Bucs to start rookie Freeman after the bye

The Josh Freeman era has started in Tampa Bay.

Buccaneers head coach Raheem Morris said Wednesday that the rookie will start at quarterback when the team takes on the Packers next Sunday (following their bye this week). Freeman, a Kansas State product, was the 17th overall pick in April’s draft.

This will be the second quarterback change for the Bucs in 2009, as Freeman replaces Josh Johnson, who replaced Week 1’s starter, Byron Leftwich. Freeman took two sacks and fumbled once while going 2-for-4 for 16 yards in his NFL debut last week against the Patriots in London. He also completed just 44.9% of his attempts with one touchdown and three interceptions in preseason.

Freeman was an incredibly raw prospect coming out of Kansas State, which is why the Bucs were hoping to leave him on the sidelines during his rookie year and learn from Leftwich. But the Bucs have been so abysmal this year that Morris is hoping the strong-armed Freeman will provide a spark.

It’s doubtful that the rookie QB will turn around a Tampa team that ranks 23rd overall in total offense. The Bucs’ defense is often left on the field too long because the offense can’t sustain drives. The team has not gelled together since Morris has taken over and ranks near the bottom in every offensive and defensive category in the NFL. But hey, you never know. At least he’ll gain some experience and the Bucs will see what kind of player they have on their hands.

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