Freeman says coaches, teammates have faith even if Tarkenton does not
Quarterback Josh Freeman picked himself up from the latest hit on his reputation Wednesday.
Addressing comments from Hall of Fame quarterback Fran Tarkenton, who described Freeman as "God awful,' during an interview on 620 WDAE Tuesday, the Bucs beleaguered signal caller said the important thing is that his team still has faith in him.
“Obviously, he’s Fran Tarkenton. His career speaks for itself,'' Freeman said. "He’s a Hall of Famer. But I mean at the same time, everybody is entitled to their own opinion. The important thing is the people in this building – coaches, teammates – they’ve got faith and they know who I am as a player.''
Freeman set club records for passing yardage (4,065 yards) and touchdowns (27) last season. But after a 6-4 start, the Bucs lost five of their last six games. Ten of Freeman's 17 interceptions came in those contets.
Freeman said he is in a much better position to make smart decisions in the second year under offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.
However, he ranks 30th among NFL starting quarterbacks in snaps played (21) following the second preseason game.
"Coming in, (it was) the terminology, understanding the formations, the concepts, where we’re trying to go with the ball,'' Freeman said. "On the back end, the receivers, a better understanding of the system as well. Those guys have done a great job this off-season just working on all our different read concepts. Just understanding our protection calls and how we’re using them in this system. That makes it so when you drop back, you know when you’re picked up, you know when somebody is coming free and just being a lot more definitive from an identification standpoint. I think that’s been a big part of it.''
Freeman, 25, also credited his improvement this season on the fact that he has matured.
“You know, it’s also growing a little older,'' Freeman said. "I’m going into my fifth year, having some time to be around a number of different teams and different guys. You continue to try to push things, to try to see if you can get the very best Josh out.''