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Less than five seasons are declaring Josh Freeman was the future of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the struggling franchise is tying its hopes to another rookie quarterback.

Coach Greg Schiano benched Freeman in favor of 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've dropped eight of nine games, 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."

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.

After setting single-season team records for passing yards and points scored in 2012, the Bucs have scored just three offensive touchdowns through three games — none in the past seven quarters.

Freeman's completion percentage and quarterback rating (59.3) are last in the league.

Around the league

Cowboys • Receiver Dez Bryant was fined $7,875 by the NFL for a throat-slashing gesture that resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty last week against St. Louis. Also, Dallas placed defensive end Anthony Spencer on season-ending injured reserve and claimed cornerback Chris Greenwood off the Detroit Lions' practice squad.

Steelers • Rookie running back Le'Veon Bell will make his regular-season debut Sunday hoping to provide a jolt for his winless team. Bell hasn't played since spraining his right foot in an exhibition game against Washington on Aug. 19. Pittsburgh's running game has faltered during an 0-3 start. The Steelers are 31st in the NFL in yards rushing per game.

Lions • Running back 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.

Raiders • Matt Flynn might finally get another chance to start a game. 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.

Jets • Rookie cornerback Dee Milliner injured a hamstring at practice and his status for the team's game at Tennessee on Sunday was uncertain.

Dolphins • Defensive end Cameron Wake practiced on a limited basis despite a left knee injury and hopes to play Monday at New Orleans. Wake sat out much of Sunday's victory against Atlanta after hurting his knee in the first quarter.

Texans • Outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus was fined $15,000 for a hit in which his helmet struck the chin of Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco. Mercilus was given a penalty for roughing the passer on the play. —

Week 4 schedule


San Francisco at St. Louis, 6:25 p.m., NFL


N.Y. Giants at Kansas City, 11 a.m.

Seattle at Houston, 11 a.m., Ch. 13

Baltimore at Buffalo, 11 a.m.

Arizona at Tampa Bay, 11 a.m.

Indianapolis at Jacksonville, 11 a.m.

Cincinnati at Cleveland, 11 a.m.

Chicago at Detroit, 11 a.m.

Pittsburgh vs. Minnesota at London, 11 a.m., Ch. 2

N.Y. Jets at Tennessee, 2:05 p.m.

Washington at Oakland, 2:25 p.m.

Dallas at San Diego, 2:25 p.m.

Philadelphia at Denver, 2:25 p.m., Ch. 13

New England at Atlanta, 6:30 p.m., Ch. 5

Open: Carolina, Green Bay


Miami at New Orleans, 6:40 p.m., ESPN

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