- Pat Yasinskas, ESPN Staff Writer
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TAMPA, Fla. -- It appears there’s a growing trend among NFC South quarterbacks. At least some of them are changing body types this offseason.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan is bulking up, saying he wants to stay fresh late in the season and into the postseason. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman wants similar results, but he’s taking a different approach.
A slimmed-down Freeman spoke to the media after Tuesday’s organized team activity and said the decision to shed weight this offseason was entirely his.
“I feel good,’’ Freeman said. “I like this new stuff we’re doing.’’
Freeman said he now weighs between 240 and 245 pounds, after playing at about 258 to 260 pounds last season. But Freeman was clear in saying he doesn’t think his weight was the problem as he and the Bucs slumped last season. Freeman was quick to point out he played at 262 pounds in 2010, when he threw for 25 touchdowns and six interceptions and the Bucs went 10-6. But he said the weight loss should help with his conditioning.
“His desire to be great,’’ general manager Mark Dominik said when asked what prompted Freeman to lose weight. “He really, really wants to be great. The calmness you see can overshadow the desire inside.’’
Freeman said he took a two-pronged approach to dropping weight since the end of last season.
“I stopped going to Taco Bell late at night,’’ Freeman said.
He also worked with trainer Grant Gregory, who played quarterback at the University of South Florida and Kansas State, after Freeman departed.
But the sleek look isn’t the only thing new for Freeman. He’s adjusting to a new offense that’s being implemented by coordinator Mike Sullivan. Freeman said about 80 percent of the offense has been installed. He wouldn’t go into much detail about the offense, other than to reiterate coach Greg Schiano’s philosophy of running the ball consistently and taking shots down the field. But Freeman did say the new offensive scheme and the addition of wide receiver Vincent Jackson should lead to fun.
“We try to wreak havoc in the secondary,’’ Freeman said.