Bucs QB coach Van Pelt and Josh Freeman already bonding
One of the things Josh Freeman made light of in his interview with us on Thursday was the fact that he already is developing a nice relationship with his new quarterbacks coach, Alex Van Pelt.
Hired in January to relieve offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who also was QBs coach last season, Val Pelt has a wealth of experience that comes from nine years as a (mostly) backup quarterback with the Bills. Because Freeman has spent most of the past two months at the team facility, when he justifiably could have been hanging out on South Beach, he's had a lot of time to exchange ideas and gain knowledge from Van Pelt.
"He played in the league a long time so he’s got the veteran’s mentality, but he’s a coach," Freeman said of Val Pelt. "He’s helping me out a lot, just getting a perspective of a veteran leader. I’m trying to get inside his head."
This is the kind of one-on-one instruction that Freeman could have used more of last season. Of course, once offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski was fired less than two weeks before the regular season, Olson was promoted and presumably had less time to devote to his quarterbacks. And even when he did have in-depth quarterback sessions, Freeman was an afterthought until he took over the starting job in Week 8.
Now that he's getting individualized instruction, it's up to Freeman to make the most of what he's learning.
"As a young quarterback, you learn stuff every year," he said. "I’m trying to use (Van Pelt) as a little bit of a cheat, to get my mind to process faster. So, when I’m stepping out there, I’m not stepping out there as a second-year quarterback. Maybe I’ll have the mind of a fourth- or fifth-year quarterback because I’ve been working with Alex."