Answering your Twitter questions on the Bucs
I reached out to my followers on Twitter this week soliciting some questions about the Bucs that I would in turn answer in this space.
So, now I'm going to make good on that promise.
We'll start with one that caught my eye, from follower @yamokosk: "In your opinion, how does Freeman stack up against past Tampa Bay rookie QBs in terms of development at this point?"
Unfortunately, the Bucs haven't invested an early-round pick in a quarterback in so long that it's hard to make comparisons -- unless you'd like me to make one between Freeman and, say, Bruce Gradkowski. Otherwise, the ones that come to mind, like Vinny Testaverde, pre-date my days in Tampa Bay, so I can't speak on those.
What I can do, however, is address how Freeman compares to young quarterbacks in general.
I think the thing that stands out about Freeman is his composure. He doesn't always make the right decision and he doesn't always make a perfect throw, but he never seems rattled. Regardless of the score or the predicament, he never seems affected by nerves. That's a bigger deal than you might realize given all a pro quarterback has to deal with -- blitzes, audibles, protection calls. All the evidence you need is in his ability to rise to the occasion when games are on the line. He's frankly pretty darn good in the fourth quarter.
Another area I think Freeman compares favorably with good young quarterbacks is in his learning curve. From all indications, he is picking things up quickly despite being put in an unenviable situation last year in which he had to re-learn an offense after the change in offensive coordinators. I think you'll see a very big step forward in terms of savvy and understanding this fall, largely because of the time he's spending this offseason in the film room and with his new quarterbacks coach. That should translate into good decision-making and improved timing.
Another area where Freeman makes an impression: Leadership. He knows how to take control, and he's beginning to assert himself like a franchise quarterback.
And in the end, I'm a believer that Freeman's physical skills are far superior to most other quarterbacks. When you factor in his size, his arm strength and his athleticism, he will become all the more impressive. Personally, I'm more intrigued to watch his development than any Bucs player I've seen in my five short seasons covering this team.
I'll keep doing this as I'm able so long as you have questions to throw my way. Again, the best way to go about it is to find me on Twitter at HolderStephen.