Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman took to the podium on Wednesday for his regularly scheduled weekly press conference at One Buc Place and answered questions about Tampa Bay’s upcoming game against their NFC rival Atlanta Falcons.
In last season's two matchups with the eventual NFC South champions, the Buccaneers came up short in both contests. Even though both games were close [27-21 at Atlanta, 28-24 at home] Freeman does not see this week's game against Atlanta as a revenge factor.
“Not so much,” Freeman said. “It's a new year. Obviously the Falcons got us twice last year in two close games, but at the same time each game is its own separate deal. You're going to have to go into it with the open mentality of go out [and] try to execute plays as best as you can and try to win.”
Tampa Bay’s offense came alive in the second half of the Vikings game last week and Freeman is hoping it is a sign of things to come.
“Yes I think it could,” Freeman said. “You never really know, but you prepare to go out and play complete games. That was really the first time all year that we were rolling like we know we can. That really reminds you of how we were playing late last season, having LeGarrette Blount rolling, getting the ball out to our play makers and having just all-around great effort by everybody.”
With only six interceptions in all of 2010, Freeman has thrown two in two games so far this season, putting him on pace for 16 in 2011. A successful quarterback must have a short memory and it appears Tampa Bay’s man under center, has the right mentality, but knows he must be smarter with the football.
“Picks are going to happen, but obviously you go out and you try not to throw them,” Freeman said. “Honestly looking ahead I don’t plan on throwing anymore the rest of the year. It's one of those things that happens. Once again it says a lot about our team. We threw the pick once driving down into the red zone [and] nobody panicked. There was never a thought that we were out of it because we turned the ball over in the red zone. That's something that can’t happen. You got to find a way to play turnover-free football and when you do that it gives you a much better chance of winning.”
The third-year quarterback praised fellow division quarterback Matt Ryan. Freeman is also aware that he will be potentially facing Matt Ryan for many seasons to come.
“It's how I foresee it,” Freeman said. “He's a good quarterback. Love watching him play. He's got a unique style and he's very talented. He's a fun guy to watch and you almost don’t like the fact that you are going to have to be playing against him for a long time.”
While both quarterbacks have mutual respect for each other, Freeman’s relationship with the Falcons' quarterback is really just a casual one.
“I talk to him before we play him,” Freeman said. “That’s about it. If I see him at an event -- depending on Super Bowl week [or] really whatever it is off the field -- we have a relationship. But it's not a guy that I text every week or anything like that.”