The QB Blast: Expect Freeman To Use Old ScriptJuly 22nd, 2010
By JEFF CARLSON
Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at JoeBucsFan.com. Joe is ecstatic to have him firing away. Carlson is often seen as a color analyst on Bright House Sports Network, and he trains quarterbacks of all ages locally via his company, America’s Best Quarterback.
There is no question whom the starting quarterback of the Buccaneers is this year, unlike last. Going into this season, their quarterback has nine games of pro experience in what would be his rookie year had he decided to finish his college eligibility.
So, with only a single offseason in which the offensive coordinator is properly prepared for the upcoming season with new plays and formations in tow to officially run his offense, it begs the question, how much time does Josh Freeman need under center in the preseason to be ready to go with his new receivers?
The heavy investment in new receiving personnel, and the lack of production from the leftover crew of wideouts, should translate into a significant amount of preseason time together to get the kinks out and their groove on. But as surely as night follows day, now that Freeman is “The Man,” he will follow the well-worn script of all his starting QB predecessors: In Game 1 of preseason game he’ll play the first quarter (and possibly a series of the second, depending on how many offensive plays the team gets), the first half of Game #2, into the 3rd quarter in Game 3 and a brief appearance in the preseason finale.
There is almost no variance from this script when you are deemed the starting QB in the NFL.
If I’m not mistaken, even Joe Flacco two years ago and Matthew Stafford last year followed this system pretty closely even without a down of NFL experience. Mark Sanchez wasn’t far off, but he had the more experienced Kellen Clemens to fight off. And in football sometimes you have to give the illusion of competition to the veteran, even though everyone knows the outcome of the QB competition.
I expect Sam Bradford’s preseason playing time in St. Louis to look exactly the same as Freeman’s, even though he is a rookie who barely even played football last year.
There is always the talk about building the quarterback’s “chemistry” with the receivers and there is some truth to the concept of familiarity helping somewhere along the line.
There is a great description of just that in the current edition of ESPN The Magazine. The coverboy, Aaron Rogers, is one of my favorite QBs (he needs to quit trying to make so many big plays, protect the ball and live to play another down), and he explains a big play to Donald Driver last year that was all non-verbal communication and each player just “knowing” what the other would do and how it worked out perfectly.
These things are worked on over time, but Brett Favre really blew the whole “chemistry” concept out of the water after he missed training camp with a brand new team and then made unbelievable play after play throughout the season, while leading them to the NFC Championship game with barely had a handful of practices with the Vikings under his belt.
Yes, I understand he was almost a 20-year vet, but there was no “chemistry” built at all.
Just don’t go into this preseason expecting the Buccaneers’ coaching staff to veer from the format that everyone has used for so many years. Remember, the NFL is a copycat league. (Heck, with the Vikings’ success, teams might start bringing in their QBs after training camp and giving that a shot).
By the way, bringing in Jeff Garcia to play back-up to Freeman would be a more red-flagged mistake than making Byron Leftwich the starter last season, and we know how well that experiment went. Not only is he a year removed from the NFL at 40+ years old, but Garcia breaks down more well-designed plays by scrambling before they even have a chance to form that he looks like a Jack Russell Terrier chasing a field full of rabbits.
“Jiminy Christmas” that sends offensive coordinators out of the league sometimes.