Did the Buccaneers do the Cardinals a favor?
A Week 4 quarterback switch to a rookie defies the norm.
Not since Jimmy Clausen in 2010 has a team inserted a rookie that wasn't a first round pick into the starting lineup when the cause wasn't injury. The Panthers lost 20-7.
Josh Freeman was not only benched this week, the organization notified him he wasn't their quarterback for the future and that they'd try to trade him before the deadline.
The writing had been on the wall. Freeman is in his free agent year, but head coach Greg Schiano assured the media this offseason that now wasn't the time to talk contract. The organization then took a quarterback (Mike Glennon) in the third round of the draft. They stripped Freeman of his captaincy because he showed up late for picture day. And Freeman's regression as a quarterback is a clear indication that the offense is out of whack.
Bottom line: Freeman and Schiano weren't a match, and the organization has decided to stand behind its coach.
So, in steps Mike Glennon, all 6-feet, 7-inches, and 104 pounds of him. The North Carolina State product has a rocket launcher for an arm, he played well in the preseason, and he hasn't gone 0-3 while completing fewer than 50 percent of his passes this year. So, he's got that going for him, which is nice.
On the flip side, recent history screams out "bet the Cardinals" this Sunday.
Last year's historic quarterback draft class went 2-6 in their starting debuts, and the only two wins came from Washington Redskins.
Over the course of the last five seasons, let's call it the "modern day," rookie quarterbacks making their starting debuts have gone 10-17 and their teams have averaged fewer than 20 points per game.
Strangely, rookie quarterbacks making their first start in-season fair better, as they are 6-8 over the last five seasons. And the lower the draft pick, the better he seems to fare. Kirk Cousins in 2012 (4th round), T.J. Yates in 2011 (5th round), John Skelton, Joe Webb and Max Hall in 2010 (5th round, 6th round and undrafted).
The one first round draft pick in the last five years to win his in-season NFL starting debut? Josh Freeman.
And once you dig a little deeper into numbers that you may choose to ponder or ignore, you'll find the true keys to winning your rookie debut are to play Cleveland (2-0) and avoid the Cardinals (0-3).
Sam Bradford, Cam Newton and Russell Wilson all had their debuts spoiled by the Cardinals.
So, what you got Mike Glennon?
Chuck Powell, KTAR.com & ArizonaSports.com contributor
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