TAMPA — Bucs QB Josh Freeman has experienced a roller-coaster season in which the highs have been high (four consecutive wins, 11 touchdowns, two interceptions) and the lows have been low (four consecutive losses, four touchdowns, five interceptions). However, he says his confidence is unwavering.
"My confidence has been where it's been really the entire season," Freeman said. "I've got a lot of confidence in myself. I've got a lot of confidence in my coaches and my teammates. And it doesn't really change regardless.
"I feel like there are so many different things that people allow to affect their confidence and their thought process. The way I look at it, if I focus on getting just one-tenth of 1 percent better every day, just work my butt off to continue to improve, then I've got no reason to worry. I don't worry, 'When are we going to make a mistake?' It's kind of, 'Oh, I made a mistake.' It's not really ever doubting my abilities and ever doubting my teammates."
This is the fourth straight season — his third as a starting quarterback — that will end for Freeman without a trip to the postseason. That's disappointing, he said, but it has been a year of learning with the new coaching staff.
"Every year every team has the same goal until you get to this point and they say there's no chance to win it," Freeman said. "You want to get into the tournament, into the playoff, and secondly you want to go all the way. That's what you play for. If you don't believe you can do it, you're never going to do it.
"I have a lot of confidence in the team, and I believe this season has been a learning season. You hate to say it because that's not what we want to be at all. We've had success, and we're doing everything we can to be good this Sunday."
RAMS GAME BLACKED OUT: For the eighth time in 10 games this season (including preseason), a Bucs game will be blacked out on local TV. The team failed to sell at least 85 percent of the general tickets for Sunday's home finale against the Rams before the 1 p.m. Thursday deadline.
PRO BOWL BOUND? Ronde Barber, in his 16th season, led all NFC free safeties in fan voting for the Pro Bowl in Hawaii. The voting counts as one-third of the process; coaches and players also cast ballots.
"You know how much I like and care about our team, so hopefully they'll get recognized," coach Greg Schiano said of his players. "But I believe your play talks for yourself, and I've always believed that. Maybe sometimes, over the years, different teams I've coached, maybe they haven't gotten the all-star recognition because I don't stump like maybe some guys do. But I think it'll come out in the wash as things get better.
"If we're 11-5 (and) going to the playoffs, there's going to be a lot more guys considered for the Pro Bowl than when you're 6-8 right now."
INJURIES: DE Aaron Morgan did not practice but road a bicycle.