Tampa Bay Buccaneers first-round draft pick Josh Freeman saw the first action of his NFL career today, taking some snaps in mop-up duty late in the Bucs’ 35-7 loss to the New England Patriots in London.
Now the question is whether Freeman is the new starting quarterback in Tampa Bay. It’s a question Bucs coach Raheem Morris declined to answer immediately following the game, but today’s starter, Josh Johnson, acknowledged that he didn’t do anything to merit keeping the job.
“I’m not taking advantage of the opportunity,” Johnson said, per PewterReport.com. “That’s
what it all boils down to. We are an 0-7 football team. So, somebody
has to step up and do something about it.”
That somebody may be Freeman, a raw 6-foot-6 prospect whom the Bucs chose with the 17th overall pick in April. Coming out of Kansas State, Freeman was seen as less NFL-ready than fellow first-round quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Mark Sanchez. But at this point, the Bucs are probably willing to try anything.
Freeman completed two of four passes for 16 yards and was sacked twice in his limited action today, and he didn’t do anything spectacular. But he didn’t have to do anything spectacular to look better than Johnson, who went 9-of-26 for 156 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions.
The bottom line for the Bucs is that they don’t know if Freeman is good enough to help turn around the team’s fortunes. But as they head into their bye week 0-7, it might be time to find out.