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Josh Freeman is Bucs' quarterback, Greg Schiano says

INDIANAPOLIS -- Josh Freeman, your spot with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is safe.

Offseason Forecast: Buccaneers

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Around The League examines what's next for all 32 NFL teams. Chris Wesseling covers the Buccaneers. More ...

Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano made waves after the season when he suggested his 25-year-old starting quarterback would face competition under center next season. Asked at the time if he was "all-in" on Freeman, Schiano simply said, "I'm not side-stepping you, but I need to evaluate."

Two months later -- and with the game film reviewed -- Schiano was more definitive.

"Josh Freeman is our quarterback," Schiano told reporters Thursday at the NFL Scouting Combine. "And I believe that Josh Freeman -- with Josh Freeman -- we'll be able to accomplish our goals."

Freeman comes off a season in which he threw a career-best 27 touchdown passes, but his evident growth was mixed with too many key turnovers down the stretch. Schiano inherited Freeman -- leading some to believe the Bucs might be open to starting over at the position -- but the coach downplayed his comments from December, saying his "competition" remarks referred not only to Freeman but to the entire organization -- and even Schiano himself.

"At the end of the season, the day after the final game, I probably said something that got a lot more attention than I meant for it to do," Schiano said. "Really, it was about, just what you said: Every year I've been a head coach, I step back and I evaluate every phase of our program. And it starts with me, so that takes a while. And I even said, 'I don't know if I'm the right guy.' Let me figure this out. And then I went through every assistant coach, and then, as a staff, we went through every single player -- and a series of evaluations -- but the one thing I believe in, as coaches or players, our whole life, we went through competitive athletics, and that competition is healthy."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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