Rich Gannon Concerned About Josh Freeman

February 12th, 2013

Rich Gannon

Bucs fans have an awful thing in common with one, woebegone franchise, the Lions. Like the Bucs, the Lions are the only other NFC team that has gone over a decade without a playoff win. The last time the Bucs won a playoff game was in the Super Bowl.

Some Bucs fans have, understandably, reached their ceiling of frustration. A caller who glossed himself as “Hollywood,” a rabid Bucs fan, called “The Blitz,” co-hosted by former Super Bowl quarterback Rich Gannon and popular sports radio personality Adam Schein, heard exclusively on SiriusXM NFL Radio, and had a long rant about Bucs embattled quarterback Josh Freeman yesterday.

Freeman’s inconsistency, the caller said, is holding the Bucs back from postseason success, and the caller all but gave the Bucs an ultimatum for his loyalty, saying another fruitless season in pursuit of the playoffs in 2013 is unacceptable.

“Hollywood:” I always hear the excuses. He has had new coaches, new coordinators, yada, yada, yada. We are in a win-now league. There are too many young kids coming out that have proven they can start and play and take their teams to the next level. I am not saying that my quarterback doesn’t have that ability but the last two seasons, he has shown me he has the ability to do it at times but he has also shown me the ability to throw way, way, way, way, way too many interceptions to touchdown ratios for me. Rich, my question is to you is, who is out there in free agency where Greg Schiano can bring somebody in to challenge Josh for the job? Because, I don’t want this kid [Freeman] to come into the preseason thinking that you know, it is his ship to row. He doesn’t have anything to compete for because he is the only one on the team that has the capability to do what he does. I am not a big believer in our backups. I want to see Greg [Schiano] and Mark Dominik [find a quarterback] in the draft, maybe there is somebody in the third or fourth round that can come in and challenge Josh or maybe there is somebody out there like Matt Moore or Kyle Orton? There is a free agent out there somewhere that has experience that can come in and compete with for that job. I am not trying to throw my quarterback under the bus, but at the same time, as a fan, I cannot sit there another year and go through this again. I just really can’t.

Rich Gannon: I think there is some genuine concern from Mark Dominik and certainly from Greg Schiano. You heard that at the end of the year. It wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of his quarterback, Josh Freeman. You look at the Buccaneers, they got off to a sluggish start, they lost three of their first four then they got on a roll and started playing some really good football in October and in the beginning of November and then they fizzled. They lost five of their last six. People thought it was their schedule or their rookie head coach who may be working these NFL guys like college guys and just wore them down at the end of the year. But I also look at Josh Freeman’s production late in the year and it wasn’t great. He didn’t play his best football when it mattered the most and that is a big reason why the Buccaneers finished 7-9. You look at his numbers this year and the thing that concerns me and continues to concern me about Freeman is his decision making and his completion percentage under 55 percent. You cannot survive in this league when you are under 55 percent. Really, when you are under 60 percent anymore it is hard. The interceptions concern me a little bit. The sacks, the decision-making. You look at what the Buccaneers did this year; it wasn’t like they didn’t help him. They went out and got him Vincent Jackson, they went out and got Dallas Clark, they went out and got Doug Martin and yet [Freeman’s] production really fell off. That is a huge concern to Greg Schiano.

Adam Schein: I think you summed it up brilliantly, Rich. I think Hollywood summed it up brilliantly. Here’s is what I think is damning from a Bucs perspective: I don’t think Greg Schiano has any idea what he has at the quarterback position. You know, I think, obviously, Mark Dominik has seen much more of Josh Freeman. They have seen moments where he has been brilliant in games, brilliant in the fourth quarter. The last season with Raheem Morris was awful. A mixed bag this past year. I guess if you going to put it to the ultimate test of, “Do you think you can get to the playoffs and advance with Josh Freeman?” Rich, I would say, “No.” That is my current answer to the question. No. I think you are always going to be intoxicated by those moments, intoxicated by the talent. There have been some questions about his work ethic. I am fascinated to see if the Buccaneers are in the quarterback business this season.

Gannon: (deep sigh) I think you are always looking. I don’t care who you are. The Green Bay Packers are a great example. They have the best quarterback in football in Aaron Rodgers and I can tell you right now that Mike McCarthy and Tom Clements and the staff are scouring this draft to find out if there is a quarterback out there that could fit in their system. I don’t know how you cannot do that. When you look at what Seattle did last year with Russell Wilson. I mean, you are talking about a third round draft pick. I mean, who wouldn’t take a Russell Wilson? If you are the Dallas Cowboys or you are the New England Patriots. I mean you have to do your due diligence; you have to do your research on these young players. This guy was a steal, a diamond in the rough. You have to continue to look. I will say this about the Buccaneers: Injuries along the offensive line last year were devastating. Davin Joseph goes on injured reserve. Carl Nicks goes on injured reserve. Jeremy Trueblood goes on injured reserve. They were decimated along the offensive line and it hurt them with the protection scheme. Nonetheless, you look at the quarterback situation with Josh Freeman, and you just fall in love with the size, his arm, his mobility. Yet he always seems to leave you wanting more. And that is the problem now with Josh Freeman.

Joe thinks Gannon, who also works as a game analyst for CBS, hit a bulls-eye. The Bucs always talked about getting Freeman toys. How many other quarterbacks have as many toys as Freeman does? Shoot, you could argue Freeman has as many if not more toys to play with than Niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

And there are times when Freeman throws a pass, like he did for touchdowns at Carolina and at Atlanta, when he was rushed, beautifully dodging traffic with his feet all the while looking downfield and rifling a ball for a touchdown looking just like Ben Roethlisberger at his peak.

Then there are times, ugh, Joe doesn’t want to type it, the one-hoppers to running backs, missing guys wide open in the end zone by throwing the ball to another zip code. As Gannon pointed out, when the Bucs were in a driver’s seat for a playoff run, in the most important games of the season in December, Freeman vanished. Not good.

And no, Joe is not a Freeman hater. Joe went on record in December stating this is the perfect time for Dominik to sign Freeman to an incentive-laded extension (of course, Freeman’s camp would never go for it).

Now Gannon referenced again, Freeman’s work ethic. Joe doesn’t get it. No one — and Joe sincerely means — no one at One Buc Palace has ever said anything negative about Freeman’s work ethic. Not a suit, not a coach, not a player. No one. In fact, the Bucs family routinely lauds Freeman for being among the first to One Buc Palace and the last to leave. Joe vividly remembers after one weekday practice in the locker room, Mike Williams and Tiquan Underwood having passionate speeches in defense of Freeman and his work ethic.

Shoot, Joe heard from a father of a local soccer player that Freeman called the soccer player’s former high school coach (a team in Tampa) and wanted to work out with the soccer team last spring and summer so he could improve his footwork and drop some pounds at the same time. Freeman was a fixture at the soccer workouts, which included the aforementioned source.

Does that sound like a slacker? Does that sound like someone who doesn’t have a work ethic? This was in addition to working out at One Buc Palace. Yet it seems, beginning with Boomer Esiason, national NFL media types have this narrative that Freeman doesn’t have a solid work ethic. Joe isn’t sure why this persists.

It is starting to smell like a former Bucs coach is planting these stories in a desperate effort save grace.

With a healthy if not beefed up offensive line (new right tackle?), surely an improved secondary, and another year working with Mike Sullivan, the table is set for Freeman to lead the Bucs to the postseason in 2013, barring major injuries.

The 2013 season will tell Joe a lot about Freeman’s future in Tampa Bay.

Frankly, Joe doesn’t see him going anywhere.

39 Responses to “Rich Gannon Concerned About Josh Freeman”

  1. OB Says:

    Joe, You can’t argue about what anyone has said except for the work ethic. We would not know that. But regardless of how many hours you work/study, if you are not learning, it means nothing. I have a saying I having always used to all that came into contact with me, “Ignorance can be corrected, Stupidity is forever”. The question hat needs answering is Josh ignorant or stupid under fire? To me sometimes he is stupid and that cannot be corrected. This year will tell if he has learned and will do things automaticly.

  2. flmike Says:

    This lack of work ethic crap comes straight from Boomer Esiason, he’s been spreading this rumor about Josh having no work ethic, partying all night, etc…for as long as I can remember.

  3. flmike Says:

    @OB apparently you’re the latter…

  4. 4everBucsFan Says:

    If there is one thing that irks me a little about Freeman, and I know it’s hard to teach, it is teaching someone to be assertive, to take control, to be a vocal team leader. Especially, when that person is timid, and seems to have trouble looking people in the eyes. His presence lacks that positive “I’m in charge” leadership persona. He’s 25 now, and is no-longer the baby quarterback, so he needs to take control. Be that leader like a Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers. Heck, in Russell Wilson’s first year watching how he carried himself, with his field and locker room presence, and his complete aura, you’d think he’s been here longer than Josh. That’s because he’s dripping with confidence and commands respect with his leadership make-up. Maybe Shawn King is right, maybe Josh does need a shrink or at least a quarterback whisperer. This is his audition year. He does it now or just becomes another former Buccaneer QB who also couldn’t make it to the post season. Still, I have a feeling (hope) He will do well this year. Go Bucs!

  5. Gus Says:

    With an improved secondary, Freeman can lead this team to the playoffs.

  6. Brandon Says:

    I think it is valid to point out that Rich Gannon was well over the age of the 30 and on his 4th or 5th team before he saw success in the NFL. For him not to think that changing coordinators and personnel doesn’t make a huge difference to a young QB would totally ignore the fact that it had a huge impact on his own career.

  7. Paul Says:

    I don’t know what exactly Freeman’s problem is, but he seems to be the type that can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. He stares his receivers down like no other QB I have ever witnessed, even during his “good” games. The second he takes his eyes off of his receiver, he is totally lost. He does have the ability though, just can’t put it all together.

  8. dave Says:

    I do not get “lckingwiork ethic” BS. Maybehe lacked FOCUS under Raheem… that I buy.
    But the desire to work and get better has been well documented from day 1.

  9. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    I love that caller “Hollywood”. He’s all over the map & scatter brained:)

    @Joe…I recorded an awesome 7 minute INTENSE discussion from Tim Ryan & Pat Kirwan re: The “State of the Bucs” yesterday that was prompted by a Tampa caller. I tried to email the video to you but it was too large (next time I’ll just Audio Record).

    Most in-depth i’ve heard them

  10. travis Says:

    I look at Freeman and see a 24 year old QB, just 1 year older than rg3 who set franchise records for yards and tds this year. He has never had a defense that can hold a team under 20 points since he has been there. Until the defense can be competitive, Freeman will always be pressured to over compensate for them. Fix the D and you fix Free.

  11. Bucfan Says:

    That’s the Part that’s worrisome. He puts in all this work yet he’s still not processing things on the field. Jason Campbell had great work ethic but he just didn’t process things on the field. Inconsistent , innaccurate , and stared down Wrs.

  12. Joe Says:

    Justin:

    Email the file as an audio file. If you have to, record the audio on your phone and email using Yahoo or Gmail.

    Not sure how you have a video file of a radio show?

    Thanks.

  13. tampabaybucfan Says:

    Let him run, Coach…..Let him run. In 2010 Freeman was the second rushing QB behind Vick.
    The gameplan for Freeman is not good….they have taken away one of his options….afraid he will be hurt. With the weapons Josh has…adding the run will help him and keep him from panicing.

  14. bucfanjeff Says:

    Like everyone else, I have my own opinions of Freeman both pro and con and I am a Freeman supporter.

    That said, I can agree and sum up my unexpressed thoughts that 2013 will be a very telling year for Freeman. Same system, same coaches, same players so I want to see a little more consistency, but more importantly overall growth.

    I think we WILL re-sign him or tag him after this year. The main reason is you don’t find 6’6″ 235lb mobile QB’s with his character and work ethic growing on trees. Those characteristics are important. The exception of course is if he tanks 2013.

    Big, big year for him…and we all know it.

  15. lightningbuc Says:

    Frankly, I care more about his ability than his work ethic. Lots of people have a strong work ethic – doesn’t mean they’ll be a good NFL QB. Freeman’s just not that good. He can work on it from now til eternity – but if you don’t have it, you don’t have it.

  16. PRBucFan Says:

    As some have stated

    What makes it a huge concern is the fact that his work ethic is apparently excellent.

    That leaves you with a HUGE question mark. Is this it? Is he incapable of absorbing and maintaining more info?

    If he’s trying his hardest and yet still cannot put it together, what else is there to do?

  17. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I agree, fix the defense, take some pressure off of Freeman.
    Freeman ain’t going anywhere this year, get used to it.
    But this next year will make or break him, as far as his future in Tampa goes.
    I would not be surprised to see the Buc’s draft a QB this year, as perhaps a wake up call. The problem is, where do you find a QB with all Freeman’s tools ?

  18. Justin P's Dwindling Radio "career" Says:

    @ Joe….new phone & i automatically went to recording on Video. I’m gonna figure out a Ghetto Way to get this to you b/c Joe will like it (just give me a couple hours as i re-charge my Tablet)

  19. 76buc76 Says:

    Trade Freeman now to KC.We’ll take Geno Smith and give him a shot.But sign a vet (Orton or Moore)as backup.Even if Freeman can run 4.6 now that he’s slimed down.It hardly matter’s if he is scared to run.So Geno project’s to be a slower Josh Freeman.Far more accurate however.If we go with Free he must WIN a playoff game or 2 to get a sniff at 10mill per.Anything less we offer 5mill per for 2 year’s.Elite backup cash that’s it.Then draft a QB next year.I hope he can put it all together.Hard to believe in 2010 he was the 6th best QB in the NFL.As a 22yo to boot.He has to start running again.Running will increase his chance of injury.But with his career in dought he has nothing to lose.If he stink’s the place out next year.Nobody will want him.I could picture this guy in a where r they now show in 10 year’s.Saying he grew to hate football as the pressure cranked up.And how much happier he is now running the reptile division at Petsmart.

  20. JonBuc Says:

    76er-
    You’re assuming that KC would cough up the # 1 pick in the draft for Freeman and our # 1 at the very least…I just don’t see it happening. I don’t think Freeman is any faster ( he admitted as much) after the weight loss. If anything..he looks slower to me. He could maybe break 5 flat in the 40…maybe.

  21. JonBuc Says:

    And I’d love it if Joe referred to Rich Gannon as “Bucs SB 37 MVP”. :)

  22. Captain Stagger Says:

    Josh “the king of pop” freeman could have spent a little more time in December trying to figure out why he could no longer complete a pass and less time modeling.

    Just sayin

  23. crazy Says:

    Tape don’t lie. There’s more than enough of it to show 5′s strengths and weaknesses. More shotgun, occasional runs, better protection, improved running game all help him use his big but inaccurate arm. Expecting him to pick apart defenses ala Brees or Manning is unrealistic no matter how much coaching he receives. He’s seen enough and played enough to show us what he’s got this year as long as coaching doesn’t try to make him something he isn’t.

  24. 76buc76 Says:

    What did he run at the combine.I think it was 4.7-4.8?I’d agree thou he did look slower.Probably scanning the field for William Moore.

  25. 76buc76 Says:

    I wouldn’t mind if the Buc’s signed Moore.Barron and Moore would be a scary safety duo.Add Reevis and boom insta-D.

  26. Cannon Says:

    Honestly… with the weapons we have, you should be able to put damn near anyone behind center and have a decent offense.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not a Freeman hater, and I have been absolutely amazed by some of his plays, but any team with Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams, and Doug Martin on offense should be at least in the upper half of the league.

  27. buccanay Says:

    Will look forward to re-visiting this subject next season. We could very well be in the position of the Jets, Chiefs, Cards, or Jags with regards to a QB. If it were that easy to find an Aaron Rogers, all of these teams would have one. people seem to forget than Morris, IMO, was arguably one of the worst coaches in recent NFL history. Recal, the OC from Boston College, who didnt even make it to the first game before being fired, then the lockout the following year, then the complete dismantling of the coaching staff with Shiano coming in. We are in MUCH better shape, in regards to a QB, than some here seem to make it. Again, look forward to re-visiting this subject a year from now.

  28. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’ve said this story before, but I’ll say it again. We were in Tampa for the Atlanta game. He was one of the last players to the stadium. The next day, we went to One Buc to check it out. He was the last one in the building, by a good 15 minutes. He flew around the corner, and parked in the “expectant mother” parking stall in the general parking area. Perhaps this was a 2 day thing and he’s normally the first in the building. However, that game was the most important game of the season. I would venture to say that Peyton and Brady have never been the last in the building, especially the day after a loss. So I’m sorry, butt im just not buying this excellent work ethic.

  29. Free's a Boob Says:

    Bleacher Report had two different analysts do two different QB ratings for the league. Each had The Moron at 32. A charitable berth in my opinion.

  30. Joe Says:

    If Kansas City coughs up the No. 1 pick in the draft for Josh Freeman (who was, what, the No. 17 pick in the draft), the governor of Missouri will have to call out the National Guard to quell the riots.

    If Andy Reid did that, he should be drug-tested immediately.

    That’s far worse than when Dave Wannstedt traded the No. 13 pick in the draft for Rick Meier.

  31. FlBoy84 Says:

    Depending on who the team grabs in FA, if one is a starting caliber QB who could hold the reins while they find another QB to develop, you’d have to think Dom/Schiano would make subtle inquiries just to see what they might possibly get in a Freeman trade. Would be a responsible business decision at the least.

  32. ScottB Says:

    FYI for hose interested on Freeman’s 40 at the combine was a Donald Penn like 5.1. It’s his size that makes him difficukt to bring down.

  33. Andrew 1 Says:

    No matter if you love him or hate him, this will be his last season that will determine whether he stays or goes… so this drama revolving around Josh Freeman’s future will be resolved by the end of next season. I hope that we can all take comfort in knowing that. most of his weakness that you all stated about him are correct, but I think there were couple that weren’t mentioned that I hope he can get correct by next season.

    1. He cannot anticipate throws-He feels like he needs to see the receiver get open first before delivering the pass. You can see all the great QBs are able to anticipate throws and have even mastered it. I think this has to do more will Freeman’s passing confidence more than anything else because he desperately does not want to turn the ball over.

    2. His confidence in know what to do on every single play not matter what happens- I’m guessing this is what scouts call the “IT” factor when describing whether a QB has what it takes to make it in the nfl. I believe this is more important than anything else. There are times when things break down were he doesn’t know what to do next or makes the incorrect decision. In other words, to have complete control of every situation.

    I’m a huge Freeman support, but if he doesn’t get it together by the end of next season then I say don’t let the door hit you in the a$s on the way out.

  34. SeanyMac in SC Says:

    Derek Anderson from the Panther might be an interesting back up to Free

  35. 76buc76 Says:

    Ya KC trading the 1st overall is a bit much but he’s from KC so he could put some butts in the seat’s.Some team’s out there would take Freeman instead of Smith.Where he was drafted doesn’t really matter.KC would give over that 1st overall pick in a heartbeat.For last year’s 3rd rounder Russell Wilson.Maybe we throw in a 2nd rounder next year.If his Int’s exceed his TD’s.

  36. Joe Says:

    76:

    Ya KC trading the 1st overall is a bit much but he’s from KC so he could put some butts in the seat’s.

    So they are adding seats in Arrowhead? Never knew selling tickets was a problem for the Chiefs? (It’s not. Sellouts are the norm.)

    Dude, if you think any NFL team would give up the top overall pick for Josh Freeman, you are dreaming.

  37. PRBucFan Says:

    Depends which Josh their looking at…

    Good Josh? Definitely worth a first round pick

    Bad Josh? Not worth anything lol

  38. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    “Depends which Josh their looking at…

    Good Josh? Definitely worth a first round pick

    Bad Josh? Not worth anything lol”

    ——–

    Exactly.

  39. HFXBUC Says:

    Tim Ryan questioned Free’s off field commitment as well.

    Ryan: Yeah, I don’t know; that remains to be seen. I’m a big fan of Josh Freeman. I think if he can completely get himself right off the field – I know he is a hard worker – but in terms of – I know he works on his body and all that – but really make football his life. (taken from an article posted in JoeBucsFan)

    Find me the quote about his awesome film study habits? find me the quote about his leadership?

    I’m a fan of Free, just not as much as I was 3 years ago.

 
 

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