Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Freeman Taking Charge In The Most Important Season of His Career

Last year, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ fans began to see the strings unravel with their potential franchise quarterback, as Josh Freeman started to react on the field to negative situations and miscommunications. The same Freeman who made a name for himself by remaining cool and calm under pressure and leading late game comebacks was now rattled by mistakes and frustrated by the failings of his offense. I found myself almost more concerned with Freeman’s outward display of displeasure than I was about his inaccuracies and inconsistencies as a quarterback.

So there is encouraging news out of Bucs’ camp about Freeman’s mentality heading into this important 2013 season that awaits, and good news about the coaching staff’s expectations for their young, talented signal caller.

“He’s been very demonstrative,” quarterbacks coach John McNulty said during last week’s minicamp. “He’s been very authoritative out there on the field. I think your attitude and your performance as a quarterback will bring the other guys along. I don’t think he has to turn around and get on guys.

“I think it’s his urgency, his inflection, his demeanor. Everything has been high energy and positive and going at a fast pace. Guys don’t have a choice but to go along with him.”

This is great news for Buccaneer fans, especially those fans who continue to have faith in Freeman as the leader of this team going forward. Going into his contract year, he has every excuse to be selfish and closed-off, shunning the team for not believing in him and offering him a contract extension. But instead, he looks driven and motivated, looking to lead the team to great things and model his 2013 after the 2012 season of Joe Flacco.

The comparisons between Flacco and Freeman are incredibly numerous, with both tall, strong-armed quarterbacks suffering from poor accuracy but showing poise in pressure situations. They also both entered their contract years with lots of expectations to prove themselves worthy of a long-term contract worthy of a franchise quarterback. Joe Flacco led his team to a Super Bowl victory in his contract year, so it’s up to Freeman to have a similarly positive result (but not necessarily a Super Bowl) to earn a big paycheck.

Ultimately, Freeman’s future will be determined by his production on the field. But he’ll also need to show the leadership and competitive edge that will win Greg Schiano over to his side. Freeman has shown he’s capable of clutch moments over the course of his career, and combining that poise with a fully matured skillset would mean the Buccaneers have found the franchise QB they’ve sought for the entirety of their existence.

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Tags: Josh Freeman Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • PINN

    The success of Flacco may be the worst thing to happen to the BUCS faithful. That Cinderella story may never be replicated. Joe Flacco is a game managing QB. That’s not to say that he isn’t good, but to believe he’s the one to lead the Ravens back to a Super Bowl is a huge stretch in my book.
    Freeman has a lot of potential. But the BUCS and Coach Schiano aren’t in a position to wait for him much longer.

    • LeoTPP

      I think the successes of Eli Manning and Joe Flacco should be encouraging for Bucs’ fans, as they show that QB’s similar to Freeman can succeed, and that Freeman just has to continue to develop. Flacco isn’t amazing, and Eli isn’t really either. But they both lead winning teams, and that what the Bucs’ expect from Freeman with an improved defense, solid line, good receivers, and dynamic runner.

      • PINN

        In a sense, I do agree with the sentiment of Hope for Freeman. But the truth is he’s being compared and contrasted to overrated players, in my opinion. Manning has been the beneficiary of a very very good defense that carried his team to the SB. Twice. The same for Flacco. Those SuperBowl teams were more about the defensive side of the ball than on the will and play of the QB. Again, not taking away from the talents of Manning, Flacco or Freeman. But the truth is I don’t see these guys as leaders of their teams. Most popular? Maybe. Most talented?? Not likely. Most historically coveted position in football??? Yea.

        I don’t think you can build a team around any of these players. Freeman has shown the past couple years that’s the case in Tampa. He’s definitely good enough to contribute, but he’s still struggling to prove he can actually lead.