Joseph: Freeman the 'right quarterback' to take Bucs to 'next level'
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl guard Davin Joseph was all smiles Tuesday afternoon - and for good reason - as he's fully recovered from right knee surgery that ended his 2012 season before it began.
Joseph said it was a difficult rehab, and tough to be away from teammates, but he says there's no limitations and he's ready to return to form.
"Now I'm ready to take the next step," he said.
Joseph, entering his eighth season, admits his career "hour glass is coming towards the end," is comforted by the fact he believes the Bucs have the coaching staff, players and front office to "compete for a Super Bowl."
And yes, Joseph says, Josh Freeman is "the right quarterback" to "take us to the next level." But, Joseph points out, it shouldn't all fall on Freeman's shoulders.
"I'm biased, he's my friend, teammate, he's my quarterback," Joseph said. "But the thing that's going to make Josh 'the guy' is his team. His team is going to make him the guy. So it's his defense doing what defense is supposed to do, special teams making plays, offensive line blocking, receivers catching, running backs running. It's everything that's going to make Josh the guy.
"You look at the two teams in the Super Bowl, were not the two best quarterbacks in the league. It was the two best teams in the league. So Josh's success is going to come from his team, just like every other quarterback. Even though you had the best quarterback in Peyton Manning, he didn't even make it to the Super Bowl. Tom Brady didn't make it to the Super Bowl. It's just about the best team.
"I defend Josh a lot, I always take his side. Because I feel like everybody wants to point to him, but it's really the team. It's the organization, it's the coaches. It's everybody. I know Josh is the guy because he's here, and I know we have everything we need to win here. When it comes together, we'll be praising Josh of course, he'll be the guy with the MVP trophy. But it's a team sport."
Joseph said he's excited for the possibilities of the offense, which he called "Grade A." "Shoot for the stars," he said.
Joseph was impressed with how the offensive line performed without him and fellow Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks, whose season ended in October with left toe surgery. RT Demar Dotson stepped up, as did guard Jamon Meredith, with Jeremy Zuttah moving to center.
"It's the change that we went through, going from a country club to a place where we actually conduct football business now," Joseph said. "It's that change that really prepared those guys to be able to fill those spots."
And Joseph enjoyed watching rookie running back Doug Martin's memorable year, with the first-round pick rushing for 1,454 yards.
"It was exciting," Joseph said. 'We've just got to find some creative ways to get him the ball. We saw Doug really hit a spurt midway through the season where he was really playing a high level of fotoball. And if we plan on being a playoff team, we've got to be able to conserve Doug to make sure when we go on that playoff run that he's still our main guy. As long as we use him the right way, he can be a major weapon, and not to abuse his powers, I guess you can say. It was exciting to watch him from his rookie year grow and excel like that. I look forward to him being our impact player on offense next year."