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Bucs And Patriots: A Study In Contrasts

This article is more than 6 years old.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warm up before an NFL football game on Sunday, September, 22, 2013. (Stephan Savoia and Elise Amendola/AP)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady warm up before an NFL football game on Sunday, September, 22, 2013. (Stephan Savoia and Elise Amendola/AP)

Tampa Bay can't close out games, losing twice already on last-second field goals.

New England can't seem to find the magic on offense, yet has pulled out two close victories.

When the Bucs visit the Patriots on Sunday, it will be a study in contrasts.

Tom Brady is squarely in charge of the Patriots when they have the ball, but is surrounded by mediocrity in skill positions. Josh Freeman has been the center of turmoil for the Bucs, struggling despite being surrounded by talent.

New England has made key plays at key moments; the Bucs have not.

"There's constant communication, so I think there's a lot of trust that's built up in the quarterback-receiver group," said Brady, who will be without injured receiver Danny Amendola but might get back tight end Rob Gronkowski. "I said after the game (against the Jets) the burden's on all of us. It's not the receiver position. It's the quarterback position most importantly. That's what I need to focus on. The better I am out there, the better we're going to be as an offense. So I've got to focus on doing my job as best I can."

The focus on Freeman has involved everything but quarterbacking: missed meetings, supposed trade requests, questions about his leadership and speculation about a strained relationship with coach Greg Schiano, which both parties deny.

"Josh is going to be just fine," Schiano said of the fifth-year pro, who was 9 of 22 passing for 125 yards, one touchdown, an interception and a fumble against New Orleans last week. "We just need to keep practicing and get better, get in the groove. It will come."

This program aired on September 22, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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