When quarterback Josh Freeman signed with the Miami Dolphins early in April of this year, many fans wondered how he’d fit in. The Dolphins appear to be set at the quarterback position, with veteran Matt Moore returning as the primary backup to starter Ryan Tannehill.
Freeman acknowledges this, and isn’t concerned about where he falls in the pecking order. He’s just happy to be on a competitive team, and is focused on working hard and getting better at what he does.
“My goal is to come here and become the best player I can,” Freeman said in a recent interview. “Talking with the coaches, they are all about everyone trying to get better at football, develop as a football player. That’s my goal. As far as spots on the depth chart, that’s up to the coaches. Obviously, Ryan has had a lot of success. Matt has had a successful career. I’m coming into it with a very humble mentality, a beginner’s mentality. Coach (Bill) Lazor’s offense is one that I’m not really that experienced in. At the same time, quarterback is what I’ve always done and I have a lot of confidence in myself as a quarterback. You come into it with a beginner’s mentality and just work (your) butt off.”
Freeman says the rapport in the locker room, and especially in the QB room, has been great, with all four quarterbacks – Freeman, Tannehill, Moore, and McLeod Bethel-Thompson – working together and supporting each other. Freeman says he’s very comfortable in his new surroundings, and that having already spent time living in Florida (he played for Tampa from 2009-2013), it’s been a smooth transition.
“The guys in the room, from Ryan to Mac to Matt Moore, they’re all great guys,” said Freeman. “It’s a lot of fun to be in that room and then you’ve got (quarterbacks coach) Zac Taylor and also (assistant QB coach) Ben Johnson. We have a great room. The guys are very supportive of each other, very energetic. We get a lot accomplished, a lot of work done, then we go out and compete. Guys are pulling for each other to do well. It’s a very healthy environment.
“It’s (been) a very smooth transition. Guys are great on the team as far as trying to include me when it comes to going to dinner or whatever activity. I’ve spent time living down in South Florida before, (have) quite a few friends. I don’t feel so isolated like you expect coming into a new city. It’s been fun, a lot of fun.”
Lazor’s offense is complex, and Freeman has spent considerable time this offseason studying and learning the playbook.
“The main thing coming into it was the terminology,” said Freeman. “Playing in different offenses before, there are a lot of nuances, a lot of crossover in terms of terminology. It’s being able to find a way to understand the plays and the numbers, the protections, almost in an instantaneous manner, so that when you hear the play, you start going through your checklist of things you have to be aware of, where the ball needs to go, how to get the ball into the hands of these playmakers.”
Freeman, a former first round pick, has thrown for 13,724 career yards, with 80 touchdowns, 67 interceptions. Add in 922 career rushing yards and four more touchdowns on the ground, and it’s easy to see why Miami was interested in bringing Freeman on board. But in spite of past success, Freeman reiterated that his focus is on getting better each and every day.
“The goals coming into this? Just continue on a day-to-day basis to try to get better,” said Freeman. “I had an old coach tell me, you just want to keep stacking great days one on top of another. That’s what I’m going to try to do every day, try to out-prepare myself, try to outperform myself and give it everything I have. If that’s the mind-set going into it, then at the end of the day, regardless of the outcome, it’s going to be a good deal. I’m definitely fired up moving into minicamp and on into training camp. It should be fun. (I’m) very happy to be a Dolphin.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball.
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