Opponent Opinions: QB Josh Freeman

Quarterback Josh Freeman had a memorable first NFL start last Sunday as he threw three touchdown passes to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat Green Bay, 38-28, for their first victory of the season. Freeman talked about the challenges of being a rookie quarterback, among other things, in a conference call with South Florida reporters Wednesday.

Here's the transcript of Freeman's interview:

On what it has been like to get acclimated to the NFL: "It's been a pretty smooth transition. I've had a lot of great people around me, whether it be my offensive coordinator, head coach, to the guys that I meet with every day in Byron Leftwich and Josh Johnson. Everybody's been extremely helpful in preparing me for this."

On what the most challenging adjustment for him has been: "Probably the play book. This is our second offense since I've got here because I started out with coach [Jeff] Jagodzinski and then they made the switch to coach [Greg] Olson as the OC, so it's probably learning protections and new combinations, like route combinations, stuff like that."

On if he wanted to be the starter as soon as he was drafted: "I wanted to play. It's my competitive spirit. I don't like to sit out a competition; I wanted to play from day one. I also understand that the coach and the coaching staff had a plan for me and they wanted to take things slow. During that time, I was doing everything to get ready to play."

On his confidence going into his first start in the game last week: "I'm definitely in my element on the football field. I'm able to be so relaxed and so comfortable because first off, I know exactly what we're doing in protection and what we're doing as far as routes. And second off, I watched a lot of film and I knew what our opponents were trying to do. It's really just a matter of getting comfortable and maintaining that comfort level throughout the game and not feeling like the game's too big, or that you have the game wrapped up. It's just finding that balance between being comfortable, but still, being on point and alert."

On the importance of Kellen Winslow to him both on and off the field: "Kellen's been great. A lot of these guys have almost taken a big brother role. Me and Kellen, we talk a lot of football together. We talk about how we want to attack certain guys and we kind of use each other as far as bouncing ideas back and forth, what we think we can. Not even just that, but on the field, Kellen's a tremendous weapon from whether you put him out in the slot, whether you have him coming out of a three point stance. He causes a lot of problems for defenses."

On if he met any of fellow rookies Vontae Davis, Sean Smith, or Chris Clemons during pre-draft activities and what he thinks of them: "I'm real familiar with Vontae because I had the opportunity to train with him leading up to the combine and the draft. I know Vontae's a confident individual and he puts it all out there on the line. He's been playing, from what I've seen just watching film these past three days, he's been playing extremely well and it's one of those things where you have to respect everybody. There are no slouches in this league. You know that all those guys are capable of being great defenders. We understand that they're rookies, but none of them are playing like rookies."

On how he handled hearing the calls for him to start in the weeks leading up to his first start: "Really since they traded Luke McCown during the preseason, I've been preparing every week as if I was the starter, so not a whole lot has changed for me. As far as people calling for me to go in, I don't pay that really any mind because one second it's me they're calling to put in, the next, it's Josh Johnson, next it's Byron [Leftwich]. All I'm worried about is what's going on in our building."

On if it would be difficult or helpful for him to come on and off the field, as in the Wildcat substitution system: "I don't know. We're not really a big Wildcat team. I really don't know how that would feel or how that would be. From what I've seen, you guys have had a lot of success in the Wildcat. I don't really feel I'm qualified to comment on Chad Henne's feelings. I know you guys rely on that Wildcat, we really don't. You guys have a lot of good, talented players on your offense."

On how completing passes helps confidence, continuity, and momentum as a passer: "It's one of those things where you try to complete them all. My percentage wasn't all that great last week. I was trying to find a way to move the chains. If you miss it on first down, ran it on second down, you try to get it on third down. I really try to view the game as almost ‘one play at a time' mentality."

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