2, 2012

LAST WEEK: 49ers lost to Colts 27-7; Rams lost to Cowboys 31-7

TELEVISION: NFL Network

OUTLOOK: San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick spent some of his free time this week trolling Twitter and retweeting many of the most critical, even vile comments about himself. How he's a one-year wonder. How the 49ers never should have gotten rid of Alex Smith. The word is motivation. San Fran's young QB has played two terrible games in a row in consecutive losses, and both he and the Niners are too talented to make it three in a row. It won't be easy. The Rams beat and tied the Niners last season and were 4-1-1 vs. the NFC West, and the visitors have two key players hobbled in tight end Vernon Davis (hamstring) and linebacker Patrick Willis (groin), both questionable. But Tony Romo strafed this weak St. Louis pass defense this past Sunday and so should Kaepernick in this Thursday prime-timer. The Rams' secondary is allowing opponents 71 percent completions and a 114.7 passer rating. That's a timely get-well card to Colin.

PREDICTION: 49ers, 24-17

-- Greg Cote, The Miami Herald

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.

(Continued on page 2)

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