2012 Is A Season For Cautious Optimism

August 23rd, 2012

Former Bucs quarterback and current NBC/FOX football analyst Shaun King believes Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman will need some time before he becomes familiar with Mike Sullivan’s offense.

Since the day the New Schiano Order dawned on One Buc Palace, Joe has sensed Bucs fans are giddy like they haven’t been since Chucky cursed on the sidelines.

New coach Greg Schiano brought a welcome blanket of structure to the team and, with a few new toys sprinkled in via both free agency and the draft, it seems expectations are high for the Bucs.

But perhaps they shouldn’t be this year? That’s the gist of what former Bucs quarterback Shaun King is trying to say.

King, one of only three quarterbacks to lead the Bucs to an NFC Championship game, appeared with WHFS-FM 98.7 host Rich Herrera to talk Bucs football and specifically, quarterback Josh Freeman.

King believes that those expecting Freeman to duplicate his 2010 numbers of 25 touchdowns and six interceptions might just be premature.

Rich Herrera: Take us through what a young quarterback has to learn when he is going from looking for his primary target to his secondary target and the money is sometimes in that third receiver.

Shaun King: You know, that generally never comes in the first year of an offense. I wouldn’t expect Josh, especially early in the year, to really be comfortable with the majority of what they are doing in getting to his third guy. That’s one of those things that becomes really muscle memory in the game, Rich. Usually what you do during practice spills over into the game. There are drills you can work on, exercises, where you can go through X-amount of plays and say, “If this isn’t there and that isn’t there, I have got to be able to get over here to this third option and do it in a timely manner.” That’s just part of growing especially with a new system. I keep saying that because I think people really need to temper their expectations offensively. This is Mike Sullivan’s first time calling plays. In doing that there are going to be some hiccups. Then you have a lot of new guys in this new system. I just want to see growth and improvement. I don’t have high expectations of the team overall this year but I want them to get better and to have an upward arch as the season goes along.

This all makes quite a bit of sense. It takes time to learn a new offense and as much of a gym rat as Freeman is, he may not be able to take in all of Mike Sullivan’s playbook. That’s understandable.

King went on to say that he expects the Bucs to try to lighten Freeman’s load and ease him along this season with plenty of handoffs to LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin.

38 Responses to “2012 Is A Season For Cautious Optimism”

  1. mike Says:

    shaun king does NOT need to give q.b advice. If he could start at plant high school, we win the superbowl in 99!!!!!!

  2. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    “You know, that generally never comes in the first year of an offense.”

    2002. Jon Grudens new offense. Superbowl. First year.

  3. Architek Says:

    I think this is a reasonable assessment to temper the fans excitement in case Freeman doesn’t shoot out the gate. I know we all expect and want him to succeed but as King points out the law of average is not on Freeman side. I can see Freeman failing somewhere in between.

  4. lurker Says:

    hey pete, i thought half the population in tampa bay area says gruden won with dungy’s team.

  5. lurker Says:

    also, as miguel payasito would say, “shaun king has a napoleanic complex wearing a big hat like that.”

  6. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    I never said that. Considering Dungy never built an offense (not even with Colts) I would say my point it made, lurker.

  7. lurker Says:

    pete, i never said you said that. i said it was my understanding is that there are many who believe that gruden won with dungy’s team. hell, my mother thinks that.

    and as a head coach, is the offense and defense not your responsibility? a head coach might be an “offensive genius” or “defense oriented”, they might even make offensive or defensive playcalls, but they are still head coach over the whole team.

  8. Joe Says:

    i said it was my understanding is that there are many who believe that gruden won with dungy’s team.

    There’s also a segment of society that also believes in UFOs and Sasquatch.

  9. lurker Says:

    and that republicans are good and care for society, or believe there is a god!

  10. lurker Says:


  11. Garv Says:

    Wow……..I actually can agree with Shaun King tonight.
    But I still believe we’ll be in the playoff hunt in November, or WANT to believe it.

    Buccaneers in 2012?

    Can’t WAIT!!!

  12. Orlandobucsfan Says:

    Can the regular season just start this week please

  13. stimpy Says:

    It wasnt just Dungy’s D we won with, it was a bunch of FA talent we picked up. That and a veteran QB. Remember it wasnt until close to the middle of the season that Brad began to light up the offense.

    Either way…

    I think Free is an inteligent QB with skills and his play and the offense will progress as the season goes on. This should be true of the D as they become more familiar with the D plays and get real world practice.

    On to Carolina… 🙂

  14. albuc44 Says:

    our schedule is insane… we can only hope to not get smacked around like last year … playoffs?….playoffs?…. and shaun king has a point… but if we dumb it down on playss for the offense… expect picks and lil dink passes…. lets just be happy we won’t see the BENN AROUND PLAY…

  15. BucfanBF Says:

    I think Shawn is somewhat correct. Learning a new playbook and implementing it with a new play caller and new pieces will take some time. He will be fortunate to have a run game ti lean on this year. I don’t expect miracles this year.

  16. Scubog Says:

    If Dungy paid more attention to the pedestrian offense, if Shaun King would have taken the time to learn the playbook and if the “Hurt” Emanuel rule was in effect, the mighty Bucs would have gone to the Superbowl in 1999. Hold the Greatest Show on Turf to 11 points and lose? I always laugh when people want to give Dungy all the credit for the Championship when in reality he had his own chances to do it from 1997 until his ultimate termination and couldn’t. Dungy couldn’t win it with Dungy’s team. Yes, the in-place HOF defense (drafted by Sam Wyche by the way) was a major factor but it was Gruden’s infusion of offense that took the team over the top. Couldn’t an argument be made that Dungy won with Wyche’s team? Too bad Shaun King wasn’t willing to work as hard as Josh Freeman. Being a local kid from Gibbs HS, he could have owned the town.

  17. flmike Says:

    Don’t forget, Gruden handed the Raider playbook (which he wrote) to his defense and then ran the mock Raider O during the week of practice leading up to the SB, Gannon still talks about how he’d start to audible into a new play and Lynch or Brooks would finish his sentence and the Bucs would shift their D even before the Raiders O shifted. Yeah, Gruden got there with Dungy’s D, but that was truly Gruden v Gruden in the SB.

  18. Brad Says:

    Too be honest I never care what King says. Him and Beckles are constantly negative of the team. Which I just don’t get. Both guys seem to carry a bitterness towards the team and according to them it seems this team is never going to be good again. There is no reason to think Josh can’t exceed what he did in 2010. New coaches come in all the time and turn teams around their first year. Look at Cam, look at the QB in San Fran. If the coaches know what their doing I see no reason why Freeman can’t thrive right away. If the system is too complex then you spoon feed him until he gets but even then he can be successful through out the process. I know this article is overly negative but I just think this is the time to be optimistic towards the team. The media and fans will have plenty of time during the season to be negative but let’s wait to see what it looks like before we pass judgement.

  19. Mr Lucky Says:

    King is full of crap!!!!!

    Please explain how Josh Freemand did so well in his rookie season then?

    Please explain how Andy Dalton did so well in his first year?

    I could go on and on with examples but it doesn’t matter; either a QB has ‘it’ or they don’t. The jury is still out on Freeman for most; as for myself I think Freeman has potential but he’s fallen short of living up to it in 2010 and in 2011.

    Freeman needs to go for a full game tonight not just 1 series crap

  20. raphael Says:

    Have another donut S.King …and stfu

  21. OAR Says:

    “i thought half the population in tampa bay area says gruden won with dungy’s team.”

    That same half of tampa bay area couldn’t think their way out of a “smarter than a fifth grader” episode, either!

  22. OAR Says:

    I think some QBs are smarter than others and don’t need the extra year to grasp new offenses, as for the others..well…maybe changing offensive coordinators every year isn’t a good thing. That should fall on the HC.

  23. OAR Says:

    Are you sure you got your years right? In 2010, Josh was very good and much better than his rookie year of 2009! Now in 2011, I agree, he fell WAY short!

  24. BigMacAttack Says:

    I 100% believe in Sasquatch. She is as real as it gets. I’ve seen her with my own eyes and my Brother was married to her for almost 20 years.

    As for Shaun Burger King and his choice of words: What does an “Arch” do after it goes up? It crowns and comes back down. “Arc” Shaun??? Joe Biden will get you.

  25. Tbuc Says:

    It’s sad and funny that below average QB’s like King and Dilfer are considered quality analyst.

  26. Tbuc Says:

    Let’s stop acting like King led the Bucs to a NFC championship game. The offense got a piggyback ride to that game from a dominant defense.

  27. BucsFan007 Says:

    @Tbuc … true, true ….

  28. Mike J Says:

    I was just reading Rick Stroud, & he points out that there will be a lot of option routes in this new offense. That sort of thing takes time & a lot of reps to function efficiently; QB & WRs have to be on the same wavelength.

  29. OAR Says:

    Goonie Goo Goo! The bitch can’t talk! She can’t walk a flight of steps! She’s not trained well, Gus! She can *not* walk steps! I’ll bet she climbs the f**k outta trees, though, don’t she, Gus? Your wife’s a Bigfoot, isn’t she, Gus?

  30. OAR Says:

    “It’s sad and funny that below average QB’s like King and Dilfer are considered quality analyst.”

    What’s even saddier is they both have SB rings!

  31. Joe Says:


    Let’s stop acting like King led the Bucs to a NFC championship game.

    Who exactly was quarterbacking that team? It sure wasn’t Eric Zeier.

  32. Miguel Grande Says:

    I think we all need to settle down and be patient. If it takes 25-30 years to learn this defense, it may be a while before the offense scores a touchdown.

    Gruden was God!!

  33. Tbuc Says:


    Let’s be real. The 99 team was known for Sapp, Brooks, Nickerson, Lynch, and a running game not a rookie QB fron Tulane. When people talk about the 99 team King is not the player anyone considers a leader. Now if he could’ve mustered up some offense against the Rams maybe he wouldve been remembered better.

  34. Karl Says:

    So I guess the Falcons will suck too because they got a new OC & DC ?It surely screwed the 49er’s last year.Bunch of Bull !!! Every situation is unique and different Mr King.

  35. Joe Says:


    Let’s be real.

    Joe is being real. The Bucs wouldn’t have gotten to the NFC championship without scoring point. Quarterbacks lead offenese, therefore Shaun King led the Bucs.

  36. BigMacAttack Says:

    Sorry Joe, but I agree with Tbuc.

    Are you ready for some Football???

    Hell Yeah!!!

  37. Buc_The_World Says:

    I guess I must believe in UFO’s, sasquatch, and republicans, I never knew. People kill me when they deny Dungy’s contribution to Gruden’s success. Yes Gruden took the team to the superbowl but he sure as hell didn’t have to do a lot of work to have to get them there. I seriously doubt Gruden could have taken the 2011 Bucs to a superbowl in his first year as a coach. After the superbowl win he never won another playoff game after that. Dungy went on to take another team to the superbowl and have multiple playoff wins. Caldwell took over a Dungy team went to a superbowl the same year. The same thing can be said with Mike Tomlin, the only difference being that Mike shut people up by going on to win another superbowl and put his stamp on the team. I don’t mind people saying it was Gruden’s team but quit denying a big part of his success was that Tony Dungy had did most of the work for him. I will give Gruden credit though, Bill Callahan took his team to the superbowl.

  38. Miguel Grande Says:


    So if Schiano wins the Super Bowl, Raheem “The Dream” Morris gets all the credit.