Not all will be lost for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should the likely scenario of an NFL lock-out become a reality. Josh Freeman has already been in contact with his receivers and offensive teammates to begin scheduling workouts. Whether or not those workouts take place in Tampa at One Buc Place or in an alternative practice location remains to be seen, but Freeman won’t be missing the opportunity to improve this offseason.
“Hopefully the CBA gets resolved,” Freeman said, “but if it doesn’t, I’ve already been in contact with all of our receivers and everybody’s excited to come (to Tampa) in March and get going.
“We’re going to hit up a couple of the local high schools here and work out that way. Hopefully, they’ll let us use their weight room or whatever it is we need, because we’re anxious to get going.”
How can you not love hearing that, Bucs fans? Freeman isn’t going to be sitting on his hands waiting for the owners and players to stop threatening the well-being of the sport and get a deal done, he’s going to go out and work his tail off for another off-season so when 2011 does finally start the Bucs offense is even better.
Matt Bowen, of National Football Post, makes a great point about the value of off-season work. Yes, it can be overrated, but in terms of QB development and building team chemistry and cohesion, it can only help.
Last season the Bucs young QB organized unofficial team activities days after the season ended and continued to work all off-season. To say it paid dividends is an absurd understatement. Freeman grew more than any second year QB in recent memory, throwing for 25 touchdowns and cutting his picks down from 18 to just six.
“I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of our offense, and I feel great about all the defenses we’ve been seeing, but the league is constantly changing and you have to have a good understanding of those changes,” Freeman said. “So, I’ve basically got every blitz that every team in the NFL ran last year all on my computer at home. I’ve got a whole storage device there that has all the blitzes, all the (interception) reels, stuff like that.
“You just watch and watch and, eventually, you get an understanding for what it is all these defenses are trying to do. And the more familiar you get with it, the easier it is to recognize what they’re trying to do to throw you off.”
This offseason Freeman and the Bucs offense will be working no matter what. In One Buc Place, somewhere private, it doesn’t matter. Class will be in session. If that doesn’t give you a goosebump or two you’re dead. This is what you’d expect out of Peyton Manning, now the Bucs can expect the same out of their 23 year old phenom.