Monday, January 22, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs want Freeman to show urgency

TAMPA

Everybody agrees the time is now for QB Josh Freeman if his career is going to continue with the Bucs. But coaches would like to see him demonstrate a greater sense of urgency in games from start to finish.

What does that mean for the laid-back Freeman? Showing more fire while keeping his cool.

"He's been very demonstrative," quarterbacks coach John McNulty said during last week's minicamp. "He's been very authoritative out there on the field. I think your attitude and your performance as a quarterback will bring the other guys along. I don't think he has to turn around and get on guys.

"I think it's his urgency, his inflection, his demeanor. Everything has been high energy and positive and going at a fast pace. Guys don't have a choice but to go along with him."

McNulty is Freeman's fourth quarterbacks coach in his five seasons. Though he has emphasized mechanics and footwork, McNulty said more important factors are Freeman understanding the offense, reading defenses and anticipating throws.

"A guy who has played that many years, a lot of times it comes down to footwork," McNulty said. "And those things usually have to do with being sure with where you're going with the ball and what you're doing and getting your body, your feet and your eyes to where you're going with the ball. He can throw it as well as anyone in the league."

Detractors of Freeman, who is entering the final season of his contract, will never be convinced he can lead a team to a Super Bowl title.

Can you imagine a quarterback who completes fewer than 60 percent of his passes but averages more than 7 yards per attempt and throws 12 more touchdown passes than interceptions hoisting the Lombardi Trophy? Not good enough, right? Freeman-like numbers. Except they belong to Super Bowl-winning quarterback Joe Flacco of the Ravens in 2012.

Flacco passed for fewer yards (3,817 to 4,065), averaged fewer yards per attempt (7.19 to 7.29) and threw fewer touchdown passes than Freeman (22 to 27) while completing 59.7 percent of his attempts (to Freeman's 54.8).

TOES ON THE LINE: Something has been missing from workouts in coach Greg Schiano's second season: bellyaches.

"There's no complaining," DT Gerald McCoy said. "There was a lot of complaining last year, but that was to be expected. Change is never easy, and there are always some growing pains that we went through. But we know how things work around here now, and now it's just ritual. We do things over and over the same way to create a habit. And eventually it becomes ritual."

REVIS IMPACT: When CB Darrelle Revis practices, he will raise the level of the receivers. "It's a challenge," Vincent Jackson said. "When you're going against looks that are as hard as it's going to be on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (as) you're going to see on Sunday, that's an advantage."

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud @tampabay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.

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