The Buccaneers lost a very frustrating game to the Jags on Saturday and one position raised the biggest concern for the Bucs heading into the season opener, the quarterback position. The Bucs are without starting quarterback and franchise hope Josh Freeman, who is still recovering from a fractured thumb. The reports of his health has been mixed, many believe he will be ready for the opener. But afater listening to an interview with Coach Morris, the reports don’t sound as promising as they have before.
Coach Morris was asked during his interview if Saturday had been the season opener, would Josh Freeman have started; Morris’s responded, “he would have tried.” (Thanks go to joebucsfan.com for the quote from the interview). It doesn’t sound like Coach Morris is very confident in the health of Freeman’s thumb. Many still believe that Freeman will be physically ready for the season opener against Cleveland, but with only a few weeks remaining, this does not sound very promising. It is very interesting to note that the Bucs have been very quiet about Freeman’s thumb and are not reassuring everyone that he will be ready (then again they are not being very negative either).
While watching the game on Sunday (thanks to the blackout), I noticed how much the Bucs need Freeman on the field. Josh Johnson had a nice game. He looked confident in the pocket, delivered some nice passes, and even made a few plays with his legs. He is a skilled quarterback, but I don’t think he has what it takes to lead the team for any length of time this season. He is a good situational quarterback that has talent, which is ideal for wildcat or other special packages, not leading the team. Rudy Carpenter had a tough game, throwing 4 for 13 and an interception. Carpenter looked a little lost out there and struggled during the game. Snead didn’t see any playing time.
Looking at the Buccaneers quarterback situation, it is not that promising. Johnson can play, but Carpenter and Snead are not ready. Freeman needs to be on the field, but needs to be healthy. An injured quarterback with a bad thumb will only hurt the team. The Buccaneers are trying to build for the future and having an injured quarterback to start the building process will only set the Bucs back. Freeman needs to get healthy for the season opener, but should not rush back, he should only return if healthy.