A work stoppage could push NFL players to the sidelines this spring, but Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman says a lockout won't keep him or the team's offense on the sidelines for long.
Freeman, who already has begun personal workouts at One Buc Place, plans to continue working out with teammates even if the owners lock the players out in early March, as many expect, when the collective bargaining agreement expires.
"Hopefully the CBA gets resolved," Freeman said, "but if it doesn't, I've already been in contact with all of our receivers and everybody's excited to come (to Tampa) in March and get going.
"We're going to hit up a couple of the local high schools here and work out that way. Hopefully, they'll let us use their weight room or whatever it is we need, because we're anxious to get going.''
Freeman also is eager to improve on his footwork, both in and out of the pocket, his throwing accuracy and his ability to break down opponents' tendencies through film study.
"I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of our offense, and I feel great about all the defenses we've been seeing, but the league is constantly changing and you have to have a good understanding of those changes,'' Freeman said. "So, I've basically got every blitz that every team in the NFL ran last year all on my computer at home. I've got a whole storage device there that has all the blitzes, all the (interception) reels, stuff like that.
"You just watch and watch and, eventually, you get an understanding for what it is all these defenses are trying to do. And the more familiar you get with it, the easier it is to recognize what they're trying to do to throw you off.''
A work stoppage could throw many players off their offseason routines, but Freeman is hopeful the plan he and his teammates are putting together will allow them to be on their game whenever play resumes.
"We're anxious to get out there and get to work on some of the timing issues and some of the route concepts, because last year it took us a little while to get clicking on some of those things,'' Freeman said.
"We were never really off, but we really didn't hit our stride until late in the season. That's kind of how we feel, and so we want to make sure we're a lot more familiar with all of that.''
A look at the stats Freeman posted during the Bucs' bounce-back 2010 season backs his claim that he wasn't as in touch with his receivers early on as he was later in the 10-6 season.
Freeman completed 59.3 percent of his passes and threw for 10 touchdowns, five interceptions and an 85.8 passer rating the first half of the year. In the second half, he completed 63.6 percent of his passes and threw for 15 touchdowns, one interception and a 106.8 passer rating.
"We want to make sure that we start the season the way we finished it up last year,'' Freeman said. "We want to be at that level of performance a lot earlier.''