Winless Bucs turn to rookie QB for help
Minutes after the winless Tampa Bay
“We actually talked about it this morning. … Going 0-7 didn’t start yesterday. It didn’t start at the beginning of the season when we played Dallas. It started in weight training. It started in OTA days. It started in training camp,” Morris said.
“Everything we’ve done to this point is who we are. These guys are holding up, but we’ve got to do more than hold up. … Holding up got you to 0-7. We’re here to fight through, we’re here to power through, we’re here to be our best selves.”
When the struggling team takes the field for its next game on Nov. 8, it’ll be clad in creamsicle uniforms and helmets bearing a winking pirate logo – just like the old ’76
Sitting on an 11-game skid that’s the franchise’s longest since Tampa Bay dropped a league-record 26 straight during its first two seasons, it’s difficult to not wonder whether the current
Five of their seven losses have been by double-digits, the remaining schedule is difficult, and now they’re turning the offense over to rookie quarterback
It’s been three decades since Doug Williams helped Tampa Bay leave its ugly beginning behind and reach the
The ex-quarterback isn’t making any bold predictions about Freeman, but he sees no reason why the
“We’re in that position where if we find a way to win one game, you’re going to win two games,” said Williams, now the
“It’s going to take the guys believing that they can get it done. No matter’s who’s at running back, no matter who’s at quarterback. It’s a matter of whether or not you believe you can win.”
Six of the remaining nine games are against teams with winning records, including two with unbeaten
But the schedule is the least of the team’s concerns.
The defense is a shell of the unit that ranked among the best in the league for more than a decade before playing poorly during an 0-4 December that cost the
The offense has sputtered despite the offseason acquisition of tight end
Morris and general manager Mark Dominik were hoping Freeman would not have to play as a rookie. At 0-7, no one is expecting him to be a savior – at least not right away.
“He has to understand, there’s no pressure on him right now. We’re 0-7,” said Williams, who was a first-round pick in 1978 and played right away.
“We’re 0-7. But they gave him the keys. They gave him the car and it hadn’t even been to the car wash. He’s got to take it to the car wash. It’s his job to clean it up. And he can take time. He’s got the next nine weeks to clean the tires and the rims and make it sparkle.”
After sitting behind Leftwich and Johnson for seven weeks, Freeman thinks he’s ready for the challenge.
He made his pro debut last week, playing two series in the fourth quarter of a 35-7 loss to the
In his first practice as the starter, he and the rest of the team worked out in the throwback helmets the
“Obviously, it’s something that’s very exciting to me. It’s something that I’m not taking lightly,” Freeman said of taking control of the huddle and officially becoming the face of the franchise.
“I come out with a different swagger, I guess, because I’m the guy who’s taking the majority of the snaps, and I’ve got to go out and radiate that type of deal or that type of swagger, so my teammates can catch on to it.”
Williams, who won a Super Bowl with the
He thinks the
It starts with the offensive line protecting him, and Freeman realizing he needs help to get the job done.
“We didn’t intend to be 0-7, and I’m sure if we were 4-3 Josh would not have a chance to go to the prom in the car. They’d drop him off,” Williams said.
“But we’re 0-7. It’s a perfect time for him. No pressure. It’s no different from Mariano Rivera coming in the eighth inning with a six-run lead. There’s no pressure. Throw strikes. That’s where he is right now. He has to understand it and not put pressure on himself.”