- Rookie quarterbacks haven't exactly made life simple for New England's defense this season.
The Patriots finally will face a veteran Sunday, though, and they're quite familiar with Tampa Bay's Josh Freeman.
"He's a big guy. I didn't realize how big he was," New England defensive end Rob Ninkovich said. "Until you see him in person, you realize he's 6-5, 6-6. Big presence in the pocket."
Ninkovich was speaking from plenty of firsthand experience.
New England and Tampa Bay held joint practices each of the last two training camps. And contrary to facing a pair of first-year signal callers in Buffalo's EJ Manuel and the New York Jets' Geno Smith, there is plenty of tape to watch on the fifth-year Freeman.
The Buccaneers are 0-2, and searching for answers, but Freeman has remained a poised presence in the pocket.