Archive for the ‘QB Blasts’ Category

Earn One Million Dollars

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

No misprint in the headline.

Former Bucs quarterback and JoeBucsFan.com analyst Jeff Carlson is offering up a cool million on his Web site.

Call it the Tim Tebow challenge. Carlson, a private quarterbacks coach in the Tampa Bay area after leaving the NFL in the 1990s, is in near disbelief at the way Tebow is being coached by his various handlers and advisors.

Click on the football to read the story on Carlson’s blog and see of you can score the million.

http://www.americasbestqb.com

The QB Blast: Replacing Ronde Tops D-Line Need

Friday, March 19th, 2010
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as an analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

I applaud the Bucs’ move this week to get a proven entity at safety in the former Eagle Sean Jones. It downgrades their need to improve at safety through the draft and that is good for the team.

I’m not wrong very often, but I must admit that Ronde Barber outplayed my expectations for him last year (and most other’s expectations, I assume). 

Most lengthy careers of even the greatest players end in much the same way Derrick Brooks’ did.  The end usually comes as a gradual decline in performance that coined the phrase “He’s lost a step.”  But in Barber’s case, he played much better in ’09 than in ’08.

That said, this is the season that a regular replacement for Barber that complements Aqib Talib’s all-star abilities must be found, and the Bucs should plan on Barber to be a situational specialist. He has been playing on a gimpy knee for more than one season and expecting high level execution as an every-down player is probably a bit too much. Being able to go hard on a lesser workload would be much more realistic for the future Hall-of Fame candidate.

As a general statement, defense is a “6 one way, half-dozen the other” proposition. Pressure on the quarterback makes an average secondary look good. And a strong secondary makes an average,  defensive line look better and helps them put up some prettier stats, if they get an extra second to get in the passer’s face. The concept is the epitome of the word TEAM.

And while a standout player added to the defensive line is always wanted and needed, finding a long-term answer to the right cornerback position is of the highest priority.

The QB Blast: Sitting Out Free Agency A Gamble

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback

I have a 12 year old son stepping up in competition next season. He is moving from the tackle football program at Idlewild Baptist Church to the South Pasco Predators in Land O Lakes. I have volunteered and have been accepted as the head coach of the 11, 12 and 13 year old Junior Midget team.

Of course, I want to be a role model and example for the young men that I will be in charge of and give them a positive experience…..yada, yada, yada. Do I want to win every game we play? Oh yeah! 

I train quarterbacks all year long on the proper fundamentals and techniques of throwing the football, and we talk about both offensive and defensive strategies, but I don’t need to worry about all the aspects of what it takes to actually win a football game.

Now, as a head coach, I will be drawing up my ideas of the best way to win a football game and realize more than ever, no matter what I draw up on paper, it won’t matter much unless the horses show up.

This is especially true on defense, because if we can’t stop the other team, our offense must be perfect and that’s a tall order for any team.

Offensively, there is still room for imagination, even at the pro level. The Wildcat, Run-and-Shoot, shovel passes and empty packages are all relatively young concepts. Some have already gone away, some are yet to be designed, but more will come.

I will bring a few new concepts to the little league level to try and win games no matter what players show up the first day. The Bucs, on the other hand, have a roster and know what players are going to show up. They are busy now and for another six months designing up offensive and defensive strategies that they think will be successful for them next season.

In the NFL, the salary cap is supposed to act as the ultimate equalizer, giving everyone the equal chance to spend the same amount of money on the available talent. It has worked to give more teams opportunities to compete on the field and give more teams hope later in the season.

The draft is designed to give the bottom finishers a chance to gain better talent to more successfully compete. The draft system didn’t help teams like the Bucs, Bengals, Bills, Cardinals, Lions, Falcons or Saints for many years, but is being pointed to as the model for success, based on teams like the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bucs’ one successful run to the title came with significant contributions from free agents Brad Johnson, Joe Jurevicius, Michael Pittman, Keenan McCardell, as well as others and even Keyshawn Johnson’s expensive trade.

The growing labor dispute is throwing a bit of a chink in the system that has been with us since I retired from the game, more than 15 years now.

But, the Bucs are telling us that the model for success on the field is through the acquisition of kids out of college, not the players that have found success at the NFL level and are on the open market. 

I’m not saying there aren’t teams that have done better jobs building their own talent than filling holes with veterans than other teams. But with the holes that I would think most of us would agree the Bucs have on both sides of the ball, finding guys that can immediately contribute, would seem to be of pretty high importance. Especially since there are fewer paying folks showing up on Sundays and fewer discretionary dollars for most of us.

It will take some real signs of hope for immediate improvement for those dollars of “joe bucs fan” types (not a stereotype, just a good descriptive name) to be gambled on only the Bucs’ draft picks.

I will have to hope for the best and wait to see who shows up for my little league team in July.  The Bucs will have to wait to see who is available before each pick during April’s draft, which is a much bigger gamble than paying players that have already competed at the top level, when improving next season is of top priority.

The QB Blast: Name Graham Starting Fullback

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

The Buccaneer brass will evaluate a ton of potential NFL talent at the combine this week as they make their plans for the April draft.

They got their man to lead the offense last year and now they must put more pieces of the puzzle together to make that engine rev higher this season.

While I’m not all that excited about Cadillac Williams or Derrick Ward, the guy that needs to be their starting fullback is Earnest Graham.

I don’t care that he is undersized. He is the kind of football player that I want to go to “war” with. Not only is he a selfless player, willing to do whatever it takes to help the team, he has multi-purpose abilities that can help make Greg Olson a better play-caller.

There was great expectation for Jon Gruden to implement his “rocket” backfield, putting two tailbacks on the field at the same time and trying to give the defense more speed to defend. Earnest Graham may not put much fear into too many defensive coordinators based on speed, he is the perfect guy to help create specific mismatches that can give the Bucs an offensive advantage.

That was Gruden’s best attribute as a coordinator and Olson would do well to follow his lead with regards to who they choose to be their lead blocker.

Or, if they are smart enough to move their offense into the 21st century, they would choose instead to be a more diversified offense, focused on giving their “franchise” quarterback more opportunities than handing the ball to “journeyman” running backs.

The QB Blast: Invest In Receivers Immediately

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

A cold Brees blew through the NFL’s biggest game Sunday, as Drew’s Saints topped the league MVP for the title. This game took two dome teams with great passers and made it the QB Bowl. 

The team model to win in January has been to have a run-dominated team, matched with a stellar defense (Ravens 2000, Bucs 2002, Steelers 2005 & 2008), but I think the NFL has officially shifted to a pass-dominated league. Sure, there will always be teams dominated by the run and tough defense, but wide-open, attacking offenses are going to be the most common model moving forward. 

If you model your team to be a running team, then you must have one of the best defenses in the league, because these offenses are built to score plenty of points and also to come back from deficits, as the Saints did after falling behind by 10 in the first quarter. Yes, they held Peyton Manning to 17 total points, with a total team effort that took in special teams, defense and sustained offense.

The Bucs gave the Saints a 17-point cushion to start their late season game and overcame it for the win, but let’s not argue about where each team was in the season and their motivations.

Let’s agree that if the Buccaneers don’t become a better defensive team week in and week out, the current offensive model will not keep up with the Saints, Cardinals, Vikings or Cowboys in the NFC playoffs. The Jets and Ravens weren’t bad on the AFC side, but even with top rated defenses they were underdogs throughout. 

So, the Bucs would do well to invest in their receiving corps immediately.

Even with the acquisition of K2 last year and Antonio Bryant’s franchise tag, there is a gaping talent difference in playmaking ability. I’m not a big fan of either of the aforementioned receiver’s body language, which I think is important for team morale.  And if I were choosing, I would go in search of hungrier talent and let A.B. go find greener pastures elsewhere. 

One thing I am pretty happy about for the Bucs, as the NFL officially turns its eyes to 2010, is their starting quarterback in this QB-driven league. He got some experience, which puts him light-years ahead for all off-season activities and I like the hire of position coaches Alex Van Pelt and Eric Yarber.

Young players, like the Bucs roster is full of, appreciate coaches that have “been there” when being told to work harder and fix this or that. 

Now with the head coach and general manager getting the kinks out of their first year in their respective jobs and a QB with oodles of potential, it’s full steam ahead to finding some guys that can turn a short throw into an 80 yard TD. That’s something Yarber actually knows something about (he is a couple years older, but he was a very good threat at Idaho, while I was at Weber State in the same conference).

The QB Blasts: Fix-Freeman Plan Arriving Late

Tuesday, January 26th, 2010
 
carlsonBy JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Greg Olson wants Josh Freeman to improve his accuracy and get his completion percentage to 60 percent like all the other “playoff quarterbacks,” (except he forgot the rookie taken with the fifth pick, who just played in the AFC Championship following a 53.8 completion rate in the regular season).

I was glad to read in the St. Pete Times story about Olson and Freeman on Monday that the playcaller has something to do with Freeman’s improvement, not just the accuracy of the QB.

“…We can help him out certainly with the routes we’re calling as well.”

Olson, who took over the offense from fired coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski 10 days before the season opener, said he will tailor the 2010 scheme toward his strong-armed quarterback.

“We’re going to try and build on his strengths,” Olson said. “Number one, you’ve got to build it around your quarterback and around what he does best and what he feels more comfortable with.

The Bucs, and other teams it turns out as well, are self-handcuffed to finding less than stellar coaching talent because of the potential NFL labor issues coming in 2011. They only want to offer new assistants one-year deals in case there is a strike/lockout situation, so they’re not on the hook for coaches pay if there is no season.

The Bucs already were in this tenuous spot because of the lack of job security of its head coach and management team, as well.

I mean, what well-respected, successful assistant coach would consider Tampa Bay as a spot to bring his family, knowing his tenure could be over like a spring break vacation if things don’t go well immediately? Or, considering Bucs’ recent history with coordinators, even over before the season starts?

Last season’s hot Bucs topics were, ‘When will Josh Freeman take over as the starter?’ and ‘Will Raheem Morris keep his job? That doesn’t lend itself to hiring top coaching talent, even if some accomplished quarterbacks coach was still sniffing around for a job this week at the Senior Bowl.

But back to the QB and the need for Josh Freeman to improve his mechanics and fundamentals. It scares me to think that the No. 1 pick of your draft and the future of your team (especially with Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich as your alternatives) was an afterthought in 2009. But that is what Olson told the Tampa Tribune on Monday.

“He didn’t have what Sanchez had or what (Falcons QB Matt) Ryan had last year. Those guys were the guys right from the start. But this guy (Freeman), he was more like an afterthought. That’s why I’m so excited about him.” 

I told you here on JoeBucsFan.com in June that Freeman should have been fast-tracked no matter what the initial intention was for him.

He, like any other player, needed to be ready as soon as possible, even if he didn’t play. And as I wrote here recently, the Bucs will go looking for a guy to work on keeping Freeman’s left hand on the ball longer, so as to reduce fumbles. As for becoming more accurate, he’ll just keep practicing getting rid of the “pro” routes that are different from the college routes he was so used to he couldn’t get them out of his system this year (read the full newspaper quotes for yourselves).

It’s not surprising Freeman wasn’t used to the pro routes. His QB coach through the offseason, who became his offensive coordinator just before the first kickoff, says “He knows he can play a lot better, but to come in and do what he was able to do with no practice was phenomenal,” Olson said of Freeman. 

So a multi-million dollar, first-round pick was thrown into a NFL game with no practice? How’s that for protecting your biggest investment and making sure it is successful.

Wow. This kid really is good, or something was overlooked on the practice field, because he should have been getting prepared by the coaches long before his debut.

The QB Blasts: Seeking A Break In The Clouds

Sunday, January 17th, 2010
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Watching the Cardinals and Packers toss the ball around the yard last weekend was magnificent to watch, if you are a fan of the forward pass. I don’t think a Buccaneers’ game will ever resemble that and that is OK, because there is more than one way to win in the NFL.

But, as I watched that game, I reminisced the events of the lost season of 2009 in Tampa Bay and am looking for the break in the clouds to get interested for next year.

Sure the Bucs won two games in December, even beating the top seed in the NFC, but I didn’t think that Saints team from December would be the same one we saw this weekend. And it surely wasn’t.

To get my bearings, I went back to January of ’09 when someone realized that Jon Gruden’s 9-7 team, his offense and Monte Kiffin’s defense weren’t good enough to bring back. The thought was that the Tampa 2 was a relic and Monte’s monster of the past wasn’t going to get it done in the future and needed to be changed to Jim Bates’ pressured bump and run.

The offense was again led by an aging QB that struggled with his health from the first days of training camp. This too had to change.

The team’s management went with the young-and-excited approach and reached for the inexperienced and inexpensive option. About a week before the first game, the new head coach sacked the new offensive coordinator for the QB coach, who sacked the new offense for Gruden’s old offense to be run by a new QB who had never been in Gruden’s offense before. 

By midseason, the new head coach had decided that the new defensive coordinator’s schemes didn’t work and went back to Monte’s old defense to find that old spark that didn’t work and was outdated in ’08.

So,, for 2010 the team is back running Gruden’s old offense (and still paying Gruden for not coaching it) and running Monte’s old defense as it tries to regain the magic that Gruden and Kiffin once shared.

The only real difference now is the Bucs are married to their quarterback instead of just dating.

Can Olson Really Improve Freeman’s Mechanics?

Friday, January 8th, 2010
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Joe’s experienced team of analysts, former Bucs Jeff Carlson and Steve White, are not afraid to get into healthy exchanges with fans in the comments areas of JoeBucsFan.com.

These two are passionate Bucs fans, in addition to being well versed at the highest level in the Xs and Os of the game.

In a recent exchange, Carlson, the former Bucs QB (1990 and 1991), was asked by commenter FlBoy84 a pointed question: 

“In an article you did previously, you mentioned that most teams don’t have someone on staff to work with QB’s on tightening up the mechanics. Can you clarify? 

Here is Carlson’s response:

You are under the correct assumption that a QB coach should be there to tweak the mechanics, etc.

But the cold, hard reality is that of all the QB coaches in the league, only a few have ever been a QB or know much about correcting problems with different motions, so they just leave them alone and work on the Xs and Os of the individual plays, understanding the defenses and different blitzes for that week’s game, and making sure the QB knows all of his checks (audibles).

Byron Leftwich said he worked on improving his mechanics everyday. What did he work on? He certainly didn’t improve or change anything from his days with Jacksonville, Atlanta or Pittsburgh.

Even though guys are given credit for “developing” QBs (Charlie Weiss for Tom Brady, or the Gators’ Scott Loeffler for Brady, Brian Griese and others while at Michigan), they don’t help them improve their throwing technique; they try to help them make better decisions with the ball.

Did you see Tim Tebow’s throwing motion improve this year under Loeffler, the guy that “developed” Tom Brady? Not a bit in my opinion.

I don’t think Charlie Weiss, who never played football at all, is giving clinics to Tom Brady, Brady Quinn or his newest guy Jimmy Clausen.

Scouts say Clausen will be a No. 1 pick and he probably will be, but quote me as saying he won’t be a good pro.

He hasn’t improved his “strange” throwing technique in three years under Weiss, who has had him since high school.

So, can we expect Josh Freeman to improve his throwing fundamentals? No.

Small changes to his weight transfer and his follow-through would put him on balance after the release of the ball, resulting in a more consistent outcome. Freeman will probably become a better QB by better decision making skills, which is what the QB/Offensive Coordinator will be working on throughout the offseason, training camp and during the season.

If he makes better decisions, his stats should improve. But if he was able to improve his mechanics, his ball would be more accurate more often.

If he combined both, he would make large improvements in his play and improve the team’s potential for winning more games.

The QB Blasts: Morris Must Improve Immediately

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Before we look forward to 2010 and a Buccaneers “future so bright you gotta wear shades” (thank you Jon Gruden), let’s look back on 2009 and see what can be improved upon — hopefully.

This year’s team finished 2-2 in the final four games, while Gruden’s team in ’08 finished 0-4. That’s a positive trend, but the defense looked exactly like the Monte Kiffin defense of a year ago and couldn’t stop the run to save their lives in the season finale against an average Atlanta Falcons program that finished five games better than the Bucs, good enough for second in the NFC South.

The offense sputtered in that finale, not capitalizing on an opening kickoff turnover in the red zone and only scoring 10 points on the day.

At this writing Raheem Morris is the coach for 2010, but it seems like that could still change at any moment. I for one believe that one year is not sufficient for anyone to be given a fair chance at success, even though egregious errors were made throughout this season.

Hiring two coordinators and firing two coordinators, one before the season began, are blunders beyond explanation, and expensive ones at that. But only the Glazers have to worry those kind of wasted funds. Or does that come directly out of the free-agent budget?

The Byron Leftwich experiment was another obvious and expensive waste of everyone’s time and energy and was chronicled by me in the spring. The Luke McCown trade took his salary off the books, but not his multi-million dollar signing bonus. So, our rookie quarterback (who came out of college a year early) and savior-in-training learned from veteran Leftwich for three games and second-year man (with zero experience) Josh Johnson for four games before taking the reins.

As I said in June after hearing Raheem Morris talk about potentially speeding up Freeman’s development, what would keep you from wanting to maximize any player’s development at the fastest rate? Shouldn’t every player be on the fastest track possible to be ready if needed? Nonsensical.

I can’t remember a special teams coach being given a chance to jump to NFL Head Coach, but Rich Bissacia’s name has been thrown out there and he should be the league’s assistant coach of the year. Without the special teams’ performance, this Buccaneer team would have surely matched the Detroit Lions record for futility.

Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris made a bold move in the spring and let Jeff Garcia, Derrick Brooks and Joey Galloway find greener pastures and only Galloway and Garcia saw limited action. I had no problem with the unexpected exodus, but it seemed that the Bucs move to youth from top to bottom left a vacuum of leadership that was sorely needed.

And finally, while Morris may never stop chest-bumping (he has a very nice vertical don’t you think?) and coaching with an unmatched energy from the sideline, he turned off the music at practice and may even stop taking time-outs before his offense makes critical 3rd-and-1 conversions.

Here’s to a new year of growing up, learning from the past and improving in the immediate future.

The QB Blasts: Complete Efforts Truly Exciting

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009
Jeff Carlson

Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com.Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

After watching the Vikings and Bears go at it Monday night, it made me remember just how hard it is to win a single game in the NFL.

The Bucs winning Sunday at the Saints after going down 17-0 really was impressive. What has been a signature of the three Bucs wins this year has been production from all three phases of the game.

The defense could be credited with all three wins, as holding the Saints to 17 is definitely a winning effort. Four interceptions and six points allowed against the Seahawks is, too. In their first win of the season the defense threw in three picks and a TD against Aaron Rogers and the Packers.

Special teams has been huge in all three wins and the Bucs might not have posted their first win until the Seahawks game if it weren’t for their kicking game heroics against Green bay. Remember back to Geno Hayes’ blocked punt and Ronde Barber’s TD in the throwback orange. Clifton Smith gave the offense a chance in the red zone with his long kickoff return in that game. Sammie Stroughter continued to change field position in the Seattle game and Micheal Spurlock’s punt return TD against the Saints gave the Bucs a chance at overtime.

In the wins, the offense has been able to take advantage of what the defense and special teams set them up for. And against the Saints, they even drove the entire field to open the second half and get back in the game.

Raheem Morris says he doesn’t know if this team is a mirage or for real yet and I don’t either, but if you watched Brett Favre and Jay Cutler battle to overtime in the cold last, a win in the NFL is hard to come by — road wins even harder.

The Bucs have put two up in a row and that is something to get excited about.

The QB Blast: Finally A Misdirection Screen

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company,America’s Best Quarterback.

Coming off Josh Freeman’s five interception game against the Panthers, an obvious reaction was to simplify things for your rookie QB, especially going against a Rex Ryan coached defense.

Instead, Greg Olson opened against the Jets with a 5-step drop and a pass over the middle, resulting in an interception on the first offensive play of the game!

Now, Olson didn’t make Freeman throw the ball, but just the dropback in the pocket told me he made a big mistake in the call itself.

I couldn’t bear to watch much more of that poor performance and especially didn’t like Freeman’s comments about how the Jets came up with more unique blitzes that caught the Bucs off-guard. It was Olson’s job to create and call plays that could be successful regardless of what the Jets brought. Not an easy job, but better than saying we were caught off-guard.

I didn’t give my beloved Bucs much of a shot at all this past Sunday, traveling three time zones to play a lackluster Seahawks team, and when Josh Freeman’s first pass once again was a late, over-the-middle interception, I feared the worst.

But credit must be given to Raheem Morris and the other coaches for getting their players to play inspired football in the second half — to win going away.

I will not get giddy about their second win in any sense, but I will say that Olson incorporated a misdirection screen to score a touchdown to Derrick Ward late in the game, something I have been begging to see for years.

Maybe with its success, he will go deep into Gruden’s playbook and find a couple more to take on the Saints.

The QB Blast: Freeman Impressive Despite INTs

Thursday, December 10th, 2009
carlson

Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company,America’s Best Quarterback.

It is easy for anyone, even those that did not see the Bucs-Carolina game at all, to stand around the water cooler at work (if you are blessed enough to be employed) or comment on your favorite website that Josh Freeman played terribly in his FIVE interception game last Sunday.

Freeman’s performance is one of the reasons players and coaches often say that they need to look at the film before a final assessment is made. 

IN THE FILM ROOM, I DON’T THINK FREEMAN GOT A POOR OVERALL GRADE FOR HIS DAY SUNDAY!

This just in. After another look, Freeman had a very good day, very good.

Did he throw his interceptions? Yes.

Did he throw a perfect touchdown pass to Kellen Winslow? Yes.

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson says Kellen Winslow gave a second-rate effort to catch a touchdown pass against 5-10 safety Charles Godfrey

If I was the QB, I would have a big issue with Winslow’s effort at that pass in the end zone. He had a defender not looking at the ball and should have planted and caught it at a higher point over safety Charles Godfrey’s head, then the two options are TD catch or pass interference, ball at the 1 yard line.  A better effort ties the game and puts Freeman in a different position the rest of the way.

His interceptions were as follows:

1. Bad pass to Sammy Stroughter on a dig route.  Maybe Stroughter could have come out of his break a little quicker, but the ball sailed high regardless.
2. The first Beason INT was a play similar to the Super Bowl interception by Steelers’ LB James Harrison before halftime. The LB squats near the line of scrimmage and bounces back just in time to snatch it. Future Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner got caught, so did rookie QB Josh Freeman.
3.  The second Beason INT was another bad pass, with a bad decision, as well. The ball was so underthrown, the LB way in front of the play caught it, but even if it was at his target, it would have been intercepted by the DB. He forced that one, no doubt, but didn’t see any others.
4.  This one was similar to his first, sailed on him in the middle of the field.
5. The final INT was an ill-advised choice to go for it on fourth down from the four after running on 3rd-and-5 from the five yard line. John Lynch made the point of the poor decision on the FOX broadcast. Nonetheless, after looking all over the field, Freeman finally let it go to his tallest receiver and the defender came back to the ball better than the receiver.
 
The only one that gets much criticism is the second Beason INT.  This was a bad decision and a bad throw. The others have to be measured against so many throws with “pinpoint” accuracy and his ability to avoid pressure and get rid of the ball. 

This game could have been changed significantly by sideline decisions, including taking a timeout on 3rd-and-1 in the red zone (where Caddy picked it up).
 
Josh Freeman doesn’t need to “overcome” this “horrible” outing. Freeman was relatively impressive again.

Go back and watch it again if you don’t believe me.

The QB Blast: Morris Failing At Decision-Making

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Josh Freeman had his worst day as a pro Sunday. The other rookie QB’s this year have also had similar days, so it’s just a bump in the road on Freeman’s journey to reach his vast potential.

Most seem to be enamored with his “unflappable” demeanor, handling things in a very even-keeled manner as he grows up as a quarterback and begins to define his career path.

Raheem Morris’ career path is tied tightly to his big, young “gun,” but also to his defense’s performance and most importantly to his decision-making as head coach.

These decisions include coaching staff management, roster management, in-game decisions (e.g. challenges, time-outs, fourth-down calls, going for field goals vs. touchdowns or point-differential decisions). At this point in his first season, Morris has a failing grade on all of the above and doesn’t seem to be getting much better as the season progresses.

Sunday against Carolina, the Bucs were goal-to-go on third down from the 5-yard line. This is an obvious passing situation or possibly a QB draw. But the Bucs ran off-tackle from a standard two-back set and got a yard.

On fourth down from the 4-yard line (with nearly 10 minutes left in the game and a chance to cut the lead to one score) Morris chose to “go for it,” which he usually does. That was a point-differential decision that I didn’t like and that goes against traditional NFL decision-making.

With that much time on the clock, making it a one-score game was more important than the TD. The fourth down try didn’t work and kept the Bucs two scores away the rest of the day. If they had kicked the field goal, any single play could have tied the game or given Morris the chance to be “GoForIt” Raheem and go for the win with a two-point try. He never got that chance because of the earlier choice.

There are plenty of other examples of decisions, management issues, roster issues (where is Byron Leftwich, the season’s starter? Did he really hurt his elbow?), challenges, etc., that bring a cloud of questions to his abilities, but we can all make a full season evaluation in just a few short weeks.

Gruden was 0-4 last December with Derrick Brooks and others, so let’s just focus on decisions and managment issues vs. wins after this season.

The QB Blast: Receiving Corps Overhaul Needed

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
By JEFF CARLSON
JoeBucsFan.com analyst
carlson
Ex-Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson has TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Sunday’s game was great drama!

The entertainment lasted until the final second and that is what I want from my sports. Yeah, I know the Bucs lost, but it was great theater and that hasn’t been happening around here for quite a while — even before the Raheem era.

Unfortunately, after watching the New Orleans Saints and New England Patriots play Monday night, it was abundantly clear that we are nowhere near competing with the best in the league now or in the near future.

This Bucs team does not have “playmakers.”

Do they have good athletes? Sure, there is athleticism running around, but the Saints and Patriots have exciting, game-changing players and even the Patriots found out that their offense isn’t enough to overcome their poor pass defense with the Saints’ non-stop offensive pressure.

So, for the forseeable years ahead, the Bucs will not compete for a division title, because the Saints are way out in front and are young. I don’t know all their contract situations for each of their players, but the Bucs’ best player is a 34-year-old cornerback.

For the Bucs to make progress in playing “catch-up” with the Saints, they need to overhaul their receiving corps and give their franchise QB something to work with.