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December 3, 2012 @ 10:22 am
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PR Analysis: Tampa Bay's Offensive Game Grades vs. Denver

Written by Mark
Cook
Mark Cook

Mark
Cook

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Which Tampa Bay offensive unit graded out the highest on Sunday in Denver? Which unit fared the worst against the Broncos? Get the answers in this Pewter Report article.
Pewter Report's Mark Cook offers up his analysis on how Tampa Bay's offense played at Denver in the Bucs' 31-23 loss to the Broncos, and dishes out the game grades for each offensive unit.

QUARTERBACK

To say it wasn’t Josh Freeman’s best game would be an understatement. Despite being officially sacked just one time, from the onset Freeman was under duress and constantly pressured from the Broncos defense. But at times there was ample opportunities to make good throws, yet Freeman failed to deliver on several of those chances. In fact, at times it appeared Freeman ha been transported back to 2011, failing to set his feet, moving away from false pressure and just being inaccurate at times. While Freeman has had a solid year this season, there is still way too much inconsistency at times. No quarterback is going to be perfect, even Manning missed a few receivers, but when Freeman is bad, he is really bad. At one point in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter, Freeman was in the middle of a 3-for-16 stretch passing. Young or not, new offense or not, those periods of inconsistency are unacceptable. For the game Freeman ended up 18-of-39 for 242 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
GRADE = C

RUNNING BACKS
Defensive coordinators in the NFL are pretty smart. After watching Martin reel off a handful of 100-yard rushing games midway through the season, teams are beginning to stack the box, shutting down running lanes and keeping Martin in check. Martin still ran with authority on Sunday but never quite was able to break a long one. The offensive line struggled to consistently open holes, and by the midway mark of the third quarter, the game plan to run the ball was thrown out the door, after the Buccaneers surrendered a quick 21 points. Martin finished Sunday with 56 yards on 18 carries (3.1 avg.) and was unable to find the end zone. The former Boise star also struggled a couple times in pass blocking. On Freeman’s one interception, it appeared Martin was confused on who to block. Freeman was hit as he threw the ball, which of course was returned for a touchdown and the Broncos broke the game wide open. As a receiver, Martin continues to impress, catching three Freeman passes for 42 yards. D.J. Ware had one carry for eight yards and LeGarrette Blount didn’t see the field once again on Sunday.
GRADE = C

WIDE RECEIVERS
It is a little difficult to grade the receivers without benefit of re-watching the game, but from first glance it appeared that Tampa Bay’s receiving corps fared pretty well. Mike Williams came up seven yards short from having a 100-yard game (6 receptions, 93 yards, one touchdown), and was on the receiving end of a Freeman touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Williams continues to reap the benefit of Vincent Jackson drawing double coverage and close attention from opposing team’s safeties. Jackson managed three catches for 55 yards, but it was clear the Broncos weren’t going to allow the former Chargers’ star to beat them. Tiquan Underwood had one reception for 12 yards, but also a drop in the first half.
GRADE = B-

OFFENSIVE LINE
It is hard to pick on the Buccaneers offensive line with the number of injuries they have sustained this season, but Sunday the line may have had their worst game of the year. The line gave up way too much pressure to the Broncos on Sunday, and also wa whipped at the point of attack on several running plays. To make matters worse, there were several penalties that killed the Buccaneers chances on certain drives and also put the team in terrible field position. Demar Dotson struggled in pass protection most of the afternoon and even Donald Penn was manhandled at times. Both Dotson and Penn had terribly timed penalties, negating positive yards, something that proved difficult to overcome on the road in a hostile environment.
GRADE = D

TIGHT ENDS
The Buccaneers tight ends were adequate and while rarely called on, did their job as receivers. The tight ends also did a decent job chipping the Broncos defensive ends on passing downs and blocking during running plays. Dallas Clark wasn’t called upon frequently but made the most of his chances, including being on the receiving end of the Buccaneers first touchdown of the day. Clark finished with three catches for 31 yards and one TD, and even Luke Stocker got in on the action, nabbing two Freeman tosses for 19 yards.
GRADE= B-

Last modified on Monday, 03 December 2012 10:33
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COMMENTS

  • avatar


    stlbucsfan - agree offense is not our problem and Freeman did fine despite a poor stretch of accuracy...my point was Freeman was not the reason we lost. Matador - I'm not defending any of the bad Freeman throws, and there were many, I believe I only defended the INT which I dare any other QB in the league to do better on as they're getting crushed from the blind side...
  • avatar


    Josh Freeman had a bad quarter and a half of play that no one can deny. The coaching staff needs to do a better job of recognizing these periods and call plays that are designed to get him into a flow like screens, slants and roll out with run/throw options. These issues are more glaring on our team since Freeman has to play perfect football for our team to win since our defense leaves a lot to be desired. Freeman played well enough to give us a chance even on a day when he wasnt at his best and thats all you can ask for. Freeman of last year would have allowed that pick 6 to completely unravel the team and his performance, so the fact that he fought through it and made the necessary adjustments to give us a chance is all you can ask for. Is growth needed absolutely but we should be focused more on the other side of the ball. Our offense is fine people calm down.
  • avatar


    hi
  • avatar


    freeman was not at his best a good throw to williams on the long completion probably could have been a td on a better throw
  • avatar


    Josh doesn't need to be 'elite' to be a great qb for us. Even though he doesn't have much competition to pass all of the records on our books, the fact is he's better than any qb we've ever had on this team and will do it. He has the skill set I to be a very good qb. People say he has bad or slow feet and you can't dispute it when you watch film. I believe his coaches helped with that some. In college he ran for like 20 tds but when he got here they chose to turn him into a pure pocket passer and I think it has something to do with his hesitancy to run. Someone said he doesn't have that quick twitch release and that is a damn good analysis. I've always said he has kind of a looping release just not as bad as Byron Leftwhich but bad enough to keep him from being very accurate. He'll never be 'elite' like Aaron Rogers orTom Brady but one I see a parallel with is Joe Flacco. You look at how he's developed from the time he was drafted. I think I can live with that.
  • avatar


    I like Freeman. He has a chance, an excellent chance, to be the best QB to ever play in Tampa. Partly because of his physical skills, and partly because of the quality of his predecessors, it should be a virtual slam dunk that he emerges 10 yrs from now with every passing record in the team. However, he needs to improve his game to be called elite. The Freeman apologists on this board were throwing the elite word around prematurely/inappropriately earlier. If he continues playing at this level he will top out at 'very good', definitely better than 'good' but definitely not 'great' or 'elite'. People like EastEndBoy who are defending individual bad throws yesterday and others need to put the Pom-poms down. Some of us can both be encouraged by what we see in Free but also recognize the missed opptys and bad decisions and realize the team needs him to continue to evolve as a QB in order to lead the team to the next level in coming yrs. Again I like Free and we are lucky to have him, but as of right now he isn't where he needs to be, at least mentally. I'm optimistic he will be better with a 2nd yr of quality coaching next yr (coming in under Rah was the worst thing for him) and by '14 he should be lights out, or else we really will have a problem.
  • avatar


    I think Freeman has very good potential in the coming years. That said, I agree Mat, very good at best for Freeman right now but the real answer is we will have to wait and see. I am excited and hopeful that Freeman can elevate his game...The one thing that scares me is I do see similarities between Freeman and ROMO. Romo has had good talent around him as well but seems to have enough bad games in a year to fizzle down the stretch. Hopefully Freeman will change and be more like Big Ben.
  • avatar


    The Bucs' philosophy is to run 1st and pass long 2nd. Both are hard to do when the OL is so depleted, young and prone to mistakes. Consequently, I hope they work more on screens, draws and short passes for a more well-rounded offensive attack in upcoming games. Martin is a good runner AND a good receiver...don't see why they replace him on 3rd down.
  • avatar


    Good point Macabee. One thing a lot of people who are around Josh say is that he has "IT". "IT" is the ability to come from behind like he did in the Carolina game. Very few QB's have that but he does. He needs to really work in the offseason with Ron Turner who is a fantastic QB coach. He needs to make correct footwork a habit. Like they always say when you are under duress you revert back to what you know. Throwing off of his back foot which causes the ball to float. If he can make correct footwork a habit and ingrain it into his style he will be more accurate all the time and as a result be a better QB. We need to be patient and see how he can do with a few more years in this offensive system with this QB coach. GO BUCS !!!!
  • avatar

    EastEndBoy - I agree and have said I now believe in Freeman and will support him, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't come down on him when he plays bad. Don't worry, if enough of us complain Schiano won't make a change. All I said was he was horrible in a stretch from the 2nd and 3rd quarters. It wasn't one play or one drive. Yes, all QBs have a bad series. All I'm saying is those long stretches of pretty bad play need be shortened or turned around quicker. Yes, there was pressure. But he had plenty of plays where he was not touched and was missing open guys. Again, I'm not saying pull him... I'm saying tighten it up. Get over your bad plays and lets move on. He was a big reason for us getting behind 28-10 yesterday. I'm hoping that will be part of his growth.
  • avatar


    Mac I agree. Just giving some constructive points. Not kidding about the boxing lessons. Hershel Walker took ballet saying it helped him with his balance as a running back. I believe Freeman will improve over time, but needs to maybe look outside the box for some help.
  • avatar


    Yes, suferdudes, and Lynn Swan took ballet as well. I think Linemen, especially DL should take wing chun for the hand slapping. Best yet OTs take tap dancing for the happy feet.
  • avatar


    I'm glad a few people here get it that Freeman is our QB, he's very good, he's our franchise and he's the best QB we've ever had (Steve Young thing aside). I can't believe how hard some people are on the kid....unless he plays like Joe Montana in his prime there is no satisfying people. Yes he wasn't that accurate - hard to be when you're on the run on each snap - and a few of those passes hit receivers in the hands I'll remind you - but nonetheless he was not accurate. The INT happened when Martin decided rather than to block the untouched lineman streaming in on his QB from the blind side, to instead ole him on his way to crush Freeman in mid throw....which then yes ended up directly in Miller's hands....I dare any NFL QB to do better on that play. Nonetheless, not Freeman's best game - although the potential 4th quarter comeback would have been phenominal...too bad Gary Gibson's mistake (who otherwise played well) robbed Freeman of a chance to 'do it again' with around 30 seconds left....would have been fun to see him try and I wouldn't have put it past him.
  • avatar


    Mark, good grades and quite fair.
  • avatar


    There are a lot of quality young QBs in the league, but they all have bad games. Andrew Luck had a bad game yesterday, but pulled out the win at the end. What is Andrew Luck's QB rating 28th? 29th? in the league? Josh had about 10 minutes of very bad football in Denver. I had no idea where he was throwing. But I am a Josh Freeman supporter, he has a good arm, is fairly accurate, and has a good head on his shoulders. I am sticking by him even after that bad game.
  • avatar


    Well said macabee. This team is heading in the right direction...and it's a journey, not instant gratification. I said before the season that I would be thrilled with an 8 - 8 season which still appears achievable. Next year, with a couple of good FAs and a good draft, we can be in the hunt for the playoffs. Even more exciting, this team appears headed to be competitive year after year if it keeps going in the same direction.
  • avatar


    Hey surferdudes, a couple of things to think about. What you observed about Wilson is right on, but what you're describing is not learned behavior, it's DNA. I think you will agree that there is no perfect QB. Freeman is not quick-twitch and will never throw with the accuracy of an Aaron Rodgers. I know I wouldn't trade Freeman's cool and drive under duress that we've seen many times in 4th qtr come-from-behinds. You give up some - you get some. Another point. Yesterday was Rodgers 29th birthday, Freeman is the same age as Ryan Tannehill, 24. He will grow, he will get better, but he will never be Rodgers or Wilson and doesn't need to be to win. Final point. If anyone would care to notice - We have a 3,000 yd QB, A 1,000 yd RB, and a 1,000 yd WR. Not bad and it will get better. Patience!
  • avatar


    I agree with everything SurferDudes and Ehinote said. That was a perfect synopsis. It seems like when Freeman is an easygoing guy who is at his best when he cuts loose and starts winging it around without worrying. Why can't we capture that earlier in the game?
  • avatar


    Was able to watch R Wilson against the Bears yesterday, and came away very impressed. Like Freeman he was under constant pressure, and at only 5 10 was able to stay alive long enough to find receivers. This kid throws accurate passes from the pocket, or on the run. Freeman seems so determined to stand flat footed in the pocket, I think it limits his ability to deliver an accurate ball. Even Payton yesterday sliding left or right like a boxer on his toes ready to deliver an accurate punch. Maybe Free should take some boxing lessons, I think his problems stem from being to flat footed, and heavy on his feet.
  • avatar

    You are exactly right surferdudes. Freeman is very heavy footed and takes long lumbering steps instead of quick (my feet are under me) and ready to throw steps.
  • avatar

    Yeah, as I've said, I'm on Freeman's side now and want him around, but no team can survive a 3rd quarter like our QB gave us yesterday. 2 straight 3 and outs and then a int for a TD on the next drive. He's still the best "I've gotten nothing to lose because we're down by 18 points" QB in the history of the NFL.
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