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Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Josh Freeman says he has been too aggressive, leading to early season woes

TAMPA — The Bucs put the finishing touches on their Wednesday agenda at One Buc Place a bit before noon, and players immediately began looking ahead to a break during their bye week.

Well, most players, anyway.

Quarterback Josh Freeman instead was headed to a meeting room, where he planned to spend much of Wednesday and today working with quarterbacks coach Alex Van Pelt and others in an effort to fix what has led to his rash of interceptions in recent weeks.

Freeman believes he knows where to start.

"It's really just peeling back some of the aggressive nature," he said. "When we're dropping back to take a shot, I'm trying to strike a dagger in the defense. More often than not this year, it's kind of backfired. We're going to go back and self-scout the entire season and go back and look at the interceptions."

Freeman threw four interceptions in Sunday's loss to the Bears at London and leads all NFL quarterbacks with 10 picks. It's befuddling given his efficiency in 2010, when he threw 25 touchdowns and a mere six interceptions.

"If we can (prevent) that, you're looking at a team that's 5-2 if not 6-1 right now," Freeman said.

Instead, the Bucs head into their bye week 4-3 while trying to crack the mystery surrounding Freeman's play. Coach Raheem Morris has a theory. He says Freeman is locking on to his primary targets — often receiver Mike Williams or tight end Kellen Winslow — and not progressing to his secondary options.

"Last year, he simply did a better job of going through his progressions," Morris said. " … He's trying to throw touchdowns. Sometimes it's okay to throw the check-down. It's okay to go through your progressions.

"Right now he has a little too much confidence in what he's doing with his arm and forcing some (throws) in there."

In addition to his self-inflicted problems, defenses are forcing Freeman to adjust when it comes to his scrambling. After rushing 23 times in the first four games, Freeman has just five rushing attempts for 5 yards in his past three games. Some of the biggest plays in wins over the Falcons and Colts came via rushes by Freeman.

There's a reason for the drop-off.

"If I have an open running lane, I'm going to run the ball," he said. "But I haven't had a chance to get out. … Those lanes just haven't been there. … It's how the league is. You do something successfully and defenses are going to start to do stuff to take it away."

Can Freeman turn it around? If he does, the Bucs believe it'll be because of his character.

"Because of the person that he is, the worker that he is, the self-pride that he has," Van Pelt said. "(It's) the fact that what he did last year is a reflection of what he can do every year. We just have to maintain consistency in our preparation each week and come out with expectations that we're not going to turn the ball over. He'll buy into that. He did last year. We just need him to get back on track."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Josh Freeman says he has been too aggressive, leading to early season woes 10/26/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 26, 2011 10:15pm]
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