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July 5, 2013 @ 3:43 pm
Current rating: 3.33 Stars/3 Votes

PR Reacts: "Jaws" Has Freeman As His No. 21 QB In The NFL

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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Former Eagles great and current ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski has been releasing his list of the top quarterbacks in the NFL ranked 1-32. On Friday Jaworski announced Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman as his 21st best signal caller. What was the reaction of PewteReport.com?
The list of Josh Freeman doubters got one name longer this week when ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski listed the Bucs starting QB as only the 21st best signal caller in the league as part of Jaws' QB Countdown, a 32-part ESPN series.

“Josh Freeman is my 21st-ranked quarterback entering the 2013 season,” Jaworski said. “That’s down four spots from a year ago. Freeman is a frustrating player to evaluate. He’s a big physical athlete with a strong arm and excellent movement, but he still struggles to play with consistency on a week-to-week basis.”

Jaworski, a former Eagles great, knows the quarterback position as well as anyone and is a well-respected commentator. Jaworski went on to talk about the season that Freeman had IN 2012, including the highs and lows.

“He had a six-game stretch last season that began against the Chiefs in which he played very well: 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions,” Jaworski said. “Freeman was a confident and aggressive downfield thrower, effectively utilizing Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, the biggest pair of starting wideouts in the NFL.

“The Bucs won five of those six games. Freeman played with a swagger. He was always willing to pull the trigger, attacking all levels of the defense. That six-game run ended with a dramatic Freeman comeback. What I really loved was the anticipation. Right here was when Freeman made the decision to deliver the football.

“Following that game, Freeman regressed. He was erratic with his accuracy. He had many communication issues with his receivers. He struggled against the blitz. Only Mark Sanchez had a lower quarterback rating versus pressure. And Freeman was unpredictable reading coverage and with his decision making.”

Jaworski used a late season interception against the Rams, one of Freeman’s ugliest picks of the year, to drive home his point about Freeman’s poor decision making.

“This James Laurinaitis interception makes the point, Jaworski said. “ When you go play-action, you still have to locate the underneath defenders. You can’t assume they will not be a factor in coverage. Freeman clearly did not account for Laurinaitis. He threw this ball as if the linebacker wasn’t even there.”

Most likely after reviewing film at the end of the season, head coach Greg Schiano, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan and general manager Mark Dominik saw some of the same things that led Jaworski to only list Freeman as his 21st best QB, prompting Tampa Bay to draft North Carolina State’s Mike Glennon in the third round. Despite bringing Glennon aboard, it doesn’t mean either of the three have lost faith in Freeman. They, like Jaworski, know Freeman has the physical tools to be a Top 10 NFL quarterback, if he can mange to put it all together. All three have raved about the improvement they have seen so far in 2013.

Jaworski summed up his assessment of Freeman.

“Freeman is an enigma,” Jaworski said. “He has a lot of talent, but he should be a better quarterback after 56 NFL starts. He has a lot of snaps under his belt. This is a crossroads season for him. The Bucs drafted Mike Glennon. Freeman is on the clock.”

PewterReport.com’s Reaction: It would be foolish to say we know anything more than Jaworski, but if you rave about the six-game stretch, then point out the late season collapse, ranking him in middle of the pack would be a better position in our minds. Again, Jaworski played the game at a high level for a number of years, but 21 seems a little low in our opinion.

Jaworski didn’t say anything that even the biggest Freeman supporters haven’t said to themselves, even if they didn’t verbalize it. Four seasons with two different head coaches and three different offensive coordinators, could make any players seem like an enigma – especially at the quarterback position. Freeman should be better in his second season under Sullivan. Everyone PewterReport.com has spoke to – players,coaches and management – all have agreed Freeman is light years ahead of last year.

Freeman doesn't have to carry the team on his back in order to bring a championship back to Tampa Bay We saw a perfect example of a quarterback (Joe Flacco) win a Super Bowl last season, who prior to the 2012 season, was getting the same criticism from the media and fans that Freeman has received since entering the league.

But in 2013 Freeman will not have any excuses. No quarterback in Buccaneers history can boast the firepower on offense that Freeman has surrounding him, and the heat is on.

If Freeman figures out a way to iron out his inconsistency issues the Buccaneers will most likely finish with a winning record and a shot at the postseason. A great year and the Bucs will re-sign him to a long-term deal and perhaps even Dominik gets extended. If not, Freeman may add his name to the list of former first-round Bucs quarterbacks (Doug Williams, Vinny Testaverde, Trent Dilfer), who leaves Tampa Bay with disappointed fans and a incomplete legacy.

And for Schiano he will be entering his third season with a brand new starting quarterback, not an enviable position for any head coach. In 2013 Freeman controls not only his job, but perhaps several others as well.

Last modified on Friday, 05 July 2013 16:26

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  • avatar

    I saw every game last year and Freeman was very frustrating to watch. IMO his biggest flaw is not going through his progressions, many times picking one half the field to totally ignore or to stare down a single receiver and then throw it into coverage or away because the one receiver he was looking at was mysteriously covered. Duh!
  • avatar

    Jaws nailed it on Free. I think he may be a better decision maker without a hard middle rush in his face. Having Nicks and Joseph back should make Josh's job easier in 2013.
  • avatar

    My man jaws is exactly right. But...Freeman has another chance to prove he can be more. He better take advantage of that chance now, because there won't be a tomorrow.
  • avatar

    I agree with "Jaws" untill Freeman proves otherwise
  • avatar

    I think Jaworski’s description is fair. To be an enigma is to be hard to understand or explain. In Freeman’s case, it means he can be supremely talented one minute and confounding the next. But that’s not all bad. It also means that he is just as likely to play very well as he is to play very bad. You just have to hope that it’s more good than bad. Don’t be lulled into thinking to be inconsistent and enigmatic is just game-to-game. It could be 8 games on and 8 games off or any combination equaling 16. It may even be winning and going to the playoffs this year, getting a new contract and playing horribly next year! The only thing that will cure this label is for Freeman to play consistently well over time. There is one takeaway from this rating and it’s that Christian Ponder is rated at #27 and he went to the playoffs last year. What does that tell you? And when you’re rated in the Top 10 as I expect Matt Ryan to be, sometimes you don’t win! Click on link below to see rankings, add #19 Andy Dalton, #18 Cam Newton. http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2013/07/2013-jaws-qb-countdown/
  • avatar

    If you think Free's problem last year was just inexperience with a new system, then how do you explain Free doing so well at the start of the season and falling off after he had experienced more snaps in the new offense? It is rare that Free puts passes in the best place for the ball on a throw, but Jackson and Williams are so good at catching bad balls, they make Free look better than he is. Free also does not appear very bright, which affects his decision making and also results in his forgetting to look off CBs and Safeties. But the Steelers had a QB in their major championship wins years ago, who also wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he eventually figured out the system and improved, so maybe, if Sullivan would spend a lot of time with Free, perhaps he can improve him, but last year Sullivan was a rookie as an Offensive Coordinator and had to spend most of his time improving his play calling. I hope Free will finally put it all together this year, but I will be pleasantly surprised if he does! Jaworski is right on.
  • avatar

    Agree 100% with owlykat. If you carefully read what coaches and other players are saying about Free, it's clear he struggled running the offense. It explains why he appeared to default to playing 'force ball', attempting to squeeze the ball into the wr he had chosen pre-snap, than running thru his progression. -------- Hopefully with some consistency in the scheme this year he will improve, but if not I fear it is terminal and he will always be too erratic and inaccurate to win consistently. Absent the leaping/diving skills of our wr's, Free's completion % and all other #s would have been far worse. -------- Really hoping he pulls it together this yr, but am fearful at the same time because a good '13 may not translate to better consistency in '14 and beyond. If that scenario plays out, the franchise will have been impaired for closer to 10 yrs thanks to Rah's incompetence. That is the doomsday scenario - please, please please don't let that end up being the case : - (
  • avatar

    Just something to think about. I see comparisons in PR from time to time about Flacco. I will note that Flacco began 2012 with swagger and made the claim he was a top talent quarterback and then went on to dare everyone to argue with him about it. Freeman is silent this year with the exception for him to say that he works best when he is less stressed and that he has confidence in himself. I would like it better if Freeman stood up and argued for himself this year. He needs to put himself on the line and then back it up.
  • avatar

    Makes me wonder where Brad Johnson (and his ring) would have been rated in 2002.
  • avatar

    Where would Brad Johnson rate out? Middle of the pack at best. He was a journeyman who had great game awareness and leadership, but bad knees and no deep ball when Tampa got him. He won a superbowl on the strength of the defense. Shaun King almost went to the superbowl with the same defense and he was not very good.
  • avatar

    NFC QB List : NFC East - Manning, Romo, RGIII, Vick NFC North - Rodgers, Stafford, Cutler, Ponder NFC West - Wilson, Kaepernick, Palmer, Bradford NFC South - Brees, Ryan, Freeman, Newton AFC QB List : AFC East - Brady, Tannehill, Manuel/Kolb, Sanchez AFC North - Flacco, Rothlisberger, Dalton, Weeden AFC West - Manning, Rivers, Smith, Raiders QB(Flynn/Pryor) AFC South - Luck, Schaub, Locker, Jags QB(Henne/Gabbert) I would rather the Bucs have Freeman(because he's an upgrade) than : Sanchez, Gabbert, Bradford, Flynn, Ponder, Alex Smith, Weeden, Locker, Palmer, Manuel, Vick, and maybe Tannehill. I can make a good argument AGAINST Freeman vs any of the remaining players. So Jaws is correct in my book, so long as this conversation is based on past performance.
  • avatar

    BucWild02: You made my point below. However, I disagree with Alex Smith and Sam Bradford. Smith got a raw deal being replaced mid-season. He is a smart, efficient QB - exactly what we need Freeman to be. Bradford is real close and I wouldn't argue for him that strongly - he is a slightly better decision maker and more accurate. All the others I completely agree.
  • avatar

    Freeman is also better than "Fig" Newton, Tannehill, Dalton. I'm not a Romo fan either.
  • avatar

    I think it speaks to the number of good QB's in the league right now more than anything. I was doing my annual review of QB stats for my fantasy draft board the other day and there has never been a year where I came away with so many highly ranked QB's. Fantasy and real football are completely different, but it's hard to ignore the evidence that we're in a golden era of QB's.
  • avatar

    pinkstob: I agree there are a lot of good QBs in the league. I also think there is a good chance Freeman has one of his best years this year. I also think Freeman doesn't have to be great for the BUCS to be successful and make the playoffs. He just needs to play smart and eliminate mistakes. Even if his passing yards and TDs are less (which I hope not) as long as he cuts down the INTs and increases 3rd down efficiency, the BUCS will win a lot more games. The team is much better as long as Nicks, Joseph, Bowers, Clayborn, and Revis come back and remain healthy.
  • avatar

    The QB rating says a lot and Freeman is probably somewhere between 19 and 23. This is the start of his 5th Season and yes this is a make or break year with the Bucs with him.
  • avatar

    He is much better than advertised. We have much bigger problems on defense.
  • avatar

    21 is about right in my book. PR's Mark Cook says Freeman should be more middle of the pack. How much higher? Based on what? Potential? Stretches of greatness? Most all QBs have to learn new systems, minus the truly elite who remain in stable programs. Good QBs make the best of bad situations and minimize mistakes. Does Freeman have more talent than some who rank ahead of him? Perhaps! But he has not been consistent enough to rank higher. The way I look at it is, I asked myself, "For how many teams could Freeman clearly win the starting job?" I came up with 10 teams (based on talent not scheme): Buffalo, Miami, NY Jets, Cleveland, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Oakland, Arizona, Minnesota, and Philadelphia. The teams for whom I do not think Freeman wins the starting job are: NE, BAL, CIN, PITT, HOU, IND, DEN, KC, SD, STL, SEAT, SF, NO, CAR, ATL, GB, DET, CHI, WASH, NY GIANTS, and DAL. Tell me, of those teams, how many of their starting QBs should Freeman rank above?
  • avatar

    A solid season will convince the doubters. Freeman has accuracy issues but most seem to forget also that last season was his first year in Mike Sullivan's offense and I think he needs to be given at least two full years to evaluate him under a new OC. Some will say that it has nothing to do with it but it seemed like on more then one occasion that the receivers ran the wrong routes and Free was also confused on some plays. This is his year and we as fans need to give him that much and let him have another full year under this offense to prove himself! If he is inconsistent this year then maybe we need to start wondering if he is our QB. I thought he did more then enough for us to succeed last year but our defensive secondary was so awful that it would not have mattered if we had Brady or Manning behind center.
  • avatar

    ACCURACY, ACCURACY and ACCURACY, that was Freemans problem in college and still his problem with the Buc's.
  • avatar

    No surprise there. The one thing we all can agree on is this is a make or break season for Josh.
  • avatar

    if that INT to lauranitis was a bad route he still should have seen lorig pretty wide open just to the left.
  • avatar

    So what if I told you that interception was due to a bad route? I don't know that but neither does Jaws. Clearly we should expect more this year with the bodies Free has to work with and a year of experience in this Offense. Go Bucs.
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