Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman throws before preseason game vs. Houston Texans

Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, minus a cast on his right thumb that was broken Aug. 21, throws before the game.


Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, minus a cast on his right thumb that was broken Aug. 21, throws before the game.

HOUSTON — One of the biggest developments involving the Buccaneers on Thursday night occurred before the opening kickoff at Reliant Stadium.

About 90 minutes before the preseason finale against the Texans, QB Josh Freeman hooked up with WR Sammie Stroughter on a pass of about 30 yards.

The pass was one of about 70 Freeman threw in his most extensive test of his broken right (throwing) thumb since the injury occurred Aug. 21. Freeman went through a rigorous warm-up and didn't appear to be dealing with pain, a good sign considering the Bucs are counting on him to start the season opener at home against Cleveland on Sept. 12.

"He looked awesome," coach Raheem Morris said. "He was out there winging the ball around pretty good."

The Bucs have maintained that they were never too concerned that the thumb wouldn't heal enough to allow Freeman to play against the Browns. What was expected to complicate the issue was the pain expected when the second-year player put his thumb under stress, as he did Thursday. Based on Freeman's ability to throw with force and precision, that did not seem to be a problem.

The next step for Freeman is to return to practice. The team is off today. It goes through a walkthrough Saturday.

BETWEEN THE LINES: The Bucs haven't clarified what they plan to do at cornerback in the opener, when Aqib Talib serves a league-imposed one-game suspension for an altercation with a cab driver last year. But the events of Thursday offered a clue.

Second-year CB E.J. Biggers started opposite Elbert Mack but played briefly. The starters who did play, including Biggers, were out of the game by the end of the first defensive series. Mack played well into the second quarter with the reserves.

Rookie Myron Lewis is a factor, but he might need a little more time after missing most of the preseason with a hamstring injury.

Biggers said he looks forward to the opportunity if it comes.

"Whatever the challenge is, I'm up for it," he said.

UPS, DOWNS: Lewis had an up-and-down night that will serve as a learning experience for the third-round draft pick from Vanderbilt.

In the third quarter, he batted away a pass in the end zone intended for Dorin Dickerson while locked in single coverage. But two plays later on the same route, he yielded a 32-yard touchdown pass from John David Booty to Bobby Williams.

Lewis added a pass deflection later in the third quarter, just missing an interception. But in the fourth, he committed a personal foul on a punt.

HUGGINS STARTS: Kareem Huggins, who got a promotion to No. 2 running back when Derrick Ward was cut Tuesday, started as Cadillac Williams sat out. Huggins rushed for 37 yards on six carries, an average of 6.2 yards per carry.

LAST CHANCE: KR/RB Clifton Smith, in a fight for a roster spot, saw his most extensive action of the preseason after being limited by knee pain that sidelined him for the first two games.

Smith struggled as a runner, gaining 3 yards on seven carries. But he was resourceful as a receiver, positioning himself underneath as a check-down option and catching three passes for 22 yards.

The ability of Smith to make tacklers miss in the open field is why he was once considered a good option as a third-down back.

The emergence of Micheal Spurlock as an option in the return game and as a receiver has made Smith, a Pro Bowl return man as a rookie in 2008, less of a necessity.

"It's the NFL," he said. "They're going to make their decision one way or another, and I've got to live with it. I gave it my all, and I gave everything I have on the field."

Stephen F. Holder can be reached at

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman throws before preseason game vs. Houston Texans 09/02/10 [Last modified: Friday, September 3, 2010 12:19am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Red state: Yes, Bill O'Reilly is a Bucs fan


    TAMPA -- The question was simple enough for Bucs fans: Why is former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly wearing a red Bucs polo?

    O'Reilly was wearing the polo during a few video clips from his "No Spin News" podcast posted on his website Monday, which was exciting news for some Bucs fans and not-so-exciting …

    Former Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly was sporting a red Bucs polo during his "No Spin News" video podcast Monday. An assistant said the shirt was given to him by former Bucs tight end Dave Moore.
  2. For starters: Slumping LoMo, Dickerson not in Rays lineup tonight vs LHP


    1B Logan Morrison and LF Corey Dickerson, two of the main slumpers in the Rays lineup, are not in tonight's lineup with the Orioles throwing LHP Wade Miley.

    Logan Morrison is 0-for-12 on this homestand.
  3. Ex-Buc Booger McFarland becomes ABC college football analyst


    Former Bucs defensive lineman Booger McFarland is continuing his broadcasting rise by joining ABC's studio coverage for the upcoming college football season, ESPN announced Tuesday.

    Former Bucs lineman Booger McFarland (No. 92) will become an ABC studio analyst this college football season.
  4. Rank the top 10 Bucs players? Here's what fans said


    We mentioned this morning that is was a fun challenge, in response to Sports Illustrated's ranking of the NFL's top 400 players, to ask fans to rank their top 10 Bucs players.

    Bucs receiver Mike Evans celebrates with quarterback Jameis Winston during last year's Bucs win against the Seahawks. Evans and Winston finished 1-2 in an informal Twitter poll of fans ranking their top Bucs players.
  5. Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn't have CTE.


    Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

    This combination of photos provided by Boston University shows sections from a normal brain, top, and from the brain of former University of Texas football player Greg Ploetz, bottom, in stage IV of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. According to a report released on Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association, research on the brains of 202 former football players has confirmed what many feared in life -- evidence of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, a devastating disease in nearly all the samples, from athletes in the NFL, college and even high school. [Dr. Ann McKee | BU via AP]