TAMPA — For those Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans wondering why beleaguered QB Josh Freeman is still on the team, coach Greg Schiano offered a simple explanation Monday.
Freeman was benched as Tampa Bay’s starter in favor of rookie Mike Glennon last week after completing only 45.7 percent of his pass attempts during an 0-3 start to the season. A day after losing his job, Freeman agreed to an unauthorized interview with ESPN and said he would welcome a trade.
On Sunday, Freeman watched from a Raymond James Stadium suite as the Bucs dropped a 13-10 decision to Arizona.
“I’m not going to be naive,’’ Schiano said as the winless Bucs head into a bye week. “There’s a lot of factors involved. This is not high school football, it’s professional football. There are salaries and contracts and those things involved. What I do is focus on the things that will help us win games.’’
Schiano did not commit to Freeman being inactive for future games.
“We’ll take it each week, as we do all the inactives and the backups,” Schiano said. “We’ll see how everything plays out.”
Freeman, 25, is in the final season of his five-year rookie contract and could be a free agent next spring.
But for now, he remains.
“As long as he’s a Buccaneer, then he will be a part of this team and do the things that we do,” Schiano said.
Good to go
The Bucs will have hard-hitting S Dashon Goldson roaming their secondary when they return to action against the Philadelphia Eagles in two weeks.
Goldson will not be suspended for his latest personal foul infraction, an NFL spokesman said Monday.
“NFL Vice President of Football Operations Merton Hanks is reviewing the hit by Dashon Goldson for a potential fine but has determined the play does not warrant a suspension,’’ league spokesman Randall Liu wrote The Tampa Tribune in an e-mail.
Goldson was flagged for his third personal foul of the season on Sunday when he hit Cardinals rookie WR Jaron Brown as Brown was still coming back down from making a leaping catch in the fourth quarter.
The review indicates Goldson could still be fined for the hit.
Goldson has already been fined at least $130,000 this year for previous hits, including $100,000 for a helmet-to-helmet blow on Saints RB Darren Sproles in Week 2.
With the status of S Mark Barron (hamstring) and TE Nate Byham (calf, knee) uncertain, the Bucs might have the services of TE Tom Crabtree against Philadelphia.
Crabtree, signed as a free agent from Green Bay in March, suffered a high left ankle sprain in the final exhibition game and has yet to make his regular-season debut.
“I think that’s where my sights are set, that’s a realistic goal,’’ Crabtree said. “We want to be smart about it, but at the same time, I want to be out there.’’
Crabtree thought he’d be back for Sunday’s game against Arizona, but had a setback in the middle of the week. Instead, he watched Tampa Bay’s 10-0 lead dissolve late in a 13-10 loss.
“We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,’’ he said. “At times, we’re having some lapses. It’s everybody across the board. If we just stick to what we do and what we know, it’ll turn out fine.’’
Schiano agreed, saying Bucs players must avoid the temptation to do more, especially in crunch time.
“One of the things we have to learn to do is trust your training the most in the most critical situation,’’ said Schiano, who fell to 0-6 as an NFL head coach in games decided by three points or less.
Doug Martin reluctantly joined some select company Sunday when the Pro Bowl running back gained only 45 yards in 27 carries. It marked only the eighth time since 1935 that an NFL player was held to 45 yards or fewer with at least 25 rushing attempts. Martin tops all players with 100 carries on the season. ...Bucs opponents have scored only four touchdowns in 14 trips to the red zone. ...Tampa Bay’s average of 3.7 yards on first down ranks last in the league. ...Sunday’s comeback marked the first time in 14 years the Cardinals erased a double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to win on the road. ...According to the Tampa Sports Authority, actual attendance Sunday was 41,530.