Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs QB Freeman admits mistakes, says he trusts Schiano

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TAMPA — The snapshot of Josh Freeman's first two weeks of the season is not flattering.

The Bucs quarterback missed the team photo and subsequent meeting, admitted being late to other club functions, and was not voted an offensive captain.

There also was Sunday's 18-17 loss to the Jets.

Calling them "isolated incidents," Freeman said Thursday that he is ready to move on and focus on beating the Saints.

"I know exactly how (it looks)," Freeman said. "Quarterback is a position of leadership, and obviously, missing the team photo is a big deal. It's something I feel badly about, and it's obviously upsetting. But at the same time, I've got to put it behind me and get ready to play."

Freeman addressed a laundry list of issues swirling around One Buc Place, including his relationship with coach Greg Schiano.

A few days after Freeman missed the team photo, Bucs players voted receiver Vincent Jackson and guard Davin Joseph offensive captains, denying Freeman the position for the first time since his rookie season of 2009.

A profootballtalk.com report on Wednesday said the Bucs held a players-only meeting before the Jets game, during which some suggested the results of the vote might have been rigged by Schiano to prevent Freeman from becoming a captain.

"I was not aware of any questioning of the captains vote because there isn't any," Schiano said Wednesday.

On Thursday, Freeman agreed. "My agent called me. That was the first I heard somebody said something about Coach rigging the ballots," Freeman said. "Coach would not do that. I've got 100 percent confidence. That's the big thing with Coach: trust and accountability. Of course I trust Coach.

"I feel like a bunch of talk about me not being a captain kind of takes away from the honor of (Jackson and Joseph) being captains. We've got a team with eight Pro Bowl guys. Would I want to be captain? Yeah, sure, but it's not something that's going to make or break me by any stretch."

Long snapper and special teams captain Andrew Economos said Thursday that he called the meeting and characterized it as more of a pep talk.

"That there was a players-only meeting was accurate, and … Josh missing the photo was accurate," Economos said. "Other than that, all the other stuff that tried to get spun around was not."

Although he said he was disappointed by some of Freeman's absences, Schiano said trust between the two has not eroded.

"When you have mishaps, when you have things where guys don't do what they're supposed to do when they're supposed to do it, does it concern me?" Schiano said. "Sure it does. But the same guy has done a lot of things that he is supposed to do when he's supposed to do them in clutch situations dating back to as late as Sunday. He took the team down and put us in field goal range to win the game.

"I think everything has to be in balance."

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