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Ron Jaworski: Josh Freeman 'an enigma' on Buccaneers

When Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano was asked this week who will be his starting quarterback come September, Schiano left nothing to chance.

"We only have one," Schiano told NFL Network. "It's Josh Freeman."

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Schiano's gone out of his way to squelch speculation that Freeman might be replaced by rookie Mike Glennon, but that assumes the fifth-year pro passer avoids another wildly erratic campaign. ESPN's Ron Jaworski, cycling through his annual quarterback review, said he saw more questions than answers in Freeman's play, summing him up as "an enigma."

During a midseason stretch that saw the Buccaneers go 5-1 last season, "Freeman played with a swagger," Jaws said. "He was always willing to pull the trigger, attacking all levels of the defense. What I really love was the anticipation."

Then Freeman tumbled off a cliff. "He was erratic with his accuracy. He had many communication issues with his receivers," Jaws said.

Jaworski pointed out a disturbing figure: Only Mark Sanchez of the New York Jets had a lower passer rating when facing pressure. That's when we saw Freeman mightily struggle at reading coverages and making split-second decisions.

Case in point: This ugly interception against the St. Louis Rams in Week 16, in which Freeman was picked off by James Laurinaitis.

"When you go play-action, you still have to locate your underneath defenders," Jaworski noted. "You can't assume they will not be a factor in coverage. ... Freeman threw this ball as if the linebacker wasn't even there. Freeman is an enigma. He has a lot of talent, but he should be a better quarterback after 56 NFL starts."

I have high hopes for this year's Bucs, but that's contingent on Freeman taking the next step. If he isn't a better passer by midseason, I wouldn't be surprised to see Tampa Bay explore what they have in Glennon, no matter what the team says today.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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