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Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Frazier: Vikings situation unfair for Freeman

By Pat Yasinskas

TAMPA, Fla. -- Leslie Frazier came to speak with the media about the Buccaneers’ defense. He wound up fielding questions about the Minnesota Vikings’ offense.

It’s understandable. Frazier, Tampa Bay’s new defensive coordinator, was Minnesota’s head coach this past season and the Vikings were the landing spot for quarterback Josh Freeman after he was released by Tampa Bay. But Freeman appeared in only one game and the results were ugly.

Freeman
A big part of the reason things didn’t work out for Freeman in Tampa Bay was because he repeatedly was late for meetings and team gatherings. That got him in former coach Greg Schiano’s doghouse. But Frazier said tardiness wasn’t an issue for Freeman in Minnesota

Still, Frazier had good things to say about Freeman.

“He worked as hard as he could every week to prepare and be ready to go,’’ Frazier said. “He was a pro in every sense of the word. But we made a decision to try to figure out where Christian Ponder was and also take a look at Matt Cassel because we were trying to determine and get some answers regarding our quarterback position. Josh got caught up in the shuffle. It probably wasn’t a fair situation for him. It made it difficult for him. It made it difficult for all of us when you’re trying to evaluate quarterbacks in an NFL season. That’s not a wise thing. Nothing to do with Josh. He prepared and worked as hard as he could to get on the field. It just didn’t work out.’’

When Frazier did get to talk about Tampa Bay’s defense, the most interesting thing he said was about how the team plans to use cornerback Darrelle Revis. Since the hiring of head coach Lovie Smith, there’s been some concern among fans that Revis’ talent could go to waste in Tampa 2 coverage.

But Smith has made it clear the Bucs won’t be using the Tampa 2 on every snap. Frazier echoed that and said the Bucs will play to Revis’ strengths, which would indicate a willingness to use him in man-to-man coverage.

“He’s a terrific player, without question,’’ Frazier said. “There’s always room in any system for great players. We’re going to do all we can to maximize his talents and utilize his gifts. He’s going to be one of the key guys to our success without question. We’ll do whatever we have to do to maximize his talents.’’