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November 24, 2009 @ 8:23 am
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Freeman Gets Perspective From Dungy

Written by Charlie
Charlie Campbell


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Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman talked about the advice he gets from Tony Dungy, and the stability of the Bucs organization. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson discussed how things would change with head coach Raheem Morris taking over the defense, and RT Jeremy Trueblood said he would play this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting quarterback Josh Freeman spoke to the media on Tuesday as he prepares to try and rebound from his worst start as a pro. Freeman threw three interceptions and fumbled a ball away to the Saints last Sunday in the Bucs 38-7 loss to New Orleans. Head coach Raheem Morris repeatedly has said the team has to be patient with Freeman as he grows as an NFL player.

To help his growth, Freeman is getting advice on how to get through adversity from a familiar role model to Bucs fans. Former Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy has given Freeman advice in the past, and the two stay in touch. Freeman said that he spoke with Dungy after he was drafted by Tampa Bay, and the two had been playing phone-tag for a while before to catching up recently.

"We have to step back and understand that we are a young team," Freeman said. "I talked with coach Dungy a few weeks ago and he told me about his situation in his first year here. He told me how the team was 1-8 coming off a bye week, and you have to prepare as if you are making a playoff run because next year you might be in the hunt for the playoffs. Right now we are focusing on the long stretch. Obviously these 10 games didn't go like we wanted them do, at the same time nobody is quitting on anybody. Nobody is quitting on this team. This is a stretch where teams emerge. You see the guys who are on the bubble, and teams that are in the playoff hunt. We just have to take it each week at a time as if it is a must win situation to get in the playoffs."

Freeman is 1-2 in his 2009 starts. He has thrown for 543 yards while completing 51 percent of his passes with five touchdowns and five interceptions. The 21-year old rookie quarterback was asked to grade himself.

"Obviously I'd like to be a lot better," Freeman said. "On ball security the elite quarterbacks in this league like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, and Drew Brees. That is my goal to eventually be playing at that high of a level. Right now I have to be more ball secure. Be better on third downs, and just try and find a way to win these football games."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Greg Olson was asked how his working relationship with head coach Raheem Morris would change with Morris taking over as the defensive coordinator for the demoted Jim Bates.

"We'll see how it goes," Olson said. "Today was obviously the first day of that transition. We met, and we'll continue to meet. He's been involved in both offensive and defensive meetings. Certainly it will be difficult for him to spend a lot of time on our side of the ball I would think. We'll speak more about it this evening. As a head coach I'm sure that we'll meet on Saturdays and Sunday mornings on how are we going to win this football game. He's obviously had his hand involved in the offense, and sat in on quarterback meetings. The night before the games he sits in on the offensive staff meetings on Saturdays to get a feel of the game plan and what we are doing. I'm sure he'll be very actively involved in that. I think we'll have more night time meetings to explain to him what is going on."

With the Bates demotion in mind, Freeman was asked if there was a lack of stability with the Bucs organization.

"I mean the coaches come in and they are the same," Freeman said. "They are coaching as hard as they can everyday. The players are responding. It is a shame last week went as it did, but at the same time like I said we got no quitters. Everybody is coming out giving it all they got and trying to get more wins."

Buccaneers right tackle Jeremy Trueblood said he would practice and play this week against the Falcons. Trueblood left last Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints in the second half with a knee injury. Trueblood said that his knee was sprained, and he sustained a contusion. Backup Demar Dotson finished the game at right tackle for Tampa Bay.

"It is good, I'm going to practice," said Trueblood. "I'm extremely sore but something that I'll work through. It is a little bit of a sprain and contusion. A guy fell into the back of leg and bent my knee the wrong way. It stiffened up real bad, but eventually I'll be all right."

The Buccaneers fourth-year right tackle has not missed a start since entering the starting lineup in the 2006 season as a rookie. Tampa Bay travels to Atlanta on Sunday, and Trueblood thinks his streak of 55 straight starts will extend to 56 on Sunday.

"Oh I'll be playing," said Trueblood. "I just thank the Lord that I have loose knees and was able to take it."

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