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Posted at 9:53 AM ET, 12/11/2010

Quarterback Josh Freeman is helping Buccaneers exceed expectations

By Jason Reid

A rebuilding project can occur quickly if a team finds the right quarterback, which is the most difficult piece of the puzzle to acquire.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers believe they have their guy in second-year quarterback Josh Freeman, and his development has been key in their progress as a franchise. After going 13-3 in the 2009 season, Tampa Bay is 7-5 and in the hunt for NFC wild-card berth.

The Buccaneers are further along in their rebuilding project, in large part, because Freeman "has done a nice job," Buccaneers Coach Raheem Morris said earlier this week in a conference call with reporters. "He prepared himself in the offseason and he is a big man. He has got a lot of attributes. He has got a lot of powerful and strong things that he does well.

"He is still making mistakes, and he is still doing little things that he can [improve], but for the most part, I have been very pleased. He is a man that comes to work everyday and tries to get better and does get better. His team rallies around him. He has been a clutch performer for us. He is the main reason why we are sitting where we are sitting right now with a chance to play meaningful games in December."

After playing in 10 games and starting nine last season as a rookie, Freeman (listed at 6 foot 6, 248 pounds) has started every game this season for Tampa Bay (7-5). He has completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 2,442 yards with 16 touchdowns and six interceptions.

The former Kansas State standout has a solid 86.4 passer rating. He also is averaging 5.9 yards per rush.

Freeman said he is feeling more comfortable each day as a NFL quarterback.

"I can't put and exact time where I was like, 'Oh, I can play now,' " Freeman said in a recent conference call with reporters. "But it was just kind of a thing where I worked at it, worked at it and worked at it, and learned the system. [I] started learning protection calls and defenses.

"I am still not where I am going to be. I am still working, still improving and still can get a lot better, but you just going out playing ball-secure football and try to find a way to win. That is really what my game is all about."

Freeman has impressed with his work ethic, his head coach said.

"He was able to come in," Morris said. "He came in the offseason and did everything he needed to do as far as getting better at protections, as far as grasping the whole offense and bringing in his guys so he can throw with those guys. [He was] bringing those guys in so they can be on the same page, so that they can all be in sink.

"Bringing in the guys for the running game, so he can have all his points right and everything he has to do in order to detail our run game. [Freeman] and the offensive coordinator [were] getting on the same page as far as every situational thing that has come up in the football game. He was here like a coach. He prepared like a coach. He came to work like one and it is definitely showing up right now."

By Jason Reid  | December 11, 2010; 9:53 AM ET
 
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Next: Despite small stature, Brandon Banks could be a weapon for Redskins next season

Comments

>>After going 13-3 in the 2009 season,

Um, little reverse-typo there? :)

Posted by: blackjack65 | December 11, 2010 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Bucs also took some gambles on some rookies that have paid big dividends. Mike Williams and LaCarret Blount were poor character guys that so far have stayed the true and narrow path. Both were big time talents in college and have stepped up in their inaugural seasons to provide big plays for the Bucs.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Bucs also took some gambles on some rookies that have paid big dividends. Mike Williams and LaCarret Blount were poor character guys that so far have stayed the true and narrow path. Both were big time talents in college and have stepped up in their inaugural seasons to provide big plays for the Bucs.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

I remember just after the draft in the spring, that Blount was a UFA that we should sign. Unfortunately, we had Parker and LJ at that time, and I think Blount decided to go elsewhere.

Posted by: frediefritz | December 11, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I hate posts like these.

I hate them.

It just rubs it in...everything that's wrong with our organization.

Let me know when we get a new AH post...I can't stomach this stuff.

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

That fight at Boise wasn't Lagarrette's fault, he was being taunted by that white linebacker and the fans..And he got a bad rap for cold-cocking that guy..He was going to be All-America that year, a diamond in the rough we truly missed..

Posted by: frak | December 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

That fight at Boise wasn't Lagarrette's fault, he was being taunted by that white linebacker and the fans..And he got a bad rap for cold-cocking that guy..He was going to be All-America that year, a diamond in the rough we truly missed..

Posted by: frak | December 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Wow, frak, are you baiting me? There really are better ways to deal with taunting.

Posted by: frediefritz | December 11, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

.He was going to be All-America that year, a diamond in the rough we truly missed..

Posted by: frak | December 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

He also cold-coked his teammate on the Titans. Who's fault was that? Blount is talented, but he's not all the way wired.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse

He also cold-coked his teammate on the Titans. Who's fault was that? Blount is talented, but he's not all the way wired.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 10:54 AM | Report abuse
I think his teammate was taunting him, TWISI. So let's give him a break.

Posted by: frediefritz | December 11, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see who the Redskins sign to replace AH. Diesel44 mentioned Shawn Crable who is currently on the Jets practice squad as "low hanging fruit" the Skins should sign at some point this year to build for for 2011.. I'll submit two more names, Chris Ellis who is on the Steelers' practice squad, and Brandon Lang who is the Chargers' practice squad (Skins were supposedly interested in him during the draft last year). Both were productive DEs in college who are trying to make the transition to OLB in 3-4. Both offer the type of pass rushing Skins that the Skins need opposite Rak.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 11, 2010 2:08 AM

Ahhh, the good ol' days. Went to many a Fugazi show back then. I remember that they stopped playing "Waiting Room" for a while because they were sick of everyone calling out for it.

Posted by: kaasmaster | December 11, 2010 11:11 AM | Report abuse

"There really are better ways to deal with taunting."

Sure, but sometimes it takes a young hothead time to develop a thick skin. Kim would just plant a black powder .45 through his forehead..

Posted by: frak | December 11, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I hate posts like these.

I hate them.

It just rubs it in...everything that's wrong with our organization.

Let me know when we get a new AH post...I can't stomach this stuff.

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 10:47 AM

If you don't like this post, I warn you to stay away from the piece Lombardi wrote over at NFL dot com.

Posted by: smokeybear2 | December 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

My apologies...I committed a faux pas in my last post.

Here is a link to the piece I mentioned:

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d81ccc5b0/article/shanahan-must-reevaluate-how-he-runs-washington?module=HP_cp2

Posted by: smokeybear2 | December 11, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

f you don't like this post, I warn you to stay away from the piece Lombardi wrote over at NFL dot com.

Posted by: smokeybear2 | December 11, 2010 11:24 AM

============================================

From Lombardi

Before Shanahan leaves on vacation to his favorite resort in Cabo San Lucas this offseason he has to be realistic about his team continuing down the 3-4 defensive path. He must understand that his best players don't blossom in the 3-4 and, in spite of all the versatility the 3-4 offers in coverage, it becomes a liability with players who don't fit the scheme. Shanahan must be realistic about which players he is counting on next year and must demand that his team gains an influx of youthful talent.

And most of all, he must nip nip nip all problems in the bud, and not let things linger.

=============================================

In a sense I understand what Lombardi is saying, but the thing about it is that the Skins HAVE to stay the curse the embarked on. Getting the most talented players shouldn't be the goal, instead the goal is getting the most talented players that fit the schemes the team runs. If it's the 3-4 the HC believes in, fin spend resources in FA and the draft to get those players in ( I am of the belief that as it stands now the Skins will go DE or OLB in the 1st round). If it's athletic Olmen go get them. Stay the course! The Skins will be better for it.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I've lived here in Tampa the last 7+ years (thank God for the Sunday Ticket) and this kid is the real deal. The Tampa community expected 5 or 6 wins this season and he's been the reason why the Bucs have any shot at post season play. With that being said, he still makes poor throws from time to time and this team is not as good as their record indicates. This is a very winnable game and if the Skins can get some turnovers to go in their direction, I think we can send Tampa home with their 6th loss. I certainly hope so...that way I don't have to hear everyone's mouth Monday morning...

Posted by: rich20ssu | December 11, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I don't read too much into the "strength" of the NFC South this year for two important reasons.

1) The NFC South plays the NFC West this year. The South already clinched "division superiority" and their record stands at (9-2) against the West. Even the lowly Panthers took their only victory this year against the West (49ers).

2) As I previously aluded to, the Panthers are awful. The Bucs swept the season series by a combined score of 51-23.

All seven of the Bucs' victories have been against teams that are at best no better than 0.500. Am I dismissing them though? Not exactly. I am taking this Bucs team, which Raheem Morris earlier this year coined as the "best team in the NFL," with a grain of salt. If there is a team in the postseason race that I would expect to miss the playoff by inches, it would be this young Bucs team. The benefit, however, of beating the lowly opponents is that the Bucs actually do it, so they expect it to happen. Unlike the Redskins, it's not just all on paper. The Bucs practice winning by beating the bad opponents every time. Eventually, they'll catch one or two of the elite teams, and the Bucs will break into the upper echelons of the NFL.

In contrast, the Redskins simply don't know how to win. Instead, they have to rely on good teams writing the Redskins off. The culture of losing is very much a part of the players, and that is why this team has lost so many games against teams they should beat. In each of the losses to the Texans, Rams, and the Lions, the Skins were up, and then they collapsed in the second half. If the coaches can devise a game plan that gives the Redskins a lead at halftime, then I have to blame the second half collapses to bad players. These players have only practiced losing while in DC, and they need to be sent elsewhere.

As for my game prediction, I'll have to go with the trends. The Bucs are (7-0) against teams 0.500 and below. The Redskins are a coin-flip (3-3) against teams above 0.500. I don't believe the Bucs are good enough to blow out the Redskins (like last week), but they'll win a close game because of the cold weather tomorrow and the Redskins unpredictability against good teams. Final result: 20-17 Bucs.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | December 11, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

It will be interesting to see who the Redskins sign to replace AH. Diesel44 mentioned Shawn Crable who is currently on the Jets practice squad as "low hanging fruit" the Skins should sign at some point this year to build for for 2011.. I'll submit two more names, Chris Ellis who is on the Steelers' practice squad, and Brandon Lang who is the Chargers' practice squad (Skins were supposedly interested in him during the draft last year). Both were productive DEs in college who are trying to make the transition to OLB in 3-4. Both offer the type of pass rushing Skins that the Skins need opposite Rak.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse


Haloti Ngata.

Do it. Break the bank for him. He plays NT in the 3-4, he plays DE in the 3-4. He balls. He does whatever is asked of him and he does it well.

He's what Albert Haynesworth should be.

I know the Ravens aren't going to let him go lightly, but I don't think there's gonna be a franchise tag with all this CBA stuff up in the air, which means it should be open-market for someone like Ngata.

With Ngata in place we can hold onto Maake as a backup NT - which is really what he should be. We still have Jarmon as a 3-4 DE we can develop.


Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow's game is going to be very cold and VERY wet. Hard rain and low 30's for most of the game. Absolutely miserable - and perfect.

Whichever team is the best mudder is gonna win this one.

Reminds me of Marty's last game coaching the Skins...

Posted by: edvar | December 11, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

This article is a great argument for trying to grab Cam Netwon and then giving him a year or so behind McNabb while we build our lines. The guy can flat ball.

Posted by: edvar | December 11, 2010 12:17 PM | Report abuse

That fight at Boise wasn't Lagarrette's fault, he was being taunted by that white linebacker and the fans..And he got a bad rap for cold-cocking that guy..

Posted by: frak | December 11, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse


Wow. I didn't know it went down like that. Poor, poor LeGarrette.

He really ought to track down that Boise State player and sue him for forcing him to cold-cock him in the eye like that.

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 10:47 AM

If you don't like this post, I warn you to stay away from the piece Lombardi wrote over at NFL dot com.

Posted by: smokeybear2 | December 11, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse


Why would I stay away from that piece?

It's spot on.

-stupid desperate FA acquisitions
-going old with FAs instead of young with draft picks
-bungling internal issues with the team
-failing to find/use players that fit the scheme
-constructing a team that whimpers out as the season progresses

So far Shanny is the new Cerratto except he's also a coach.

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | December 11, 2010 11:52 AM | Report abuse

I don't get it.

So you think the Bucs are a bit overrated and suggest that they are not as good as their 7-5 record might indicate.

But you identify them as a "good" team, the likes of which the Skins may play unpredictably well against.

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

p1, the dude bumped into Lagarette hard, spewing venom..If them were'nt fightin' words, I don't know which side of the Gandhi you're from..

Posted by: frak | December 11, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

With Ngata in place we can hold onto Maake as a backup NT - which is really what he should be. We still have Jarmon as a 3-4 DE we can develop.


Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 12:03 PM

If Hiloti is on the FA market, he makes perfect sense in that he's an elitee player in the scheme the Skins uses. As for Jarmon, I like the kid, but he needs to stay healthy. The range where the Skins should pick in the 2011 draft will be filled with defensive talent. That's the direction the Skins are likely to go, save for a qb they fall in love with or a trade down.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Bucs also took some gambles on some rookies that have paid big dividends. Mike Williams and LaCarret Blount were poor character guys that so far have stayed the true and narrow path. Both were big time talents in college and have stepped up in their inaugural seasons to provide big plays for the Bucs.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Most people know about Blount. But Mike Williams QUIT the team last year at Syracuse and was suspended for cheating in 2008.

1st RD talent @ 6'2 225 that the Bucs grapped in the 4th RD. Those two will give us problems tomorrow.

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 11, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

If Hiloti is on the FA market, he makes perfect sense in that he's an elitee player in the scheme the Skins uses. As for Jarmon, I like the kid, but he needs to stay healthy. The range where the Skins should pick in the 2011 draft will be filled with defensive talent. That's the direction the Skins are likely to go, save for a qb they fall in love with or a trade down.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I agree, TWISI. Good character, turns 27 next month, plays both NT and DE in 3-4. He'll be expensive, but should be worth it.

Posted by: frediefritz | December 11, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

p1, the dude bumped into Lagarette hard, spewing venom..If them were'nt fightin' words, I don't know which side of the Gandhi you're from..

Posted by: frak | December 11, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse


I know. THat's what I'm saying. LeGarrette is clearly the victim here.

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 1:06 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 12:03 PM

If Hiloti is on the FA market, he makes perfect sense in that he's an elitee player in the scheme the Skins uses. As for Jarmon, I like the kid, but he needs to stay healthy. The range where the Skins should pick in the 2011 draft will be filled with defensive talent. That's the direction the Skins are likely to go, save for a qb they fall in love with or a trade down.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse


If we're gonna chase anyone with cash this offseason, I'd much rather have it be Ngata than someone like Vincent Jackson.

Anyhow, how many picks do the Skins have exactly next draft? We're supposed to get picks back from the Raiders and Colts b/c of the Campbell/Tryon trades, right?

We keep talking about drafting a QB, but I see them going with McNabb and Beck (as the development project).

If our first round pick is in the 10-14 range, I like Justin Blackmon. We can knock out our WR need right there, then spend the rest of the draft on line positions on both sides of the ball...maybe take a flyer on a OLB prospect.

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

p1-

1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th, and 7th. Campbell is a 4th in 2012 and I'm not sure we'll get for Tryon. We'll also get compensatory pick or picks if Los and Rock walks. Then there's this..

Washington gets either a 5th, 6th or 7th round pick from New Orleans to complete deal for OT Jammal Brown. Philadelphia will receive Washington's 3rd round pick and New Orleans with get the Redskins #4 pick if the Redskins either win 9 games or make to the playoffs this coming season or if QB Donovan McNabb is voted to the Pro Bowl. If those conditions aren't met then New Orleans will get the Redskins 3rd round pick Philadelphia gets their #4 pick. If New Orleans gets Washington's 3rd round pick then the Redskins will get a 5th rounder to complete the deal. If the Saints only get the Redskins #4 pick then Washington gets a 6th or 7th rounder to complete the deal

Posted by: Diesel44 | December 11, 2010 1:26 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: p1funk | December 11, 2010 12:40 PM
___________________________

I'd say they're a team on the cusp. They are certainly a team headed into the right direction. Like any quality team, they are beating the teams that they should beat (like the (5-7) Redskins). They are good in the sense that they are above 0.500, but sometimes the Redskins play these teams very well, and the cold weather may be in the Redskins' favor. With regards to the playoffs, they will be on the outside looking in (that is if the Giants don't collapse like they tend to do) or one and done. They won't be seeing the likes of the Panthers or the Bengals if they do clinch a wild-card.

I think we'll see what kind of team the Bucs really are in Week 17. I can easily see both the Bucs and Saints at (10-5) entering into that game. If this is the scenario, then the result will answer my question of whether or not the Bucs are good team on the rise or they are merely the beneficiaries of a fortunate schedule.

Posted by: MyPostIDisAfake | December 11, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Reid wrote:
"After going 13-3 in the 2009 season, Tampa Bay is 7-5 and in the hunt for NFC wild-card berth."
******************************************
Last season, they were 3-13 after starting 0-8. Tampa Bay versus the Skins clearly shows where each organization is.

One has an old coach that hasn't won in years, and has never won w/out Elway. The other has a 34 year old coach with newer ideas that better relates to younger players (see a young Noll, Landry, Gibbs, Jimmy J., Parcells, Ditka, Madden, Saints coach, Steelers coach, Dungy as examples of YOUNG coaches with fresh ideas).

One has a roster of 40 yr old "vets"; or washed up has-beens known for what they did in (name a city) or what they did years ago. The other has unknown youth, fast, quick, hungy, not overpaid, etc.

One is the NFL's As the World Turns. The other lacks the same drama.

One has a coach fired from his last job. The other has a first time coach.

One has a GM run off by his last team, Tampa. The other replaced him with someone better. One has a GM hired the same way Danny Ferry gets GM job; cause of who his daddy was. The other we don't even know who they are.

One hasn't won their own division since 1999; and has only won 2 since Bill Clinton ran for president the first time. And still are losing. The other won the SB about 8-9 yrs ago and have rebuilt younger and better, no thanks to Allen.

One has a young QB; the other has an old one. Better future: TB

Posted by: morrisday1 | December 11, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Shanahan in Denver AFTER Elway's retirement:
10 seasons
91 wins 69 losses
4 playoff apearances
Only 2 losing seasons

Posted by: kaasmaster | December 11, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

He also cold-coked his teammate on the Titans. Who's fault was that? Blount is talented, but he's not all the way wired.

Posted by: TWISI | December 11, 2010 10:54 AM


Hey, who wouldn't want a nice cold Coke after a hard day of practice?

Posted by: freakzilla | December 11, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

BB beeps.

Posted by: wireman65 | December 11, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I just wait to watch McNuggett puke again ! You guys are chumps for bringing in such a has been !

Posted by: unclefrank22801 | December 11, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

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