We’ve seen Josh Freeman‘s ability to tuck the ball in and run in the past. In 2012, we rarely saw any of Freeman’s scrambling ability when he had an open lane or when he could have gotten out of a sack or two. Could that change this season?
In 2010, his first full season as a starter, Freeman ran for 364 yards on 68 attempts. In 2011, he ran for 238 yards on 55 attempts. But the major drop-off in numbers came last season when he totaled 139 yards on 39 attempts which frustrated many and left several asking if the new coaching staff and/or new offensive scheme called for him to become more of a pocket passer.
Guesting on Dave Dameshek’s podcast, head coach Greg Schiano may have hinted that Freeman can soon be set free when he was talking about stopping scrambling quarterbacks in the NFL.
Schiano: This is just option football by a little different design. The big conversation is will it stick in the NFL because you are jeopardizing your quarterback when he runs the football. I think it will. I think what’s happening is so many of the college kids are coming out, that’s what they are ready to do. So if you take some of those great quarterbacks and translate them into the NFL game, you need to be willing to do some of that stuff. I think the biggest thing that gets lost is that you don’t have to do it a lot for it to be a real pain in the rear end for every defensive team. You only have to do it four or five times a game but then defensively you have to prepare for that, especially when you have a guy like [Colin] Kaepernick who, you make one mistake and he is faster than anybody else on the field. He’s going to run away from you. You got a guy like RGIII who does the same thing. So I do think it’s here to stay. I think as you watch those teams they kind of did it a little bit more and pulled off, did it a little bit more, pulled off. Just protecting their quarterback but making you defend it just enough.
Dameshek: Will Tampa fans see No. 5 doing some more of that?
Schiano: 5′s capable, you never know.
Schiano’s tone was one that he did not want to give away any potential plans for this season. Then again, it could mean nothing at all.
If Freeman can add a few more runs per game, he can help extend drives and keep the offense on the field longer. Not only will that benefit the Buccaneers, but he will also help himself out when it comes time to talk contract with the team.