There may be less of Josh Freeman this year, but new Bucs coach Greg Schiano thinks a little more gear may help him in more ways than one.
Freeman has dropped a few pounds since last year, but Schiano thinks his wearing a brace on his left knee even though it’s not injured will help.
Schiano told Ron and Ian on WDAE in Tampa (via SportsRadioInterviews.com) that the added protection has multiple benefits.
“That’s something that I ask our quarterbacks to do,” Schiano said. “I’ve asked them to do it for years. That’s the leg — we’re all righty quarterbacks so it’s on their left knee. That’s the leg that’s exposed. That’s a vulnerable position. The good ones keep their eyes down the field. They don’t see the rush. They may feel it but they don’t see it, and sometimes when they’re down around your feet, you don’t even feel it.
“It’s not a catch-all, it doesn’t guarantee your health, but if that leg is braced, it gives you a chance against certain types of contact.”
Freeman wasn’t terrible about bailing out of the pocket, with just 68 rush attempts in 2010 and 55 last year (compared to Cam Newton’s 126 with the Panthers).
But having the confidence to stay in the pocket and throw isn’t a quality all quarterbacks share. With the addition of vertical threat Vincent Jackson on the outside, anything the Bucs can do to buy time for a shot downfield is only going to help. If that takes extraneous padding, so be it.