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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Freeman going along with plan

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Published:   |   Updated: March 23, 2013 at 12:44 PM
TAMPA -

If Josh Freeman is excited, he sure has a knack for curbing his enthusiasm.

Tampa Bay's first-round pick has moved up to No. 2 on the depth chart behind Josh Johnson at quarterback following the benching of veteran Byron Leftwich.

Freeman's laid-back demeanor didn't change Wednesday, despite his enhanced role.

"I want to be on the field, as does any competitor, but Coach (Raheem) Morris has a plan, and I'm going along with the team," Freeman said as the 0-3 Bucs began preparations for Sunday's matchup at Washington. "Instead of being two snaps away from playing, now I'm one snap away. I'm definitely comfortable that if I'm thrown in there, I'll be successful."

The strapping rookie from Kansas State praised Leftwich as a class act and said he learned how to be a pro from observing Tampa Bay's three-week starter.

"We all knew I had to win coming out the gate or this might be a possibility," Leftwich said. "I knew you can't constantly lose football games and have the two young guys underneath. I knew I would have to win games, and when that didn't happen, I wasn't surprised about the decision. I was disappointed, but not surprised."

Injury update

Five Bucs didn't participate in Wednesday's practice, including DE Gaines Adams (groin), RB Derrick Ward (knee) and Leftwich, who is nursing a hip problem.

C Jeff Faine (strained triceps) is expected to miss his third consecutive game, and rookie DE Kyle Moore remains out after knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.

Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth said he will play against the Bucs, despite being slowed by a hip injury last week. Haynesworth, RB Clinton Portis (calf), CB Carlos Rogers (ankle) and FB Mike Sellers (thigh) didn't practice for Washington.

Capital issues

According to Haynesworth, the Redskins are as frustrated as the Bucs about a sluggish getaway.

With Washington falling to 1-2 following a 19-14 loss at Detroit, Coach Jim Zorn's job security has been called into question. The Redskins have been outscored 37-13 in the opening half, and opponents are converting third downs at an absurd 51.2 percent clip.

"We're not playing like we should," said Haynesworth, a two-time Pro Bowler in Tennessee before signing with the Redskins in March as a free agent. "With all this talent, we haven't even scratched the surface. We're really cutting ourselves short, and it's kind of ridiculous. If you see this team come together before it's too late, this team could be special. But if we continue to play like individuals, you'll see this team fall apart and continue to go downhill."

Seeking a dynamic playmaker up front, the Buccaneers pursued Haynesworth vigorously in free agency.

"Tampa really came after me hard in the few hours they had," said Haynesworth, who registered his first sack as a Redskin last week. "It was actually after I told Washington that I was coming there that the Buccaneers offered me even more than the Redskins, but I had already said I was going here. The Bucs were looking to spend money and spend a lot of it. But with the sun and the water in Florida, there would have been a lot of distractions for me. Instead, I came to Virginia, where it's cold and nasty ... football weather."

High profile

Bucs WR Antonio Bryant was asked what suggestions he offered Johnson as the former fifth-round pick approaches his first NFL start under center.

"My advice was to protect yourself," Bryant said. "All that going to the clubs and stuff - you have to cut that out. Go to the movies. You've got to substitute some things now, because your face is a lot more recognizable now. When I first got here, nobody knew who Antonio Bryant was. But after that Chicago game (10 catches) last year, my life went to fast speed. It was like, 'How you doin' man?' Even the ducks knew me."

Extra points

Tampa Bay re-signed LB Matt McCoy and demoted WR Mario Urrutia to the practice squad. ... Redskins MLB London Fletcher leads the NFL with 45 tackles. ... Neither the Bucs nor the Redskins have scored a TD in the opening quarter.

Ira Kaufman

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