Last season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense had to constantly be looking over their shoulder. They knew that at any point, the lead may not be big enough. And if they were down, they better score quickly or else the deficit will likely grow. The acquisitions of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson should change this quite significantly. Because of these new All-Pro defensive backs, the pressure the offense is under will lighten as lower scores and better field position set them up with more offense-friendly opportunities.
With the pressure relieved from the offense, they should be able to open up the playbook a little. They can stop forcing passes and allow the offense to run like it should, by mixing it up and creating true balance. Due to the freedom, we are led to believe the offense will be a lot better.
That means the pressure on Josh Freeman will ramp up. Last season we all seemed to point the finger at Josh when things would go south, but at the same time, we knew it wasn’t all his fault. There’s only so much a quarterback can do when he knows five touchdowns probably won’t be enough. Not even Drew Brees could live up to that week-in and week-out. So now, Josh is placed at the helm of a team that is expected to win, and a team that will put him in positions to win.
Freeman is on the hot seat. He has to play mistake-free football, or else it’ll be his fault. So while Freeman should have a much easier time, the pressure builds because of expectation. We expect the Buc offense to score some points and to lead this team to wins. If they don’t score, we’ll point at Josh and wonder why he couldn’t provide the points with a better defense giving him good opportunities.
It’s an odd conundrum because it’s so clear that Freeman should benefit from the additions on the other side of the ball. The team gets better, so his job gets easier. But pressure is an interesting thing. Josh has proven he’s been able to handle it on the micro level of a single game. We’ll learn this year if he can deal with the weight of a season full of expectations. If he does, he’s going to be a rich man come this time next year. If he can’t, my #5 jersey is going to end up on the shelf next to #19 (Keyshawn Johnson), #80 (Michael Clayton), and #24 (Cadillac Williams).