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Josh Freeman embraces focus on running game

Josh Freeman, Robert Hughes

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) throws a pass as running back Robert Hughes (33) looks on during practice Tuesday, June 5, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)


New Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano has loaded up the backfield in order to run the ball heavily, and the man who is responsible for throwing the ball isn’t upset about that.

“Coach Schiano obviously loves the running game,” quarterback Josh Freeman said Saturday, via Stephen F. Holder of the Tampa Bay Times. “I love the running game. There’s no better feeling than when LeGarrette or any of our guys are out there tearing it up and you can sit back and pick apart a defense that’s worried about stopping the run.”

When it’s time to hand the ball off instead of throw it, Freeman will have plenty of options. “Doug Martin and Michael Smith, those guys are so talented,” Freeman said. “You want to get the ball in their hands, get it to them in space and let them make some moves and make something happen. . . . Obviously LeGarrette [Blount] is having good [practices]. And one guy, Mossis Madu, that guy is shredding it right now. He is doing an awesome job. Our backfield is going to be great. I’m excited.”

It’s hard for a quarterback to rack up huge stats if his offensive coordinator repeatedly calls a running play. But Freeman has no problem with whatever leads to the ultimate goal.

“It’s about winning with me,” Freeman said. “If I go out and stink it up and we win, I’d be a lot happier than if I go out and throw for monster numbers and we lose.”

He may be happier week in and week out with that outcome, but if he stinks it up too much, he won’t be the quarterback for long, no matter what the record may be. Still, a commitment to the run that moves the chains, controls the clock, and scores points will make it easier for Freeman to do his job well.