Other Bucs Have To Keep Josh Freeman’s Pace

August 20th, 2011

It’s pretty clear to any sober or even not-so-sober Bucs fans that the success of the Bucs last year came down to three players: Josh Freeman, LeGarrette Blount and Mike Williams.

A memorable but not exactly accurate comment Joe had from one of his readers last month was that without Freeman, Williams and Blount, Dale Mabry Highway would be lined with fans baring torches and pitchforks.

Jeffri Chadiha of BSPN believes that, as Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik likes to say, it’s all about No. 5. Chadiha says Freeman is the straw that stirs the Bucs cocktail and the challenge of the rest of the team faces, specifically rookies and second-year players — is that they must keep up the pace of improvement that Freeman has displayed.

That lesson will be essential to whatever the Bucs do this season. One of the NFL’s youngest teams went from being a three-win bunch in 2010 to a 10-6 squad last year, largely because Freeman developed so quickly that he tossed 25 touchdown passes and only six interceptions in his second year. What his maturation also did was give his teammates incentive to grow up in a hurry. It’s no coincidence that an offense that had as many as four rookies starting at one point — including wide receiver Mike Williams and running back LeGarrette Blount — managed to come within a whisker of qualifying for the wild-card spot that ultimately went to Green Bay.

That growth is what it takes to make people believe in a rebuilding effort. While someone has to be the centerpiece of the blueprint — Freeman, in this case — all the other rocks in the foundation have to see the importance of keeping pace. As Freeman said, “We are a hungry team. We want to be in the playoffs year in and year out. We want to be a team that is competing for championships, and not making the playoffs last season really stung.”

Joe has seen enough of (the new) Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn that Joe believes the Bucs will be fine there and, of course, the secondary Joe has no concerns over.

While Chadiha points out the Bucs youngsters need to keep pace with Freeman — and it’s a strong, valid premise — Joe believes it is the veterans that need to hold their own. The Bucs offensive line has three veterans in Donald Penn, Jeff Faine and Davin Joseph, four if you believe Jeremy Trueblood will start.

It is those veterans that will decide the fate of the Bucs, Joe is convinced. If Freeman’s jersey is filthy, if Blount has no holes to run through, the Bucs offense will simply sputter and bluntly put, the Bucs’ defense is not stout enough (yet) to shut down opponents if the Bucs offense is struggling all day.

25 Responses to “Other Bucs Have To Keep Josh Freeman’s Pace”

  1. Capt.Tim Says:

    Blount, Lorig, Larsen,Hardman,Williams, and Benn. We started a lot more than 4 rookies last year. Still hard to believe. Just hope we avoid the sophomore jinx this year. We are counting on a lot of kids growing up fast! And, believe it or not, Caddy helped Set the skilled players last year. That’s something we may miss this year.

  2. Tampa--->Baaaaaaayyyy Says:

    In the first 5 Patriot drives, the Bucs gave up 4 TDs and one punt. The Bucs ddnt make them punt until AFTER they gave up 3 straight TDs.

    The problem starts with the defense. How on earth can you run the ball when the defense spots them 21 in the first quarter???

    Come on guys.

  3. fridge bob Says:


    Started as many as 4 rookies [on offense] at one point, is what was meant. If you count defense and special teams, probably 10 or 11 rookies started a game at one point last season.

  4. fridge bob Says:

    Not to take any blame away from the lackluster D-line on Thursday, but it’s the O-line ‘vets’ that got their big contracts and should be playing up to them.

  5. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I’m also not worried about the offensive skill positions or the defensive line or secondary. I’m concerned about our offensive line and our linebackers. The Bucs will only go as far as those two groups allow this season, in my opinion.

  6. Brad Says:

    Agree with your article 100% Joe.. The offense with a veteran line and the 3 stars should be way ahead of the young defense. It will need to sustain drives and score TD’s while our defense (hopefully) grows up before our eyes. Freeman will have alot of pressure this year. Agree with Capt Tim, I don’t think Dominc did Freeman any favors by letting Caddy go. If it really is all about #5, Caddy should have been retained.

  7. Joe Says:

    Thanks Brad.

  8. Eric Says:

    Why does everybody take pride in the number of rookie starters?

    It aint good!

  9. Tampa--->Baaaaaaayyyy Says:

    “Joe has seen enough of (the new) Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn that Joe believes the Bucs will be fine there and, of course, the secondary Joe has no concerns over.”


    Spotting 28 points on the first 5 drives is no big deal? They looked okay? The secondary who continued to give up TD pass after TD pass in the end zone off of play fakes was nothing to be concerned over? Huh?

  10. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @tampa —>Baaayyy No, it isn’t. Still getting the play calling down and Mack was starting against 85. Mack wont even be on the field this year.DL and secondary will be fine. The LB play is another story, as Joe said.

  11. Brad Says:

    Just heard guys on a national radio show and basically they were saying fans are idiots for putting any stock in pre season one way or the other and teams run different schemes. Some create game plans and others go vanilla which makes the later team look terrible.. Umm I believe that is what Raheem told you non kool aid drinkers..

  12. nick Says:

    that game against ne is hog wash we were playing a base 4-3 with no wrinkles and they were running a mid season offense sub in 4 guys at a time and also evening sub qbs, using a hurry up offense they looked good, we on the other hand didnt look good we looked a little tired, and also confused at the looks they were throwing at us it is probably a good thing that we ran into them we should kill the dolphins this week watch out.

  13. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    That is the bucs convenient new opinion bc after the kc game the team and fanatics were arguing that game as evidence of something.

    I read a KC star article that indicated (bc Haley wouldnt say yes or no) that he told his players to be safe first and foremost. I told everyone to calm down bc that game was meaningless and I got blasted as a hater.

    This week they get embarrassed down 28-0 early and the same fanatics (and coach) contradict themselves completely by saying “the game is meaningless.” LOL. They looked horrible, it doesnt matter, move on.

  14. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    What? The bucs will be fine with McCoy and Clay? Huh. You have seen them
    Play combined 6 quarters of preseason. That is nonsensical.

  15. gotbbucs Says:

    i get a kick out of how worked up people get over these damn preseason games. most teams are running base schemes off of a script just trying to evaluate 2nd and 3rd stringers. take a chill pill people, the sun will come up tomorrow.

  16. Mauha Deeb Says:

    McCoy has played 13 games, and will be solid as he was the last 4 or 5 games of last season. Clayborn is already better than Stylez White against the run. LB is where the worry is.

  17. BamBamBuc Says:

    O-line is where the worry is. If we can’t score, we won’t win. LBs will probably be inconsistent at best, but probably won’t win or lose games for us. That O-line better pull together… and fast.

  18. Mauha Deeb Says:

    BamBamBam I was only referring to defense.
    I agree. The OL play Thursday was appalling.
    I disagree that the LB can’t lose games. If teams gut us on the ground and chop us up through the air like the Patriots did, we have no hope. Much of that was due to treacherous LB play. DL played fairly well against the run, but LBs were missing tackles and constantly over pursuing. As well as being completely out of position from the the start of plays.

  19. tommy Says:

    go away thomas…your such a D bag!!!!

  20. Patrick Says:

    Letting Caddy go was a mistake. If they would be smart and make Graham the #2 back, the decision would not have been so bad. Graham has been productive in his career, all Lumpkin has done is be on the practice squad. We can’t pin our hopes on him as our #2 back.

  21. Mauha Deeb Says:

    @Patrick So, we can pin our hopes with a practice squad guy as our #1 back, but not our #2 back?

  22. WeNeedDefense Says:

    In 09 the scapegoats were Jags and Wash
    In 10 the scapegoats were Sabby and Ruud
    In 11 the scapegoats will now be the o-line? Specifically Faine? Then Greg Olsen too right? Oh yeah, and Caddy was just sooooo important.

    You guys are saying the LBs are the weakness on defense, but chased Ruud away.

    You can’t have your cake and eat the sh!t too.

  23. BamBamBuc Says:


    First off, it was Jags and Bates. Wash wasn’t until last year. Second, if you can’t see that Sabby was horrible (still is horrible) and needed to go then you need glasses or something. I was on the fence about Ruud. Wouldn’t have minded having him back, not too upset he’s gone.

    Now, using the term scapegoat means that you feel there is someone else that is at the root of all these problems, and those are just the guys getting blamed. Why don’t you just come out and say who we should all be blaming. Dom for letting Ruud and Caddy go, but signing Joseph, Trueblood and Penn to big deals while our O-line sucks, and Black to a big deal while our LBs suck? Raheem Morris for … um… coaching the team?

    We have a new O-line coach and 2 new D-line coaches this year. Looks like they’ve weeded out who they though were weaknesses on the coaching staff as well and are upgrading them. That’s what this is all about, upgrades. From players to coaches, keep improving, getting better. It is yet to be seen if we’ve accomplished that this season.

  24. Patrick Says:

    @Mauha Deeb

    We kind of got lucky with Blount. How many times does a practice squad signing work out? I wasn’t “totally” surprised because I knew he had been one of the top RB’s in college, but still a “little” because no one drafted him.

  25. Jason Says:

    No concerns about the secondary huh? Talib & Jacksons futures completely at Goodells mercy and none of the guys competing for nickelback spot can seem to stay healthy…