Receivers, Freeman Huge Questions Before Camp

July 17th, 2010

Joe admits he’s been an insomniac lately. Thinking about who actually is going to play wide receiver for the Bucs and wondering how Josh Freeman will develop enough of a rhythm with those guys to WIN on opening day is enough to drive Joe batty.

Call Joe crazy, but Joe cares about winning more than anything else.

All the “lasting contender” buzz is very cute but it won’t be soothing when the whistle blows against Cleveland in September.

That brings up the question of how much time Freeman might see in the preseason. Should he play more than most quarterbacks given the state of the Bucs?

Sadly, Greg Olson and Raheem The Dream don’t really have much (any?) experience handling a 22-year-old starter in the preseason along with a huge crop of rookie and young receivers — and veteran receivers — who have so much to prove.

Arrelious Benn was the 39th overall pick in what was considered the deepest draft in a generation. He’s got to play a lot. And Michael Williams is the Bucs’ lovechild of the underwear sessions better known as OTAs. He’s playing a lot.

Then there’s 25-year-old Maurice Stovall, who actually caught 24 balls last year and earned a shot to see if he can get it done. Sammie Stroughter needs his time, and surely the Bucs want to get a long look at Reggie Brown to see if he’s better than Clayton recaptured any of his lost glory.

Joe sincerely hopes blocking icon Michael Clayton is only around to deliver to ferocious hits to future UFL players and catch fade routes from Rudy Carpenter.

After 2009, Joe just has no confidence the Bucs know how to get this all figured out smoothly, successfully and quickly, without needing a half a season for the coaching staff to right the ship.

Hopefully, Joe hopes can stop the anxiety for a night. Perhaps Joe can take his mind off it by thinking about the Bucs’ depth at defensive line and linebacker. … Ahhh, never mind.

50 Responses to “Receivers, Freeman Huge Questions Before Camp”

  1. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Joe make up your mind will ya?

    If Freeman and the Bucs do all passing in the pre-season how will you expect their running game to develop?

    You can’t have your cake and eat it too

  2. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Lucky. There’s no cake. …I’m just wondering how much Freeman is going to play in the preseason and how they’re going to work this all out. ..It’s already pretty clear that the Bucs aren’t going to be focused on running the ball downhill, which is another thing that kee’s me up at night.

  3. eric Says:

    If only it could be done in half a season…………….

  4. thomas Says:

    Excellent points Joe. Of course the sheep will never acknowledge the sad shape of the receiving and running games. One Winslow injury (which is likely) and uh-oh – what do you have? zero zilch.

    Great preparation guys. This team and offense are going to be sooo bad – I am starting to rethink my prediction that they will beat cleveland.

    However, I almost always take the home teams on opening day b/c historically they overperform – after that – it is gonna be UGLY!

  5. JimBuc Says:

    Well if Thomas agrees you must be right!


    I’m sure the decision on how much to play Josh Freeman, in preseason, will be made after evaluating the team and Freeman’s play throughout training camp. One step at a time, Joe.

  7. Gary Says:

    I dont understand how people have the perception that our offense will regress this year. Last year with a rookie QB, we were ok (showed some promise). Yes there are rookie WRs this time but we still have winslow, and there have been many rookie WRs in recent years making a big impact.

    All this prep. Josh is putting in and you expect him to be worse off?

    As far as the preseason, I would prefer we stick to the status quo around the league. I dont want him getting hurt because some overzealous 2nd string chump on the opposing D wants to make his team.

  8. Not a Rocket Surgeon Says:

    Me Thinks Joe is forgetting our WR coach… Eric Yarber.

    Plenty of experience and coaching there… I’m confident these guys will produce and maybe even impress mid season.

    Sky is not falling. Yet. 😉

  9. Sobo Says:

    Have to agree with Joe in that it’s a real fly by the seat of their pants situation on how much to use Freeman in the preseason.

    So Freeman throws 6 balls to Benn and they’re ready to go? It’s absoulte prayer to think the Bucs will be better than anyone for a while. Wish it wasn’t so.

  10. CalicoJack Says:

    Clayton will make the roster to “earn” that guaranteed money…

  11. JimBuc Says:

    If we would have just kept AB and traded for BM, we would be set!!!

    – submitted on behalf of Eric and Thomas

  12. thomas Says:


    Not set, but a whole helluva lot better!

  13. RustyRhino Says:

    It is 60 min game, any given Sunday, and the best players win. If you are a 1st or a 16th round pick makes little difference at the end of the game may the best team win. Team work and unity.

    Lets play 1st quarter with the 1st team players, 2nd quarter with mix of 1st & 2nd team, 3rd quarter again 2nd & 3rd team players, 4th quarter 3rd and 4th? team players..

    How many more days till camp????

  14. RustyRhino Says:

    What i want to see is our players start to get an attitude on the field, who do the other team think they are?

    WE ARE THE BUCS!!!!! F_U and get of my field!!!
    And of course back it up…. that is where we need to getting to work.
    backing it up.

    This is our team and i am looking forward to this season.

  15. RustyRhino Says:

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Blah, Blah, Blah, I know Kool-Aid,

    And your right I have been drinking it since 1976…

    You would think i get over it would you not?


    I am a bucs fan!

  16. eric Says:

    Thanks for covering Jimbuc, but you forgot Holmes!

  17. thomas Says:

    I thought that it was interesting – how Rex Ryan with a team of mostly FA’s and players acquired via trade over the last two years announced today:

    that it is time for them to win a super bowl!

    How do you think Rex would deal with a four-year rebuild plan effectively putting all of your eggs into the draft basket? I believe that the answer is clear.

    Someone pointed out an interesting fact to me: If you look back at the drafts that started with Lynch and go through the end of the Dungy era – with the exception of the memorable 5 (brooks, sapp, lynch, barber and alstott) those drafts were actually subpar. I believe that Brooks, Sapp and Lynch were all drafted by Wyche.

    Look at Dungy’s first picks, they were horrible: Reidel Anthony, Dunn, Upshaw, Marcus Jones, Quez Green, Booger. So, the point, it was really the combo of players brought-in: Brad Johnson, Keyshawn, Pittman, Keenan, Dilger, McDaniel, Christy on offense with the institution of a new defensive scheme under Monte that elevated the 02-03 team.

    The fact that the Bucs had 5-6 key draftees on the team isn’t any different than any other squad that utilizes FA and trades. The point – this rebuild plan consisting of draft picks virtually exclusively based on this argument that it worked previously is INHERENTLY FLAWED!

  18. JimBuc Says:

    The Eric and Thomas plan:

    Trade 2 picks for Boldin and 2 for Marshall and trade another 2 for McNabb. Try to win it all in 2010!

    If that does not work then next year go back to free agency for a new wide receiver to replace 32 year old Boldin and back to free agency to replace 35 year old McNabb (maybe Garcia is still available?). Sit out draft because you gave up two 2nd round picks and two third round picks

    Good strategy!

  19. BigMacAttack Says:

    RustyRhino, you are an inspiration. Go Bucs!

  20. RahDomDaBest Says:

    Didn’t we trade a draft pick for Brown???

    We could have signed TO and not wasted yet another draft pick.

  21. JimBuc Says:

    Thomas — you would not know logic if it bit you in the ass. So do yourself a favor and quit while you are so far behind that none of us can see you.

    The current Bucs are not building EXCLUSIVELY through the draft. No free agents THIS YEAR because of CBA issue and because they are trying to do just what the prior successful team did, which is build foundation through the draft (no the whole team). A team only gets a limited number of PREMIUM picks so you have to use them well or the team never goes anywhere long-term (see Gaines Adams and Dexter Jackson). You don’t build a foundation by giving up premium picks.

    Since you seem to be a fan of statistics (even if you don’t quite understand how to use them), how about this? The Bucs had a very competitive decade (or so). Why? The defense. It’s called the Tampa-2, right? 9 of 11 starters on the SB defense were DRAFTED. Not all the players on the entire team were drafted, but the CORE REASON THE BUCS WERE COMPETITIVE FOR A DECADE was the DRAFT. It does not matter which coach drafter which player. What matters is Brooks, Sapp, Lynch, Barber etc. were all DRAFTED. You have to have a good young and successful core before you start dropping money (and maybe picks) on 26 and 27 and 28 year old free agents. We did not trade away two first round picks for a Keyshawn Johnson BEFORE we had Sapp and Brooks and Lynch and Barber. If we did, then we probably would not have gotten Sapp and Brooks.

  22. JimBuc Says:

    Thomas — when Rex Ryan took over the Jets they had SEVEN ProBowlers. Hardly an apt comparison.

  23. sensiblefan Says:

    @ thomas

    You’re grasping at straws with trying to compare the Jets to our current situation…they’re on a different timetable than us in terms of their young core. You’re also missing a larger aspect of the rebuilding plan (i.e. We don’t solely rely on the draft forever, but it’s a necessity in the beginning of a rebuilding process).

    There are three key reasons why we’re in this predicament and why we’ll get out:

    1) In the last year of the Gru Era we had one of the oldest roster in the league with only one young relatively proven cornerstone to build around (Barrett Ruud). Our potential for growth was maxed out. We weren’t gonna win a playoff game let alone a Super Bowl with the group we had. NONE of the players we cut went on to play anywhere else. We HAD to replace the our core talent…and arguably most of the rest of the talent too. Did you want to see Brooks as a backup linebacker/special teams guy?

    2) Our drafts have always stunk up the joint…until the past two years. Is it because we drafted need over talent? Yep. Is it because younger players didn’t have an opportunity to get playing time? Yep, that too. It’s hard to evaluate young talent when they’re sitting on the sidelines because you want to fight SO hard for that opening round playoff exit.

    Rebuilding allows you the opportunity to see who can be part of that young core and who we need to find replacements for. Look at last year: Penn, Talib, T Jack, Sammie and Roy Miller join Ruud as young core guys we know can play. Freeman, Geno and Q.Black are close. Sabby, Zuttah, and maybe Kyle Moore can’t cut it at this level. Just imagine if McCoy, Price, Benn and Mike Williams can play! We’d be set up for years to come. When’s the last time we’ve had this much young talent on the team at one time?

    3) Building your team on free agency every year is a losing proposition. However, signing 1, 2, or 3 good to premium free agents is a great idea after you’ve established who your keys guys are. Compare the Jets of today to the team 4 or 5 years ago: They were 4-12 in 2005 and 2007 and now they’re poised to win the Super Bowl. How’d they do it? As They got better as the core has matured (Revis-4th yr, Mangold-5th yr., Brick-5th yr., David Harris -4th yr). Now with Sanchez and Shonn Greene, they are poised to be in position to win a championship for the next ten years.

    Rebuilding isn’t an all or nothing approach. The free agent signings will come but first we’ve got to work on the foundation. Give it some time and it’ll bear fruit for years to come.

  24. Mr. Lucky Says:


  25. bucfanlostiniowa Says:


  26. Vince Says:

    “After 2009, Joe just has no confidence the Bucs know how to get this all figured out smoothly, successfully and quickly, without needing a half a season for the coaching staff to right the ship.”

    That makes two of us Joe!!

  27. eric Says:

    actually jimbuc, adding to your scenario, we could have Mcnabb, Marshall, Holmes, AB, McCoy, and Carlos Dunlap. Plus, another good defensive player from last years draft rather than Freeman.

    And have Josh Johnson to groom behind McNabb!

    Throw in Bill Cowher…………

    Are we ready for some football!

  28. Louie the HATER! Says:

    I just want to “rebuild” like the Patriots & Steelers without having multiple double-digit losing seasons. These teams have re-built on the fly without reducing themselves to dust.

    I just don’t think the people who are currently in charge have the experience to pull this off. If they didn’t hit a home run in these last 2 drafts the Bucs will be losers for the next 5+ years. The decade of the 2010’s will be an instant replay of the 1980’s.

  29. thomas Says:

    @bucfanlostiniowa: I didnt mean that Dunn was a horrible pick. I am not sure that he was worthy of a mid-first rounder but he was not horrible. I love Warrick – he had a nice career, I just don’t view him as much better than average.

    @Jimbuc: Out of those 7 pro bowlers – 4 were FA’s including Brett Favre (Thomas Jones, Kris Jenkins, Alan Faneca).

    Do you know what else PROVES how weak this PREMIUM pick argument is: the Bucs gave up 4 (that is right 4) first rounders and 2 second rounders for Keyshawn and Gruden to push them over the top. That is right 6 PREMIUM picks to win. So, if you want to look at Glazer history – there it is – to get competitive at a Super Bowl level – they traded 6 PREMIUM picks.

    Draft picks have modest value in the grand scheme! Proven commodities do. You watch – Price – will disappoint, Benn – disappoint, Lewis – disappoint, the team 4-12 and then what – another draft with maybe 2 NFLers. NO, this will perpetual losing!!

  30. JimBuc Says:

    eric — you are from this day forward known to me as “half story.” Master ae ignoring contrary facts. well done.

  31. eric Says:

    Warrick Dunn was average?

  32. eric Says:


    My story includes winning or at least strongly contending for the NFC South this year, and with a nice group of young players, including BM, to contend for years to come.

    Your story, IMO, will lead to misery, followed by despair, frustration. ineptitude and embarassment.

    You really think Rah and the boys could beat the lineup I put forth? Not to mention Rah getting outclassed and outcoached by the chin.

  33. thomas Says:


    I almost didnt respond b/c your post was so contradictory that it wwas worthless – well let me expose it.

    First, you say that Gru era only acquired 1 young cornerstone Ruud, then you say that T Jax, Talib, Penn are young core guys to build around (they are GRu-allen draftees you idot). You omit – Joseph and Faine. Then you mentioned 4 Jet draftees but omit the FA’s / trades: Thomas Jones, Braylon, Kris Jenkins, Jim Leonard, Bart Scott, Alan Faneca, Damien Woody, Calvin Pace, Lito Sheppard, Marques Douglas etc. This year they added: L.T., Cromartie and more.

    They Jets epitomize what Eric, I and others preach – get pros not joes and you can improve dramatically in a year. I want excitement, instead we honestly have no chance to compete this year – THERE is NO excuse for that.

  34. JimBuc Says:

    thomas — I assume you can do basic math so you understand that if 4 were free agents then 3 were drafted, right ? My point, however, was that you are comparing an apple to a watermelon (as usual). Morris did not take over a team with 7 Pro Bowlers.

    You also managed to top yourself in the stupid comment contest. YES, the Bucs gave up a lot of premium picks to win the SB. That’s the point. LOL. Man you are dense. Let me type it real slow. They were competitive for a decade due to an almost all drafted D. To get over the hump, they gave up a bunch of premium picks. They won the SB, but it has been peaks an valley mediocre football ever since. (Actually more valleys) They never replaced any of those drafted stars becuase they gave up so many picks. So they have struggled.

    After the Super Bowl season, which was 12-4, Gruden had two losing seasons, went 11-5, 4-12 and back to back 9-7 seasons. Take out the SB season and Gruden’s record was below .500. That is what happens when you have no premium picks.

    Man you must be blind angry because no person in their right mind (let alone a Buc fan living from 1995 to 2002) would say that premium draft picks are “of modest value.” THAT IS SO FREAKING FUNNY I AM HAVING TROUBLE TYPING!!!! Draft picks turned this fanchise around. Free agency got it a BIG, BIG win, but drafting brought the team out of the cellar to long-term competitiveness.

  35. JimBuc Says:

    By the way, fact that Gruden was able to keep the team near .500 from 2003 to 2008 is proof that the guy could coach.

  36. thomas Says:

    Exactly Jimbuc. What proof is there that Rah an coach? Or Dom GM? Or the Glazer kids set policy? Or these recent draftees play at the nfl level?

  37. eric Says:


    Good points there. Would have been pretty miraculous to keep the team at a Super Bowl contending level after 2002, given the draft choices given up and the salary cap issues.

    Some very good FA pickups allowed a return to playoffs, if not Super Bowl type contention. Poor drafting did hurt the cause, with some exceptions (talib, Ruud, Jackson, Joseph, Caddy, maybe Hayes and Hayward)

    Why you would input that info and go for Rah to run the show is what i continue to find flabbergasting………………….

    Catching that 1995 type draft in a bottle is pretty risky strategy. Why not help with some trades for young, yet proven players? K-2 is a good example of how a team can be improved. Not wholesale trades like the skins, but some well placed prudent trades can help and not sell out the future too. A few fA’s would help the cause also.

  38. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Hey question – How come the Jacksonville Sharks have a sell out crowd vs. the Tampa Bay Storm


    The Jag’s attendance SUCKS?

  39. eric Says:

    Lots of folks hurtin bad out there. I am sure the Jags still have their supporters, but when your unemployed who can go to these games?

    Horrific economic times.

    I think people are going to have less and less patience and little sympathy with these high priced athletes, and the rich ass owners.

  40. JimBuc Says:

    Poor Thomas — the world is full of knowns and unknowns, don’t let it get you down.

    Eric — as much as you want to ignore it, Gruden was not let go for his coaching ability (even though the team was sub .500 for most of his tenure). He was let go because of what the team became under his watch. Plain, simple. Morris just happened to be in the right place at right time and he happened to hold the key to Freeman, who stood as a HUGE SYMBOL of Gruden’s and Allen’s failures. We shall see how it all plays out . . .

    I care a lot more about the Bucs than Morris or Gruden (or Allen). The Bucs are on the right path for all but those that cannot see the teams decay from 2002 to 2008. You know, those same people who say that the Bucs went 11-5 under Gruden without mentioning 4-12 or 5-11.

  41. sensiblefan Says:


    “First, you say that Gru era only acquired 1 young cornerstone Ruud, then you say that T Jax, Talib, Penn are young core guys to build around (they are GRu-allen draftees you idot). You omit – Joseph and Faine.”

    1) You got me. In my haste I completely omitted Faine and Joesph as young cornerstones. However, after 2008, I don’t think we could say that Jax (suspect 2nd yr), Talib (had yet to become a full-time starter), and Penn (could he do it again?) were proven/core guys by any means.

    “They Jets epitomize what Eric, I and others preach – get pros not joes and you can improve dramatically in a year. I want excitement, instead we honestly have no chance to compete this year – THERE is NO excuse for that.”

    2) I still think you’re missing the broader point. It’s not a question of IF the Bucs or the Jets sign FAs, it’s WHEN a team signs FAs.

    The Jets have always been a team “on the cusp” of something special. You list all these FA signings and yet, the Jets have been a mediocre team for the past decade…until their draft picks developed. You’re mistaken in thinking that this was a one-year, flip-a-switch kind of deal. If they win the Super Bowl this year it won’t be because they signed big name FAs year after year, it’ll be because the most talented Jets are their homegrown team leaders. Furthermore, Jets fan excitement stems from the real possibility of not only winning this year’s Super Bowl, but being in the conversation for the next 5-8 years based on their young core. We can have the same type of excitement watching this team develop.

  42. eric Says:

    True, if watching your team get its butt kicked on a regular basis is “exciting”.

  43. sensiblefan Says:


    “True, if watching your team get its butt kicked on a regular basis is “exciting”.

    Depends what kind of fan you are I suppose. If you’re here for the long haul then seeing the influx of new talent, watching them grow up together then winning big multiple times there’s no more satisfying feeling.

    If you’re a microwave kind of guy then these “butt kickings” will certainly be more painful.

  44. JimBuc Says:

    I don’t think Eric is a microwave guy. His comments suggest a long-time fan. But, Eric’s problem is a revisionist view of history. Eric think the Bucs were very competitive from the moment Gruden took over when in reality they were on a downward spiral due to lack of premium picks and poor choices with the picks they had. After the SB, save the one 11-5 season, the Bucs wer below .500, right? But you will hear Eric say repeatedly “divison champs, playoff etc.” So, this is all the mor painful for him, I suppose, because he probably (honestly) sees it all as unnecessary.

  45. BigMacAttack Says:

    JimBuc, I agree with Eric about Gruden’s teams being competitive. The couple bad seasons did occur, but I remember losses in close games, and injuries on top of injuries that often snakebit the teams. 2003 was just a disaster, hangover all the way around. No way out of that no matter who was coaching. My number one gripe about Jon, was in the Home Playoff game with the Giants. Early on they were running the ball down the Giants throats, and it was going pretty good, staying close. Then Jon abandoned the run and put the game in Gracie’s hands. Garcia really sucked and the passing game was a failure. Jon got impatient and should have stayed with the run. I can accept his 4 game collapse, when Monte left in mind, but that Giants’ game really got under my craw.

  46. JimBuc Says:

    BMA — Gruden was the reason those teams were competitive. He is a good coach, but that does not change the fact that the Gruden/Allen team did a horrific job of team building. If Gruden ends up somewhere with a strong GM, he might break all kinds of coaching records.

  47. BigMacAttack Says:

    Yea, if Raheem blows this opportunity, Gruden could end up back in Tampa. LOL
    I personally like Dominick much more than Allen.
    I think Gruden will end up in Dallas with Jerry Jones. I just don’t think Phillips or Garrett will answer Jones prayers, but Chucky could take Romo to the promised land, IMO.

  48. eric Says:

    Imagine Chucky chewing Romo out with some of those stupid picks? he night end up pulling his hair out. Him and Jerry Jones would be two huge egos, might not mesh.

    It sounds strange, but I actually think he would make a better college coach. The players come and go and his routine wouldn’t wear thin over time. I was impressed with how he handled the High school kids on that video.

  49. McBuc Says:

    I guess the Gruden talk will never leave JBF site. I am still shocked that a couple of you guys can predict all of our players are going to suck…you have not even seen a practice. I am happy that you are not in charge of my fav football team… RustyRhino, you are a great fan! Do not let these jokers bring you down.

  50. McBuc Says:

    @Eric…I agree on the Gruden/Dallas comment above. I think he would make a good college coach, they have more control over the players as well.