What has been a roller coaster season for Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman in 2011 may have hit a new twist when head coach Raheem Morris revealed Wednesday Freeman has a shoulder injury and his status for Sunday’s home matchup with the Carolina Panthers is unknown.
Morris talked about the injury.
“Well he hurt his shoulder at the end of the game on that bobbled sneak,” Morris said. “He kind of got tackled and kind of hurt his shoulder. It's sore. Right now he's day-to-day.
“Not sure who jumped on top of him but he was going down in the scrum trying to get the ball back and that’s the shame of it, executing the most simple play in football -- the quarterback center exchange -- and we got a quarterback hurt potentially.”
Morris was asked what will determine if Freeman is a go for Sunday.
“We were hoping he would be a full go today, but he was limited,” Morris said. “We will have the opportunity to hopefully evaluate him tomorrow and the day after that and get him going to see if he can get the chance to play.
“He's just got to [be able] execute the game plan. If he can go out and execute the game plan and give us the best chance to win, then he'll play. It will be [determined by] practicing. Josh is one of those guys who can go all the way up to Saturday and potentially even Sunday. He’s one of those guys who's going to get all the mental reps, all the mental capacity and that type of thing. If he can throw it, then he can throw it. if he can’t, then he can’t."
Tampa Bay’s head coach said he took the advice of many in evaluating how Freeman’s practice schedule went today and also how it will go the rest of the week.
“It was an organizational decision,” Morris explained. “We get together with [team trainer] Todd [Toriscelli]. I listen to Todd, get together with Free, get together with Mark [Dominik], and we sit down and make those decisions not to put him out there today. We’ll get a chance to see if he can lather it up tomorrow maybe or Friday or even Saturday at that point.”
“He probably could have thrown it but I didn’t ask him to. He went out there and handed the ball off and executed our run plays. He did all that stuff. And then he watched J.J. [Josh Johnson].”
Morris wasn’t ready to concede a feel-sorry-for-himself attitude regarding obstacles this season including Freeman’s struggles on and off the field.
“It’s the National Football League, man,” Morris said. “It’s the same thing he had to fight through last year. No real difference, except we’re not finishing at the end of games. Those three games we’re talking about that we lost. All those things are the adversity you have to deal with and you have to learn through adversity. Hopefully that’s what he’s doing right now. He’s 23 years old and he has the ability to grow up right now and grow up really fast and learn from these mistakes that we made in these first couple of games. We’re fortunate enough right now that we have five more games. One at a time, one snap at a time [and] go out there and do our job and hopefully make it disappear."