This offseason will be critical for Josh Freeman. The fourth-year quarterback took a major step back in 2011, after looking like a real franchise quarterback the year before. That was disappointing - but it wasn't a career killer. Not yet, anyway. That could come this offseason: Freeman must bounce back and show at least part of his 2010 form, and he'll have to use the offseason to work toward that in a new system. And that improvement is already showing up in one visible way: Freeman has lost weight. A lot of weight:
Check out the two pictures to the right. The leftmost picture is courtesy of the Buccaneers' own photo gallery, and comes from this week's minicamp. The rightmost picture is a preseason picture from last season. Freeman is notably thinner now. I don't know what kind of effect that will have on his play, though I imagine it would allow him to be a little quicker with his movements, but it's an interesting change at least.
More importantly, though, he's also been working on his mechanics this offseason. Among the many, many videos the Bucs released on their own website covering the past days of workouts, we saw a few glimpses of actual football - including a few of Freeman's pass drops. There's a great example at about 00:19 in this video.
Now, I'm not a mechanics or footwork expert, but that pass drops looked a lot quicker, more fluid and cleaner than Freeman's drops last season, when his mechanics throughout much of the year were a mess. This is just a small clip, but it does tell us something: Freeman has been working and trying to improve, and that's exactly what he needs to do.