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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Morris impressed by Freeman's presence

The Tampa Tribune
Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 05:04 PM
TAMPA -

Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris' enthusiasm about Josh Freeman has only increased since drafting him nearly one week ago.

"He took control of the huddle," Morris said. "I don't believe he had one bad snap besides the guard tripping him earlier in the walkthrough.

"Other than that, he got every snap. Delivered the football, controlled the huddle well. Made some nice throws. Did some things we liked today."

Morris was also impressed by Freeman's size (6-foot-6, 250 pounds) and presence in the huddle during Tampa Bay's rookie mini-camp on Friday. The coach would not say if Freeman would start this season, but he did say he would only take four quarterbacks to training camp this season.

Luke McCown, Josh Johnson, Byron Leftwich, Brian Griese and Freeman are currently under contract. When Morris was asked if he had spoken with Griese since drafting Freeman he said no. He did say Griese left a message for him earlier on Friday and Morris intended to return the call.

Overall, Morris said every invited player had a chance to make this year's team and trumpeted the success of Clifton Smith as a motivational tool. Smith was an undrafted free agent invited to last year's mini-camp who not only made the team, but became a Pro Bowler.

"All these guys here, they come in, you want to flood them with information," Morris said. "You want to give it to them. You want to see if they can take it out to the grass and then do it. The other part is you want to see conditioning, how guys last. You guys know it's hot down here in camp and you got to have bodies.

"People are dropping out with bodies. We got a body count out there right now. You got to get the guys who have the best conditioning, guys who can pick it up, retain it, take it to the field and do it."

Morris said he was impressed with receiver Sammie Stroughter, Tampa Bay's recent seventh round draft pick. His only criticism of Stroughter was he danced around too much after catching a pass, but Morris liked his potential.

One subject Morris did not dance around was the possibility of linebacker Derrick Brooks rejoining the team. Brooks was cut shortly after Morris was hired, and although the linebacker has expressed interest in playing for Tampa Bay, it seems unlikely.

"You never want to say no to anything. You don't want to be that way period, but we've made plans. We've moved on," Morris said. "We went out and got [Angelo] Crowell. We moved Jermaine Phillips to linebacker. We got Barrett Ruud playing mic [linebacker] for us. We have some guys in the stable like Quincy Black, Geno Hayes."

"We went out and got Niko Koutouvides. We got Jamall Johnson. I don't want to miss anybody, but we got some guys stacked in a row who we're going to let compete first before we make any decisions as far as Derrick Brooks, or any other backer for that matter."

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