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Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman accepts blame for breakdowns against New England Patriots

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TAMPA — Quarterbacks get too much of the credit and too much of the blame.

That is, unless you were Josh Freeman in the Bucs offensive meeting room this weekend, where his credit rating dropped to single digits.

When the smelling salts brought coaches back to consciousness after Thursday's 31-14 loss to the Patriots, they pointed out to Freeman that both sacks were his fault for making the wrong protection calls. He also failed to recognize hot receivers in blitz situations.

"There were a couple plays I might have messed up an O-line call, didn't get the ball out of my hand soon enough," he said. "I mean, that ends up costing you."

You get the feeling Freeman was prepared to take the fall for the long lines at the concession stands that night at Raymond James Stadium.

"It was really one in particular," he said. "It was a play where we were trying to take a shot and were in a six-man protection and I mean, I based it up and had the protection going to the (middle linebacker) and they ran the one pressure that that call doesn't pick up. They got some penetration and got a sack.

"They brought a corner cat on one of our naked (bootlegs), and if you watched it on film 100 times, you would've never known it was coming."

Freeman completed 5 of 10 passes for 33 yards and produced only one first down. He spent so much time on the grass, the back of his jersey needed to be mowed.

LT Donald Penn had his worst game in a while and was beaten so severely on one play he tried to "butt block" Andre Carter.

Remember, Freeman is only 23. This is where the lockout will be a disadvantage to young teams. No offseason means not enough time to work on blitz looks and protections.

"No question, we expect to see more blitzing early in the season across the league," offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. "We just need to refresh Freeman on the rules. … We just didn't come out ready to go. Lesson learned."

NFL REVIEWING TALIB CASE: The NFL is reviewing whether CB Aqib Talib violated the personal conduct policy and what, if any, discipline he might face as a result. Talib is scheduled to stand trial in March on charges of assault with a deadly weapon stemming from his involvement in a shooting last spring in Garland, Texas.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who retained his power to discipline players who ran afoul of the policy during the lockout, suspended Talib for the first game last season for assaulting a cab driver in 2009. The Bucs hope Goodell will wait for the outcome of the case before rendering a decision.

"Any case of this nature is under review," said Greg Aiello, the NFL's senior vice president of communications. "We do not comment on timetables or speculate on outcomes."

DISCOUNT FOR CONCESSIONS AFTER GAFFES: No kidding, the Bucs will discount all food and nonalcoholic drinks 50 percent for the Sept. 11 regular-season opener at RJS.

Consider it their apology for the concessionaire Levy Restaurants being unprepared and running out of food during Thursday's home preseason opener. Fans faced long lines, some areas ran out of items by halftime, and workers weren't able to process credit cards.

"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take our fans' stadium experience very seriously," director of communications Jonathan Grella said. "We would like to apologize to all fans who attended Thursday's game for the concession service issues throughout the stadium. It is our commitment to ensure that our fans receive a first-class experience at all Buccaneer games."

Rick Stroud can be reached at stroud@sptimes.com.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman accepts blame for breakdowns against New England Patriots 08/20/11 [Last modified: Saturday, August 20, 2011 11:02pm]
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