Quarterback Josh Freeman's mellow laid-back approach rubs some fans the wrong way, but in a year filled with question marks and high expectations, that could be the best approach. Freeman told the media Wednesday that he is confident that the offense will be just fine once the regular season begins.
Quarterback Josh Freeman is laid back. Sometimes too laid back for some fans, but in the case of reacting to criticism or worrying about his contract, the relaxed approach may be the best approach.
On Wednesday Freeman talked about how he handles the negativity.
“It is pretty simple for me, I don’t really pay a whole lot of attention, really any,” Freeman said. “Every now and then someone will shoot me a text ‘Hey did you see what so and so (wrote).’ I’m not really worried about that. I’m solely focused on being the best quarterback I can be for the Buccaneers.
“You know, for the most part, the thing I found is that if you go out and prepare as well as you can, – one, the results will most likely be favorable if you (and your) guys can put everything together. And two – if you lay it all out at the end of the day, succeed or not, you have no regrets, no reservations, because you gave it all you got and you know that’s kind of the mentality.
“It’s not an all or nothing kind of deal, but it kind of is from a preparation standpoint and working standpoint, you know, you pour everything you got into really trying to better yourself, prepare yourself everyday, and you know that’s really the stance I’ve taken. When you let that consume with everything you’re doing there's not really a whole lot of room for other peoples opinions and thoughts. You just kind of stick to what you know, stick to who you are, and just go with it.”
Freeman was also asked about he handles the potential distractions of playing the final year of his contract and the unknown.
“I wouldn’t call it a big issue,” Freeman said. “It’s funny I was at an event last night and happened to be at a table with Mark Dominik and he said he had to call my agents today and I’m not really paying any attention to it. I told my agents, you guys handle your business, but I’m focused on football and you know really that’s about it. Keep it one-dimensional from the standpoint of things going on in your life you know, it’s not really about anything else but this team and the season. I’m staying completely out of that. I’m working towards the goal and that goal is first and foremost is Week 1 New York.”
Despite Freeman not paying attention to the criticism – or his contract situation – the fact remains that it is a topic of discussion on a local and even national scene. Freeman seemed to understand the concern by some, but for him and his teammates Tampa Bay’s top signal-caller doesn’t appear to be worried.
“I mean I practice with these guys everyday,” Freeman said. “You know, we haven’t mixed it up as far as different personnel combinations this preseason and you know I’ve got a lot of confidence because we’ve got Vincent [Vincent Jackson], Mike [Mike Williams], you know just name the guys that we have, we’re working together as an offense.”
Earlier this week head coach Greg Schiano told the media, he, like Freeman, thinks once the regular season rolls around, that you will see a different result.
“A little disappointed, not discouraged, though,” Schiano said. “That’s the important thing. I wish we would have played better on offense, but I can see how we’re going to. The worst thing is when you’re looking at that vision and you say, ‘I don’t see how we’re going to do this.’ I do see how we’re going to do it. We just have to – like I said last (Saturday) night – we have to do it. The reality is, we may not get the chance to do it in a game now with that crew, that cast, until we get up to MetLife Stadium, and that’s the way it is. So a little bit of turning up the stakes a little bit and hopefully we’ll perform. That’s what we’re banking on.”
One reason why Schiano is confident that the Bucs can flip the proverbial switch is the fact this is Freeman, and the entire offense for the most part, are entering their second year in offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan’s system.
“I think in his (Freeman’s) mind he feels more comfortable than he's ever felt in this offense since he's been part of it,” Schiano said. “Again, I think he is going to be fine.”
On Wednesday, Freeman agreed with his head coach.
“Last year at this time just grasping these concepts, understanding these concepts, it really was a struggle,” Freeman said. “I mean, working, installing new plays, trying to get everything down, mixing in new guys, but now I feel like we really have a solid foundation as far as understanding and execution as offense.”
Freeman said even though there is one preseason game left, the starters have already begun getting into regular season game mode and are prepping for Week 1 against the Jets.
“The majority of our team is going out and playing tomorrow night, staying focused on that, and a number – a handful of guys – have gotten to start (on the Jets) an obvious progression, but just kind of getting the base stuff down,” Freeman said. “Because they’re a team with multiple fronts, multiple coverages – obviously pressure third downs is going to be huge – but you know just trying to get familiar with who they are as a team and their defensive schemes.”
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