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Who is the team’s most important player you ask?
Without any doubt, it’s their fearless quarterback: Josh Freeman.
Freeman followed up his so-so rookie season with a sensational sophomore campaign and cemented his status as franchise quarterback with the team. He has proven all his critics wrong after he was drafted in the first round following an average junior year at Kansas State.
Freeman had the second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio, tossing 25 TDs to 6 INTs, a monumental improvement from his 10-to-18 ratio last season. In fact, he was in the top 15 of every major passing category even though he was throwing to a pair of rookie receivers all season long.
He has displayed the toughness, work ethic and most importantly, the clutch game play that is necessary for today’s top quarterbacks. This is a quarterback-driven league, and as Aaron Rodgers recently showed us, no matter how many guys go down in a season an elite quarterback can carry the team on his back.
He’s certainly got room for improvement. But considering he was being compared to JaMarcus Russell coming out of the draft, he has been a far cry from what was expected of him.
Now he's drawing comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger. Typically, first-round quarterbacks take the biggest improvement in their third season.
The Buccaneers should feel pretty confident with Freeman at the helm. He has the ability to take over games and if he gets hot during the end of 2011 like he has in both of his NFL seasons, he could carry this team through the playoffs much like the aforementioned Aaron Rodgers.
The future is very bright for this team and Freeman has the makings of an elite quarterback in this league.