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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

QB Freeman still long way from working with the big boys

During offensive drills in the Buccaneers' OTA sessions, the unit is often divided up in two groups -- one featuring players who presumably are in the mix as first- or second-teamers and another that includes pretty much everyone else.

It is in that second group where you will almost always find rookie QB Josh Freeman, working with many of the same players with whom he participated in rookie mini-camp. second-year man Josh Johnson is typically there as well.

What's the point? Basically this: unless something goes horribly wrong, it's clear the Bucs have no intention of playing Freeman any time soon. That was the assumption of everyone who is familiar with the team's thought process, including me. But that's been reinforced during the practices the media has been permitted to watch in recent weeks.

Don't fret though. Freeman can and will grow from the work he's getting, even if he is throwing to the likes of WR Joe Filani. The first-round pick is learning the same playbook as veteran QBs Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich and being scrutnized just as closely by his coaches. But his exclusion from many of the most important full-speed drills tells you all you need to know about where the Bucs are going at quarterback.

Freeman will sit in 2009 unless the season goes south, which in this year of transition is certainly plausible. If the Bucs are in the thick of things and remain healthy at quarterback, Freeman will have to wait quite some time to get consistent practice reps with the team's best playmakers.

In the meantime, the best thing he can do is be a sponge and soak up all he can.

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:34pm]


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