Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bucs must reduce hits quarterback Josh Freeman absorbs

TAMPA — All around the NFL, the headlines offer examples of something no team wants: an injured quarterback.

With the Eagles' Michael Vick, the Bears' Jay Cutler, the 49ers Alex Smith and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger nursing injuries, the Bucs know it's unsustainable for QB Josh Freeman to take as many hits as he did Sunday at Carolina.

How to fix it for their next game, against the Falcons?

The Bucs plan a multilayered approach involving the offensive line, Freeman and coaching. The team attributed the offensive line's underperformance, in part, to a good game by the Panthers defensive line.

"That is a very talented, very well-coached front four," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "We thought they were going to be good, but they were even better."

Sullivan said he and his staff will consider adjustments to mitigate protection issues.

"There are things we can do as far as moving the launch point, getting some quicker, rhythm-type throws … so he can get the ball out faster," Sullivan said of Freeman. "I really think it's a combination of things from a protection standpoint, executing a little bit better up front. And then when you're facing a tough group like that, it's going to be a challenge."

But if and when Freeman is faced with absorbing contact, there's little doubt at One Buc Place he can take it. The 6-foot-6, 248-pound quarterback stood in the pocket and took a head-on hit on the tying touchdown against the Panthers, never flinching.

"You're talking about a guy who is tough as nails with his ability to hang in there and still maintain the downfield focus; his vision on the receiver," Sullivan said.

"He's not a happy-feet guy. He's not a guy who is turning away (from the hit)."

It's just not what he does, Freeman said.

"I have a job to do," he said. "Regardless of what's happening around me, I have to do my best to execute my job."

Freeman has certainly done that with a 94.6 QB rating, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions during his team's four-game winning streak.

Said Falcons coach Mike Smith: "He's playing at a Pro Bowl level right now."

WRIGHT news: CB Eric Wright did not practice Wednesday as he continues to deal with an Achilles injury. Coach Greg Schiano said it's "too early to tell" if he'll play Sunday.

Wright has started but missed big chunks of the past two games after aggravating the injury, sustained late last month.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported in late October that the sixth-year player faces a four-game suspension for using Adderall, but Wright declined to be specific when asked about it Wednesday.

MEDICAL MATTERS: WR/KR Arrelious Benn (shoulder) didn't practice, and Schiano said the team will have to wait and see on his availability. … WR Tiquan Underwood (head), shaken up late Sunday, fully participated. … Schiano is encouraged with RG Jamon Meredith, who played Sunday and has responded "surprisingly well" since spraining his left ankle at practice last week. … CB Anthony Gaitor returned to practice after being on injured reserve the past six weeks. Gaitor, who injured a hamstring in the preseason, can't be activated for a couple of weeks but said he felt great to be back: "When that day comes to get back on the field, I'm going to be ready."

Bucs must reduce hits quarterback Josh Freeman absorbs 11/21/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 9:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Cup-winning Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman said Dave Andreychuk's name has surfaced often the past eight years with the selection committee.

    30 Oct 2001:  Left wing Dave Andreychuk #25 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates towards the blue line during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.  The Maple Leafs defeated the Lightning 3-2.  Mandatory Credit:  Dave Sanford /Allsport
  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Rays at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, Pittsburgh

    The Heater

    Tonight: at Pirates

    7:05, PNC Park

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    Probable pitchers

    Rays: Alex Cobb (6-5, 4.05)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  5. What they're saying about Dave Andreychuk making Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    "Dave helped me so much when I was just starting my career, a young kid that was looking to find his way as a hockey player, a person and a member of the Tampa Bay community. In addition to watching him compile such awe-inspiring statistics, I remember him as a big brother to me and many others, making sure all the …