Archive for the ‘QB Blasts’ Category

The QB Blast: Bucs Pass On The Deep Shots

Tuesday, October 20th, 2009

carlsonBy 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.

I haven’t been to too many Bucs games purely as a fan.

Usually, I have a professional reason to be there, but Sunday I enjoyed a beautiful afternoon with my son, plenty of empty seats around to spread out (just nine rows from the Bucs sideline).

No one yelled or stood up in front of me until Clifton Smith got knocked out on that punt return just before halftime. People all around us started cursing and screaming over that cheap shot, but not over the lack of deep shots (zero, by the way) the Bucs took with their passing game.

I would be starting to get a bit frustrated over the Bucs’ inability to pressure the secondary deep with any of their receivers, but the Carolina Panthers didn’t do anything differently than the Bucs.

Aqib Talib shut down Steve Smith, but Smith doesn’t have any touchdowns all season and Jake Delhomme didn’t take one shot at his 6-2 receiver Muhsin Muhammad, who was matched up much of the day on 5-10 Ronde Barber.

With the Panthers running over the Bucs on the line of scrimmage and with Delhomme’s four TDs and 10 interceptions on the year, I might be gun-shy to throw it up as well. At least it’s good to know there is another team that doesn’t try to exploit the whole field. And with the help of special teams and defensive touchdowns, the Bucs played within one score.

Unfortunately for the Bucs, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Wes Welker and a few other Patriots just might use the whole field.

The QB Blast: Bucs Failed All-Out Blitz Challenge

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

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.

“Eight men in the box” has become a household phrase, but “eight men on the LOS” (line of scrimmage) hasn’t. That’s because nearly every NFL team wouldn’t risk the consequences of the “quick six” that most teams would put up against an all-out blitz look.

The Bucs, however, weren’t able to exploit that blatant challenge by the Eagles defense.

Don’t look for the “Eight men on the LOS” to become a mainstay in the NFL. Buddy Ryan, the former head coach and designer of the Bears’ famed “46″ defense, tried to recreate his success of QB pressure with six on the LOS, but teams learned to defeat it with the Redskins’ “counter-trey” running game and quick passing to the receivers in one-on-one coverage.

Unfortunately, the Bucs couldn’t or wouldn’t move their pocket to buy time for the receivers to shake their defenders (even though they have one of the most mobile QB’s in football history) and they couldn’t catch the ball in key situations to move the chains.

If any Buccaneers coaches happen to read this, using motion of a receiver behind or near another receiver also gives you an advantage in man coverage and gives your young QB a little bit bigger window in which to throw.

The QB Blast: Maybe Jags Got Best Deal Of 2009

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009
 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.

I’m not here to pile on the Bucs.

I played on teams that finished 6-10 and 3-13 and know the pain and misery that brings. Those years were under Hugh Culverhouse without a salary cap and that was supposed to even things up a little bit.

Unfortunately, the current Bucs will compete with those teams unless they improve significantly, and I don’t think that is on the horizon, although starting Josh Johnson gives them new hope.

This team is undisciplined in all phases right now. Raheem Morris’ interviews and press conferences are growing more rambling, incoherent and contradictory. 

Jeff Jagodzinski, the offensive coordinator, was fired for not being detail-oriented enough. What are we to make of the rest of the coaching staff after Sunday’s performance? The Giants game was the third straight with a complete lack of attention to any detail whatsoever.

Maybe “Jags” got the best deal of the year, getting out before he could take the blame for this debacle.

Now the Bucs turn to Johnson (a less experienced version of Luke McCown) as their starter after three games and hearing Raheem explain the reasoning behind the change was just sad.

We wanted to hope for the best for this team and for this coach, but the QB choice this preseason wasn’t a hard one and he messed that up.

I think this first Josh may be a better long-term choice than the one eventually coming somewhere later this season, but that is a much tougher one to see in my crystal ball.

The QB Blast: Bucs Season Not About Winning

Monday, September 21st, 2009

carlsonBy 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.

Efficiency and consistency.

To me these are ultimately responsible for success on and off the field. The Bucs sorely lack both.

They are individually talented enough to make splash plays in every game. They are also not consistent enough individually or as offensive or defensive units to expect sustained success for a 60-minute football game.

I’m not going to bang on Byron Leftwich much. He is what he is. But the coaching staff chose arguably the most inefficient QB in the game with zero NFL snaps of experience in his two backups.

So when your starter goes down to injury or ineffectiveness, your team is guaranteed to have inefficiency and inconsistency from either backup. Neither has seen much game action including preseason.

I didn’t mind Leftwich winning the QB battle, but when they traded Luke McCown away, it told us all that this season wasn’t about winning. It may be somewhere in the future, but it’s not for the here and now.

So buckle up Bucs fans. It’s going to be bumpy.

The QB Blast: Surprises All Around In Opener

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

carlsonBy 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.

Opening day was full of surprises, except the outcome of course, since none of us expected the Bucs to beat the Cowboys did we?
 
Kudos to Cadillac Williams, Ronde Barber and Michael Clayton, surprises all. Who knew the Caddy would be rolling like that after being held out of game action so long in the preseason?  Who knew Ronde was the best player on the team? And who knew Clayton could catch a deep ball on his fingertips?
 
There was enough there Sunday afternoon to keep hope alive for Bucs’ fans and probably enough to make us seasick most Sunday nights as well.

The good news is that we are in the same boat as half the league at this point.

I was surprised the Bucs put up 21 after watching their August performances, along with the change at O.C. last week.

And thank God Jay Cutler (or Jake Delhomme) isn’t our QB, or it would have been really ugly out there on Sunday.
 
The Bucs next opponent, the Buffalo Bills, just forced Tom Brady to be Tom Brady in a one-point loss. 

Do you think the Bucs can create some more surprises next Sunday and post a road win in game two?

The QB Blast: Leftwich Mechanics A Lost Cause

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

carlsonBy 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

When the FOX-TV sideline reporter asks the head coach, “Why don’t you name the quarterback already? We all know it’s Leftwich,” it is a bit too obvious that the final conclusion had been reached before the “competition” was extended an extra week.

Most of us were pretty sure Byron Leftwich was the choice back in June, so the final decision for Leftwich isn’t a problem for me, but something doesn’t add up in the overall scheme of things.

In the week leading up to the Dolphins game, the Bucs went public with their willingness to trade any of their QBs except Josh Freeman.

Raheem Morris went into detail explaining that he never wanted to start Freeman early in the 2009 season (and Freeman never pushed the envelope). But if they trade either of their experienced passers and the starter gets hurt in the first game (e.g. Tom Brady, 2008), then they would be starting him before he was ready and without the need to put him or themselves in that bad position.

Morris also says of the Leftwich choice that he knows he has to clean up his sloppy footwork.

Sorry Ra, after an offseason and a training camp and seven years of NFL experience, those mechanics ain’t gettin’ any better, so you better not get your hopes up on that one.

The QB Blast: Plenty Of Good, Bad & Ugly

Monday, August 17th, 2009

carlson1By 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

The Bucs had it all in their first preseason game: The good, the bad and the ugly. 

John Lynch, Raheem Morris, Sabby Piscitelli, Stylez G. White, Brian Clark, Clifton Smith, and the first-half defense were all good.  Ronde Barber was good, too, in his short stint.

The supposed strength of the offense is the offensive line, but it was simply offensive, both in run blocking and pass protection.

For all the offseason practices and two weeks of training camp to prepare, Luke McCown’s first pass was ugly, even if it was Maurice Stovall’s fault for running the wrong route.  McCown purposely fumbling the ball backwards to get rid of it while being face-masked was particularly ugly.  The play came back due to penalty, but it has been those kinds of decisions that have haunted McCown’s tenure in Tampa Bay and puts questions in the collective minds of the coaches.

There was a number of performances that simply fit in the OK category.  Generally I wasn’t impressed with any of the QB’s play, except Josh Johnson, of course.  He will ultimately be on someone’s active roster this season.

I thought McCown should have been left in the game when the ball was turned over in the Red Zone.  It was only eight seconds into the second quarter and it would have given him an opportunity to finish on a high note.  Instead, Byron Leftwich was set up in great position and fired a terrible first pass that was almost picked off.  His second was also a bad throw, but Brian Clark saved the day with a great catch for the score.

The O.C., Jeff Jagodzinski, called quite a different game with Leftwich, calling shotgun and play-action passes on his first four plays in the game (all four on first and second downs) ,and also threw 75 percent more passes in the second quarter (14 vs. 8) than in the first. 

McCown ran on a few of his called pass attempts, while Leftwich got sacked.  McCown left the pocket too early more than once, and I think the coaches are a bit frustrated by that. But Leftwich will be going down from injury on a regular basis because of his style of play.

 Josh Freeman’s interception return for a TD was his own fault and he accepted it (a hitch into a safety rolled over the top is a no-no at all levels of football), even though the head coach tried to take the blame.

Raheem Morris looked comfortable with that big smile on his face, while getting ribbed by his whole sideline on his first (successful) challenge! 

The bad news of the day was the offensive line getting dominated at the line of scrimmage by Tennessee’s front four.  The Titans blitzed about one time all night (McCown hit Clark “hot” for a first down), but other than that the front four stopped the run and clobbered the QB’s.

John Lynch will grow into one of the best analysts in the game, but he will have to sprinkle in a bit more criticism down the road. Elbert Mack’s defense on Nate Washington in the end zone was a dropped TD pass in anybody else’s book, but Lynch said Mack did a nice job.

And I wouldn’t have called Leftwich’s performance “super”, but regardless, Lynch had one of the best nights of anyone in the stadium.

The QB Blast: McCown’s Loyalty Rewarded

Monday, August 10th, 2009

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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

I read, saw and heard a number of interesting things during the Bucs’ first week of training camp.
 
I chuckled as I read relatively identical stories from each of Tampa’s major newspapers. It turns out that Jim Bates’ new defense needs pressure from its defensive line to be successful and Bates will blitz if he doesn’t get it.

This was put in contrast to Monte Kiffin’s Tampa 2, which by the way was one of the NFL’s best for a very long time and depended on pressure from the front four (Sapp, Rice, etc).  But Monte also would bring interesting blitzes if he couldn’t generate enough rush up front (hence, Ronde Barber’s 20+ sacks as a starting cornerback). For the record, Ronde didn’t get beat deep down the sideline a number of times last year while sitting back in the Tampa 2.

Raheem Morris purged a number of veterans that needed reduced practice schedules, citing the need to get meaner and tougher. On Saturday, Morris gave Barber the day off because he is an old-school Benz that needed an oil change, so he left him in the parking lot for the day signing autographs. Turns out he and Gruden do have some similarities, Gruden just had a larger lot for his classic cars.

I like Morris very much, by the way, but didn’t like him entertaining the media with an impersonation of his young star quarterback. He made Josh Freeman out to be woefully unprepared to handle what is in front of him quoting Freeman saying, “I saw Byron throw one deep, so I thought I should too”, in what seemed to be almost mocking “Fast Times At Ridgemont High “whoa dude” surfer lingo.

Morris is entertaining, but I don’t think he should demean his players publicly, especially the future face of the franchise. That kind of ridicule is unleashed in the “rookie show” later in camp, but those have probably been outlawed around the league.

On a positive note, I think Morris has created a practice schedule that should get the most effort out of his players. By going double-days every other day, players can give their all, knowing they get a mini break the next day.

Lastly, Luke McCown may be falling behind Byron Leftwich, but I think he gets the first preseason start not to showcase his potential trade value (what is a QB’s trade value with a 1-6 starting record that can’t beat out a guy that is on his fourth team in four years?).

McCown will start because McCown was the first one to sign on with the new head coach’s regime and the coach’s promise that he would compete for the starting job.

The QB Blast: Stargazing Freeman Must Wake Up

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

carlsonBy 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

I don’t remember anything from the first day of my first training camp (1989 L.A. Rams), but what I remember most at the beginning of my career was how fast we practiced without being fully padded up.

At Saturday night’s (helmets and shoulder pads) practice inside the Raymond James Stadium, speakers blared every genre of music throughout the practice and cannons blasted after every completion (trying a little too hard to manufacture excitement). It looked like Josh Freeman was there for a free concert, not to win the QB job of the Buccaneers.

It was just the first day, but watching Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich on one side of the field, with Josh Freeman and Josh Johnson on the opposite side running back to back 7-on-7 drills was enlightening.

The Josh’s were certainly the J.V. team, throwing against “vanilla” coverages (and not throwing well), while Luke and Byron looked the part of the savvy veterans.

It will probably be a practice-by-practice difference for Luke and Byron, with each guy having his time in the sun, but the crispness of McCown’s movements within the pocket and quick release make him the odds-on favorite to win the job — even if the starting job is kept open publicly — before the first preseason game.

As for the future franchise QB, it was OK to be a little lost in all the lights and action of the NFL on his first day, but the time for stargazing is over and it’s time to pick up the intensity in every drill.

The QB Blast: A Complex Decision At QB

Monday, July 27th, 2009

jeffcarlsonhead2By 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

How will a successful 2009 season be defined?

Sunday’s Tampa Tribune cover story is about how Raheem Morris’ cheery persona has changed the atmosphere at One Buc Place, and more was written about how his rookie QB could start this season.

If Morris starts Luke McCown or Byron Leftwich, and the Bucs are on pace to win four games this year, obviously that would usher in “his guy” later in ’09 or for sure in 2010.

The “smart” guys I see on TV say the Bucs should wait until they come back from London in late October to get Freeman into the starting lineup. They are assuming a dreadful start for the franchise or the team wouldn’t be looking to change its QB, right?

But what if the Bucs start out pretty strong? How about 10 wins by the end of the year with stellar veteran quarterback play and leadership?

A move to Freeman after a better than expected year would surely move Morris’ team back a few steps, as the young defense gets a year wiser in the system.

So where is the potential upside to starting a veteran QB now, making Bucs fans so desperate during a bad run with the “older” guys that we’re begging to see what got Morris so excited about back in April?

McCown was told by Morris in the spring that the best case scenario was that if he played well, he could be like Drew Brees (formerly of the Chargers, now with the Saints) and get traded to another team. That is a tough pill and strange motivation to getting the team-first, “buy in” that you want from your signal-caller.

Don’t tell me Morris, his coaches or any of the players is hoping for a bad start so the rookie can build for next year.

But the better they do with a veteran QB, the more questions the team will have next offseason. The Chargers had success after keeping Philip Rivers on the bench for two years before trading Brees, but that came with a coaching change after Rivers’ first year as a starter.

I don’t see Morris keeping his prized possession under wraps that long, do you?

The QB Blast: Your Offseason Approach At QB

Friday, July 17th, 2009

jeffcarlsonhead1By 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Hindsight is 20-20 as they say, and Jon Gruden’s tenure is six months in the rear-view mirror.

He wanted Jeff Garcia to return for the 2009 season, but the new regime went bigger, stronger and younger. And they are going bigger, stronger and younger at every position, by the way.

But Jeff Garcia is rumored to be turning heads in off-season workouts for the Oakland Raiders while the bigger, stronger and younger former first pick in the draft, QB JaMarcus Russell, looks on.

With no discernable starter coming out of the Bucs’ final mini-camp and the coaches putting “BucNation” on notice that the biggest, strongest and youngest QB on their roster may be moving his learning curve up dramatically, today’s question is what would you do if you had to reset this off-season from the QB perspective?

If Garcia can take out the No. 1 pick from two years ago, should he be helping lead the Bucs’ No. 17 pick in this year’s draft until Josh Freeman is ready to take the reins full time?

I’ll go on the record and say I would rather play 2009 with the unknown potential of McCown, Leftwich and Freeman than watch Garcia break down all the Xs and Os work done through the week by scrambling too early too often.

The QB Blast: Training Camp Will Test Raheem

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

jeffcarlsonheadBy 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

Most of the Buccaneers’ players and coaches are away from One Buc Place until training camp kicks off on August 1, when camp returns to Tampa for the first time since the Bucs won the Super Bowl.

What does that mean to the first year head coach? 

While the training facility at the Disney complex was nice, it had a few challenges. Many teams use college campuses for training camp because the housing, eating, meeting and practice areas are all relatively close and controllable.

Training at the Wide World of Sports meant 20 to 30 minute bus rides in the morning and evening. And while most players napped or rested in their dorm rooms between practices, the Bucs were in the same building (The Milk House) where Disney was constantly hosting AAU-type basketball tournaments, not exactly the most restful setting for preparing to practice the second time in a day.

Raheem Morris has significantly changed the practice schedule for their return to One Buc Place, with less two-a-day practice, but more time with the pads on. And since this team is younger and less experienced it needs as much time with the pads on as possible.

There has been an emphasis on improved strength through weight lifting this off-season, and by moving back to their regular facilities they can be incredibly more efficient with their time in the weight room than the make-shift outdoor program at Mickey’s place.

Those are a couple of issues regarding the facility change, but a bigger issue for Morris is managing the players activities away from One Buc.

In Orlando the players were not as familiar with the city and getting in and out of a quality hotel without being noticed (after bedcheck) is much more difficult, meaning players were probably more likely to stay in. (I’m not 100% sure about this and I don’t underestimate what lengths players will go to go out on the town, but philosophically it makes sense. I do know the hijinks of NFL players after bedcheck would make for a great movie!)

In Tampa players are more familiar with getting to and from their regular haunts and are much more likely to mess around on their free time and have extra distractions from friends, family and business associates probably reducing their playbook concentration time.

This last issue is where Raheem Morris will establish himself with his team.

Tony Dungy continually warned about the negatives that happen after midnight if you are out and about. He didn’t have to deal with too many issues, but on those rare occasions, it didn’t go well for the offending player very often.

I think the benefits of being back in front of the home crowd outweigh the negatives and who knows, the first time they trained at Disney they won the Super Bowl (with a new, young, fiery coach). So why not another one this year by coming back home?

Training camp won’t be held where dreams come true anymore, but we can still hope for another Lombardi Trophy can’t we?

The QB BLAST:

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

jeffcarlsonhead5By 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

In 2006 the Buccaneers played a rookie QB named Bruce Gradkowski, but not by choice.

It didn’t go well.

The current Bucs will have a rookie QB on their roster: Josh Freeman. If he has to play, it might not go well, either. And there’s no guarantee that it will go any better with the veteran quarterbacks on the roster.

At the close of minicamp, Bucs QB coach Greg Olson said everyone in management got together and agreed they might accelerate Josh Freeman’s learning curve after another evaluation early in training camp.
 
Every other player in camp will have his learning curve sped up to be able to contribute on the field if needed. So shouldn’t the coaching staff be doing everything possible to accelerate Freeman’s learning curve just in case he has to be the Bruce Gradkowski of 2009?

Whether because of injury or performance, both veteran QB’s could have coaches and fans looking to the rookie to save them, so shouldn’t the No. 1 pick be fast-tracked in summer school whether or not they have any intention of using him on opening day?

The QB Blast: Ruud Well Within His Rights

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

jeffcarlsonhead4By 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 sports radio and TV gigs in the Bay area and trains quarterbacks of all ages via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.

As a former NFL player I believe current players should try to negotiate as lucrative a contract as they can.

As a businessman I believe people should live up to their contracts and pro sports are big business, but in the NFL, teams don’t have to live up to their end of the contract (they can cut a player at any time — e.g. Derrick Brooks).  A team structures contracts to fit their needs and discards players when either their play or their contract doesn’t fit anymore.

Because these contracts aren’t equal for both sides, it is well within a player’s rights to squeeze his team to pay him whatever he can when he has the bargaining power.

Last year, Earnest Graham was in a pretty good negotiating position to push for a salary equal to that of the average starting running back. Bruce Allen had a policy of not negotiating contracts with two years left on the deal, but sometimes certain policies have to be amended for the good of the team.

This year it is Barrett Ruud’s turn to go for the dough.

The team slimmed its experience in the linebacking corps and left Ruud in a very strong position to be paid in the upper third of middle linebackers. He has handled things properly so far, missing voluntary training and being part of the mandatory events. 

Mark Dominik has watched Allen negotiate for years and will have to forge his own policies moving forward. But for all of Raheem Morris’ efforts to build this year’s version of team comraderie, it gets torn apart quickly when a player that hasn’t sweated in red and pewter gets a new, top-dollar deal (Kellen Winslow Jr.) and a current star like Ruud is paid less than his league counterparts.

Josh Freeman’s Ascent Is Justified

Thursday, June 18th, 2009
By JEFF CARLSON
After studying the Bucs quarterback stable at minicamp, Jeff Carlson writes Josh Freeman is the best QB on the roster.

After studying the Bucs quarterback stable at minicamp, former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson writes Josh Freeman is the best QB on the roster.

Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson writes the weekly QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Today, after spending time at minicamp, he delivers his take on the Bucs quarterbacks and the competition for the starting job. 

 The Bucs wrapped up their on-field mandatory and organized voluntary program Wednesday with the revelation that Josh Freeman may get his playing timeline moved up considerably.

 All the “powers-that-be” (from a football standpoint) put their heads together on the subject; the conclusion was their No. 1 draft pick may very well be able to take the ball from center come September after all.

This was no revelation to JoeBucsFan.com readers since I wrote that specific prediction six weeks ago!

After spending time at Bucs minicamp yesterday, here is the QB situation as the Bucs go their separate ways for a few weeks before reconvening at the same spot for training camp — no travels to the “Happiest Place On Earth” anymore:

     1.  Josh Freeman is the best QB on the roster, in shorts and warming up.  He has throwing technique that rivals the best in the league.  He is not ready for prime-time right now.  When he threw in 7-on-7 drills, he was apprehensive and only threw a couple of his chances with confidence. In the 2-minute drill, he drove his unit down to the goal-line (McCown and Leftwich settled for field goals) only to go 0-4 with none of the four throws having a chance to score a touchdown.

 2.  If you took their numbers off the quarterbacks jerseys and had an objective, independent evaluator watching the QBs together, Byron Leftwich would be behind Brian Griese on the depth chart. His value is that he has won some games in this league and was a former No. 1 pick. His unbelievably long delivery and lack of mobility (in shorts and helmets) is so glaring, I can’t see him being a season-long starter anywhere.  

    3.  Luke McCown is OK at this point. He didn’t stand out in a good way or a bad way in what I witnessed. I heard that he wasn’t stepping up in the pocket like they wanted him to so far this spring, but that wasn’t noticeable on this day. He seems to be leaning back a bit too much on some throws, which are leaving his balls a bit higher than they should be. But, with Freeman’s inexperience right now, I would put McCown in as the clubhouse leader on June 17th. That is a long way from September.

  4.  Josh Johnson would seem to be on the outside looking in from a management standpoint since he has no game experience and you need to give the No. 1 pick any extra reps in practice, so where is his opportunity?  That said, he has an incredible whip to his ball and if that independent and objective evaluator was just watching the talent at practice, Johnson would come in at the No. 2 spot on his depth chart. He also was not great in his 7-on-7 reps.  He does need to loosen up on his dropbacks as he is very stiff and tight in his upper body.
 
Here is the truth, if you can handle it:

Neither Luke McCown nor Byron Leftwich have taken command in any substantial way. They certainly don’t have the star presence of a starter. This has left the door open for Josh Freeman to step into the spotlight and the Bucs management open to the possibility that he may be their best option if he starts firing his missiles like he knows where he wants them to land.

Word is Freeman will spend a significant amount of July here in Tampa working.