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January 28, 2012 @ 9:16 am
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Freeman Excited To Take Shots Downfield In Schiano's Offense

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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New Bucs head coach Greg Schiano wants a physical, run-first offense and a passing game that takes shots down the field. That philosophy resonates with QB Josh Freeman, who is excited about playing for Schiano and flew in town on Friday for his press conference.
Forget the fact that Greg Schiano is a defensive-minded coach. Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is excited to play for Tampa Bay’s new head coach. Freeman cut short his vacation and flew in from his hometown on Friday to meet Schiano face-to-face.

“I was in Kansas City yesterday and I got the call from Mark Dominik,” Freeman said. “This is the first day and the first press conference and I really wanted to opportunity to meet Coach Schiano and show him that I am here and ready to go.

“I love his direction. He’s a very passionate coach, and I’m real excited to have the opportunity to play for him.”

One of the reasons why the big, 6-foot-5, 255-pound Freeman is excited is due to Schiano’s offensive philosophy.

“On the field what is it going to look like? Great defense, win the special teams battle, and be a physical offensive football team that takes shots down the field,” Schiano said. “Take shots down the field. It is very hard to go 12, 13, 14 play drives. If we miss on a shot we will line up and play defense again. Get the ball back and go after them again. Physical. Run the football physically and take shots down the field. That formula works. As long as you play great defense and win the kicking game that formula works.”

Taking shots down the field is a concept that brought a big smile to the strong-armed Freeman’s face.

“Obviously it his philosophy when it comes to how to win football games,” Freeman said. “You have to love it when he talks about taking shots downfield.”

In former offensive coordinator Greg Olson’s version of the West Coast offense, Freeman rarely took shots down the field. Instead, he did a lot of throwing short and intermediate routes.

In fact, in 2011, Freeman only had six passes travel further than 40 yards, and a couple of them were shorter passes that were turned into longer gains by the receiver. Freeman’s longest throw of the year traveled 65 yards, which was one of only two passes that covered 50 yards.

Tampa Bay's pass plays longer than 40 yards in 2011
Preston Parker 51-yard catch at Minnesota
Arrelious Benn 43-yard catch against Indianapolis
Arrelious Benn 65-yard catch against New Orleans (touchdown)
Dezmon Briscoe 46-yard catch at New Orleans
Preston Parker 48-yard catch at Atlanta
Mike Williams 42-yard catch at Atlanta

Schiano is thrilled to have a franchise-caliber quarterback like Freeman in place in Tampa Bay. Schiano’s Rutgers team squared off against Freeman and the Kansas State Wildcats in 2006 and prevailed, 37-10, to claim the Scarlet Knights’ first-ever bowl win.

“We did play against Josh Freeman, he was a freshman, but I can remember preparing for that game and being scared that if he broke out of the pocket we’re in trouble because he’s such a big man,” Schiano said. “I’m excited to have Josh here and have so many other talented players. And as we do everything, competition that’s what makes everybody (better). And we’re going to compete in every drill, in everything we do. Because that, again, if you do your best, we’ll win. And that’s what I’m going to demand of our players and of myself.”

Freeman recalls getting thumped by Rutgers back in 2006.

“That was a rude awakening,” Freeman said. “We were 7-5 and they were 10-2 and they lost at the end to West Virginia, and oh my goodness. Brian Leonard was jumping over people and Ray Rice was running through people.”

Freeman was held to completing just 10-of-21 passes for 129 yards against Schiano’s Scarlet Knights and threw two interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown. Schiano’s Rutgers defense left a favorable impression on Freeman, as well as Schiano’s mantra of TBA, which stands for trust, belief and accountability.

“I love it. Those are things that are timeless,” Freeman said. “His coaching philosophy has had success at Rutgers and I’m really looking forward to having the opportunity to play for him.

“That’s the only way to have success in this league – to have people buying in to his ‘trust, belief and accountability. There is really no other way. Everybody has to be in it full-tilt from Day One. I think the direction Coach Schiano is going to take this team is going to be great and it’s going to be exciting.”

Freeman admitted that he wasn’t part of Tampa Bay’s coaching search and put his trust in Dominik.

“I had a few discussions with Mark Dominik early on, but he said, ‘Just remove yourself and relax. You are going to get a great coach,’” Freeman said.

Although some pundits and media members lobbied for an offensive-minded coach, Dominik preferred to go get a coach with a defensive mentality like Schiano.

“We are a defensive town – I think Tampa is,” Dominik said. “Obviously, offenses are exploding in the league, but as you watch teams that are playing in the playoffs and teams that are in the Super Bowl, like the New York Giants, defense still matters.”

For Freeman, who tossed a career-high 22 interceptions and just 16 touchdowns in 2011 after throwing for a career-high 25 touchdowns and only six picks in 2010, he doesn’t mind having a coach like Schiano that has a defensive background. He’s excited about Schiano’s belief in a physical offense and taking shots down the field.

“Not at all,” Freeman said when asked if he was opposed to having a defensive-minded coach. “His mind is on winning football games and that is first on his mind regardless. I just love his philosophy on playing football and how to win. I’m excited.”

Last modified on Saturday, 28 January 2012 09:23

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  • avatar

    how many of you were bashing the bucs anf now your back on the wagon.WELCOME BACK.doug williams doesnt suck i wasnt around that time matter of fact i wasnt even in my dads nutsack during those times i was born 1985 but by watching williams highlights i agree that he was a good qb you want to talk about bad qb,s maybe we can start with shaun king rob(paranoid) johnsonany takers
  • avatar

    I think the question is , if their open down field can Freeman hit them.
  • avatar

    Yeah right, "take shots down field", I'll believe it when I see it....Didn't all of their coaches say that? We'll see if they mean what they say in free agancy. Go get a speedy WR like D. Jackson or S.Holmes and maybe I'll believe the cheap organization.
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  • avatar

    As this article stated, this team did not go deep all year. The only two times they did, was the last game of the year, and both balls were thrown to our back up QB? I know we didn't have "Speed" on offense, at least not the kind that DC's worry about. In the up coming draft I'd like to see us get some one, ANYONE who can strech a field. Any football fan who knows something about the game, knows if you at least attempt a few deep passes per half, you'll make the defense back up a bit. No one ever had to back up for us. Im not saying get Blackmon in the 1st round if there, but get someone. From the 2nd round on, there will be WR's with speed in the likes of; Baylor WR K. Wright, FIU WR TY Hilton, Ark WR's J. Wright (who had a great senior bowl) and J. Adams. This offense needs, SPEED! Speed kills, and we have none. No one on this team scares others. We need speed on Def (I love the LB out of NC Zac Brown. This guy was one of the fastest players at the senior bowl. Faster then most WR's, RB's and DB's. He's big strong and tackles. Everything we don't have but NEED!!! Go Bucs
  • avatar

    Doug was geat...what an arm...strongest i have ever seen...he didn't have a supporting cast except for Giles really...he got that in Washington
  • avatar

    Nice comment scubog, and LoganBucs37, you need a memory refresher, if you were even around for 'Hail Dougie". Doug Williams was a winner, the team WON with him. He was the only change from 82 to 83 and neither Jack Thompson, Jerry Goldstein or Steve Deberg were able to replace him. Go look at his stats, each year he improved dramatically, and don't look at completion percentage. That was an era before the west coast offense. Willams was rarely if ever sacked, he threw the ball away at the cost of his stats to live to play another down. He took shots downfield that cost him on the stat sheet. Leave his personal stuff out of it, the ring of honor is for performance, not personal stuff.
  • avatar

    LoganBucs37: Not sure you were around from 1978 to 1983 to even be able to comment on Doug Williams' career. I was. Doug Williams' teammates believed in him and never felt out of the game. He didn't throw a lot of check-downs or high percentage passes like the QB's nowadays; but he did throw a beautiful deep ball that was effortless. I'm not saying he should be in the Ring of Honor because I think that should be reserved for the absolute best but Doug has his ring from being MVP in a Superbowl. "Sucked bad" huh?
  • avatar

    Looking back, you have to say we were too predictable in our offense. Your supposed to take shots downfield at LEAST 2 times a game, not 6 times a season! And our running game was a joke. We abandoned it so easily, and how many times did we line up in the shotgun with 3rd and 2.
  • avatar

    Cardinals denied us permission to interview their WR coach for OC.
  • avatar

    All I can say is that "going downfield" is music to the ears of people who think that that is still a revolutionary thing or a philosophical choice as opposed to something that every coach wants to do but is limited in their ability to do by personnel (Gruden) or their own idiocy (Mike Martz). See http://www.pewterreport.com/Boards/index.php/topic,712444.0.html?PHPSESSID=g44c9vriqgt0jkr6vb7vtbhn60, or Al Davis. In the real world you win with accurate short to intermediate passing or a strong running game. Those loosen up big plays by allowing off of well-timed play-action passing (Gruden's offenses, the Broncos under Elway, the New York Giants, Dallas) or by a quarterback who, once the field is spread, is adept at looking off safeties, has good pocket awareness and/or tremendous accuracy, is protected by a strong pass-blocking offensive line or is able to absorb insane amounts of punishment (New Orleans, Green Bay, New England and Pittsburgh, respectively). If you try to mix the wrong philosophy with your personnel you get a disaster (see what happened to the Jets or Falcons this last season, where they abandoned the play-action game in which their quarterbacks excel, or what happened to Drew Brees in San Diego when he was forced into a play-action game that didn't suit his strengths.) Until we get a legitimate game-breaker at WR and a coach who can actually scheme X's and O's again, this is just as much chin music as a political rally. Freeman was starting to look like the Roethlisberger he was drafted to be, but he doesn't have the Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace, Bruce Arians, referees that overlook holding or durability. Eli Manning would be a much better template for our offense.
  • avatar

    Perfect match. Reminds me of Tom Coughlin a bit.
  • avatar

    So Josh. I see you like "COACH Schiano". Nice to see you respect him and did not call him Greg. But then again, you most likely would not like the results if you did. Can't wait to see the results after he brings this gang back down to earth. And chops the dead wood out. Love the new "Buccaneer Way" and "TBA". Let's Go Bucs. It's a new start.
  • avatar

    Too much is made about the players calling Morris Rah. A lot of players call their coach by their name.
  • avatar

    Rah is a nickname and they should be calling him COACH like every other team does in almost every sport. That was just the beginning of the long list of problems with him and his players.
  • avatar

    I like the philopshy, and I think Mike Williams and Rejus Benn can further improve themselves. One shaky season doesn't make them bad WR's. Preston Parker and Briscoe could fight for the slot position, and bring in some FA WR's for competition all around. I don't know about Richardson for our first pick, if Dominik makes some magic and trades up (pulling a NO's from last year) going CB with the first pick then Richardson if he's still available late in the first round, sure. If that doesn't happen then I say looking to Lamichael james in the second round. Continue to use Blount on 1st down and short yardage second down, then switch to james for second and long as well as 3rd down (though i'd split the 3rd down duties with Graham)
  • avatar

    Horse, that would be gunny sarge from heart break ridge as our O.C..
  • avatar

    I'm from Fla. and live in Jersey..Rutgers sucess came from a strong running game of Ray Rice and Brain Lenard.Two shifty guys who could block and catch the ball out of the backfield and get up the field quick.With that being said Trent Richard is our #1 pick..This Blount BS is over!!Blount been here for two years and still cant pick up the bliz and didnt know the playbook.Now there is a new playbook do you really want Blount to be your starting back?Benn is our #1 receiver now and dont be surprised if Briscoe isnt the #2.
  • avatar

    To be fair, the difference between big passing plays in 2010 and 2011 was not due to Olsen changing his philosophy. It was due to defenses routinely keeping two safeties deep and our WR's not getting good seperation. I was as the Detroit and Colts games. Detroit kept two safeties deep the whole game and took their chances against Blount and it worked. Nearly every other team we faced did the same because we never beat it. The Colts kept creeping an extra safety into the box and when they did we threw it deep. Greg Williams had too much pride to change this blitzing philosophy so they also rarely left two safeties deep. My point is we'll get back to completing big plays deep when we prove we can run the ball against 7 guys and our WR's have an offseason with the coaches to improve their craft.
  • avatar

    top ten defense. Run the ball. Freeman 15/20 pass attempts = Winning.
  • avatar

    Hopefully we will hire a creative OC who can adapt, adjust, improvise.
  • avatar

    Finally the days of "Dougie" Williams launching a ball 70 yards down the field to Kevin House or Jimmy Giles are returning!!!!!!!Gone are the days of the Jeff Garcia dump off to bring up 4th and one and a punt.
  • avatar

    Doug Williams sucked bad. He should never be in the ring of honor. Everytime he effed up or team was losing, Ole Doug be limping round like he was hurt.
  • avatar

    If Freeman is the key to this franchise,its about time we start surrounding him with weapons. We have a TE who we give credit for being better than he is,and a #1 and #2 WR who cant seem to shake the sound of footsteps from their head.We have a strong one dimensional RB with stone like hands and a so so offensive line....How does that help Freeman succeed ? If Clairborne is our pick at #5,then we better hit FA hard for some offensive weaponry...
  • avatar

    Like Schiano said, everyone's gonna have competition. Even the QB. Competition brings out the best in a player. Remember chest bump Morris giving the job to Freeman? Bad coaching.
  • avatar

    Shots down the field would be refreshing to see. It's been a while since we've seen those. With the the exception of the 2010 season, it's been years. Gruden liked the high percentage dump off passes and Olsen seemed to follow that philosophy last year. Play action passes suit Freeman's strenghts. I'm excited about this hire, although a few fans out there have a problem with it. Let Schiano have his chance. I'm pulling for him, as any true fan should be.
  • avatar

    Shots down the field better mean DOWN the field. I hope there is some creativity as well. It's a passing league, so I'm going to hold judgement against the run first mantra and support the Bucs first. I want results and I'm giving you a short time to do it.
  • avatar

    running, play-action, roll outs, BOMBs! Better than Olsens, Dive, dive, short pass, punt. dive dive short pass punt, ( oh dang were down 17) Dive dive shortpass, draw. Turnover. (4th quarter) Pass INT, Pass INT, Pass INT!
  • avatar

    I love the coach, I love the rhetoric. But If Freeman is excited about taking shots downfield, the reality is we better get a/some WRs that can separate and get downfield and a LG that can hold a block long enough to allow someone to get downfield. I'm not being greedy here, but it would also be nice if we had a RB that could pick up a blitz. If I sound skeptical, it's because I've heard the rhetoric before!!
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