What A Difference A Year Makes

August 15th, 2010

Last year, there was hope the Bucs could cobble together a winning team, albeit feint.

The team, in its first season post-Chucky, was adamant it was not in a rebuilding mode. Just retooling.

This season, there’s no talk of a winning season. The team is not running from the term “rebuilding,” what with four rookies expected to be starters, maybe more.

Veteran St. Petersburg Times columnist Gary Shelton notices a difference, too. It’s not in the number of wins expected or how the team views this season. Rather, it’s the difference in quarterback Josh Freeman.

Being the starter from Day 1 for the first time, now in his second season, Shelton noted Freeman appeared “five years” wiser than last year and even Freemen noticed a difference.

“I feel completely different,” Freeman said. “Last year in my first game, I was thinking, ‘Wow, I’m playing against the Tennessee Titans.’ This year, it was, ‘All right, the first-team offense has some things we want to accomplish.’ ”

For two series, for a dozen snaps, Freeman played as well as you would have hoped. On a sloppy night and a swampy field with “a layer of mud between the ball and my hand,” Freeman was the smoothest thing in the stadium. If nothing else, there were clues that he has come a long way toward answering his biggest questions.

Accuracy? Did you see Freeman’s soft-touch pass down the right sideline for 30 yards to rookie Mike Williams? It was a nice throw, as fluid as a man tossing a wad of paper into a wastebasket. It was a throw you would not have expected from Freeman a year ago when he was busy throwing 18 interceptions in nine starts as a rookie.

As Shelton noted, it’s too small a sample size and far too early to get all giddy about playoff tickets. But it was certainly reassuring to Joe to see the first team offense appear polished in the muck of a rain-drenched baseball infield.

7 Responses to “What A Difference A Year Makes”

  1. Blackmagic00 Says:

    Nice headline Joe.

  2. goodfellajay Says:

    Freemen is a good QB time will tell if hell be a great one…But the haters know more than me on this site…Not really but ill let them think that

  3. Dave W. Says:

    “The team is not running from the term “rebuilding,” what with four rookies expected to be starters, maybe more.”

    Four? Where are you getting that? Outside of Williams and McCoy, I haven’t seen any other ‘expected’ rookie starters. I’d say Price might have a chance, but not if he keeps missing time due to injury. Benn probably won’t, and Lewis certainly won’t.

    Gotta love what Freeman did last night, looking real poised and even more accurate than I expected. Yes, it was only the first preseason game, but a nice start. Let’s hope he keeps it going.

  4. TopDoggie Says:

    @David don’t forget our punter.

  5. Dave W. Says:

    Punters don’t count.

  6. Capt.Tim Says:

    Yeah, really happy with the polish the offense showed. I can’t wait til the regular season,when Coach Olsen will “unveil” the rest of that offense!

  7. Gary Says:

    What did you all think of the pre snap motion? I hope Olsen doesnt empty his gun in the preseason.

    Also, I noticed Rah didnt even have a headset on during offense. I know Olsen runs the O, but I thought Rah would atleast want to hear what is being called in case he wants to overule?