Freeman Impressive… So Far

July 2nd, 2009

As anyone with a thimble full of football common sense will state, OTAs are hardly a barometer to judge players. Let Joe be blunt, it’s barely flag football with guys in shirts and shorts.

The closest thing to contact the players had was when helmet-wielding Aqib Talib decided to try to rearrange some of his teammates’ faces.

When the pads begin cracking is when Joe starts grading players.

That written, Steve Wyche of typed a column that includes quarterback bust-in-waiting Josh Freeman as one of a handful of NFL rookies that impressed their coaches.

Freeman was viewed by some as the most gifted of the trio of first-round quarterbacks that included top overall pick Matthew Stafford (Detroit) and No. 5 selection Mark Sanchez (New York Jets). However, he was seen as the biggest project of the three and was expected to spend his rookie season, if not longer, developing behind Byron Leftwich or Luke McCown.

His offseason workouts might have changed some of those projections. Although Leftwich and McCown may be ahead of him on the depth chart, Freeman has thrust himself into the thick of the competition to be the starter and how each performs in preseason will chart the course for Freeman’s future.

“Josh did a good job understanding his role,” Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik said. “He showed good leadership and he understands our playbook. We are excited about his progress. He’s come in and represented himself well and showed why he was taken in the first round.”

While a team that traded up and spent a first round pick for a player might get overly giddy about said player looking sharp in shorts and shirts, Joe sincerely hopes Freeman barely sees the light of day during the 2009 season.

In Freeman’s development, patience is very much a virtue.

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