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michael89156

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: May 05, 2012, 10:31:33 PM

The Franchise - Is Josh Freeman the guy for Tampa Bay?

by T-Jack on May 5, 2012 6:00 PM EDT in Player Analysis





Marc Serota - Getty Images
 Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers takes the field prior to facing the Indianapolis Colts at Raymond James Stadium on October 3, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.



In today's NFL if you don't have a quarterback, you don't have a shot. End of story. The quarterback is the most important player on the field and there's no pretending he's not. Sure the offensive line has to do their jobs so that the quarterback can do his. This is what football is at its very core. A larger than life domino effect. One missed block leads to a sack, which turns into a fumble which is returned for a touchdown. One receiver makes a wrong turn on a route and the quarterback throws an interception. Just ask Brett Favre (see the 2009 NFC Championship) how that one feels.
 
The point is, despite the fact that each position depends on every other one to do their job, the quarterback is always the most important guy on the field. He touches the ball on every play. He's required to read the defensive alignments before the ball is snapped. He's required to adjust protections, call audibles, be fast, be accurate, read and react to defensive pressures and schemes, and remain calm at all times. That is no easy task by any stretch of the imagination. That being said finding someone who can not only handle the mental part of the game, but also has the physical tools to succeed can be challenging.
 
For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers it's damn near impossible. We've never had a quarterback who stayed with the franchise for 13 years, like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady. There are 3 quarterbacks who played for at least 5 consecutive seasons in Tampa: Trent Dilfer, Vinny Testaverde, and Doug Williams combined started 215 games for the Buccaneers. They amassed 95 wins. Peyton Manning started 208 consecutive games for the Colts and amassed 141 victories. It's amazing to me as a fan that you can watch the good fortune of a franchise like the Indianapolis Colts who had 16 seasons with Johnny Unitas, drafted John Elway (Even though they traded him away) drafted Peyton Manning, and now have drafted Andrew Luck. They enjoyed over a decade of dominance under Manning, over a decade and a half with Johnny U, and will most likely be in contention at the very least for a playoff spot each year for the next 12 years with Andrew Luck at the helm.



We've never really been close to anything resembling a franchise quarterback until 3 years ago when we drafted Josh Freeman. Freeman was young but had enjoyed great success at Kansas State. I'll admit, when we drafted him, I was a hater. I thought Freeman was a bum who was going to simply be a bust at the next level. November 8, 2009 changed everything. Josh Freeman threw 3 touchdowns and led a come from behind victory over the Green Bay packers that ranks as my second favorite win of all time in Buccaneer history. (Number 1 was beating the Eagles in the NFC Championship.) Despite his heroics I was still a little skeptical. As we watched the rest of the season I felt as though he had accuracy issues that resulted in him missing many wide open receivers.
 
2010 made believers out of many people. Freeman displayed toughness, tenacity, presence, and an ice cold ability to lead come from behind victories in the fourth quarter. I was still a little wary. Several of the most spectacular plays that year were simply Freeman throwing lobs in the general direction of Mike Williams (see the San Francisco and second New Orleans games for evidence) and Williams making some fantastic catches.
 
The beginning of 2011 Freeman seemed to have regressed. He was back to throwing interceptions in the end zone, not feeling pressure, not scrambling, and in general holding onto the ball way too long. I attributed much of this to the lockout. Despite a shaky start we were still sitting at 4-2 after 6 weeks and had beaten our 2 biggest rivals in the NFC South, the Saints and the Falcons.
 
Then we went to London.
 
After beating the Saints in dramatic fashion the Buccaneers travelled to London to take on the Chicago Bears. The Bucs would not win another game all year.
 
During our astounding 10 loss fall Josh Freeman looked terrible, however in all fairness to Josh he wasn't helped by any other facet of the team. The defense didn't have a problem getting off the field... because the other teams were scoring so often. The receivers didn't have issues with dropping the ball... they just had slick hands from all the koolaid they'd been drinking. The offensive line didn't have problems with protection... they just thought they were running screen passes all day. The coaching staff wasn't terrible... They were just preoccupied thinking of their next catchphrase to describe our team. (Youngry??? Seriously???)
 
All kidding aside Josh Freeman was put under the gun by his teammates each and every game. During that 10 game losing streak, we fell behind early and often. Freeman had to drop back and throw 40+ times a game. Every member of the defense knew we weren't going to run the ball. It didn't matter if the Bucs ran it for 10 yards. We needed points. So they pinned back their ears and came after us. They repeatedly got to us.
 
Now the 2012-2013 season is looming on the horizon. For this coming season, Freeman has been given every advantage on offense. He has a big time upgrade along the offensive line in the form of Carl Nicks. Nicks when paired with Davin Joseph may just make up the best guard tandem in the league so Freeman shouldn't have too many protection issues. He's been given a highly touted first round running back with the selection of Doug Martin. He's also been given the high profile, absolute number 1, wide receiver Vincent Jackson who should allow him to show off his considerable arm strength when throwing the ball down the field.
 
The excuses are over. Coming into his fourth year in the league he needs no further time to adjust to the speed of the NFL. He has this entire offseason to practice with his receivers and work with his coaching staff. He should have a top tier running game, a rock solid offensive line, and a very respectable receiving corp.
 
The question now is can Freeman with all the advantages he's been given, truly thrive? No one will really know until we start playing the games for real but I know one thing for certain. If he can't win with the group that's been put around him, the Buccaneers big board for the 2013 draft may have the letters QB at the top.





http://www.bucsnation.com/2012/5/5/3000027/josh-freeman-franchise-quarterback-buccaneers-tampa-bay

wreck ship

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#1 : May 05, 2012, 10:43:43 PM

This is Freemans 3rd season as a full time starter and he's on his 3rd offensive coordinator.
The pressure is on Dom and Schiano to create the system for Free to thrive.
On paper we look damn good but in reality, we're still bottom feeders.

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religion is answers that may never be questioned

JDouble

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#2 : May 05, 2012, 10:50:00 PM

We were really good in 2010 with less talent than we have now. If this staff does a good job coaching, and I think they already are, then we should be in the running to win our division.


Naismith

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#3 : May 05, 2012, 11:21:00 PM

He's only 24-years old. He's younger than Montana was when he became starter. Elway didn't have a season passing over 60% until he was 33. He never had a sub-double digit interception season. At age 32, he threw 10 TDs and 17 INTs. Eli lead the NFL in interceptions in 2010.

My point is, bad seasons happen, quarterback is a really complicated position and it takes time for these guys to really come into their own.

There\'s a very real chance the Bucs waive [Revis] before next season. At the very least, it will be a discussion worth having.

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#4 : May 05, 2012, 11:28:37 PM

Freeman has had crap to work with, until this season. I fully expect the stats to go through the roof.

If he could garner good stats without much help, he can surely do much better with better coaching, line, and WR/RB help.

Just about any QB should be able to be competitive with the surrounding cast as it is right now.

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

lyronmewis

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#5 : May 05, 2012, 11:31:30 PM

I believe in Freeman, but I don't expect a huge year from him. I don't expect an awful year like last year, but something more pedestrian where there's a lot of 150 yard, 1 TD kind of games.

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#6 : May 06, 2012, 12:02:49 AM

I believe in Freeman, but I don't expect a huge year from him. I don't expect an awful year like last year, but something more pedestrian where there's a lot of 150 yard, 1 TD kind of games.

Really? Tampa has a "chargers-like" team, maybe better.

Rivers has posted very good numbers there despite the fact that LT, Sproles, and Turner were at one time as his RB's. Heck, we have the guy who he pretty much fed the ball to over the years. If anything, I say expect (good) Rivers-like numbers from Freeman.

It's not that hard to believe. He did almost as good, with less to work with a season ago.

Rivers best season:        4,710 yards 30 tds 13 ints
Freemans best season:  3,451 yards 25 tds  6 ints

Incidentally, both of their best seasons were in 2010.

The only difference was that Rivers had Matthews and Sproles, a legit #1 WR, a good OL, and a top-five TE.

Meanwhile Freeman had a diva TE, dysfunctional OL, injury prone Caddy, a older Graham, and some rookie WR's.

No matter what though, it's a team game first and foremost. Neither one of them went on to playoffs anyway.

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

JavaRay

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#7 : May 06, 2012, 12:16:48 AM

Trade for Tebow.


lyronmewis

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#8 : May 06, 2012, 12:59:40 AM

I believe in Freeman, but I don't expect a huge year from him. I don't expect an awful year like last year, but something more pedestrian where there's a lot of 150 yard, 1 TD kind of games.

Really? Tampa has a "chargers-like" team, maybe better.

Rivers has posted very good numbers there despite the fact that LT, Sproles, and Turner were at one time as his RB's. Heck, we have the guy who he pretty much fed the ball to over the years. If anything, I say expect (good) Rivers-like numbers from Freeman.

It's not that hard to believe. He did almost as good, with less to work with a season ago.

Rivers best season:        4,710 yards 30 tds 13 ints
Freemans best season:  3,451 yards 25 tds  6 ints

Incidentally, both of their best seasons were in 2010.

The only difference was that Rivers had Matthews and Sproles, a legit #1 WR, a good OL, and a top-five TE.

Meanwhile Freeman had a diva TE, dysfunctional OL, injury prone Caddy, a older Graham, and some rookie WR's.

No matter what though, it's a team game first and foremost. Neither one of them went on to playoffs anyway.

Freeman is still raw as a QB though. It's not like he can go out there and make a great read every throw. It's not like he has great accuracy, or a great deep ball or anything that would lead to big stats.

Freeman's greatest asset in the past is that he can extend plays and find an open man, or convert a crucial 3rd down with his big body.

I really think it will be another 2-3 years before Freeman hits his prime and actually starts looking like a good all around QB.

I think he would be best suited just being a game manager this year, scoring TDs off playaction and just having short passes go for long yardage. He has a very long way to go with throwing against zone coverages, especially in intermediate passes in the middle of the field, and in the end zone.

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#9 : May 06, 2012, 01:23:00 AM

I believe in Freeman, but I don't expect a huge year from him. I don't expect an awful year like last year, but something more pedestrian where there's a lot of 150 yard, 1 TD kind of games.

Really? Tampa has a "chargers-like" team, maybe better.

Rivers has posted very good numbers there despite the fact that LT, Sproles, and Turner were at one time as his RB's. Heck, we have the guy who he pretty much fed the ball to over the years. If anything, I say expect (good) Rivers-like numbers from Freeman.

It's not that hard to believe. He did almost as good, with less to work with a season ago.

Rivers best season:        4,710 yards 30 tds 13 ints
Freemans best season:  3,451 yards 25 tds  6 ints

Incidentally, both of their best seasons were in 2010.

The only difference was that Rivers had Matthews and Sproles, a legit #1 WR, a good OL, and a top-five TE.

Meanwhile Freeman had a diva TE, dysfunctional OL, injury prone Caddy, a older Graham, and some rookie WR's.

No matter what though, it's a team game first and foremost. Neither one of them went on to playoffs anyway.

Freeman is still raw as a QB though. It's not like he can go out there and make a great read every throw. It's not like he has great accuracy, or a great deep ball or anything that would lead to big stats.

Freeman's greatest asset in the past is that he can extend plays and find an open man, or convert a crucial 3rd down with his big body.

I really think it will be another 2-3 years before Freeman hits his prime and actually starts looking like a good all around QB.


If that's the case, he'll be doing that on some other team not named the Bucs.

They spent too much $ on FA's and coaches not to accomplish something good on offense in the near future. This offseason was a huge "push" for JF. If he cannot do it, they have the hypothetical "surrounding cast" that nearly any QB should do well with. I say 2 seasons is all he has here if he plays mediocre (and Dom too, because that's the tie that binds). Maybe less time than we think too, because his contract is coming up fairly soon as well.

Statistically speaking, Josh is one of the best QB's the Bucs have had though. I think he will disprove a lot of people, just like he did his first full season as starter.

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

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#10 : May 06, 2012, 01:39:49 AM

People like to make excuses for Freeman. He's going into his FOURTH season. He's already had 2.5 years of playing time. If he can't prove he's in the top THIRD of the league among starting QBs this year, then he probably isn't the long-term answer for us. Is that too much to ask? I didn't say top five. That means around 11th best QB in the NFL.
Throw away Brady, Peyton, Eli, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Brees, maybe even Flacco, Newton, Stafford.
Can you be better than Ryan, Bradford, Smith, Sanchez? Better than Kolb, Vick, Romo? Right now it's very tough to imagine. But we need answers, not excuses.

In Verner We Trust

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#11 : May 06, 2012, 01:41:54 AM

People like to make excuses for Freeman. He's going into his FOURTH season. He's already had 2.5 years of playing time. If he can't prove he's in the top THIRD of the league among starting QBs this year, then he probably isn't the long-term answer for us. Is that too much to ask? I didn't say top five. That means around 11th best QB in the NFL.
Throw away Brady, Peyton, Eli, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Brees, maybe even Flacco, Newton, Stafford.
Can you be better than Ryan, Bradford, Smith, Sanchez? Better than Kolb, Vick, Romo? Right now it's very tough to imagine. But we need answers, not excuses.


Good post.   By the way, this poll is crap.   It doesn't have appropriate alternatives to Freeman.


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#12 : May 06, 2012, 01:42:30 AM

People like to make excuses for Freeman. He's going into his FOURTH season. He's already had 2.5 years of playing time. If he can't prove he's in the top THIRD of the league among starting QBs this year, then he probably isn't the long-term answer for us. Is that too much to ask? I didn't say top five. That means around 11th best QB in the NFL.
Throw away Brady, Peyton, Eli, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Brees, maybe even Flacco, Newton, Stafford.
Can you be better than Ryan, Bradford, Smith, Sanchez? Better than Kolb, Vick, Romo? Right now it's very tough to imagine. But we need answers, not excuses.

I think you'll get a good answer this season.

It looks as if everything is coming together better than most of us would've ever hoped for this offseason.

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

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#13 : May 06, 2012, 01:43:20 AM

People like to make excuses for Freeman. He's going into his FOURTH season. He's already had 2.5 years of playing time. If he can't prove he's in the top THIRD of the league among starting QBs this year, then he probably isn't the long-term answer for us. Is that too much to ask? I didn't say top five. That means around 11th best QB in the NFL.
Throw away Brady, Peyton, Eli, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, Rivers, Brees, maybe even Flacco, Newton, Stafford.
Can you be better than Ryan, Bradford, Smith, Sanchez? Better than Kolb, Vick, Romo? Right now it's very tough to imagine. But we need answers, not excuses.


Good post.   By the way, this poll is crap.   It doesn't have appropriate alternatives to Freeman.

Well, we all know you voted.... ::)

Naismith was right about Revis. Everyone else is a dummy.

JavaRay

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#14 : May 06, 2012, 01:47:10 AM

An appropriate poll would be

1) Freeman is a franchise QB and will be the best QB in the NFC South if not the entire NFL
2) I'd prefer Cam Newton if we could trade Freeman straight up for him
3) I'd prefer Drew Brees if we could trade Freeman straight up for him
4) I'd prefer Matt Ryan if we could trade Freeman straight up for him
5) I'd prefer Tim Tebow if we could trade Freeman straight up for him

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