Prior the bye week, Josh Freeman was under heavy criticism for his progress and play. There were questions about whether he was a franchise quarterback -- could he reach elite status among the NFL's best arms?
Over the last two games, Freeman ranks number one in the NFL with 748 yards, putting him in some elite company. Only Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have thrown more touchdowns over that time.
It's a dramatic improvement from the start of the season, but Freeman believes there's a lot more room to grow.
"It is a thing, we have always felt confident in our system," Freeman said. "Even right now we are not as good as we can be and we plan to be. It is a system [with] a lot of different aspects that go along with it. We have done a lot of work up to this point and we plan on continuing that. Improving -- constantly improving. Ultimately, it is about guys getting in the right position and me understanding that run game and pass game to be successful."
Having Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams as his targets has been a big boost to Freeman's numbers. The two are ranked in the top five for highest average per catch. They continue to produce despite drawing extra attention from opposing defenses.
"People will do things to take certain strengths away," said Coach Greg Schiano. "I think what Minnesota is going to do is defensively will do that to some degree."
The Bucs have to best deep ball tandem in the league with Jackson and Williams. Over the last two weeks, they've added a third guy to the mix. Tiquan Underwood is creating an even bigger mismatch for opposing defenses.
"If teams want to double two receivers, that going to leave the third guys singled," said Mike Sullivan. "If that happens to be Tiquan Underwood, I have full confidence in him in being able to rise up and make plays. Be there for us and Josh being able to find him and put in on him."
It's paying off: The Bucs' passing attack is spiraling upward, moving from 29th in the league to 15th in the last two weeks.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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