Bucs Central

“Proceed with caution” in regards to Freeman starting out of the gate

Proceed with caution” is the headline from Pat Kirwan, of NFL.com in regards too, the three signal callers drafted in the first round of this past Aprils annual meat market. In which it is stressed that the front office’s for each team knows when the time is right to start – presumably what they believe is a franchise quarterback. Kirwan suspects the best time to start “SoulGlo” would be after the game in London against the New England Patriots. Which would still give Freeman nine games to prove his worth after getting somewhat acclimated to the NFL.

Josh Freeman, Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have to play the NFC East, and all four of those games come before their bye. Last season, the NFC East led all divisions with 173 sacks, or one every 11.8 passing attempts. Albert Haynesworth, a big free-agent addition by the Washington Redskins, is now part of the division, and Osi Umenyiora returns to the New York Giants after missing last season because of an injury, meaning the pressure on Freeman would be intense. The Philadelphia Eagles No. 3, Dallas Cowboys No. 5, Redskins No. 7 and Giants No. 8 all were ranked in the top 10 in pass defense last season, and asking Freeman to face those four teams in the first five games of his career would be tough. After all, he threw 34 interceptions in 32 starts at Kansas State.

The Buccaneers’ bye comes in Week 8, following a game against the New England Patriots in London. That would leave Freeman nine games to learn his trade. The only drawback is that he would face the NFC South rival Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints twice, but that’s a lot better than challenging the treacherous NFC East.

The front offices and coaching staffs for the Lions, Jets and Buccaneers know what’s best for their teams, and it’s likely that they have discussed when they would like to see their young quarterbacks enter the starting lineup. Teams usually like to take a long, hard look at their rookie quarterbacks during the summer, but even the Pittsburgh Steelers didn’t intend to put Ben Roethlisberger on the field as soon as they did, nor did the Baltimore Ravens believe Joe Flacco was their opening-day starter. It just goes to show that even the best-laid plans don’t always follow form. Even if the Lions, Jets and Buccaneers have detailed plans about their franchise quarterbacks’ futures, things could change in a hurry.

This fanatic, is still hoping that Freeman gets a chance to sit the entire 2009 season – continue to  improve his footwork, ability to read NFL defenses – be able to anticipate throws better. The likelihood of Freeman being overwhelmed being as he is only a true junior could have adverse affects should he become rattled early in his career.

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