Other QBs Fueling Josh Freeman CriticsDecember 18th, 2012
From everything Joe has heard and Joe knows, Josh Freeman is a workaholic when it comes to trying to become one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
Thus far, Freeman in his four seasons has been at best, inconsistent. There are times where Freeman reminds Joe of Dan Fouts. There are times Freeman reminds Joe of Neil Lomax. There are times Joe cringes with the memories of Trent Dilfer dancing in his head.
This is part of the reason many Bucs fans either are ready to or already have thrown in the towel on the Bucs signal-caller, partially fueled by Freeman’s freefall the past four weeks from average to below average to struggling to wretched last Sunday, as the Bucs went from strong playoff contender to pretender to full-blown draft mode.
Part of the rancor comes from where Freeman was drafted. There is a certain expectation — real or imagined — that a quarterback drafted in the first round should put his team on his back and carry them to the playoffs.
That hasn’t happened, and the way Freeman has played this season, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, it’s hard to fathom Freeman doing that in the near future. Remember, the Bucs were in prime position for a playoff run at 6-4, and Freeman has regressed since.
Then there is the play of lesser and less-experienced quarterbacks, or at least NFL quarterbacks who were not drafted in the first round but likely are leading their teams to the postseason.
First there is Colin Kaepernick of the 49ers. Drafted in the second round last year, Kaepernick was plugged into the starting lineup in the middle of this season and has done nothing but great things, roasting the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football and then hanging four touchdowns in the freezing rain in New England on Sunday, handing the Patriots their first December home loss in 10 years.
Right now, can anyone envision Freeman doing that to the Patriots?
Then there is Andy Dalton, a second round pick in 2011, who is on the cusp of leading the usually dreadful Bengals to the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson also has the anti-Freeman crowd in a roar. The rookie third round pick has been nothing less than dynamic and has the Seahawks on the verge of the playoffs.
And who can forget Nick Foles, a rookie third round pick of the Eagles, who came into Raymond James and showed Bucs fans the way to play quarterback, the way to handle pressure, the way to slice through a defense for a game-winning drive, stuff Freeman hasn’t been able to accomplish enough over the past two years.
Because of the excellent play of quarterbacks with lesser expectations than Freeman had when he was drafted — no fault of Freeman’s — many Bucs fans have begun searching for torches.
When fans see these quarterbacks play so well, they ask, “Why can’t Freeman do that?” It’s a fair question given Freeman has more toys to play with than those signal-callers, and has had more games to polish his craft than the aforementioned QBs.
Look, Joe is confident Freeman will be your Bucs starting quarterback through 2013, and he very well may be re-signed by Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik.
But the patience of Bucs fans has grown short for Freeman’s ability to lead a team to mid-January games — not watching on the couch like the rest of us.