The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season ended with a loss against Atlanta early in January, but quarterback Josh Freeman has not stopped working.
Freeman understands he is Tampa Bay's franchise quarterback and his growth is essential for the team's success. The Bucs recently took a step toward molding Freeman by hiring Alex Van Pelt as quarterbacks coach.
Van Pelt, a former quarterback, spent 11 years in the NFL, the final 10 in Buffalo, and was a Bills assistant coach the past four seasons.
Freeman and Van Pelt met for the first time last week.
"He seems awesome," Freeman said. "We text messaged over the weekend during the Super Bowl. I'm looking forward to working with him. He has been in the league for many years and seen a lot of things.
"I'm fortunate to work with him. He seems like a great guy."
Van Pelt's main job will be helping Freeman become a standout NFL quarterback.
Freeman took over as Tampa Bay's starter in the eighth game of the season, posting a 3-6 record. He completed 158 of 290 passes for 1,855 yards, 10 touchdowns and 18 interceptions in 10 games as rookie.
Of the three quarterbacks selected in the first round of the 2009 draft, Freeman played the least. Detroit's Matthew Stafford and the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez, taken No.1 and No. 5 overall, respectively, began the season as starters.
Stafford completed 201 of 377 passes for 2,267 yards, 13 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 10 games – all starts – and Jets rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 196 of 364 passes for 2,444 yards, 12 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in 15 regular season games – all starts – and led his team to one postseason victory.
Freeman, the No. 17 overall pick, is eager to improve in 2010.
"I can't wait," Freeman said. "I've talked to my teammates and it seems like everybody is really excited to get back.
"For me now, it's about watching games from last year and watching the defenses we'll be seeing this year and expanding my football knowledge."
Source: Tampa Tribune - Anwar Richardson
PewterReport.com's Take: It's good to see that Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman has already conversed with new quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt. It is very important that the two have already formed a great friendship and get on the same page with each other, as Freeman will be spending most of his time working one-on-one with Van Pelt. Both Freeman and Van Pelt have a good work ethic and Van Pelt will be critical to Freeman's development because the two will spend a lot of time working together on the practice fields of One Buc Place this offseason.
Freeman will receive the majority of the reps at quarterback in the offseason and will have the opportunity to get on the same page with the rest of the offense before the start of the season, which was something that he was not able to do last year with Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich taking most of the reps. The offseason will be very important for Freeman's development and progress, and it's good he will have a QB coach that will be providing their full attention to him, which was something he did not have when he was named the starter in November, with Greg Olson filling the roles of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.
Van Pelt also filled the role as both an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach last season in Buffalo and saw first hand how the added responsibility of calling plays stunted the growth of Trent Edwards because of the lack of time and individual attention that he received. Van Pelt knows that Olson went through the same thing in 2009, and will make sure that Freeman develops as a passer in Olson’s system. - Andrew Scavelli