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Bucs Beat

Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Rookie Josh Freeman is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' new starting QB



It's not just Josh Freeman's turn, it's his team.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers changed quarterbacks again Wednesday, but they're hoping the move to Freeman will alter the fortunes of the franchise, which has lost 11 games in a row.

Freeman, the Bucs' 17th overall pick, took reps with the first team offense and the bye week will afford him extra time to prepare to start against the Green Bay Packers Nov. 8 at Raymond James Stadium.

"Josh Freeman will take over as starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers,'' coach Raheem Morris said following practice Wednesday. "No discredit to what Josh Johnson did for this football team. He's gone out there and gave us his best efforts. But the preparation, the timing, how we want to acclimate our young man into our system, into our organization, into our town, into our community, we think it's best coming off the bye. It's the most time to prepare.

"It's time to see Josh Freeman.''

Freeman, who played two series in his first NFL regular-season game Sunday against the Patriots in London, said he was excited about the opportunity.

"Obviously, it's something that's very exciting to me and it's something I've been working towards my entire careere and it's not something I'm taking lightly,'' Freeman said. "I come out with a different swagger I guess because I'm the guy taking the majority of the snaps and I'm the guy who has to radiate that type of swagger so my teammates can catch onto it.''

Morris said that the plan is for Freeman to start the rest of the season -- and beyond -- regardless of the won/loss record.

"This is a different deal,'' Morris said. "This is Freeman.''

Freeman completed 2-of-4 passes for 16 yards and was sacked twice in the fourth quarter against the Patriots Sunday. But the Bucs are 0-7 and have not improved under second-year quarterback Josh Johnson.

"Josh came out there and was able to control the offense and do what he needed to do,'' Morris said. "He completed two balls, one a nice slant route to (Brian Clark), another crossing route to Kellen (Winslow). He knew exactly where to go with the football. He didn't get the protection on one or two of the plays, but he went out there, executed the run and got us a first down.

"The decision probably with his preparation before that. The six o'clock wake ups, the coming into the office, being part of the game plan, being No. 2 -- all that stuff was part of the process. And now it's time we move in that direction as an organization.''

Johnson is 0-4 and has thrown eight interceptions. He owns a 50.9 passer rating.  Johnson will serve as the Bucs No. 2 quarterback.

"Under different cicumstances, it would've nice if he would've gotten more reps in training camp,'' said offensive coordinator Greg Olson. "But that wasn't the situation. That being said, he has prepared very well and it does seem like he's ready.''

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


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