Freeman is a leader but .....
It takes more than just leadership from your quarterback to win, but it sure doesnít hurt you if youíve got it. A lot of praise is being heaped upon Josh Freeman lately, and deservedly so. Josh has been organizing workouts with Bucs players as well as a handful of other NFL guys, at a time when the offseason programs would normally be bustling with OTAs.
Great thing about the internet, things you say never go away. Anyone keen enough to go back to the site I used to run a few years back would see I was a big opponent of drafting Josh Freeman. I listed to a lot of the concerns I was hearing about his supposed lack of accuracy. You see weíve had a guy like that around here not so long ago; I made the claim if we draft Freeman, he will turn out to be our next Trent Difer.
After the Bucs traded up and selected him, he officially became a Buc and that means he got my support. Nothing would have made me happier than to be wrong, and it would seem I was. And he doesnít even have an accuracy problem!
But right now the common misconception going around is that the Bucs have never had a real leader before, and Iím forced to take major issue with that ideal.
For starters, yes the Bucs have had plenty of good leaders at quarterback. Vinny Testaverde may have lacked the wins the Bucs were looking for, but he had the respect of his football team. When back up Chris Chandler was stirring the pot back in 1991 to be the starter, Vinny never fired back. He put the team first. Leader.
Doug Williams had threatening emails and packages with rotten watermelons in them. Still, he led his team to 3 playoff seasons in 4 years, with barely a 50% completion percentage and no real running back after 1979. (Wilder would not become a dominant tailback until 1983).
But there have been other QBs here in Tampa Bay who were pretty good in the leadership department. A bunch of Steves; Spurrier, DeBerg, and Young come to mind. They all won at one point and time in their career. What they lacked, at least here in Tampa Bay, was a support group.
Football you see, is a team sport. DeBerg and Young did not have a strong supporting staff on the Bucs, they led at a time when the club was devoid of talent. Craig Erickson won a national championship at the University of Miami, you donít do that if you donít know how to lead some people behind you.
Thereís no mystery in the mid 90ís the new ownership and stadium provided the opportunities for the franchiseís talent base to really spring forward. Even when the team may not have had a born leader at the helm, the Bucs won because they were surrounded by leaders on both on offense and defense.
There is no doubt Josh Freeman is a born leader, but the Bucs will rely on more than just #5 to get them back to the promised land; and those players are starting to pile up on the Bucs roster like they did in the 1990s.