Morris: Bucs have to take pressure off Freeman
Josh Freeman is feeling a lot of pressure as a rookie quarterback.
But most of it is coming from his own team.
Freeman lost some confidence when he threw an interception on the first play in Sunday's 26-3 loss to the New York Jets. Coach Raheem Morris said Monday the Bucs have to scale back some of the workload on Freeman and take the pressure off their 21-year-old quarterback.
"You've got to calm him down a little bit,'' Moirris said. "You've got to establish your offensive identity as far as the run, you've got to get him some easy completions. You've got to get back to his hard core play-action pass. We talked about it. When do you give him too much? When do you give him too much? And we kind of found out. You've got to reel some things back on him a little bit.
"He played against a really good defense and you don't want to overdo it. You don't want to put him in remedial classes. But at the same time, you want to take a little pressure off the young man, take some stuff off of him, put it back on the coaches, put it back on the guys around him and do some of those things.''
Morris said while Freeman doesn't wear his emotions on his sleeve, his confidence was clearly shaken by the early interception a week after throwing five picks in a 26-6 loss at Carolina. Freeman finished Sunday's game 14-of-33 passing for 93 yards with three INTs for a passer rating of 12.1. The Bucs have not scored a touchdown in their last two games.
"We talked about it as a staff and I don't think we did a good job as a staff of calming him down after that happened,'' Morris said of the INT by Jets linebacker David Harris. "He lost his composure a little bit at the time. As a rookie, you expect it. That's what we talk about when we talk about the patience. I'm sure it had some kind of pysche on him at the beginning of the game. He's a mentally tough kid, but anytime you throw five picks the week before in a completely different situation, I might add -- and you start off with a pick that way, when you're searching for an easy completion for the young man to get his confidence going, it probably effected him a little bit.''
A week ago, Freeman passed for a career-high 321 yards at Carolina. But he was intercepted five times, including three times in the red zone.
"I remember a couple weeks ago when he went out there and threw for all those yards, we're saying, "Hey, how far can he take this thing?'' Morris said. "Is he going to be the guy to stand back there and throw the ball every snap. I looked at you guys and said, "I don't know. I don't know how fast you push him and how fast you let that thing go.' Maybe you've got to scale him back a little bit now.''