The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made some bold moves to strengthen their defense, spending a huge amount of money to bolster the secondary with the additions of cornerback Darrelle Revis and safety Dashon Goldson.
But they’re going to have a hard time being a strong contender in the talented NFC South if quarterback Josh Freeman doesn’t take a major step forward as he approaches a crossroads, at least with the franchise. Freeman was drafted in the first round in 2009 and he is entering the final year of his rookie contract.
Speaking for the first time since the end of a rough season, Freeman said he’s not letting the contract situation affect him.
“It doesn’t change anything for me,’’ Freeman said, according to Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune. “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 did some good things in the first half of the season – and he passed for 4.065 yards and 27 touchdowns, but he was a disaster in the final month and threw nine interceptions in the last three games.
The spotlight is going to be on Freeman. If he doesn’t perform, the Bucs are going to be in the tough position of looking for a franchise player.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune