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October 29, 2010 @ 7:17 pm
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Excitement Abundant Over Freeman's Development

Written by Wolf
QB Josh Freeman will make his 16th start on Sunday
QB Josh Freeman will make his 16th start on Sunday (photo by Cliff Welch/Pewter Report)


Wolf Heard


Beat Writer & Videographer E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
Quarterback Josh Freeman will make his 16th NFL start this Sunday against the Cardinals. Freeman, 22, has come a long ways since being a rookie last season and his coaches and teammates have seen vast improvement from him.
Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman has come a long way since Tampa Bay drafted him in the first-round of the 2009 NFL Draft. He started his rookie season as the third option on the depth chart. Now, Freeman is the face of the young Buccaneers, and he is getting ready to make his 16th start in the NFL, which means he will finally have a full season of games under his belt.

Freeman made his debut last season at home against the Green Bay Packers. He completed 14-of-31 passes for 205 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. In that game Freeman led the Bucs to their first victory of the 2009 season and immediately showed why the Bucs spent a first-round pick on him. For the rest of his rookie campaign Freeman had his ups and downs, but it seemed as though Tampa Bay finally had a franchise quarterback.

Freeman finished his rookie year with 1,855 yards, 10 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions, while compiling a QB rating of 59.8. This season the numbers have improved across the board for Freeman and that is because he has progressed so rapidly in such a short period of time.

“He's definitely come a long ways,” said fullback Earnest Graham. “He started out as the basic person he is – a calm, cool, and collected guy. He has a lot of confidence and now with more experience he is starting to recognize all the looks that defenses give him, and he is able to react to all those looks. He is still maturing, but in big situations he has the upright confidence with his skill level and his ability to improvise to help us win. As a player he is really, really starting to understand the game.”

That better understanding has helped the 22-year-old Freeman put up some impressive numbers so far this season. In six games Freeman has 1,255 passing yards with seven touchdowns and just three interceptions. He has a QB rating of 82.8. Left tackle Donald Penn has seen a big leap from where Freeman was just one year ago and is excited to be a part of his development.

“You know what the funny thing is? [Yesterday] my son turned two. Watching [Freeman] grow is just like watching that boy grow,” said Penn. “He shows me something different everyday. He shows me something better and better everyday. I’m just happy that I’m able to watch him grow.

“It’s a work in progress, but we’re working. He’s taking big strides. I try to take little steps, but he’s taking big strides because he’s the quarterback – he has to. I love watching him. He is getting better and he is our leader.”

Just how much of a leader is Freeman? In just his second season, his teammates voted him as a offensive captain. Freeman has the Bucs sitting at a 4-2 record when many experts predicted four or five wins total for the 2010 season. The Bucs can thank Freeman’s right arm for most of those wins as he has led them to three fourth quarter comebacks. Penn attributes the success Freeman has obtained to the immense preparation and work that he puts in everyday.

“He’s here at six o’clock every morning with [Coach Olson],” said Penn. “And now he has the young guys coming in. He’s got Mike (Williams) and Arrelious Benn coming in with him too. That’s leadership. He’s taking all the right steps and doing all the right things, and it’s showing. We’re 4-2.”

The 6-foot-6, 248-pound Freeman is 7-8 as a starter, with five of those wins being fourth quarter comebacks. Normally young and inexperienced quarterbacks don’t have the ability to lead their team to victories in pressure-packed situations, but Freeman has grown into a player that excels during those times. Head coach Raheem Morris says he knew from the start that Freeman had something special in him.

“You know, Free is kind of getting old for me,” said Morris. “I’ve seen him do it in college, seen him develop, and I knew what he was so I’m not as surprised as everyone else to see him do well. For me it was kind of expected and that’s what I brought him in here for… I just proud and excited to see him continue to grow and find out what he can become.”

Graham has been around many quarterbacks during his eight NFL seasons. He says there aren’t many players with more skill or ability than what Freeman has.

“He’s just a complete player,” said Graham. “His size, his demeanor on the football field and the way he never quits on a play, his mobility and how when he gets outside the pocket his eyes are always down field, his ability to stop on a dime and make an awesome pass, and his overall skill level is better than a lot of guys that ever played this game. That’s why he’s experiencing success so fast.”
Last modified on Thursday, 04 November 2010 08:33

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  • avatar

    All the haters were running their mouths about his completion percentage and his win/loss total but left out the more important info such as is improvements he made each year even though the team around him sucked and he also won on a very big stage against Texas so he had the potential. Now they are all happy now that he has started doing what I and a few others up here have been doing since the day he was drafted.........supported him. How many players did they fall in love with due to college career stats only to have that player not turn out to be what they expected. Josh is exactly what I expected and is only going to get better. Now I have to eat some crow because of Lagarrette Blount. I absolutely hated him coming to this team didn't want the trouble but he keeps his anger in check even in the worst of times then we have us another steal! One thing I learned about this team is after the Rams and the Cards games if Olsen doesen't start Blount instead of Caddy from now on he has his head up someplace dark and smelly. Those two games have proven what he can do!
  • avatar

    I didn't know Freeman when we drafted him. I read non-stop about what a horrible pick he was. I ran into other Bucs fans, which doesn't happen very often living this close to Colts country, who bashed the hell out of him. Obviously those guys were way off. Get ready to have an offense Bucs fans!! What long term Buc fan doesn't love the fact that Freeman's first win was in the old creamscicles?
  • avatar

    And everybody knows it's Wolf Pack, not Wolf Herd. Herd is for cows. Seriously, Josh Freeman has everything you could possibly want in a QB. The physical and mental skills are there. The work ethic and attitude could not be better. No signs of an ego problem developing. He lacks experience and the personnel around him changes from week to week and he deals with it. He doesn't complain and make excuses. He simply says we have to get better. One sign of progress is that the young man has silenced his critics. The Bucs definitely made the right choice when they picked him. If he's this good this fast, I can't wait to see what he will become over the next decade.
  • avatar

    Good morning Mrs. Ammons. Thank you for the Language Arts class today. Do you still wear those little grannie glasses on the beaded necklace? It's a wonder you're still alive correcting people at 125 years old. Nice to see you're a Bucs fan you old hag.
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