Insider: Friday Practice Notes and Quotes

Injury Updates: Freeman a Game-Time Decision

Although Josh Freeman threw more in practice than he did the previous day, Coach Raheem Morris said Freeman will be evaluated Sunday morning and will be a game-time decision.  Morris said the doctors will make the call as to his availability.

“Obviously, you don’t want to do anything that’s gonna hurt him.  We have very capable doctors, we have very capable staff, and they’ll let me know and inform me if he can do any further damage.  They’ve been doing a great job with it.

Morris said he doesn’t expect Freeman to level with him about how he feels about the shoulder.

“He won’t tell me.  There’s no doubt about it.  That’s why we’ve gotta have doctors around.  He’s one of those guys that want to believe like that and think like that.  Everybody wants to be Brett (Favre).  Brett set a great example for all these young quarterbacks, what the standard looks like and what the model looks like.  It’s one of those decisions you’ve got to make as a head coach, and one of those things you’ve got to do.  Eyeball test.  Talking with Todd (Toriscelli) the trainer, going over with our doctors, evaluating what he can do and what he can’t do, and letting it rip.”

Morris liked what he saw out of backup QB Josh Johnson in practice this week and is confident in him if Freeman is unable to go.

“Josh Johnson had a really spectacular week of practice.  We talked about the kid being very motivated.  Talked about the guy going out there and really being prepared.  When you have a week like this and he takes all the reps, you really can see how prepared he really he is, and how much he really wants it and how much he’s been paying attention.  So, those types of things just are all helpful for me.”

DT Brian Price (ankle) practiced for the first time this week in a limited fashion and is expected to be in the lineup Sunday.  DE Michael Bennett (groin) missed practice today and will likely be out Sunday.

Aqib Talib vs Steve Smith = Must-See TV

Amid the Buccaneers’ defensive struggles, CB Aqib Talib has put together nice games in the past 2 weeks.  He locked down Packers WR Greg Jennings to the tune of 2 catches for 6 yards, and returned an interception for a touchdown last week in Nashville.  He will be responsible this week for shadowing a resurgent Panthers WR Steve Smith.

Morris says this type of matchup separates top-flight corners from the rest.

“Aqib Talib, baby.  Here’s his week.  We’ve got the big dog (Smith) coming to town.  He’s really played well.  He looks forward to these types of challenges.  These are the ones that separate the big time corners from the ok corners to the bad corners, when you play these kind of guys.  I look forward to watching the show on the sideline.  I look forward to watching it after the game, because I believe he’s gonna step up to the challenge and go out there and play his best game.”

When asked about the potential volatility between Smith and Talib, Morris chuckled and had an interesting response.

“Steve Smith is gonna talk to me.  Aqib is not a big talker in the game.  He talks off the field, he’s the biggest yapper there is, and when he’s not in the game actually talking to the other defense, he’s probably a talker.  But in the game, he’s not actually a big talker.  He’s got asthma, he’s too concerned with breathing at that point.  So, he’s not a big talker in the game.  He is off the field, but not actually in the game.”