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.
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