Wednesday afternoon Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman met with the local media at One Buccaneer Place and spoke about last week's loss to San Francisco. Freeman also commented on his play, the lack of big plays offensively and facing Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints this Sunday.
How does the team bounce back from a loss like Sunday?
"In the NFL, there are no style points. It’s a loss. We have to accept it for what it is. There’s nobody coming in here today sulking. We’re right onto the next. You have to take that mentality. We’ve got the Saints coming in next, a very good division opponent."
Why do the Buccaneers play better on the road than at home against the Saints?
"I don’t know. I really don’t. It’s been interesting because we played them early in the year at home and then late in the year at their place. Each year, it’s different. It’s a separate entity in each game. We’re not looking back and saying 'They beat us at home, let’s wait to get the next one on the road’. We’re going in like it’s a big game, a divisional game. Everybody’s taking that approach. I know everybody’s really eager to get the bad taste of last week out of our mouths.” Where have the big plays gone from the offense? "I think they’ll come. As you saw last week, it’s something you can’t force. You have to let them come to you. There will be [a] certain circumstance where you call a play and look for a shot play, but so many things have to go right for a shot play. It’s something we’ve got to be patient on. We don’t know when they’re going to hit, but we expect them to come."
How is your comfort level?
“It’s interesting because you say it doesn’t look like the me of a year ago. But we went back and watched the tape, the way the ball’s coming out of my hand, the decision making. Obviously, the interceptions and the turnovers are unacceptable. But I have a lot of confidence back there. It’s maybe just a matter of me pulling back on some of these shots downfield that I want to take, and looking to play another down, rather than making some mistakes. But I expect to go out – we have a great game plan for this week – and go out and have a great game this week."
“It’s a fine line. You’ve got this confidence. You have a good offseason. You study your opponent and you know what you’re going to see. And, then, whether it’s not making the throw or getting a little too heated up and you try to force some things. Last week, it was pretty frustrating. But I have to find a way to bounce back and I feel good about this week.” Is your confidence getting the better of you? “Yeah, I’m a confident player. With the confidence, you still have to have more responsibility. If you’re going to be taking shots down the field, you have to know when to take your chances and when not to. It’s something I’m working on. The good thing is it’s not like I’m just throwing blind into coverage. I see everything that I throw and it’s something that’s easily fixable."
What about the number of penalties hurting the team?
"We’re cracking down on that right now. We’re a young team and obviously you’ve got guys that are eager to go out and make plays. They’re not patient enough to wait for the shifts and the motions and that’s coming back to get us. It’s on me. It’s on the receivers. It’s on everybody. This is the NFL. You have to take care of the things you can control and pre-snap penalties are one of them."
What are your thoughts on Drew Brees?
“He plays at a high level, week in and week out. You talk about studying other quarterbacks and he’s one of the guys I study. Coach Olson is real close with Drew. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know him over the years. They run a similar system, so it’s watching how he goes about his business on Sundays. It’s something as a young quarterback, you kind of look at and kind of strive for.”
What are your thoughts on Earnest Graham?
“It’s great. You guys know Earnest has done everything for us, whether it’s playing fullback, running back or being the third-down back. Now, this week, he’s going to get the majority of the reps and the majority of the carries. He’s done it before. He’s a guy we know can get it done. He sees the field very well. He knows our blocking schemes. I expect big things out of him.”