Buccaneers' Josh Freeman and Kellen Winslow getting along just fine
Here's a rule to live by: Just because you hear something over and over, don't assume it's true.
In this case, I'm referring to the notion that there's something going on between Bucs tight end Kellen Winslow and quarterback Josh Freeman. I've explored this and found absolutely nothing.
So, let's put an end to this here and now: It's unequivocally false.
All this stems from an intense discussion between Winslow and Freeman during a win over the Saints two weeks ago. Winslow made reference to it after that game, saying things got "heated." But the Bucs won the game and no one seemed happier about that than Winslow, a guy who loves winning more than his numbers -- despite what anyone else suggests.
This idea has taken hold because at least half of Freeman's 10 interceptions have come in instances where he's forced throws to Winslow, who usually wasn't open. This has resulted in an incorrect assumption by many who believe Freeman has been trying to keep Winslow happy, at any cost.
But that's just not the case.
What's actually happening is this: Winslow is the first read on many plays in the Tampa Bay playbook, and Freeman clearly isn't going through his progressions and looking to other options as much as he should. Instead, he's forcing the ball to Winslow or, in some cases, Mike Williams.
Coach Raheem Morris explained this problem in detail on Wednesday.
"Last year, (Freeman) simply did a better job of going through his progressions," Morris said. "Right now, he probably is playing his number in fantasy football. He’s trying to throw touchdowns. Sometimes it’s okay to throw the checkdown. It’s okay to go through your progressions. Right now he has a little too much confidence in what he’s doing with his arm, and forcing some things in there."
So, no, Winslow hasn't gone Keyshawn, author of Just Give Me the Damn Ball! One thing I've learned from interacting with Winslow in the past two-plus years is that he's not who you think he is. He wants to win. He works hard, playing through constant knee pain. He’s a good teammate. And he adores Morris – and Freeman, for that matter.
Have we butted heads? Yes. Does he love the media? Not really.
Yes, the Bucs have some issues. But, as it relates to this subject, Winslow and Freeman are very much on the same team, working toward the same goals.