Throughout the 2010 offseason the type of offense that Tampa Bay offensive coordinator Greg Olson is going to employ has been discussed. Olson has characterized it as having West Coast principles but also some influence from his time with the St. Louis Rams and their downfield passing attack. Buccaneers fullback Earnest Graham has said that the Bucs are running the same offense as they ran under Jon Gruden with a lot of short passes. A statistical analysis in the Tampa Tribune indicates that Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman is more effective when throwing short passes in a West Coast scheme.
Of the 291 throws Freeman made last year, 25 of them were thrown to a receiver waiting behind the line of scrimmage and 148 of them were thrown to a receiver running less than 10 yards downfield. Of those 173 throws Freeman completed 112 of them, including four for touchdowns, while being intercepted just once.
That works out to a completion percentage of 64.7 and a passer rating of 88 on what was more than likely a lot of traditional West Coast type of plays. And that's a far better result than what Freeman got when he was asked to throw intermediate or deep routes.
Source: Tampa Tribune - Roy Cummings
PewterReport.com's Take: While Freeman had better results in the short-passing game don't expect the Buccaneers not to push the ball downfield next year. During the offseason practices, Freeman was throwing plenty of passes in the intermediate and deep part of the football field. While Freeman completed almost 65 percent of his passes in the short part of the field that still is not a great completion percentage on short throws. A 65 percent completion percentage is very good in total, but in the short part of the field with short throws a quarterback should have an even higher completion percentage. Olson and Freeman stated this year that he needed to improve his accuracy and ball security. During the OTAs Freeman seemed to make progress there. Freeman's big arm and his ability to throw the ball deep is one of the attributes that sets him apart from other quarterbacks, and the Buccaneers are planning on utilizing that over Freeman's career. This year the Bucs will have some short passing that reminds some of Gruden's offense, but they still plan on going downfield more often than was the norm under Gruden.