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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Bucs rookie QB Josh Freeman to grip and rip in first NFL start



Bucs rookie QB Josh Freeman said Wednesday he is ready to "let it rip,' in his first NFL start Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

The 17th overall pick, described as a 'gunslinger,' by Bucs pro personnel director Doug Williams, does not seem the least bit pressured by the expectations surrounding his debut.

""I feel really comfortable with the offense right now. I've been working really hard with (offensive coordinator Greg) Olson and I feel comfortable with a lot of the guys I'm throwing to. I just want to go out there and let it rip.''

Freeman will become the Bucs' third starting quarterback in eight games. He played two seriies Oct. 25 in a 35-7 loss to the New England Patriots in London. He completed 2-of-4 passes for 16 yards and was sacked twice.

But the baptism was enough for Freeman to realize that the Packers and others teams will try to put a lot of pressure on him.

"I learned that teams are probably going to bring a lot at me as far as blitzes, which I'm prepared for because that opens a lot of stuff up down the field and in the middle of the field,'' Freeman said. "There was that, and also, it felt good just to be back out there, stepping into the huddle, just calling the plays and just getting my feet wet again. I'm really excited about the opportunity to get a whole game in this Sunday.''

Williams, who watched a lot of film of Freeman from Kansas State and in practice with the Bucs, said the 6-foot-6 passer is not afraid to throw the football downfield.

"I think you've got a gunslinger in him,'' Williams said, "I"'ve been watching practice every day. I've been going into watching tape. I think he's a guy who's going to take more chances than a lot of people. I think if you look at the quarterbacks that have been successful, they've kind of got a gunslinger mentality. You've got a 40-year-old playing in Minnesota. That's all he's ever done is take chances. At the same time, he's got some guys who understand if he's going to take chances, they're going to make some plays for him. And that's what I'm saying we're going to do. We've got to have those players who believe that Josh is going to get it downfield, so I've just got to find a way to come up with the football. So I do think he's got a gunslinger mentality.

"He's going to make some mistakes and we've all got to live with it. But I think the more he plays, the better he's going to become and understand that there's a time to take chances and a time not to.''


[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:47pm]


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