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As Josh Freeman Heals, Josh Johnson Prepares

All eyes on you, Josh.
All eyes on you, Josh.

Tom Petty said it best: the waiting is the hardest part.

That's exactly what the Buccaneer nation is doing right now....waiting for news on the tender thumb of its franchise quarterback.  The team has stated he will practice and is expected back for Week 1, and, in all likelihood, with the medical staff monitoring his every activity, he probably will be.  Nonetheless, a setback is always a possibility.  As I touched on Sunday morning, there is an article up on Pewter Report about the difficulty Brett Favre faced in returning from a sprained thumb on his throwing hand back in 1999.  Favre noted the difficulty of healing quickly when the thumb went through the constant contact with a football.  Dave Moore also commented during the postgame show about going through the same injury and that it was difficult to snap the football.

As such, there's even more reason to watch Saturday's game against Jacksonville with particular interest, as Josh Johnson will take the reigns of the first-team offense and start in what I imagine will be an extended performance.  Josh is certainly starting the year off in the right direction, having improved from a mediocre performance in a Miami monsoon for a 6-10, 113 yard, 1-TD performance against Kansas City.  What made me nod my head was seeing Johnson go through his initial progressions and, when nothing was there, use his legs and pick up some yards rather than force an incompletion or, worse, an interception.  It might not seem like much, but it's progress after watching the 2009 version of Josh stay in the pocket, hold the football too long, and appear as comfortable and calm as a guppy in a shark tank. 

Johnson has apparently earned the confidence of his offensive coordinator.  According to Greg Olson, he believes in Josh Johnson:

"Being around the guy for the last two years, I feel as comfortable with him, well, to be honest with you, probably more comfortable with him, the mental part of it, than Free (Freeman), just because of us being together," Olson said.

I don't know what he means exactly by the mental part of it, but I am intrigued to see what JJ can bring against a first-team defense at home with the first-team offense at his disposal.

That's one thing we're not gonna have to wait long for.