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June 28, 2011 @ 2:51 pm
Current rating: 4.67 Stars/3 Votes

Freeman Leads Hungry Bucs In 3-Day Mini-Camp At IMG

Written by Scott
Reynolds
Scott Reynolds

Scott
Reynolds

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Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman and over 50 of his teammates kicked off an unofficial, three-day mini-camp at the IMG Performance Institute in Brandenton, Fla. Find out which prominent Bucs were there and which ones weren't in this story.
BRADENTON – Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman and over 50 of his Tampa Bay teammates took the field for the first of three days worth of a two-a-day mini-camp schedule at the IMG Performance Institute in Bradenton, Fla. just south of Tampa on Tuesday.

Among the notables in attendance were cornerback Aqib Talib, who is currently facing an indictment for aggravated assault charges in Texas, unrestricted free agent offensive linemen Davin Joseph and Jeremy Trueblood, first-round draft pick defensive end Adrian Clayborn and third-round pick linebacker Mason Foster. Even former Tampa Bay wide receiver Michael Clayton, the team’s first-round pick in 2004, worked out with the Buccaneers although he was released during training camp and signed midseason with the New York Giants.

The Bucs’ franchise quarterback, who was instrumental in the team’s surprising 10-6 record in 2010, mentioned several players that helped him organize this week’s mini-camp.

“A lot of guys – Davin Joseph and I know Tyrone McKenzie was real instrumental on the defensive side with Barrett Ruud not coming and wondering about his contract, Tyrone really stepped up and did a lot in organizing this,” Freeman said. “Maurice Stovall and Jeff Faine, our player representative, they helped get the word out through e-mail because they have everybody’s e-mail. Really a lot of guys stepped up. We sent out an initial e-mail and we told everybody to spread the word and everybody got it.

“We had a really great turnout. I don’t know the exact number, but a couple guys called and said, ‘Hey, I’m not going to be there until Wednesday’ because of different issues they have going on.”

Aside from Ruud not being in attendance, other notable Bucs who were absent include: cornerback Ronde Barber, linebacker Geno Hayes, wide receiver Dezmon Briscoe, guard Brandon Carter, second-round pick defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, fourth-round pick tight end Luke Stocker and seventh-round pick tight end Daniel Hardy.

Several Bucs players who are rehabbing injuries were in attendance, including safety Cody Grimm (broken leg), running back Kareem Huggins (knee), wide receiver Arrelious Benn (knee) and defensive tackle Brian Price (pelvis). Only Grimm participated in the drills and Price told PewterReport.com that he only began running a week or so ago. It is PewterReport.com’s opinion based on Price’s vagueness when it came to his rehab that he could be a candidate to start the season on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.

Freeman was encouraged by the attendance at the voluntary, unofficial team mini-camp, which consisted of taping, stretching, on-field work and film study in the classroom. Without the aid of the Bucs coaches due to the NFL lockout, Freeman got assistance from former Florida State and Carolina quarterback Chris Weinke and some of the IMG coaches.

“We did fundamental periods where each group is split up and we got together with the receivers and the running backs and threw some routes,” Freeman said. “The afternoon is going to be some team periods and some seven-on-seven periods.

“As far as the fundamental drills, it’s the same. We do about the same stuff. Obviously, we talk about different plays and different schemes during the season, but it’s about the same just as far as fundamentals. But once you get into these film rooms and getting on the boards, it will be a little different without the coaches. But luckily, we have a strong nucleus as far as leaders, guys who know our system inside and out and will be able to go relay what we are going to install later.

“It’s very important because with the lockout I’ve been working with these receivers, but we haven’t done it with the whole team. There are some linemen, but they really just go and lift on their own. There’s really not a whole lot they can do unless we are all running plays and talking schemes.”

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy told PewterReport.com earlier in the offseason that he wanted to become a leader this year and on Tuesday he was practicing what he has been preaching. McCoy took Clayborn, who skipped the NFLPA’s rookie symposium to work with the Buccaneers, under his wing and spent the majority of the morning session working closely with the player whom will likely be the opening day starter at right defensive end.

Freeman said that the loss of the rookie mini-camp and the OTAs due to the NFL lockout will hurt Clayborn and the other rookies across the league.

“It’s going to be tough on them,” Freeman said. “Obviously, the drafted rookies it’s going to be tough because they don’t get the OTAs or the rookie minicamps, which is very valuable time. Free agents, man, it’s going to be tough on those guys because they don’t have a lot of time to make a big statement to these coaches.

“With the young receiving corps, we’ve been getting a lot of work in. I know Gerald has been getting the D-line together out in California and doing a lot of the same stuff. Really, we’ve got a lot of one-year guys so they know the system, there’s not a whole lot of teaching going on. It’s just a matter of getting up, working out and staying ready.”

Although he had a lot of help when it came to organizing the three-day mini-camp at IMG, which concludes on Thursday, Freeman understands the role of the quarterback and the clout he has in ensuring that the turnout is as high as possible.

“For sure, it’s the quarterback’s job on the team and I mean they voted me captain last year,” Freeman said. “I take a lot of pride in being a leader on this team and getting together is something you have to do. It’s a lot, just catching up to guys. They say they’ll get back to you but they don’t get back to you and you’ve got to call them up. That happens, but I’m just really happy with guys getting here and working out and being here. I’m really happy with the attendance.

“It just says we have a hungry team and going out and winning football games next year is important to all our guys. I know obviously there were a couple guys, their contract situation they don't really know so their agents advised them to kind of sit it out. As far as I’ve seen, dude, we have a lot of passionate dudes who made time in their schedule to get out here and do something like this.”

When asked what would happen if the lockout were to end today, Freeman and the Bucs sound prepared for the start of football season, especially after the initial day of the team’s first full-team mini-camp of the offseason.

“If [the lockout] ends today, obviously they are going to have their free agency period,” Freeman said. “I feel like we’re right on schedule and we’d probably finish up this mini-camp and then we would go in there and maybe do what the coaches wanted to do and maybe get a mini-camp in at One Buc. We would go back and just start off as usual.”
Last modified on Tuesday, 28 June 2011 15:22
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    Ruud, is not a leader IMO and should have a mediocre career on someone elses dime and not the Bucs!
  • avatar


    I'm glad Freeman was able to get 50 people to come out. However, Ruud's excuse for not showing up is, well...inexcusable. The agent thing is just a cover. If Ruud wanted to be there he would be there. Even Clayton is there and how does it look to other teams that might want to persue him that he practicing with the Bucs? Not good but he's still here because he likes these guys and this team. I recognized him in the picture before I even read the story. Ruud is truly pissing me off and I hope Mckinzie beats him out for the starting MLB position.
  • avatar

    Blount is POSSIBLY doing something with Caddy who is ALLEGEDLEY getting married this week.... just a rumor I read. Some of the rookies were at the symposium.--------------Barber, Hayes, and Briscoe not showing up is a big dissappointment.
  • avatar


    And to think it was only two short years ago there were people on this very board bemoaning the selection of Josh Freeman over DT Peria Jerry believing that Luke McKown should be our QB.
  • avatar


    Don't make up something about a picture you see that represents a nano second of time during an entire days work. The news is great except for Price. I've got to think a pelvic injuury that nagged him over a couple of years is a huge deal with the recovery also being a huge deal. Don't know what this means for the team tho. Thanks Scott for being there. Question: What's the deal with the uncertainty of Ruud contract making agent tell him to sit out mini camp? I'd think he'd do just the opposite under the circumstances.
  • avatar


    Hello Everyone-I've just got back from East Coast of Florida near Space Center. I cannot believe how much Florida has cjange even this almost 66 yr old floridian, With my roots grew up in good old Tampa Bay. Iam looking forward to when the league gets back to business. And just seeing and hearing that over 50 bucs and former bucs players was being lead by QB Josh Freeman. I'd don't care about the rest of the league. Tampa Bay is on a mission, and with all those Rookie FA's I hope that some of the better ones will sign with Tampa when the NFL gets back to work. Tampabay is one of a few teams that are organized, andn they will be ready when the NFL is off and running. I can't wait to come down to Tampa foe a few days prior to the Dallas-Tampa contest. I hope that Tampa Bucs will show Dallas and the rest of the kleague that Josh Freeman ids the Real Deal. Not Undrafted Tony Romo. Even I have move and made my home now East of Dallas, Texas(60miles). I still buy Tampa Bay items and follow my beloved Bucs. I believe that Tampa Bay will get back to the playoffs and show the rest of the league that 2002 Superbowl Chasmpionship games was no FLUKE! I think that JOSH FREEMAN will be the one on offensive that will fuel the points. And on Defense: McCOY,BOWERS, and the other two Defense Lineman will chomp down the offensive other teams. TAMPA BAY WILL BE FOR REAL. JUST LIKE THE DALLAS MAVS ARE THE CHAMPS OF THE NBA IN 2011. GO TEAM.
  • avatar


    look at the picture. Only Freeman is doing the squats. The rest are standing around and one guy appears too interested in Josh's backside. Is this a serious workout or just a chance for the guys to get away from home and party?
  • avatar

    It is a micro second of what was really going on. You can not take ANYTHING away from a snapshot.
  • avatar

    I get the feeling that most of those guys were there because they were asked by a young qb that would call them out, not because they are taking it serious. Mckenzie is the real deal man. Id love to see this guy push Ruud out and accelerate. With Mckenzie and Foster I'm excited about our lb core, just need one more stud.
  • avatar


    Hey PR, I truly appreciate the reporting on this camp, but do you realize how hungry we are for any football related tidbits? How about some pictures?!?! I saw you posted two on your Facebook page, but I'm sure I am not the only fan that would LOVE to see about 50 more. Thanks.
  • avatar


    Also, sucks to hear about Price. Really sucks...and what's up with Briscoe? I was just reading how he hasn't shown up to any of Freeman's workouts this summer and now he's skipping this "mandatory" thing too? Doesn't sound like he has matured at all.
  • avatar


    That dude is Lumpkin, lol.
  • avatar

    The dude in the back is checkin freeman out.
  • avatar


    Not a surprise at all, we saw this coming from last offseason when Freeman was at One Buc all offseason.
  • avatar

    So many are surprised with Freeman's leadership and coordination regarding these workouts, but perhaps the real surprise here is the 50-plus turnout. It's simply a testament not only to the team's belief in Freeman as a leader that both the young and veteran can follow with confidence, but also to the culture of unity and cohesion that Raheem Morris has created. Additionally, if Tyrone McKenzie can perform on the football field in an expanded role, the Buccaneers may have found a gem of a defensive leader. Cheers, Scott.
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