Buccaneers' placekicking duties up for grabs
TAMPA, Fla. (AP)
There is no competition for Josh Freeman's quarterback job, at least not yet.
Rookie QB Mike Glennon made some plays in Thursday night's 44-16 preseason loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but Bucs coach Greg Schiano made it clear Friday that Freeman is his starter.
The placekicking job is another matter.
''I hope for a very, very hard decision there,'' Schiano said, ''and that would mean we're going to be in good shape.''
Veteran Lawrence Tynes was signed to replace Bucs kicker Connor Barth, who will miss the season with a torn Achilles tendon. But the 35-year-old Tynes, who earned two Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants, was sidelined Thursday night by a toe injury. Derek Dimke, a rookie free agent from Illinois, kicked field goals of 29, 35 and 45 yards in soggy conditions, one of the few bright spots in the Bucs' preseason opener.
''I was pleased with the three made field goals. They weren't gimmes,'' Schiano said. ''Someone asked last night if that makes it a more spirited competition, and to me it's been spirited since the day we got here. So it'll continue to heat up and, like every other position, that competition at the end will make us better.''
It is unknown whether Tynes will be able to kick next Friday night at New England. Schiano said earlier this week that Tynes had been unable to get his shoe on.
Freeman has started every game at quarterback over the last three seasons, but the Bucs invested a third-round draft pick in Mike Glennon of North Carolina State. After Freeman played the first two series Thursday night, the rookie started his career in grand fashion with a 61-yard completion to tight end Tom Crabtree. Glennon finished with 169 passing yards and was 11 of 23 with one interception.
''He made some plays,'' Schiano noted. ''Still a lot to learn in our system and . . . you can see he's got the ability and that's why we went out and got him. He did the things that we thought he could do.''
But Glennon poses no immediate threat to Freeman, who was 4 of 7 for 34 yards Thursday night.
''He didn't have a chance to be spectacular, but he was solid,'' Schiano said. ''I think Josh has done everything to my expectations so far, so the way things are playing out I don't see that (job competition) being the case.''
The Bucs' three quarterbacks are set, with Glennon backing up Freeman and veteran Dan Orlovsky, who did not play against Baltimore, at No. 3.
The game against the Ravens got out of hand when the Bucs tried to force things out of Glennon from deep in their own territory in the final seconds of the first half, resulting in three incompletions and a blocked punt.
''We just wanted Mike to get more plays, and it leads to a punt which gets blocked,'' Schiano said. ''Now you should never have a punt blocked, but . . . all I wanted was to see execution, I wanted to see effort, I wanted to see us taking care of the football. At times we did, and at other times we didn't.''
Including Tynes, the Bucs played the preseason opener without eight starters. Some of them will play against the Patriots, but Schiano implied that cornerback Darrelle Revis and guards Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph - all coming off major injuries - will be held out at least another week.
The Bucs will travel to New England on Tuesday for two days of practice with the Patriots before the exhibition game.
''It goes back to being able to relate to their tempo, getting our communication settled and things like that,'' said linebacker Lavonte David. ''It'll get us prepared for gametime.''
NOTES: The Bucs' injury list included running back Peyton Hills (leg/thigh), cornerback Danny Gorrer (groin) and wide receiver Chris Owusu (ankle sprain). Gorrer had an early interception against Baltimore's Joe Flacco and got injured on an impressive pass breakup. Owusu, who was the talk of training camp, caught a 41-yard pass but also fumbled a punt.