Josh Freeman Still Learning The SchemeJune 3rd, 2013
Much has been made of the faux quarterback controversy between Josh Freeman and rookie third-round pick Mike Glennon in recent weeks. As Joe has stated before, there is no controversy. If Freeman, in the last year of his contract, stinks up the joint, he’s gone. No controversy.
Well, Woody Cummings of The Tampa Tribune appeared on Sunday Sports Extra with WFLA-TV raconteur Dan Lucas last night to talk Bucs, and Cummings said he believes Freeman is still learning offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan’s system.
“This is the first time – it really started last year – that Josh Freeman has not been in a West Coast system,” Cummings explained. “That’s a big difference for a guy who went through college playing basically a West Coast scheme. Obviously had had a West Coast scheme here at first. Now with Mike Sullivan, it’s a completely different approach. Josh Freeman, I think, even said it that he is making that adjustment and I think that’s where people forget he’s still a young kid, not just learning the league but under a completely new system, something completely different than he has already played before. I think it suits his skill set a little better because it is a downfield passing game and it really takes advantage of his strong arm.
“It’s a different dynamic and even he admits he still needs time to learn that scheme and that’s why theses OTAs and minicamp are so important for him.
“The Bucs have told him to just go out there and relax and play the game, don’t think that you have to go out there and save us. He’s the key guy, obviously, but if you are down by 10 points, it’s not all on him, just get the ball in people’s hands, move the ball and manage the offense and make the plays you can make, don’t try to make the plays you can’t. That’s what he’s been guilty of. When he has struggled in the past, that’s what he is guilty of, trying to do too much. That’s what they are trying for him to do.”
Well, don’t look now, but that learning curve for Freeman is rapidly approaching a brick wall. He has maybe less than six months to get his offense in gear or to manage it enough to get to meaningful January games.
Joe also is on record not demanding rolling out the guillotine at One Buc Palace if the Bucs don’t make the playoffs (so long as it’s not another losing record). The NFC is as tough as Joe has seen in since Bill Walsh, Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells and Mike Ditka roamed the sidelines. There are going to be good teams watching the playoffs on TV, and the Bucs’ schedule is not a cakewalk.
If Freeman doesn’t master Sullivan’s offense by the time, say, Halloween comes around, his next residence may have a different zip code.