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michael89156

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« : December 11, 2012, 12:23:47 AM »



 Young, Wild, and Free: A Look at the Present and Future of Josh Freeman



Dec 10th, 2012 at 7:10 pm by Leo Howell









 
Josh Freeman is in the center of Tampa Bay sports discussion this week, and for all the wrong reasons. Comment section banter and twitter replies seemed to focus on his inaccuracies and antics in Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, and it’s as good of a time as any to take a look at Mr. Freeman, and ponder his future as the Buccaneers hopefully enter an prolonged era under the decision making of Mark Dominik and Coach Schiano.
 
First things first, I want to address his performance athletically and behaviorally on Sunday. His inconsistency in terms of accuracy is nothing new, and historically when the Bucs lose under his command, it is due to a subpar performance in terms of accuracy.  However, his frustration with teammates (and whether it was all directed at Tiquan Underwood, the offensive line, or anyone else on the field matters little to me) is something I’d like to never see again.
 
Visible frustration at teammates or officials is something that can definitely become contagious, and with such a young team surrounding Josh, he needs to set a positive example.
 
I completely understand being frustrated (believe me, I was yelling at the TV, and Josh, all afternoon), as a leader on this football team, Josh will need to take care of business in a more diplomatic way. Outbursts on the field out of frustration builds a reputation, and quite frankly I’m glad the Buccaneers don’t have Jay Cutler or Phillip Rivers, and I hope that Josh learns how to express displeasure with his teammates in a better, less public way. Even if Tiquan ran the wrong route, a young wideout is likely never going to respond to getting yelled at on the field.
 

Back to the numbers for a look at the football aspect of Josh’s performance, and how it relates to the Bucs success. In the 23 wins Josh Freeman had led the Buccaneers to, his completion percentage is 62.6%, but in the 31 losses, his completion percentage dips to 56.8%. Interestingly enough, Freeman attempts fewer passes per game, and gets more yards per attempt, in Buccaneer victories. He throws an interception every 57 attempts in wins, but in defeats he throws a pick every 25 attempts.
 
So what does this regurgitation of statistics mean? Since he took over in that memorable game against the Packers in 2009, the story for the Bucs has been “As goes Josh Freeman, so go the Buccaneers.”
 
Unfortunately, to make another hip-hop reference, an alternate title for the story about Josh Freeman has been “Will the Real Josh Freeman please stand up?” This season, Josh had a fine string of outings, posting a QB rating over 100 for 5 straight weeks, and the Buccaneers performed accordingly, winning 4 of the 5 games, with the lone loss coming to the Saints, and that matchup was one illegal touch away from giving Josh a chance to earn yet another comeback victory. Of course, looking from a birds-eye view, one can see that 5 straight weeks of success turning into 4 wins means little for a team that is 6-7.
 
The inability to win without Josh Freeman playing at his best is clearly something that will lead to the streaky and volatile stretches of play that we as Buccaneer fans have to deal with week after week.

So what allows “Good” Josh to show up, either at One Buc or on the road, and lead the Buccaneers to victories? Taking a look at his best season, the 2010 campaign, reveals a few surface facts: High completion percentage, lack of turnovers, and fewer attempts per game were part of the keys to Freeman’s success. Josh registered only 474 pass attempts in 16 starts in 2010, compared to 551 attempts in only 15 starts in 2011.
 
Taking a deeper look, ESPN.com’s splits show an interesting bit of information that may show how Josh has been misused in 2012. In 2010, Josh was extremely efficient on first down throws, completing 64 percent of 1st and 10 throws, with a QB rating of 94.6. Over 16 games, he attempted 159 passes on first down.  So far in 2012, Freeman has completed only 52 percent of 1st and 10 passes, but with a higher QB rating of 102.2. He has attempted 134 passes on first and 10 so far this season, and therefore is on pace to have just a handful more than he had on similar plays in 2010.
 
Seems that Josh has been better on first and 10, so what’s the issue? The issue is the lack of accuracy, and the position it puts Freeman into on 2nd and 3rd down. In 2012, Freeman has struggled the most on 2nd down passing in general, and in 3rd down and long passing. Seemingly, if he doesn’t strike on first down, he gets behind the down and distance and is unable to catch back up. He has a QB rating in the mid 70’s on 2nd down, and in the mid 80’s on 3rd and long.
 
I honestly believe that this shows that Josh is still developing the ability to cope with “the wheels falling off.” He usually does well on the scripted plays to begin a game, because it’s a very controlled environment. He also does well in the fourth quarter in comeback situations, because the game is open and flowing and there’s no time for stress, and he remains visibly cool and collected. It’s the grind of the game, the frustration of “2nd and 10” or “3rdand 8”, that gets to the young quarterback. Missing an open man on first down affects him for the next two or three plays, and this is where the coaches need to realize his weaknesses, and put him in a better position to succeed. It’s also an opportunity for Freeman to learn to better cope with the situations he is presented, and remain true to his abilities and responsibilities regardless of situation.
 

A suggestion and area for improvement in regards to the coaching staff would be (and I’m sure this will come as no huge surprise) to use Doug Martin on second down more often, even if Josh misses a pass on first down! Martin averages 5.6 yards per carry on second down, which means 2nd and 10 can turn to 3rd and 4, which is a much more manageable situation (obviously). The playcalling seems to be based on the previous seasons in Tampa Bay, where there was no stud running back who could collect chunks of yards at any time. And if the buccaneers do choose to throw the ball on second down, throw it to Martin and make it easier for Freeman, as Martin is most successful catching the ball on second down, and a short throw will obviously make things easier for Josh. 2nd and 10 does not require a 10 yard gain to be successful, 5-7 yards is just fine.
 
Overall, I believe that Josh Freeman may never “get over” some of his inconsistencies. He is never going to be the most accurate QB in the NFL, but honestly, he was never drafted to be that kind of player. He was drafted to be a Ben Roethlisberger type of QB, with athleticism and big play potential. This season, he has shown he is capable of being that kind of player, but just like Big Ben, most seasons won’t have completion percentages in the high 60’s like a Drew Brees or Peyton Manning type of quarterback (and by “type of” I mean specifically those two guys exclusively). The goal for the coaching staff is to learn the situations in which Josh is at his best, and put him in those situations as often as is possible. For Josh, the goal needs to be to grow as a leader of the offense, and to channel frustration into improvement, and to not allow incompletions, dropped passes, and incorrectly run routes to turn into future mistakes or shortcomings.
 


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« #1 : December 11, 2012, 02:27:46 AM »

This was a phenomenally written article.

Doesn't blindly throw Freeman under the bus and cry for Alex Smith with silly rhetorical question posts.

It also doesn't cater to the blind idiotic Freeman supporter.

Freeman is a young QB that is extraordinarily inconsistent and has yet to show the ability to win 5 games in a row.

But he is just good enough to deserve a big ole' contract extension so we can ride this dirty stanky roller coaster for the next 6 years.

The Anti-Java

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« #2 : December 11, 2012, 02:33:53 AM »

This was a phenomenally written article.

Doesn't blindly throw Freeman under the bus and cry for Alex Smith with silly rhetorical question posts.

It also doesn't cater to the blind idiotic Freeman supporter.

Freeman is a young QB that is extraordinarily inconsistent and has yet to show the ability to win 5 games in a row.

But he is just good enough to deserve a big ole' contract extension so we can ride this dirty stanky roller coaster for the next 6 years.





Perhaps the middle ground is..........offer him a good offer, long term deal, megabucks, but little to none guaranteed.  Then if he doesn't progress, they can have the option to cut him later on down the road.


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« #3 : December 11, 2012, 05:59:41 AM »

This was a phenomenally written article.

It was well written....nothing phenomenal about it....just like the quarterback.

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« #4 : December 11, 2012, 06:48:21 AM »

This was a phenomenally written article.

Doesn't blindly throw Freeman under the bus and cry for Alex Smith with silly rhetorical question posts.

It also doesn't cater to the blind idiotic Freeman supporter.

Freeman is a young QB that is extraordinarily inconsistent and has yet to show the ability to win 5 games in a row.

But he is just good enough to deserve a big ole' contract extension so we can ride this dirty stanky roller coaster for the next 6 years.

Perhaps the middle ground is..........offer him a good offer, long term deal, megabucks, but little to none guaranteed.  Then if he doesn't progress, they can have the option to cut him later on down the road.


AJ,

Not a bad idea and probably the one they will go with.

However, the one thing that the article doesn't mention is that Josh is still only 24 and even with 4 years in the the NFL, he's at the point a lot of drafted quarterbacks are in during their 1st or 2nd year. There is still a maturity factor at work here and Josh still has some growing up to do. He's shown a lot of signs of improvement this season and I'm eager to see what another off season will do being mentored by Turner and Sullivan.

Josh is part of the problem, but if we fix the secondary next season and honestly don't lose as many key players next year as we did this season, we will be a very good team next year.

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« #5 : December 11, 2012, 07:38:11 AM »

Freeman is Mad Fresh!


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« #6 : December 11, 2012, 09:46:03 AM »

     Good article!
     He makes a good point about Freeman showing his frustration to the whole world; if he wants to be a respected leader, save it for the huddle...
     

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« #7 : December 11, 2012, 09:56:28 AM »

Freeman struggles his first year in offenses completion percentage wise - goes back to his days in high school - looking more specifically at his freshman season at K-State he completed just 51.9% of his passes - his second year in the offense he completed 63.3% of his passes - his first year in the pros he completed 54.5% of his passes then jumped up to 61.4 and 62.8% completion percentage.  This season his first year in a new offense where receivers are free to change routes post snap based on what the defenders are showing and doing has truly magnified his accuracy issues.

Freeman will never be a 65-68 completion percentage type of pure pocket passer - but if he can figure out the intricacies of this offense - refine his chemistry with his receivers he could once again climb in to that 61-63% completion percentage bracket. Which for what this offense is designed and predicated to do would be near impossible to stop.

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« #8 : December 11, 2012, 03:30:56 PM »

This was a phenomenally written article.

Doesn't blindly throw Freeman under the bus and cry for Alex Smith with silly rhetorical question posts.

It also doesn't cater to the blind idiotic Freeman supporter.

Freeman is a young QB that is extraordinarily inconsistent and has yet to show the ability to win 5 games in a row.

But he is just good enough to deserve a big ole' contract extension so we can ride this dirty stanky roller coaster for the next 6 years.





Perhaps the middle ground is..........offer him a good offer, long term deal, megabucks, but little to none guaranteed.  Then if he doesn't progress, they can have the option to cut him later on down the road.

That's nice and dandy, but you're crazy if you think Freeman would accept a contract with little guaranteed money. He isn't an idiot, neither is his agent.


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« #9 : December 11, 2012, 03:35:32 PM »

I think Freeman actually agrees with the "doubters" in that he should wait until next offseason to get it done. I think he will actually have a better statistical season next year. He started this year out slow when he was learning the new system. Now since hes gotten that down has been able to get yards and Tds. Next year is another year in this system with a full offseason to learn and get comfortable with the new weapons, and another year for the defense to be improved which if they do that would instantly upgrade this teams chances for more wins. Freeman will likely have more yards, TDs, and wins next year. All working together for a nice contract. The Bucs should get it done this offseason if they want to pay less and an easier contract to dump if he doesnt turn out to be the answer. 

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« #10 : December 11, 2012, 04:12:21 PM »

I think Freeman actually agrees with the "doubters" in that he should wait until next offseason to get it done. I think he will actually have a better statistical season next year. He started this year out slow when he was learning the new system. Now since hes gotten that down has been able to get yards and Tds. Next year is another year in this system with a full offseason to learn and get comfortable with the new weapons, and another year for the defense to be improved which if they do that would instantly upgrade this teams chances for more wins. Freeman will likely have more yards, TDs, and wins next year. All working together for a nice contract. The Bucs should get it done this offseason if they want to pay less and an easier contract to dump if he doesnt turn out to be the answer.

That's because we're right and he knows it.  He knows that if he were to accept an extension now, it would be very team friendly.  He knows that because he knows his performance warrants that.  He's going to wait one more year believeing (like he should), that next year will catapult his value and he'll get a big deal.  Now, whether he plays well enough to get that kind of deal remains to be seen, but I certainly hope he feels that way.

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« #11 : December 11, 2012, 04:18:33 PM »

Freeman is going to get paid this offseason . Count on it. It will make for some lively discussions on here if nothing else.

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« #12 : December 11, 2012, 04:56:48 PM »

Freeman is going to get paid this offseason . Count on it. It will make for some lively discussions on here if nothing else.

It takes two to sign a deal.  Freeman is not going to sign a team friendly contract.  If it's a big money / big QB deal, then it's just another reason why Dominik is a terrible GM.

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« #13 : December 11, 2012, 05:17:34 PM »

I think Freeman actually agrees with the "doubters" in that he should wait until next offseason to get it done. I think he will actually have a better statistical season next year. He started this year out slow when he was learning the new system. Now since hes gotten that down has been able to get yards and Tds. Next year is another year in this system with a full offseason to learn and get comfortable with the new weapons, and another year for the defense to be improved which if they do that would instantly upgrade this teams chances for more wins. Freeman will likely have more yards, TDs, and wins next year. All working together for a nice contract. The Bucs should get it done this offseason if they want to pay less and an easier contract to dump if he doesnt turn out to be the answer.

That's because we're right and he knows it.  He knows that if he were to accept an extension now, it would be very team friendly.  He knows that because he knows his performance warrants that.  He's going to wait one more year believeing (like he should), that next year will catapult his value and he'll get a big deal.  Now, whether he plays well enough to get that kind of deal remains to be seen, but I certainly hope he feels that way.

Yea I think thats what hes feeling too. I feel like the team will try to get something done this offseason to avoid that. Not sure what will happen.

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« #14 : December 11, 2012, 07:38:24 PM »

This was a phenomenally written article.

Doesn't blindly throw Freeman under the bus and cry for Alex Smith with silly rhetorical question posts.

It also doesn't cater to the blind idiotic Freeman supporter.

Freeman is a young QB that is extraordinarily inconsistent and has yet to show the ability to win 5 games in a row.

But he is just good enough to deserve a big ole' contract extension so we can ride this dirty stanky roller coaster for the next 6 years.





Perhaps the middle ground is..........offer him a good offer, long term deal, megabucks, but little to none guaranteed.  Then if he doesn't progress, they can have the option to cut him later on down the road.

That's nice and dandy, but you're crazy if you think Freeman would accept a contract with little guaranteed money. He isn't an idiot, neither is his agent.




That would be his Dad.


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