Saturday, June 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman's numbers go beyond TDs

TAMPA

You can't always protect the quarterback. At some point this season, Josh Freeman will feel the pressure bearing down on him from all angles.

The odd thing is the heat will be applied by the Bucs.

The quarterback needs a bounceback season after throwing 22 interceptions and 16 touchdowns in 2011. What's more, because Freeman is signed through only 2013, coach Greg Schiano, who didn't draft him, must help decide if the Bucs should offer him a substantial contract extension.

"Those are really organizational decisions, but I think the world of Josh," Schiano said. "I think he's going to have a great year and just continue to get better and better. I think the guys coaching him, (quarterbacks coach) Ron Turner and (offensive coordinator) Mike Sullivan, do a tremendous job with all our quarterbacks.

"The thing I'm most impressed with in Josh, from the day I got here, is his thirst to just drink up all the knowledge these guys have. That's real cool for a head coach to see. And then I really enjoy all aspects of our relationship in that it's got a lot of different levels to it. I enjoy coaching the guy."

Sullivan, who helped straighten out the Giants' Eli Manning as his quarterbacks coach the past two seasons, says Freeman is eager to erase the stain of 2011.

"I think there is a resolve. There is a determination he has to put himself in a position to be the type of player he wants to be and lead us to the wins to get to where we want to go," Sullivan said.

An increasingly restless fan base will not allow Freeman any excuses for not being the quarterback who threw 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2010, his first full season as a starter.

The focus of the offseason was to buttress Freeman with additions such as WR Vincent Jackson, RB Doug Martin, TE Dallas Clark and G Carl Nicks. But with Drew Brees (Saints), Matt Ryan (Falcons) and Cam Newton (Panthers), Freeman might have the longest climb in the NFC South.

"I expect to do well every week," Freeman said. "That's the mentality.

"I'm really excited about getting out there point-blank."

Five others to watch in 2012

Doug Martin: The running back will be a tired man on Mondays. Coach Greg Schiano believes Martin has as much talent as Ravens (and ex-Rutgers) running back Ray Rice as well as feeding the hot hand. Schiano has no ceiling when it comes to touches for the 5-foot-9, 215-pounder.

Vincent Jackson: The receiver has never had more than 60 receptions in a season and must prove he's comfortable working the middle of the field. Jackson might be targeted that many times over the first five games.

Lavonte David: The linebacker could be the defensive MVP. Sure, he's a rookie, and it takes more than one player to transform the worst defense in club history. But David is a heat-seeking missile who will make a ton of plays.

Gerald McCoy: The defensive tackle will change some opinions if he stays healthy for 16 games. If not, the Bucs might cut the cord.

Aqib Talib: This should be the cornerback's best season. He's a free agent afterward, and all of the legal drama is behind him.

Comments
Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

Ronald Darby’s friend: Jameis Winston got into second Uber ride alone

New details emerged Friday night about the Uber ride in Arizona in March 2016 that led to Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston's three-game suspension to start the upcoming season, including the fact that Winston was in a car that night with a former Vand...
Published: 06/22/18
Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Chris Godwin on SiriusXM: Bucs have confidence in backup QBs

Bucs receiver Chris Godwin, who has had as good an offseason as any Tampa Bay player, was on SiriusXM NFL radio for a scheduled interview on Thursday night, talking about a range of subjects, including the news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start...
Published: 06/22/18
With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With Winston suspension, how might Bucs split QB reps in preseason?

With news that Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of 2018, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter has an interesting decision to make for training camp and especially in preseason games: How does he split reps between Winston and backup Ryan...
Published: 06/22/18
Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

Bucs QB Jameis Winston’s suspension: What they’re saying

There are so many sides to the Jameis Winston suspension, and it will continue to be a major Bucs story line through September and beyond. Here's some of the reactions and notes that have already emerged in the first 24 hours since news broke Thursda...
Published: 06/22/18
Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

Welcome back to the dark side, Bucs fans

TAMPA — Thursday was not the end of Jameis Winston in Tampa Bay, but it is in sight.Me? I was sitting at home. I was tired of the NBA draft, even with Tampa's Kevin Knox going to the New York Knicks.So I switched to the NFL Network. An episode ...
Published: 06/22/18
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Published: 06/22/18
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Published: 06/22/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Published: 06/22/18
Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

Timeline of investigations, suspensions and allegations involving Jameis Winston

The NFL will suspend Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston three games without pay to start the regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension could be increased if he fails to meet certain undisclosed requirements expect...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

Jameis Winston suspension means Bucs will turn to Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB

TAMPA — The news of Jameis Winston's suspension to start this season likely means the Bucs will have veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping in at quarterback for the first three games of the regular season.Fitzpatrick took over as the starter for th...
Published: 06/21/18