Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs QB Freeman not pressured by contract status
Entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Josh Freeman shrugged off suggestions he feels additional pressure to perform.
In his first public remarks since the conclusion of a 7-9 season, Freeman praised Tampa Bay’s trade for Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis and acknowledged there were times he tried to do too much under center as the Bucs faded down the stretch.
“It doesn’t change anything for me,’’ Freeman said Tuesday, referring to his contract status. “Worrying about external forces won’t help you play better. Talking to different guys, it’s all set up to be a high-stress situation. But, honestly, I know that’s stuff I can’t control right now.
“What I can control is my day-to-day process. I give it all I’ve got, regardless. I love my teammates, I love football and I love winning.’’
Freeman set a franchise record by throwing for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns as the Bucs finished ninth in total offense. But Freeman also threw nine of his 17 interceptions in the final three games. Tampa Bay won only once in the final six weeks to land in the NFC South basement.
The Bucs finished last in the league in pass defense and yielded an average of 27 points per game during the late-season tailspin.
Coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik both have suggested Freeman might have forced some passes down the stretch while Tampa Bay’s defense was struggling.
“At the time, you really don’t think about it,’’ Freeman said. “You’re trying to do whatever you can to win a football game. But I’m sure that may have played a little part in it. At the same time, you’ve got to find a way to get beyond that. Sometimes, you might push it a little too hard. Less is more at times.’’
The addition of Revis gives Tampa Bay eight players on the roster who have earned Pro Bowl berths.
“I think we have a lot of talent and guys willing to come in and work,’’ Freeman said. “Darrelle’s reputation as a player speaks for itself. Through the years, I’ve had an opportunity to see him at different events and I think he’s a good fit for the Bucs.’’