BY: John Mamola /

Former NFL quarterback Joe Theismann knows a little about performing in high pressure situations.  A two time pro bowl selection and 1983 NFL MVP to go along with a Super Bowl title to his name, Theismann knows what Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is heading into this season.

Hence why Theismann calls this a put up or shut up year for the Buccaneers and quarterback Josh Freeman when he joined WDAE’s “The Ron and Ian Show.”

“I think Josh can play, I believe he can play.  I think it’s a very critical year for him, and I’m hoping it becomes a Joe Flacco type story” said Theismann.    “They’re (Buccaneers)  in a division that is as top heavy with New Orleans with Sean Payton back and of course Atlanta.  This is not an easy road, but I believe the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of any team in the league have made great strides going forward.  It’s a put up or shut up year.

Theismann further elaborated on Freeman and his importance to the Buccaneers offense in 2013.

“There is no question that this is an important year (for Freeman).  You have a  new coach who’s continuing to evaluate you, and added weapons on the offensive side of the ball” said Theismann.  “The position (QB) is the most dependent position on the field.  If you don’t have any talent around you, you’re dead in the water.  This is a huge year for him, huge year.”

Theismann said that Freeman’s biggest challenge is to “never have to be the reason why the team wins, but never be the reason why the teams loses.”