Rotten Third Down Conversion

September 23rd, 2013

josh freeman 0922

For an offense to put points on the board, it has to move the chains. That is, unless you are going bombs away and completing 40-yard tosses to win games– not many do.

To move the chains you generally have to convert a third down or two at some point during a drive, much less the game.

Yesterday, the Bucs’ franchise-quarterback-led offense was miserable when the team found itself mired in third down situations, documents the “Custodian of Canton,”eye-RAH! Kaufman of The Tampa Tribune.

@IKaufmanTBO: Bucs were 5-for-14 on 3rd down and 0-for-4 on fourth down against the Patriots

While Joe applauds Bucs commander Greg Schiano for being agressive, his troops sure did a lousy job getting first downs.

You simply aren’t going to win many football games with those kind of numbers.

41 Responses to “Rotten Third Down Conversion”

  1. TBuc_40 Says:

    I realize Free has been inaccurate at best this year, but does anyone have the dropped passes total, especially on third down plays?

  2. bucrightoff Says:

    When you consider the talent on this offense, it has to be in the coversation for worst Bucs offense ever right?

  3. 76buc76 Says:

    The reason for Freeman inaccuracy. Need only to look at the picture at the top of the page. Montana would of been a 40% passer with that stance.

  4. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Every QB has drops by his WR’s in every game. That’s included in the completion percentage for every QB, so it’s a level playing field. Trying to remove Freeman’s WR drops from his stats is stupid if you’re going to leave them in every other NFL QB’s stats in comparison.

    If you want to remove the drops from the stats then do the same with every single QB in the league to get a good comparison. If you do that, you know what happens? The other average to above average QB’s completion percentage goes up to 70% on average and Freeman’s goes up to maybe 60%.

    What does that tell you? Freeman still sucks by any comparison. That’s what.

    Get over it. Freeman is done in Tampa. The only thing left to determine is how many more games he’s allowed to suck in before he’s mercifully given the ax. I personally can’t wait for a new era to begin. Without Josh Freeman.

  5. Tony Says:

    We should also then reduce the amount of completions and big yardage on his famous ‘jump ball’ because we have big receivers that are exceptional at going up and getting the ball. Can’t have it both ways Freeman fans. Guy flat out sucks. You think the defense didn’t notice once they got down by two scores yesterday that there was NO WAY they could win?

  6. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    OFF TOPIC: Even though I would luv 2 see James Wilder Jr in a BUCS jersey(Legacy Pick) Has anyone got chance to see this kid out Alabama St-Isaiah Crowell (RB)..Wow
    .smh. Expected to be a later round pick, Martin & Crowell would make a great 1, 2 punch

  7. Bobby Says:

    6 passes dropped yesterday. I don’t blame this on Freeman but this offense just isn’t clicking with Freeman at the helm and he does not have the leadership skills to get in peoples faces to get them focused. Hard to rally the troops when they don’t trust your skills at QB. Last week Tom Brady’s receivers were dropping everything. Tom was visually livid and getting in their grills. This week against the Bucs they catch everything.

    This offense should be scoring. We moved the ball proficiently against the Pats. Over 125 yads of offense in the first 13 minutes and we come away with 3 points! I don’t know how many times we were inside their 40 yard line…6 or 7 times? How do we only score 3 points. Terrible execution. Part of it was play calling. Part of it was V-Jax and Williams being hurt. Part of it was drops and part of it was inaccurate passes but let me say…the inaccurate passes was the least of the problems. Jackson drops a TD pass. Tim Wright lets a TD go right through his hands. Thes drops in critical situations are just maddening. You’re a professional football player…you get paid to do one thing…catch the damn ball when it hits you in the hands!!

    Yesterday I don’t blame Freeman for his accuracy. I blame him for his lack of leadership. He does not have the ability to rally the troops and lead a comeback like he used to have. I think a lot of it is his receivers and team just not believing in him anymore. No one is focused on football. All the drama is taking it’s toll on player concentration.

  8. lightningbuc Says:

    Brady had a receiver drop a perfect ball yesterday. The next play was like a 50 yard run. The Patriots didn’t stand around wishing the guy wouldn’t have dropped it, they did something about it.

  9. Eternally Optimistic Homer Says:

    FLBoyInDallas Says
    “Every QB has drops by his WR’s in every game. That’s included in the completion percentage for every QB, so it’s a level playing field. Trying to remove Freeman’s WR drops from his stats is stupid…”

    That’s bullspit. The completion percentage does not take drops into account and you can’t make it seems so just by making the claim.

    Here’s the truth: Oline provided Freeman more time (finally). Penalties were down.

    Freeman was on target more often than not.

    The number of drops were increased.

    You are right, all QBs experience drops. That doesn’t mean that they are not a signal of an issue with the WRs. Jackson and Williams? Those could be considered “normal” drops.

    Everyone else, especially Ogletree, is the fault of the receiver. At some point you have to acknowledge that. Because it is the truth.

  10. Theodore Says:

    @76buc76 – What are you talking about? That is perfect Johnny Unitas form:×536/Unitas-Steelers-camp.jpg

  11. Eternally Optimistic Homer Says:


    I think we have good enough depth at RB. There are other more…prominent needs…that I feel should be addressed first.

    Such as Oline depth. CB depth. LB depth. DT depth.

    We’re about to see how little depth we have at dt if GMC is going to be out of the next game.

  12. 76buc76 Says:

    Luvmybucs Running back phhhhh please. We will need O-linemen,QB (maybe) a slot receiver or two. A TE or two, 2 or 3 D-linemen and a decent #2 corner. Save your self the time. Running back haha

  13. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Run, run, pass….punt….Run, run, pass….punt!!!

    I notice that our third down passes are either low percentage deep sidline routes…or 4 yds on 3rd & 9…
    Without a 3rd reciever….TE or 2nd back catching passes…this will contiinue to plague us.
    I like what I saw with Page…& I think we can pick up Demps….and at the very least use him as a decoy once in a while….so use Page at PR & WR….Demps at KR & RB/WR.

  14. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Nothing anyone can say will change the fact that Freeman sucks. Every DC in the league knows how to game plan for Freeman and force him into mistakes and a low completion percentage. All they have to do is play Cover 2 or keep two safeties over the top or play “cloud” coverage and Freeman becomes confused and error-prone. If he doesn’t get isolated coverage or single-high safety coverage he seems too dumb to know how to adjust to succeed against different schemes. Freeman is a one dimensional QB who lacks any ability whatsoever to compensate and adjust on the fly.

    This offense has been figured out for almost a whole year now and neither Sullivan nor Freeman seem to have a clue as to how to adjust. Adjustments are king in the NFL. If you can’t adjust quickly, creatively and consistently you are going to fail in this league. And guess what? Freeman (and Sullivan) have failed. Period.

  15. Pete 422 Says:

    You think just maybe JUST maybe it’s just going to take a little longer to turn this thing around? Historically, consistent winners stick with the head coach and quarterback. If I was the owners, I’d be interviewing some of the players to see what they say & go from there.

    I think a change in OC might be a good idea, just to get more creative with the play calling, moving Josh around and playing to his strengths. There are too many dropped balls in key situations. Not that Freeman isn’t to blame, but they have to use this year to exhaust all efforts to be sure of freeman before they let him go. Because we all know Tampa’s history of letting go talented QBs.

  16. Bucworld Says:

    I will be happy when Freeman is benched, so we can focus on the bigger issue, which is coaching!!

    I’m not sure why we anointed this coaching staff so quickly. The players that he could not coach up, had decent games yesterday. Raheem was not a good coach by no stretch but he did at least one winning season. I don’t think we will even get that out of Schiano.

  17. bucsfan13 Says:

    Josh Freeman Sucks! I love WDAE but a couple of the hosts over their coddle Freeman like a baby. His completion percentage sucks, he stairs down his receivers, and the worst part is just because he throws one or two bombs he is praised as the “savior”. Look if we go through another coach that will solve nothing. coaches can’t go out their and throw the ball for freeman. Most teams would have ran freeman out of town by now. When he is cut ….you watch no one will pick him up…maybe the jags but that’s it.

  18. Bobby M. Says:

    Schiano knows football extremely well and unlike most, he knows that being “aggressive” is statistically going to back fire an overwhelming majority of the time. Just look at our effort before half time to attempt to snag a FG, the one thing you need to avoid there is a turnover that creates pts for the opposing team. Freeman manages to throw an interception when V-Jax is in ONE ON ONE COVERAGE with Talib! Do you folks understand how awful you have to be at QB to not be able to capitalize on ONE ON ONE coverage the way the league is set up now to promote passing and how the Pats were playing to not give up a big play on that series? What does that tell you? Freeman cant read a defense even when its in “PREVENT” mode and the CBs know he locks on to one receiver.

    That’s the problem Schiano faces, he knows he must play these “conservative” game plans to keep us around in the 4th qtr and pray that Freeman gets “hot” aka V-Jax/M. Williams make ridiculous circus catches at the right moment in the game. Go back and look at Freeman’s one winning season: a. it was against the weakest schedule in the league that year and b. we had mutliple games won on insane catches made by M. Williams that year. Any time Freeman has a “good” game, his receivers are making tons of acrobatic catches down the sideline for huge gains. He has never been able to dissect an offense, the guy cant read an offense to save his life and he is terribly inaccurate. To say the Bucs WRs are dropping passes is a poor argument. For every dropped pass, they make at least 2 acrobatic catches for him and he still ends up under 50% passing.

    Those who know football, know Schiano is putting together solid game plans to minimize Freeman’s flaws and give the team the best chance to win. The key for Schiano is much like Dungy, control the clock and ball on offense and have a stout defense that creates turnovers. If you start letting Freeman loose, the guy will eventually put your defense in a series of bad positions, ultimately wearing them down by the 4th qtr. This is why teams are willing to trade their entire drafts for QBs, the league is set up to win if you have one. WE DONT HAVE ONE….yet.

  19. Ricardo Esteban Says:

    I gotta defend free and say he had some KEY DROPS!!!! the TE TD, VJax had 2 drops one would have been a TD, Martin had a few and of course oglsux had his share.

    free held his own yesterday, his boys really let him down…..then again who would be expecting an on target throw from free?????

  20. bucrightoff Says:

    Jacksonville’s longest offensive TD drive this season is longer than ours. That more or less sums it up doesn’t it?

  21. bucsfan13 Says:

    those “drops” were all fingertip throws that would have been amazing catches to begin with. It’s not like freeman is hitting guys on the numbers! No excuses tour needs to be brought around for freeman supporters!

  22. Adam L. Says:

    Third &1, long bomb, dropped. 4 th &1, handoff to undersized back. Could someone tell me why the last two coaches have been so scared to use Freeman on a sneak? On _&1???

    I did some research. Do you know how many times freeman was stopped on _&1 when he sneaks the ball? Zero.

  23. Otto Says:

    I, too, am blaming the coaches and QB — the most important components, but I’m not buying that we have “all the talent” on offense. I’m yet to see our high price o-line blow open a big hole for the RB, WRs dropping balls and no depth, terrible QB play, worst TEs I’ve ever seen, etc. An offense with one stud WR and RB isn’t loaded with talent. I hope to put Nicks back in that stud category soon.

  24. LUVMYBUCS Says:


    Lol, Believe me I know we need to rebuild this Oline, I’ve been saying it for a few years now. Starting with Donald Penn-If we could trade for Frigidaire Microwave in the break room at Once Buc…IDGAF.

    IMHO Taylor Lewan & Spencer Long are good prospects at Guard & Tackle

    -C.J. Fiedorowicz TE prospect or -Call Phlly about a trade for TE Brent Celek (Been saying this all offseason)

    – Josh Huff Slot Receiver prospect

    -Ahmad Dixon S prospect (Back up of course)

    -Byron Jones CB prospect

  25. lightningbuc Says:

    Our offensive line is highly overrated

  26. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    I’m hoping everything pans out. But for some odd reason its doesn’t this season we have a few bargaining chips for the fire sale

    (anything is possible)
    -Vincent Jackson
    -Darrell Revis
    -Donald Penn
    -Carl Nicks
    -Josh Freeman

  27. MakaveliTheDon Says:

    Maybe someone else already mentioned this,

    I saw us down by 17, at the NE 33 yd line, it was 4th & 13. And we GO FOR IT??? Instead of kicking a 47-49 yd FG???

    Who do you think makes the final decision to go for it on 4th down??? Sully?? He wishes..

    Did Schiano really like our chances of converting 4th & 13 better than kicking a 47 yd FG?? Where we could have cut it from a 3 score lead, down to a two score lead??

    Think about it!!! The guy was 4th down happy with 2 previous attempts, and he had a moment of insanity and went for it on 4th & 13! ….And don’t give me sht about not trusting the kicker. You kick a 47 yd FG to cut the lead to 14! How often does our team convert a 3rd/4th & 10+???

    Schiano’s Gotta Go!

  28. bucrightoff Says:

    Freeman is a UFA after the season. Nobody is trading for him, or if they are they Bucs will be offered a 7th round pick at best, maybe a conditional pick if they’re lucky (or find a sucker).

  29. bucrightoff Says:

    And I believe the Bucs get a 3rd round compensatory pick if Freeman leaves. So thats the bare minimum someone has to offer. Nobody is offering that.

  30. MakaveliTheDon Says:

    Back to going for it on 4th & 13 at the NE 33. The 4th quarter just started, and we could have cut the lead to 2 TDs with 13 minutes to go….

    Schiano fckd us with that call. He knew damn well the odds of us converting on 4th & 13 were slim to none!

    What the fck was going through his head?? Sabotage?? We could have still had a shot with 13 minutes left!!!

    Schiano quit at the end of the 3rd quarter!

    Joe, you gotta write an article on this! Ive been up and down your site, and nobody’s bringing this up or questioning it… smh.

  31. Bobby Says:

    I think you’d be surprised at who might go for Freeman but not in a trade. He’s gonna walk as a UFA after the season so someone who thinks they have the right scheme for him will pick him up at league minimum. They watch tape too and they aren’t nearly as critical as the fans when it comes to factoring in coverage and dropped passes, play calling etc. If someone turned Josh loose and allowed him to run when there’s an open lane, got him out of the pocket more, etc. I think Freeman might have a career revival. He is not working out here though.

  32. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Not sure if this has already been mentioned but no team in this league has faced longer third down’s than the Bucs. With first and second down being more runs than not, why do you think that is? Seriously, it was 9.xx yards to go average on third down. How many QBs thrive on third and long?

    Call it excuses if you want but I don’t blame the QB for third and long.

  33. crazy Says:

    Of course they’re rotten on 3rd down. What else could they be with rotten play calls and poor execution? The coaches aren’t putting the players in a position to succeed and the players aren’t doing much in spite of it. I don’t know how much longer the Glazers can sit back and watch this mess. Poor play destroys player value but poor team play destroys team value.

  34. Bobby Says:

    The Glazers are patient people. This team wasn’t exactly a winning franchise when they bought it.

  35. MakaveliTheDon Says:

    The Glazers arent dumb. They may be shrewd – hell, they pried the best soccer club in the world from the hands of their fans. But theyre not dumb.

    I dont see them getting rid of Dom.
    a) He has climbed the corporate ladder over the last 18 years with the Bucs.
    b) He’s always been loyal with the Glazers, like when they went cheap for those few years so that we could rebuild… Dom took alot of heat for that
    c) Dominik has set us up with some really talented players, with cash to spare over the next few years.
    d) Dom can’t be blamed for Schianos hire. Chip Kelly fcked us, wasted our time, so we SETTLED for Schiano.

    Doms staying folks.
    Schianos gotta go.
    Bring Chucky back home!

  36. bucrightoff Says:

    Dominik’s job is probably safe if only because he didn’t sign Freeman to an (undeserved) extension. Had he signed Freeman a la Sanchez he’d almost certainly be getting canned this offseason.

  37. Patrick Says:

    Yeah, he settled for Schiano, when Marty Schottenheimer was available. And I know you guys all hated Sherman, but he was a proven winner in the NFL. I think the reason a lot of us were fine with the Schiano hire at first was because Raheem Morris was so bad. I don’t think Schiano is a very good coach at all, but you can’t judge him fairly with the current QB we have.

  38. Adam L. Says:

    By the way, WHEN Freeman walks, that ENTIRE DRAFT is now off the books. Freeman was the was the last man standing.

    “Rock star.”

  39. MakaveliTheDon Says:

    “Yeah, he settled for Schiano, when Marty Schottenheimer was available.”

    Where’s Marty now?? Theres a reason he hasnt been hired by an NFL team since 2006. And its not that he didnt want to coach, cause didnt we interview him? And then he went and coached the Virginia Destroyers. who?? exactly.

  40. MakaveliTheDon Says:

    Adam –
    “By the way, WHEN Freeman walks, that ENTIRE DRAFT is now off the books. Freeman was the was the last man standing.

    “Rock star.””

    I guess after Freeman walks, you’ll want to see Martin walk, MW19 walk, AC walk, GMC walk, Spence walk, LVD walk, Mason Foster walk, Jonathan Banks walk, and Barron walk?

  41. MakaveliTheDon Says:

    I saw something on Michael Bennett, how he’s already got 2.5 sacks in 3 games and 7 tackles. And his Seahawks are 3-0. Well I did some fckin around on Google, and came up with this GEM of an article from non other than……JoeBucsFan:

    Bennett explained why he’s skeptical of New Schiano Order tactics and said he doesn’t believe it’s an ideal method for grown men

    “The coaches are very different. You know, Coach Schiano is more hard-nosed, military-type guy. And Coach Carroll is so laid back, it gives the guys chances to not be on their back but still coach them at the same time,” Bennett said. “Because I think a lot of players, they’re adults, too, and when you treat them like kids they get offended by that. You know what I mean? Because players, you know, they got their mortgages, they got their kids, they got wives, they got family, they got things they can do.

    “So they know it’s their job and they know when they make mistakes. But it’s a coach’s job to keep them honest, you know what I mean. But when a coach is just too much on them, I think the players rebel. Because, you know, they’re going to be like, ’Why is he on me like this? It’s my fifth year in the league. I know more than him.’ Guys are just like, you know, it just becomes a big conflict, I think.”

    None of this surprises Joe. However, Joe is troubled hearing it come from Bennett, who is a very level-headed guy. Bennett also appeared to be the textbook Buccaneer Man under Schiano. He was hard-working, versatile and he played through an injury and took on a tremendous number of snaps.

    Current Buccaneers surely share Bennett’s attitude. But Joe has no problem with that. You don’t have to love your boss. Numerous hard-nosed NFL coaches have achieved greatness, including Tom Coughlin winning two Super Bowls recently. Schiano’s tactics can work. Joe’s more skeptical of Schiano’s ability as a game-day coach. (You can hear the Bennett audio below.)

    @Coach Schiano,

    If youve somehow stumbled across this page, really take a good look at that post, and what Bennett is saying.

    And just assume that every single player thinks this same way. I’m sure that there are some that don’t. But just assume that they ALL do. Then maybe you can re-evaluate your own tactics, do your best to adjust and save this season. There’s still 13 games left.