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alldaway

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: January 03, 2012, 03:51:37 PM

Is Josh Freeman a franchise QB?  It is not enough that there is so much uncertainty surrounding the entire team which can drive any devoted fan crazy. But currently there is so much gray with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers starting signal caller, Josh Freeman.  With that said, I will take a look at some of Josh Freemans metrics, and then compare these same metrics to other QBs in the league with a ranking system.  Nothing complicated or fancy, just the numbers, and nothing to do with situational stats or circumstances.  Freeman has recently completed his third year, so it is time to fairly evaluate his work up to this point. 

First, I will look at the number of passing TDs the first two starting seasons (after rookie year) of Josh Freemans career measured up against  14 other QBs in the league who all have had impressive respective careers at this point.  This is an important metric to look at to see if a QB is capable of being productive at the Pro level. Completion percentage is an important boundary most QBs must stay above, but not many QBs reach this important threshold of 40 passing TDs the first two seasons starting (not including rookie season). I exclude a QBs rookie season, because it can be a misleading indicator (eg Ben Roethlisberger is an exception), and most QBs dont see much action their first year.  In addition, I made sure that the QB's played at least 10 games in both seasons I am taking a closer look at:


Aaron Rodgers: 58
Tony Romo: 55
Carson Palmer: 50
Matt Ryan: 50
Eli Manning: 48
Tom Brady: 46
Joe Flacco: 46
Jay Cutler: 45
Philip Rivers: 43
Mark Sanchez: 43
Josh Freeman: 41
Matt Cassel: 37
Ben Roethlisberger: 35
Drew Brees: 28
Matt Schaub: 24

The first litmus test is the 40 TD mark over a two year period, or an average of 20 TD's per season.  Most QB's that satisfy this criteria their first two starting seasons have continued to have very good careers as of 2011 season, and are top QB's in the NFL.  The obvious surprises are Brees and Schaub, but they have improved a lot since then.  Freeman is outside the top ten, but is at #11, which means he is on the cusp of a top tier group based on his progression, and he satisfies the 40 TD barrier.  What I do find interesting is how much pressure is on Sanchez, but he is a higher draft selection playing in the NY market.  He is surprisingly a lot higher than I thought he would be, so that QB class may turn out to have three QB's that pan out..interesting to watch how this unfolds next season.  Number of games played in this two year span to determine rate of TD's is interesting to look at, but for the most part the top guys are at the top and the bottom guys are at the bottom for a reason.  You could hypothesize that with more playing time Schaub would throw more TD's (only started 22 games in 2007 & 2008 combined) which would allow him to break the 40 TD barrier for example.

The next metric I take a look at are the number of INTs these QBs have over this specific two year span:

Matt Schaub: 19
Aaron Rodgers: 20
Joe Flacco: 22
Matt Ryan: 23
Philip Rivers: 24
Tom Brady: 26
Matt Cassel: 27
Josh Freeman: 28
Carson Palmer: 30
Drew Brees: 31
Mark Sanchez: 31
Jay Cutler: 32
Ben Roethlisberger: 32
Tony Romo: 32
Eli Manning: 35

Freeman actually makes the grade for this metric, #8, and like TD's thrown, number of games played to determine INT rate can give a more honest look (eg Schaub probably has a higher INT rate than a lot of QB's on this list given 19 INT's out of 22 games started isn't exactly top tier).  All these QB's though have less than 40 INT's thrown within this two year span.  In other words, another 22 INT season by Freeman is a really, really bad sign.  But for now he is very good compared to his peers.

And finally the completion percentage average of these QBs over this two year span:

Matt Schaub: 66.25%
Tony Romo: 64.85%
Carson Palmer: 64.35%
Aaron Rodgers: 64.15%
Tom Brady: 63.00%
Jay Cutler: 62.95%
Joe Flacco: 62.85%
Josh Freeman: 62.10%
Ben Roethlisberger: 61.20%
Philip Rivers: 60.95%
Matt Ryan: 60.40%
Drew Brees: 59.20%
Matt Cassel: 59.20%
Mark Sanchez: 55.75%
Eli Manning: 55.25%

Brees, and Manning have improved their completion percentage since then, which is why Sancheze must show progress if he wants to be a part of this top tier group to be near the 60% completion average.  Freeman comes in at #8 again, which is also a good sign. 

Traditionally, the term franchise QB implies that there are a handful of QBs in the league that are elite (4-5 QBs give or take).  But now, the term has expanded to encompass a greater array of QBs.  So instead of the top five QBs in the league, it means the top ten QBs in the league now are franchise caliber.  You also have some QBs hovering near this range, and they eventually move into this top ten when some of the current top ten retire from the league.  Where does Josh Freeman fit in currently, and possibly in the future?

Freeman is in the top ten 2 out of the 3 criteria.  Furthermore, that lone criteria that he is on the outside of the top ten he is knocking on that door at #11 (TD passes) which is a very promising sign.  Based on this evidence, as of right now, I must conclude Josh Freeman is a franchise QB. If not now, then very soon in the near future because the numbers point to that direction. Some would argue why couldn't he carry this team if he is a franchise QB?  Based on these numbers, Freeman is a franchise QB, but not an elite franchise QB which makes sense.  He wasn't picked inside the top ten, so that doesn't surprise me as most NFL teams are often right about elite guys.  Then again (Brady, Brees, Rodgers) some can come along to really throw a wrench into that common wisdom.  But Rivers, E. Manning, Roethlisberger, etc tend to play like top ten picks and the numbers back it up which is why Luck and RG3 will be highly looked at to see if they are worthy of being top ten picks.  Freeman statistically is superior than Steve Young, and Freeman played with a worse team (2011 Bucs) than Young did (1986 Bucs).  Sky is the limit for Freeman, but it is possible this poor season continues next season for him, or he reverts to his true self.  Until there is more bad news (evidence) that says otherwise, yes Freeman is a franchise QB.

Bucpride5

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#1 : January 03, 2012, 03:58:29 PM

The jury is still out in my opinion. I'm a fan of his and thinks he has the potential, give him some weapons, a competent coordinator who's system benefits his strengths and I'm confident Freeman 2010 will reappear. But if he's given the same supporting cast as 2011, he will be far from a Franchise QB.

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#2 : January 03, 2012, 03:58:53 PM

In short, yes. You don't go 25/6 TD-to-INT ratio by accident in the NFL.

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#3 : January 03, 2012, 03:59:12 PM

Yes he is.

moose40

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#4 : January 03, 2012, 04:03:15 PM

seems too many variables exist. He had a terrific first starting season, his second starting season sucked eggs. Is he regressing? Do defenses now know how to play him, and it will be more of the "this year" Freeman, or will a change of coach/scheme bring him back to projected franchise status. Or will the learning curve of the new scheme hinder him?

At the moment, I don't think he's more then an avg NFL qb, but I also don't think it's fair to judge him until after 2013, when he's had two years of the new scheme under his belt.

alldaway

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#5 : January 03, 2012, 04:08:32 PM

I chose to keep it simple because no point in factoring in offensive schemes, prevent defenses, pass attempts, dropped passes.  Just these three main metrics and that is all that matters really.

: January 03, 2012, 04:27:41 PM alldaway

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#6 : January 03, 2012, 04:12:33 PM

i get that, but I can't get past his td-int ratio this year, you have to add last year to make it respectable. a franchise qb should be churning out similar numbers each year, not go up and down like that.

BucfanNC12

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#7 : January 03, 2012, 04:13:44 PM

I think Freeman like other players here was a product of bad coaching. Players were told to play the last two years but weren't being developed by the coaching staff to be better.

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#8 : January 03, 2012, 04:16:43 PM

Hard to judge a guy accurately who is on the worst team in the nfl. Every team picking before the bucs cab beat them.

Watching Andrew Luck look defenders off based on the coverage they line up in shows how far Freeman has to go. He cant even get through his progressions let alone look guys off.

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#9 : January 03, 2012, 04:18:01 PM

Good post.

He needs to improve accuracy, footwork, and decision making......speeding up his game in general.  He looks sluggish out there.

He's still got the "potential" tag on him though.


Before you can be labeled elite, youve got to get a lot closer to having rings.  --Josh Freeman, May 2012

alldaway

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#10 : January 03, 2012, 04:18:56 PM

i get that, but I can't get past his td-int ratio this year, you have to add last year to make it respectable. a franchise qb should be churning out similar numbers each year, not go up and down like that.

I don't put much stock with Freeman's TD/INT ratio this year like I didn't put much stock in his TD/INT ratio last year.  Both are unrealistic numbers but if you add them together you obtain a realistic average (41 TD's/ 28 INT's). 


Bucpride5

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#11 : January 03, 2012, 04:21:13 PM

i get that, but I can't get past his td-int ratio this year, you have to add last year to make it respectable. a franchise qb should be churning out similar numbers each year, not go up and down like that.

Eli Manning, does that he's led the league a few times in INT's and has won a Super Bowl and been to the playoffs. Sometimes QB's force the ball, and make bad decisions, especially when their defense can't stop a community college team. QB's feel pressure to make things happen, decision making can be corrected by a competent coaching staff. You just don't have the season Freeman had in 2010 by luck, he has talent he just needs to be coached up and given some real weapons, like very NFL QB he can't do it by himself.

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#12 : January 03, 2012, 04:23:39 PM

I think Freeman like other players here was a product of bad coaching. Players were told to play the last two years but weren't being developed by the coaching staff to be better.

I think you hit the nail on the head.

I am not enamored by his stats (what counts is W & L).   I am just not sold on him.   I want him to succeed, but I'm just not sure he has the head to be an NFL star QB.  I am hopeful coaching will tap his yet to be seen abilities.

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#13 : January 03, 2012, 04:25:58 PM

In short, yes. You don't go 25/6 TD-to-INT ratio by accident in the NFL.
and you don't have one of the worst QB ratings in the league by accident either.


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#14 : January 03, 2012, 04:27:13 PM

Not right now. I like Freeman and I think he'll succeed. But I'll be honest if he doesn't show something next year (his 4th in the league)* people will be clamoring for us to select another qb. Hopefully they surround him with some weapons so can succeed.
: January 03, 2012, 04:31:19 PM bucfan26
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