QB Freeman throws soft passes in practice, DT Price returns
Quarterback Josh Freeman threw soft passes during the team's pat-and-go period Friday, the first time he has tested his sore right shoulder during practice this week. But Freeman's status won't be determined until his workout at Raymond James Stadium just prior to Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
"I did a little bit, but today really isn't important,'' Freeman said. "Same status. I'm just listening to the trainers and trying to ease into it, you know?''
Freeman was injured on a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak in the Bucs 23-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans Sunday.
Backup quarterback Josh Johnson has taken most of the repetitions with the first-team offense this week. But Freeman's improvement since the injury has been encouraging.
"Obviously, he’ll be a game-time decision and we’ll take it right up until the last moment of truth out there, so we’ll see,’’ Morris said. “He went out and threw the ball around a little bit. Still limited. We’ll have an opportunity to see more tomorrow and the next day after that.
“Progress? Obviously, he threw the ball. The first couple days he didn’t throw it as much. He threw it a little yesterday, he threw it more today.''
Freeman has started 35 consecutive games since taking over from Josh Johnson as a rookie after an 0-7 start in 2009. Morris says because Freeman prides himself on playing through injury, the Bucs will have to watch him closely.
"He won’t tell me (how he feels), there’s no doubt about it,'' Morris said. "That’s why we’ve got to have doctors around. He’s one of those guys that wants to lead like that, think like that. Everybody wants to be Brett (Favre) and Brett set a great example for all these young quarterbacks and what the standard looks like and the model looks like. It’s one of those decisions you’ve got to make as a head coach.''
Johnson went 0-4 as a starter in 2009, losing to the Redskins, Eagles, Panthers and Patriots. But he is a more mature quarterback and has had a good week of practice, Morris said.
"Josh Johnson had a spectacular week of practice,'' Morris said. "We talked about the kid being very motivated, talked about the guy going out there and really being prepared. When you have a week like this and he takes all the reps, you can see how prepared he really is and how much he really wants it and how much he’s been paying attention. Those things are helpful for me.''
Defensive tackle Brian Price, who was carted off the field with a right ankle sprain last Sunday against the Titans, returned to practice Friday and will play, Morris said. Defensive end Michael Bennett, who missed last week's game with a groin injury, did not practice this week and will not play against the Panthers.