Buccaneers: One big question

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
12:00
PM ET
Can Josh Freeman bounce back?

The Tampa Bay quarterback had a dismal 2011 season. He threw 22 interceptions after throwing only six in a promise-filled 2010 season.

So which season is more indicative of what Freeman is capable of doing? The new Tampa Bay coaching staff seems to think the 2010 version was the real Freeman. Ever since Greg Schiano took over as head coach, he and every assistant have been raving about Freeman’s ability. I tend to agree with them, because I think Freeman has all the physical skills and intangibles.

Freeman certainly wasn’t without flaw or fault last season. But I think his problems were the result of the dysfunction all around him. Former coach Raheem Morris and his staff were unraveling, and the weak supporting cast around Freeman got exposed in a big way.

That’s why just about every move Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik have made this offseason seems aimed at making Freeman’s life easier. They got him a true No. 1 receiver in Vincent Jackson. They beefed up his protection by getting Carl Nicks, who might be the best guard in the league. Then, they drafted an all-purpose running back in Doug Martin.

The parts all seem to be in place. Now, it’s up to Freeman to make the most of them.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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