I got an up close look at the Buccaneers in Week 2, and I came away very impressed with the work of coach Raheem Morris and quarterback Josh Freeman.
You can look at the Bucs in several different ways, but one thing that’s certain now is this is Morris’ team. He’s made it his team, and everyone knows it.
The Bucs are an organization that is growing up and coming together after the disarray with the coaching staff last season. Now that they’ve had a chance to be together for a substantial amount of time, the Bucs have made a fresh start. It’s almost a new organization, and internally things are running much smoother under GM Mark Dominik and Morris, who is established as the coach.
Under Morris, the Bucs aren’t running just a Tampa 2 defense. It’s a Morris defense. There are elements of the Tampa 2 involved, but it’s a cannibalization of many other defenses with pressures and the walk-around elements the Jets and Ravens use.
Morris has got these guys playing. Look at the numbers from the second half of the first two games this season: Zero points, 225 yards allowed and 11 first downs. The numbers are there and it’s phenomenal what they’ve done, including the goal-line stand against Carolina.
Freeman was the third QB taken in 2008 behind Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez, mainly because he didn’t run a pro style offense in college. He’s adapting very well, even playing with a broken thumb. The Bucs, though, don’t ask Freeman to be a game manager. They ask him to be The Guy. They ask him to make plays and win games, not just to avoid losing games. To me, that’s a big difference for a young QB. You’re putting a lot of pressure on his shoulders. His maturity level for such a young guy is awfully impressive. I thought he was very good against Carolina.
Spending time with Freeman in our production meetings, I walked out of the room with a great impression on the young QB. Although he likes to push the ball down the field with second- and third-level throws and isn’t a fan of checking down, that’s not the way he’s being trained. When I brought it up, he said, “My desire to win is beginning to trump my desire to just push the ball downfield.”
Freeman is impressive, and so far, he’s playing that way on the field, too.
– Charles Davis
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