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August 2, 2011 @ 10:40 am
Current rating: 4.00 Stars/4 Votes

Freeman Pleased With Progress, But Knows There Is Still Work To Do

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Tampa Bay's third-year QB and team leader, Josh Freeman, spoke to the media following Monday afternoon's first practice in pads. Freeman commented on his goals for the upcoming season and also spoke about how young the Buccaneers still are.

Although Monday is Day Four of Tampa Bay's 2011 training camp, it was the first day the players wore pads during practice.  Afterwards, Freeman commented to the media about his thoughts on how the afternoon session went.

“The first day of pads is always a fun one,” Freeman said. “You have a lot of energy, a lot of passion. It kind of showed on the goal line period. It was fun to go out there and watch the new guys – Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers and our guys get after it with the offensive line.”

The Buccaneers' third-year signal caller talked about the amount of talent on this year’s roster and his comfort level.

“Obviously, you can’t tell in one practice,” Freeman said. “But after the amount of film study and watching and evaluating the different players, and also the scouts, will will be able to tell who is adequate and able to make our roster at the end.

“I feel really set with the guys we have. Obviously, there are still some free agency questions, but right now we have to work with what we have.”

The young Buccaneers players are showing signs of development according to Freeman, and he is pleased with the progress displayed thus far in training camp.

“I’m really happy with the development of some of younger guys,” Freeman said. “The fullback, Erik Lorig, stepped up. We have some new tight ends. We had an unfortunate incident with Luke Stocker, but Ryan Purvis is stepping up and Kellen Winslow, as usual, is playing great. The offensive line is doing great. We have Davin [Joseph] and [Jeremy] Trueblood back. I’m really happy with how the offense is working. You talk about Mike Williams, a guy who is continuing to get better. We have LeGarrette Blount, who is looking better than ever.”

The former Kansas State star knows there are aspects of his game that can improve and it appears he has the right mindset to see it through.

“I’m working as hard as I can to getter better,” Freeman said. “Obviously, practice is a time to try new things you might not have felt comfortable enough last year to try in a game. But I’m just trying to continue to get better and grow as a quarterback and right now in camp trying to help the offense along – the guys that I work with as far as receivers, running backs, tight ends. We are trying to get our timing back down so when the season rolls along we will be ready to go.”

Freeman’s numbers show that his hard work is paying off. At the end of 2010 he finished with 3,451 yards passing after 16 starts as opposed to the 1,855 yards he had in nine starts in 2009. His completion percentage increased from 54.5 percent (2009) to 61.4 percent (2010) and he more than doubled his number of touchdowns from 10 to 25. Freeman’s interception total also decreased greatly from 18 (2009) to only six (2010), and in addition, his overall passer rating skyrocketed from 59.8 percent (2009) to 95.9 percent (2010).   

While the team’s offensive leader is working hard to improve his game, Freeman knows the overall offense will also need to get better for the Buccaneers to reach their playoff goal.

“There are a number of things,” Freeman said. “Obviously, none of our [offensive] numbers were where they needed to be and the wins weren’t where they needed to be to get to the playoffs. We are just going to continue to chip away at this and perfect our craft and when we get out in the season with situational football, and that is usually where games are usually won and lost – third down, red zone and where there is a change in possession and loss of momentum.”

The 6-foot-6, 255-pounder knows the Buccaneers are full of inexperience, but with hard work and some additional leadership the sky is the limit.

“We still are really young,” Freeman said. “Obviously, we have guys like Jeff Faine and Ronde [Barber], Guys who have been in the league who have seen it all. As far as being the quarterback, I have to step up and take a leadership role. I’m doing my best to do that. I have guys like [offensive coordinator] Greg Olson and [quarterbacks coach] Van Pelt to help me along. But it really is going great.”

– Victoria Horchack and Scott Reynolds contributed to this report

Last modified on Tuesday, 02 August 2011 11:02

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  • avatar

    It's just training camp. Free threw 25 TDs and 6 Ints last season. I think this season will be more like 33 TDs and 11 INTs. But he'll will only get better and I think he makes the Pro Bowl.
  • avatar

    Hey NYC...I know you just want the Bucs to win the Super Bowl this year, as we all do, but whether we like it or not the Bucs are building through the draft. Until they feel poised for a Super Bowl run, they aren't going to bring in high priced free agents. The Bucs actions speak louder than words and by not signing any of the multiple free agents available (I wanted a veteran defensive end) they have decided that they are just not ready yet for the big stage, so they aren't going to waste money on free agents right now. They let Ruud and Williams go, not because they aren't better than what we have to replace them with, but because they aren't going to be here due to age, when the Bucs are ready to win a Super Bowl. So for now they are fielding inexperienced players to let them grow hopefully into above average players, or stars. Then they will still be young enough to contribute when there is a real opportunity for the Bucs to make hay in the playoffs. When they are all "ripe", then the Bucs may fill a hole or two with big name free agents, but that is probably not until 2013 at least.
  • avatar

    Josh, thankyou for spending your own money and providing excellent leadership to help the Bucs through the lockout. Your efforts put us in great shape for this coming season. Great read!
  • avatar

    Josh Franchise is the man and we're lucky that our front office finally selected a young QB we can build around. He has a few things to work on but definitely showed he's an elite QB. God knows I loved him in colleague he started every year at Kansas - I was high on him coming into the league so I was elated when we moved up to take him. While he has a few things to work on he's ahead of the curve. I beg and implore him to stay in Tampa Bay despite what he's seen from our front office. PR has done countless stories on players we could have had versus players we took that flopped in past drafts so theres no need for me to highlight guys. I'll just say that this phenomenon of drafted prospects that pan out is fairly new and was on hiatus in between the Sapp and Joseph and eventually Freeman drafts. My issue remains with the front office. I'm sure Freeman can't be happy with them. No help to address issues on our offensive line. We sign no guard to compete with the likes of Zuttah/Larsen. No tackle to compete with Lee/Trueblood. No playmaker at RB and may lose Cadillac to the Rams. Regardless of whether or not we kept him I felt we needed a dynamic playmaker to play in spots in the offense - Cadillac remaining the 3rd down back. So no D. Williams, Bush, Sporles, or Norwood they're all gone... Also don't hit me with this youth movement bull... I feel it but the approach to acquiring talent shouldn't be exclusive to the draft. Last year when I said we should sign help folks on these boards underated our team and said "the team isn't good enough to sign talent". "Only playoff teams do that to get over the hump". Well thats not an excuse this year. No we don't need to sign old guys but younger talented free agents would have worked. No help for Freeman at WR aside from the guys on our roster who are young and developing. We could used the likes of Steve Breaston, Sidney Rice, and even guys on the market like Steve Smith (NYG) and Malcolm Flyod. No help on the defensive side of the ball either. Talib has issues and we do nothing at corner but depend on Mack, Lewis, Biggers, and Gaitor to start this year and after Barber's gone? While they all have some talent - none are elite. So no Asomugha, Joseph, or Marshall... guys who all fit our scheme... I understand passing on Asomugha because of costs and corners not being forced to do too much in the Tampa 2 but those other guys would have only improved our team... We do nothig at LB and let Rudd go depending on guys who have 5 career tackles between them in McKenzie and Foster. Both guys have talent but signing someone to compete with them would only drive them or expose them. So Ernie Sims and Thomas Davis would have been great fits. Donte Witner is out there and could help us at S. I know people love Grimm and say he's assignment sound but he's not athletic - a former LB who gave up three touchdowns in coverage last season. With uncertainty surrounding Jackson and Jones being decent and aging we need help at S. It's one of the most important parts of playing Tampa 2 as they could end up on islands... Signing our own was smart but we missed on Rudd. All I can say is I hope the holes in our team aren't exposed this coming season... Our hole in the front office continues to be apparent. 60 million in cap space and with the new CBA we must spend more - which means we may end up paying more for subpar players...
  • avatar

    Sorry if I rained on anyones parade, but constructive criticism shouldnt be ostracised on a message board. I have a man crush on Freeman just like the rest of you and theres no one else I would rather have to build a franchise around. I think hes outstanding.....but I think he can still get better, and I simply pointed out the one area I feel he needs the most work. Freeman locks onto receivers and forces throws or misses receivers open on other parts of the field. Id like to see him scan the field better and occasionally look off a safety.These improvements could improve Freemans completion percentage, extend drives, land more big plays, while maintaining a low number of picks. Brees, Manning, and Brady do these things well and I dont see why Freeman cant learn these skills given his work ethic and inteligence. Im not being over critical of Freeman, Im being optimistic that he will become the superstar I think he could possibly become.
  • avatar

    Josh Freeman is a stud. There's not another QB in the world I would want instead of him. I wasn't a fan of us drafting him but I have come to think the world of our on-field leader. We are really freakin lucky to be able to watch this dude grow. Hats off to Mr. Moris and Dom.
  • avatar

    Since when is passer rating a percentage? Good to hear free saying all the right things. Very impressive young man on and off the field.
  • avatar

    I agree with Vee Jay, give him a break. He is probably the best quarterback we have ever had, and he is so young. I think he is already one of the top 6 or 8 in the league, and he is just getting started. Frankly, nybucguy, he doesn't stare down every receiver. I will admit, he does some, but not that many. Go look at the film. You see the most glaring errors. They are few and far between. Quit being so critical. I have seen almost every Buc game since day one-- and I can tell you, we have something special.
  • avatar

    Don't know who you're watching nybucguy but you don't have one of the lowest TD to Interception ratios in the league by telegraphing throws. What do you want him to do, close his eyes? Perhaps you should spend some time analyzing Brees, Manning and Brady to see if they do the same thing.
  • avatar

    how great is it to have this kid, and to hopefully have him for another decade? Am living here in DC, where the discussion is over John Beck and Rex Grossman, so glad Bruce Allen is the GM here in DC instead of Tampa still. The Bucs would be continuing on with Dovovan McNabb/Brett Favre/Norm Van Brocklin instead of drafting a franchise QB...
  • avatar

    I am pretty sure he is working with his QB coach to correct all his weaknesses; don't forget that this is only his 3rd year in the league and only his 2nd as the full time starter. So his first year as the full time starter he throws for 3400 yds, 25 tds and only 6 ints; I'd say that is pretty damn good. You couldn't say you did great last year Josh but keep working hard.You found it necessary to point out that he stares down his receivers and it's his glaring weakness which really isn't that glaring when you look at his completion % and TD to INT ratio. I wish my fellow Bucs fans would stop all the criticism and whinning and just give these guys a pat on the back sometimes. What they did last year was incredible for a team this young especially when you look at all the injuries that occurred. Go Josh keep up the good work! You are well on your way and when you put it all together the NFL better look out!!!!
  • avatar

    Stop staring down receivers Josh. Its your only weakness, but its a glaring one.
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