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Familiarity breeds confidence for Bucs

Posted Jun 18, 2013 by Ira Kaufman

Updated Jun 18, 2013 at 10:14 AM


TAMPA—The Bucs say they are about to reap the benefits of stability.

With offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan back for a second season, the NFL’s No. 9 attack is gearing up for a more dynamic year as Tampa Bay seeks its first playoff berth since the 2007 season.

“We know this offense,’’ says Mike Williams, who fell only four yards short of joining Vincent Jackson to give the Bucs a pair of 1,000-yard receivers. “We know when to break off routes and what zone to read. It’s a knowing instead of reacting to something. Josh Freeman’s got this offense down pat. The big problem last year was we couldn’t get on the same page, knowing when to break our routes off.’‘

Jackson, who led the NFL by averaging 19.2 yards per catch, said the difference in Freeman is apparent, well before the start of training camp.

“He’s way more comfortable this year with the language,’’ Jackson said of Freeman, who set franchise marks for touchdown passes and passing yards in 2012. “You can see it in his confidence, the way he’s directing the field. It’s fun to watch his physical tools take shape. We’ve got some new faces out here and it’s fun because we spread the ball around. Once we’re clicking, we’re going to be hard to stop.’‘

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