On Thursday, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback
As for Thursday, Head Coach Raheem Morris said Freeman felt good and was “productive” in his return to practice. So how about part two – did the third-year quarterback still feel fine when he returned to team headquarters on Friday?
Freeman answered that question without even saying a word.
“I didn’t ask,” said Morris. “I know he showed up in practice and he had his helmet on, and he was throwing it.”
Indeed, Freeman practiced for the second straight day on Friday and once again threw extensively, taking a significant amount of first-team snaps. He is still questionable for Sunday’s game – the official Friday injury report included game-status designations, and that was Freeman’s – but Morris feels as if the arrow is pointing up on Freeman’s recovery.
“Proceed with caution,” said the coach. “That’s our little motto in the background – ‘Proceed with caution’ – but he’s done a great job. He went out there and practiced today and looked good.
“He threw the ball a lot more. Obviously he did a lot more this week than he did last week. I’m not looking for him to throw at the stadium [because] I saw him throw today and do some different things. We’ll get a chance to see him Saturday. He’s healing up a little bit.”
Freeman had started 36 consecutive games since taking over midway through his 2009 rookie season before his current ailment kept him out of last Sunday’s contest against the Carolina Panthers. Freeman suffered the injury on the Bucs’ final play in Tennessee, as he was tackled awkwardly on his throwing shoulder, and he began last week with a significant amount of pain and a limited range of motion. An MRI showed no serious injury, however, and he has steadily regained improved over the last 10 days. Whether he has improved enough to return to the lineup in Jacksonville or it becomes a second straight start for
However, the Bucs do already know that they’ll face the Jaguars without starting left cornerback
“Talib did not practice today,” said Morris. “But he definitely felt better. He moved around a lot better out there today – I’m not talking about running but just his movement on the field and those things. Hopefully we get him back.”
Black moved up into the spot opened by the placement of veteran defensive end
“Ahmad was granted a helmet not because anybody felt sorry for him,” said Morris. “He’s worked his way into this role. I actually stood up in front of the team and told those guys that I was proud of him and for what reasons. He did it the right way. A lot of it is based on wanting to see what these guys have got and what they can do. A lot of it is based on earning your way, earning your stripes a little bit, getting an opportunity to do something.”
As for Crowder, it was a concussion suffered against the Panthers that sent him to I.R., but Morris emphasized on Friday that Crowder does not have a history of such injuries. With only four games left and an uncertain prognosis as to when Crowder could return, the Bucs simply felt as if it was better to be cautious with an injury of that nature.
“We’re just doing the prudent thing with Timmy Crowder, putting him on I.R.,” said Morris. “We’ll make sure everything’s alright.”
The Jaguars placed two defensive ends on injured reserve this week: John Chick (knee) and Aaron Kampman (hamstring). In addition, defensive end Matt Roth has been ruled out for a third straight game due to a concussion. Overall, both teams submitted rather lengthy injury reports on Friday.
The Bucs’ 10-man list includes four players who are considered questionable or worse: Talib, Asante, Freeman and defensive tackle
Jacksonville’s nine-man list includes three players who are questionable or worse: Roth, cornerback T.J. Heath (shoulder, out) and safety Dwight Lowery (shoulder, questionable). A number of offensive starters, including running back Maurice Jones-Drew (not injury related), fullback Greg Jones (not injury related), tight end Marcedes Lewis (ankle) and tackle Guy Whimper (thigh) have been limited on the practice field all week but are all considered probable to play.