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December 2, 2011 @ 3:12 pm
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Faine: "Johnson Has Tools To Be Franchise Quarterback"

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Injured quarterback Josh Freeman was able to throw in practice today but in case he is unable to go, several teammates told PewterReport.com they have no doubt Josh Johnson can handle the pressure of starting.

Showing some signs of progress recovering from a shoulder injury suffered at Tennessee, starting quarterback Josh Freeman was able to throw the ball during Friday morning's practice, according to Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris.

“Obviously he will be a game-time decision and we will take it right up until the last moment of truth,” Morris said. “He went out and threw the ball around a bit. He's still limited, but we'll get an opportunity to see tomorrow and even the next day after that.”

“A little progress, obviously, [since] he threw the ball. The first couple of days he didn’t throw it as much. He threw it a little bit yesterday and threw it a little bit more today. So obviously we get a chance to see him throw it a little bit more tomorrow."

While still too early to make a definitive statement of Freeman’s status for Sunday’s home game against the Carolina Panthers, it more than likely will go down to the wire.

“He's one of those guys you take out and [on Sunday morning] let him throw the ball a little bit,” Morris said. “Spin it around and see how far he can go.”

According to Morris, the one person who he can't rely on to determine Freeman’s availability is Freeman himself.

“He won’t tell me, there's no doubt about it,” Morris explained. “That’s why we have to have doctors around. He's one of guys that wants to believe and think like that. Everybody wants to be Brett [Favre]. Brett set a great example for all of these young quarterbacks of what the standard and the model looks like. It's one of those decisions you have to make as head coach.

“You don’t want to do anything that's going to hurt him. We have great, capable doctors, a very capable staff and they will let me know and inform me.”

If Freeman is unable to go, PewterReport.com found several offensive teammates who will have no problem seeing backup Josh Johnson under center Sunday at 1 p.m.

Jeff Faine has seen Johnson since his first day of rookie minicamp in the spring of 2008 and has witnessed the progress made.

“I think regardless of who is under there we will be in good shape,” Faine said. “I think Josh Johnson has all the tools and natural ability to be a franchise quarterback. He has a very explosive arm, he's very intelligent and he internalizes the game very, very well. I’m not concerned at all. We are very fortunate to have him on our roster here. I think one day he will be a starting quarterback in this league.”

Wide receiver Mike Williams also doesn’t appear to have any hesitancy lining up Sunday with Johnson under center.

"He executes just like Josh Freeman," Williams said. "I trust him back there also. I feel like he could start for a lot of teams in this league and we feel good with him back there."

Johnson’s career stats aren’t eye-popping -- 79-for-176 passing (54.1 percent) with four touchdowns and eight interceptions -- but offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood said Johnson isn’t the same quarterback that started four games in 2009.

“He's a lot more of a complete quarterback now,” Trueblood said. “He has always had the skills and the tools and he prepares himself to be the starter every week and it's very evident. He walks in the huddle and right away he is a leader. We have faith in him.

“I feel like Josh [Johnson] is very cerebral. I think he's athletic, but people think he's just athletic. But he's really smart. A lot smarter than he gets credit for. I tell you what is one of the most impressive things with him is when we're doing our plays and he's five yards behind Josh [Freeman] doing the exact same thing. [Essentially] he has been taking first-team reps the whole time. He shadows what Freeman does.”

Right guard Davin Joseph, who overheard PewterReport.com’s conversation with Trueblood, stepped in to make a point as well.

"And I mean he is smart. He’s been through three different offenses in [Jon] Gruden’s, Jaguars [former offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski], and now Ollie’s,” Joseph said. “He's done well in all of them.”

If Freeman is unable to go Morris told the media Johnson has prepared well for his shot.

“Josh Johnson had a really spectacular week of practice,” Morris said. “We talked about the kid being very motivated and going out there and being really prepared. When we have a week like this and he takes all the reps, you really can see how prepared he really is and how much he really wants it.”

Last modified on Friday, 02 December 2011 17:40

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  • avatar

    This tells you all you need to know about expectations in Tampa now. JJ as a "franchise" QB? What the hell????
  • avatar

    I don't care if we sober up Steve DeBerg to play QB as long as the team wins.
  • avatar

    We'll see. Until JJ proves he can consistently throw an accurate deep ball he'll always be a backup in the NFL.
  • avatar

    Anybody who thinks JJ is better then JF is crazy. It's not Freeman's fault our D is 31st in the league, and we don't have pass plays beyond 10 yds. The only thing JJ will do better is run the ball when needed.This shoulder injury seems funny to me, could Morris be looking for an excuse in case we don't beat Car?
  • avatar

    They say Josh Freeman hurt his shoulder on that last play where he fumbled the snap. I'm in partial agreement with you. This may be an excuse to get a look at Josh Johnson. On the other hand, that fumbled snap and the fact of it's being mentioned is kind of interesting. I mean it seems that Josh Freeman only gets going in the fourth quarter; that's when he emotionaly snaps out of his hum de dum personality and starts playing! On the other hand, maybe that fumbled snap hit Morris squarely in the face that maybe Josh Freeman doesn't have the emotional attitude to win. He's fundamentalty flawed as a Qb(not as a person). We need somebody with fire from the get go! If Josh Johnson shows fire in the belly(which Freeman doesn't till the fourth quarter . . . and still fumbles the snap at the end of the game), maybe Josh Johnson gets a second look next week . . . and a third . . . and a fourth . . . ; gets resigned . . . ;
  • avatar

    @ Horse, I think you right. This has been an issue for awhile. Not sure why JJ has not started sooner. I think this might be the spark that this team needs. I think with JJ under center, we might be able to win this game. That is, if our OC and create a game plan that isn't DINK and DUNK. Morris will lead this team back to the playoffs. He just has to learn that he can’t do it all. Hand over the DC to someone else and let Olson go. Get someone in here that can work with the personal that we have.
  • avatar

    Where is the talk about how to stop Cam Newton? We have to keep Carolina from scoring less than 20 points. I am going to go back again and ask this question; how long has Josh Freeman had this shoulder injury and has it been getting worse over the last few games? I believe we might be in a little trouble with the NFL Commissioner because this is probably an injury that has been on going and should have been reported before this week. I don't want to make waves, but we might lose a draft pick on this error; maybe that's why they have been hiding it or Freeman has just reach his potential and he is not going to be any better than average to below average. I really don't believe that and I think we need an experienced OC and DC and not the ones we have in place right now. Keep the HC, but fire the OC & DC.
  • avatar

    Well, seems to me that Josh Johnson has this weeks reps; on the other hand, he hasn't put in one full game of experience at the pro level. Morris Kline is there and should know how disciplined Josh Johnson is; so, it's his call; this weekend could be interesting though!
  • avatar

    Has Freeman had a "spectacular week of practice" this year? If JJ truly has the "tools to be a franchise qb" and "could start for many teams" why on earth hasn't he been playing the past month? That sounds a lot better than the league's 36th ranked qb to me....Let JJ loose. A "qb controversy" might actually spark a glimmer of interest in one of the league's least interesting, and least liked, teams. Go bucs!
  • avatar

    I say to the coaches. Let Josh Johnson start,with Freeman rady to go. Lets see what this kid can do. Iam looking forward to see what this kid can do, and if he looks great then lets resign him for the next four years. He was drafted here for a reason. GO Bucs Iam looking forward with the NFL Network this week.
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