Time For Josh Freeman To Be Clutch

May 20th, 2013

Maligned Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has had a more productive NFL career thus far than Josh Freeman.

In recent months, Joe has heard former NFL coach and player personnel man Pat Kirwan, who co-hosts “Movin’ the Chains” with Tim Ryan on SiriusXM NFL Radio, harp a few times on Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.

In Kirwan’s eyes, Dalton still has a lot to prove and is not an established NFL quarterback. Kirwan believes this year is a do-or-die season for Dalton as a starter and the Bengals likely will go quarterback shopping after this season if Dalton does not improve.

Why does Kirwan believe this? Kirwan specifically cites Dalton’s record as a starter against teams with winning records, a paltry 3-12.

Why does Joe write this? Because Kirwan is a firm supporter of Josh Freeman, yet Freeman’s record against teams with winning records isn’t much better than Dalton’s.

In three and a half years, roughly, as a starting quarterback, per Pro-Football-Reference.com, Freeman’s record against opponents with a winning record is 6-15.

If one was to nitpick, two of those wins came in the final week of a season after the opponent (New Orleans in 2010 and Atlanta last season) had already secured their postseason positions.

Ironically Sunday morning, Evan Silva, the superb NFL analyst for both NBC Sports and Rotoworld.com, was Twitteringlike a man who just slugged down an Americano Grande about Freeman and Silva linked both Dalton and Freeman.

@evansilva: Buccaneers playing serious mind games with Freeman. Response will be critical to his career. Seems mentally fragile based on on-field play. … 2 most deceiving QB stat lines in 2012 were Josh Freeman & Andy Dalton. Neither played remotely that well. In fairness, Free has big issues.

Before Joe’s readers starting furiously typing that Joe is a Freeman hater, slow down! As Joe has written several times before, the absolute best chance for the Bucs to make the playoffs is for Freeman to not just start (ahead of rookie Mike Glennon), but to play well.

To Joe, it is very telling that Freeman struggles more often than not against good teams. Yes, yes, players should struggle against good teams. But upper echelon players rise to the occasion and don’t wilt under the pressure of, or vanish in the face of, a tough opponent.

No, Dalton’s numbers are not good at all against winning teams. But to his credit, Dalton has done more in his two seasons than Freeman has in four: Dalton has led his team to the playoffs twice.

And like the NFC South during Freeman’s career, the AFC North is annually dominated by two teams often battling for a Super Bowl, Pittsburgh and Baltimore.

Today is the first OTA practice of 2013 for the Bucs. And yes, Joe will have loads of content from this morning’s practice.

Today is the day for Freeman to begin playing on Dalton’s level. The level of a playoff quarterback.

For Freeman, that trek begins this morning.

65 Responses to “Time For Josh Freeman To Be Clutch”

  1. paul Says:

    “Dalton has led his team to the playoffs twice.”

    He got to the playoffs with a 9-7 record one year. Freeman is leagues better than Dalton.

  2. Architek Says:

    This is going to be one interesting year. Now that people have nationally locked in to Freeman folding, it’s going to be very interesting to see what kind of mentality he has.

  3. T in Orlando Says:

    @ Paul

    I would agree that Freeman has significantly better/higher potential than Dalton, however he hasn’t done anything to definitively say he’s better than Dalton.

    I’ve been a Freeman fan since we drafted him, and want to see him succeed as the Bucs starting QB. However I do feel a little bit better about the back-up QB situation now that Glennon’s on the roster. Without Glennon, we would have nothing on the roster behind Freeman, and should he struggle or get seriously hurt, we’d be going into 2014 with a journeyman vet and a high draft pick as our QBs, neither of which would have ever played in our system. At least now, should Freeman falter, we’re not starting from scratch at the QB position next year.

  4. mark2001 Says:

    Well said…

    it is time for Josh to step up or move over. I hope for the former, but it is in Josh’s hands. If it doesn’t work out and we stay relatively healthy on the Offensive side of the ball, he will have no one to blame but himself.

  5. Mike J Says:

    Opie has been a weak link on a strong roster for a couple seasons now. Is Josh in danger of becoming the same??

  6. kenny_c Says:

    I dont know why this is so hard for people to understand! The bucs as a whole sucked last year down the stretch, besides the NO blow out, Bucs were in every game despite the piss poor secondary, beacuse the offense was good. The bucs offense was the best it has been in years last season. Freeman is far better than andy dalton, bengals had a really good D that allowed dalton to “Brad johnson” the offense and not take chances. Freeman will have a lower completion percentage, due to the style of offense that the bucs run with taking deep shots. I agree freeman needs to improve in some areas, but then again every QB doe besides Brees, brady, manning and rodgers.

  7. lightningbuc Says:

    I hope the alleged “rock star” is better at drafting 3rd round QBs than 1st round QBs.

  8. Walter Says:

    Freeman > Dalton

    Bengals D >>>>>>> Bucs D

    I hate when people judge QB’s solely on wins and losses, it’s annoying, and kinda disrespectful to the rest of the team. It makes it seem like the rest of the team is worthless, since “good QB’s win games” (every time someone says that, a shiver runs down my spine, cuz that means Tebow is an amazing QB.)

  9. Pete 422 Says:

    Freeman has a number of 4th quarter comebacks. He was clutch last season in Carolina (remember that throw?). It takes a TEAM to win consistently & ultimately championships. I see the entire team having a better year.

  10. stevek Says:

    Walter,

    Dalton had a better completion percentage last year, and has taken the Bengals to the playoffs twice in a row… Not even Carson Palmer did that.

  11. Walter Says:

    @stevek

    Sure, Dalton led them there. XD

    Don’t be so naive.

  12. robert Says:

    Dalton
    Romo
    Tannehill

    just a few guys jfro’s been compared to…and I would take them and a few others over jfro in a minute.

  13. Walter Says:

    @robert

    Okay, Romo I can sort of understand, even though he chokes a lot, but Tannehill and Dalton??? Now you’re just hating.

    Btw, the Bengals would be much more deadly with Freeman rather than Dalton. No, I’m not kidding.

  14. bucfanjeff Says:

    It’s a team game people. Team game.

  15. Vern4499 Says:

    As Joe les to write( and a lot of the readers hate to read) Shaun King is 1 of only 3 QB’s to lead this franchise to the NFC Championship game. So if that’s what we judge QB’s on then King was pretty damn good. Freeman haters can’t have it both ways. It takes a team to win!

  16. Walter Says:

    @bucfanjeff
    @vern4499

    Thanks for not being mindless sheep like a lot of the other posters on here. The team struggles, they automatically look at Freeman. What’s funny is, they admit the defense was bad, but since it was awful the whole year, it’s like they ignore it, their logic is “The defense was bad all year, Freeman had a couple bad games…….. IT’S ALL FREEMAN’S FAULT!! FIRE HIM!!” Even though he’s the best QB we’ve ever had. Tragic I know.

  17. bucfanjeff Says:

    @Walter, Joe has also posted articles on how we were a few yards away from being the worst secondary in NFL history – and yet people talk about the Freeman as if that part (secondary) of the Bucs season never actually happened. I realize the QB gets the most visibility, and it IS important, but there are 21 other starters on offense and defense that share in the success and failures of a season. I’ll take Freeman any day.

  18. robert Says:

    this is the BEST offense by far the Bucs have ever had, no one can argue that. They have more talent then ever before. The line, the RB, the WR’s are ALL far and away better than in previous years.

    and Freeman IS the best QB (#’s wise) we have seen as well. but I believe he is holding us back with his mental mindset. he’s just not a gamer.

    Give Garcia this Offense and we would be like 14-2.

    We need someone with cohones

  19. stevek Says:

    Walter,

    The QB position at the NFL Level is the most pivotal position of the entire team.

    Freeman gets to handle the ball on every play, thus impacting the game much much more than Myron Lewis or Danny Gorrer.

    Why can’t Freeman hone in on some consistency? You really can’t say the 5 game losing streak isn’t or Freeman, or the 10 game losing streak in 2011…

    Bottom line, Freeman needs to win us some games. He has all the talent and potential in the world. After 55 starts in the NFL it is time for #5 to put up or shut up.

    There is no reason the Bucs shouldn’t make the playoffs this year, and it is time for Freeman to show us the way. If he has an inconsistent patche of 3 + games in a row where he looks like he forgot how to play football, then bring in the back up QB.

    You are a mindless sheep if you really think Freeman hasn’t had enough inconsistency to warrant the controversy discussion.

  20. Couch Fan Says:

    @bucfanjeff

    And you would lose most of those days with his track record. Just sayin….

  21. Couch Fan Says:

    I just love how people keep bringing up the poor play of the defense as if we didnt already know that. I can’t wait to hear all the new excuses they will have for Free this year.

  22. Walter Says:

    14-2 with GARCIA??????

    BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

    XD

  23. McBuc Says:

    Blah blah blah…It is going to be a long couple of months of hearing this stuff. Glennon may or may not be better than Free, he is a huge ?.

  24. robert Says:

    @ stevek

    dead on. We need someone who can come in when jfro starts his mental disappearing act. If that means 1 otr, 1 game or the rest of the season

    personally I think he would come in, do pretty well. well enough for jfro to stop mind f&*#ing himself and get back to ballin.

  25. Walter Says:

    @Couch

    I’m surprised at the number of people who act like our defensive struggles didn’t matter. You’re one of them

  26. robert Says:

    14-2 with JEFF GARCIA!

    we could actually use the middle of the field with him playing!

  27. Couch Fan Says:

    @Walter

    Unlike you i look at reality. And reality is our defense was consistently putrid the whole year long therefore using it as a crutch for why Freeman blows is idiotic. Reality is our season didnt go down the drain until our oh so wonderful QB started to stink it up. Did i say it didnt matter? No I did not. That is you adding words to my post because you have nothing else to fall back on.

    It’s ok keep making excuses for your man crush. We’ll see how far that takes us.

  28. McBuc Says:

    Couch…because it is a team sport. If the defense was just a bit better the Bucs may have made the playoffs last year. He owns part of the 5 game skid, but so does the defense. I agree that he needs to turn the corner, but I am sure not ready to watch Glennon come in, just becasue he seems smart does not mean he will be a great QB. There is a reason no other team picked him up before the third round. People keep preaching about freeman needing consistancy, yet the rest of the team has been inconsistant with inconsistant coaching and shcemes. What was the last team that performed well with huge coaching changes. The Saints did not do well with losing the head coach and DC, even though the rest of the coaches had been there for years, and they have a pretty mature team.

  29. Walter Says:

    @stevek

    I put some of the blame on Freeman, you put ALL of it on him.

    @Couch

    See, there it is again! You admitting that our D sucked ALL YEAR, yet acting like that had nothing to do with our struggles.

  30. McBuc Says:

    When did a reason become an excuse?

  31. jose Says:

    Yeahhhh!!!!! Funny how there’s no mention about how much better the Bengals defence is, they were even on the top five on overall defence those two years. If Josh had that we could have made the playoffs just as many times if not more, It takes more than one!

  32. stevek Says:

    Walter and Freeman Apologists:

    “But, Free’s 2012 seasons was the best BUC QB seasons ever!”

    “But the pass defense is so much worse.”

    “It isn’t Freeman’s fault he had a bad game, or two, or three in a row.”

    Guess what folks, Freeman has 2013 to show up and be better than the 25th ranked QB in football.

    Andy Dalton is twice the QB Freeman is right now, as he has 2 playoff appearances to Freeman’s sloppy ZERO.

  33. Couch Fan Says:

    @McBuc

    Again, if we also had better qb play we could of got to the playoffs… See. It goes both ways. To not admit Freeman played poorly as well as the defense isnt holding Freeman to the same standards. Especially when Freeman has the talent to be special… the defense on the other hand did not. But yet you all choose to cry about the defense that played up to there potential instead of the guy who did not play up to his potential.

    And it becomes an excuse when you repeatedly blame a defense for a guy throwing multiple interceptions… thats just retarded. Hold Freeman to the same standard as you do the defense and I wouldnt bash the guy so much. We all know the defense was horrible but that has nothin to do with Free stinking it up… THAT is an excuse.

  34. stevek Says:

    Jose,

    What about Dalton going to the playoffs in his first 32 regular season starts?

    Freeman hasn’t played “playoff like” since 2010, he peaked 3 years ago.

  35. Jeff Says:

    Freeman will have a contract extension before Glennon starts a game. The bucs aren’t playing mind games with freeman, Schiano simply wants more (the most) out of Freeman. Similar to Parcels being highly critical of Sims, he wants Freeman constantly improving. Glennon can’t give any serious competition to Freeman, the bucs would have brought in someone, cheaply but nonetheless with experience. Think of scenario, bucs need to make the playoffs this year or at least have a winning season, simply improving won’t be tolerated. Then Freeman not signed, Glannon or even a top overall pick will have growing pains in 2014 and Schiano is gone. Schiano is married to Freeman when he didn’t draft a qb his first year.

  36. stevek Says:

    Walter,

    The Pass D stunk last year, and the D overall was lackluster.

    However, Freeman has failed to capitilize on his 2010 campaign. Why can’t Freeman improve from year to year?

    Why can’t Josh Freeman complete 60%+ of his passes?

    Why can’t Josh Freeman call a play without a headset to win a game?

    Why can’t Josh Freeman address a press conference after a loss and take onus of the situation, rather than citing miss communications as the culprit?

    Why can’t Josh Freeman hold focus in the middle of the season and play consistently?

  37. Walter Says:

    @Couch

    Difference is, Freeman had a good year. The defense had a terrible one.

    Freeman had to play lights out just so we could be 6-4, y’all make it seem like if he doesn’t play like Brady, Manning, Rodgers, or Brees, he’s worthless, which is freaking crazy!

  38. Couch Fan Says:

    @Walter

    Do you have reading issues? Just wondering because you keep spotting off stuff that I never said. This whole off season I’ve admitted our defense was putrid. Never once have I denied this or said “it doesnt matter”. I know the defense cost us a lot of games. More so than Freeman. But as I’ve said before, our season wasnt over til Freeman began to stink it up down the stretch. I put not all the blame on him but a lot of it and towards the end of the season he did have as much a hand in the collapse as the defense.

    Now stop saying I’m saying things im not saying just to protect your boy. Sheech.

  39. Walter Says:

    @stevek

    Freeman was only a handful of completed passes away from 60%, he had good numbers. I think it’s just easy to blame him for last year just cuz at one point, he was lighting it up last year but fell off towards the end. That doesn’t mean HE lost us the season though. Admit it, if he had actually led us to the playoffs, everyone on here would be saying how miraculous and amazing it was that our offense pushed us into the post season with a defense as putrid as ours

  40. stevek Says:

    Walter,

    I doubt Freeman’s ability to “close out” games, seasons, and playoffs.

    I doubt that Freeman has the competitive drive necessary to take the next step, a champion.

  41. Walter Says:

    @Couch

    So because freeman couldn’t continue to carry us for a full season, it’s his fault?

  42. Couch Fan Says:

    Just out of curiousity, lets say this year we have a top 15 defense and we actually make the playoffs. Do any of you really trust Freeman to take us anywhere past the first round? I dont. He’s just to inconsistent for my liking.

  43. Walter Says:

    @stevek

    He hasn’t even had the opportunity to be in a playoff game, so how can you doubt his ability to win a playoff game?

  44. Couch Fan Says:

    @Walter

    Yes. His job as a QB is to be consistent. He gets a paid a whole lot of money to win games. Not have a hand in losing them. It comes with the territory of being a starting QB in the NFL. Again, I never said it was all his fault. But I do hold him accountable as much as I hold the defense accountable. Clearly you dont.

  45. Vern4499 Says:

    Couch,

    If I’m not mistaken we had that winning record with Eric wright in there correct? He then gets suspended which means the defense got worse. Freeman also had some Terrible games in there too. I am a Freeman supporter because he is the Bucs quarterback. But please don’t tell me the defense didn’t get worse as the year went on. They got worse as well as the rest of the team. I put blame everywhere from the coaches to the players. But it Delors sound like you are blaming Josh for the 5 game skid.

  46. Walter Says:

    @couch

    Hell yes I do! Freeman is good, he just isn’t one of the Elite QB’s.

    You don’t need an elite QB to win the big game, I’d prefer a solid team.

  47. Gus Says:

    Comparing Andy Dalton to Freeman based on records is just plain stupid. Everyone here whether you like freeman or not can agree that the cinnci had had a better overall team for past few years than the bucs. A good defense and great talent around him on offense including on of the best receivers in the league. THIS WAS FREEMAN’S FIRST YEAR WITH ELITE TALENT AROUND HIM. This comparison makes no sense

  48. Vern4499 Says:

    Couch,

    That’s the same thing Baltimore fans said about Flacco’s when the Ravens lost 4 of there last 5 regular season games.

  49. Couch Fan Says:

    @Vern

    I blame josh for his bad play down the stretch. I dont blame josh entirely for the 5 game skid because obviously the defense played horrible. But Josh did have a hand in that losing streak. You can NOT deny this. All I am doing is holding him as accountable as the defense. If Josh played so well during that losing streak I would have nothing to hold him accountable to. As far as the defense goes.. we can agree to disagree. I’m not sure how you think a putrid defense can get any worse than it already was but even if thats the case it doesnt change the fact Free wasnt playing well at all… anyways point is, blame is shared across the board. I’m just tired of hearing people blame the defense for Josh’s poor play down the stretch… it seems rather silly.

  50. Ron Says:

    Anybody that BLAMES Josh Freeman for last years mediocre season is an idiot. He is an above average QB who lead the offense to the best offensive season that I’ve seen since I’ve been watching the Bucs. The QB is not always to blame for Int’s either. Line play and Tiquan Underwood could be blamed for about half the INT’s last year

    The MAIN Reason we lost all those games was no pass rush and poor secondary play. I still support Freeman and think that he will do well this season and prove you all wrong

  51. stevek Says:

    Vern,

    Completely different from Freeman to Flacco.

    Flacco has wond a playoff game every year he was in the league.

    Freeman needs to show us the playoffs, or he gone.

  52. McBuc Says:

    I did not blame the defense for Freeman’s play, I jsut do not see how you cannot except the team sport approach. Freeman should and can play better, otherwise I am sure he will be gone next year. I just do not see Glennon coming in and saving the day. We used to win with defense despite sub par offense, and the reverse can happen. I agree Freeman has some of the blame, but not to the extent that people are saying. If they went out and signed the best QB in the league like they did with revis, fine, but they did not. Glennon is an unknown, we know Freeman has the talent he just needs to be more consistant, but so does the entire team and the coaching staff.

  53. McBuc Says:

    SteverK, let’s hope our defense plays as well as the defenses playing with Flacco p[layed…and then we will go to the playoffs. If Freeman gets a little better and the defense gets a little better, I see a pretty damn good chance with this team. If not, I hope Glennon can do it, but that is going to be a tall order.

  54. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Amazing how the Bengals top ten defense is just kind of glossed over in this article. I think I understand Joe’s logic now about Shaun King “leading the Bucs…” to anything.

    Does anybody here legitimately think Dalton was the reason the Bengals made the playoffs? I am sorry but only the worst of quarterbacks (Shaun King, championship game) have trouble winning with an above average defense. Most quarterbacks will look good with a good defense. Also, most quarterbacks will look bad with a bad defense. (The obvious exceptions being the best of the best and I really hope nobody honestly expects that from Freeman at this point.)

    Lets just look at few teams with young successful quarterbacks. 49ers? They play some defense in San Francisco. Seahawks? There secondary wasn’t anything special, right? Dalton? As I said, top ten defense. Flacco? Notice anything about these “good, young” quarterbacks? Freeman is a top 15 quarterback. That means that he is not good enough at this point to make up for MASSIVE deficiencies else where on the team. (Pass defense).

    I get this feeling that some fans on here either want Freeman to be Brady or to hit the bricks. Is there nothing acceptable in between? Is the only way for Freeman to be “successful” for him to be Tom Brady and carry his team to victory by himself regardless of how the rest of the team performs? I disagree. You give Freeman a middle of the pack defense and everybody starts talking about how great he is. (Same as Dalton, Kaepernick, and Wilson.)

    Freeman surely is a part of this team and because of that he is responsible for a part of those losses. He also is the most affective part of the offense and receives the brunt of the blame because of it.

    However, Freeman has failed to capitilize on his 2010 campaign. Why can’t Freeman improve from year to year?

    Because all of his coaches have taken away his running privileges. That is what made him great in 2010.

    Why can’t Josh Freeman complete 60%+ of his passes?

    Because the offense changed to a vertical one. Freeman was over 60% in 2010 AND 2011. He didn’t regress, he just was asked to throw down field WAY more which, naturally, will cause completion percentage to drop.

    Why can’t Josh Freeman call a play without a headset to win a game?

    How do you know he hasn’t? How do you that the one publicized instance of this happening was the only time his headset has gone out? Your continued whining about a single moment in a single game is getting old.

    Why can’t Josh Freeman address a press conference after a loss and take onus of the situation, rather than citing miss communications as the culprit?

    Josh Freeman has always owned up to his issues. Even if it was his own “miscommunications”. Do you want him to lie? If it REALLY WAS a receivers fault would rather him not hold that player accountable?

    Why can’t Josh Freeman hold focus in the middle of the season and play consistently?

    6-4 through ten games. I think he was pretty focused at the middle of the season.

  55. stevek Says:

    West Coast,

    What can Freeman do to prevent another 5+ game losing streak, after a winning start and being in the playoff hunt?

  56. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    Play defensive back?

  57. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    The five game losing streak is not Freeman’s to prevent. That is on the coaches and the players as a whole. Freeman is just one player. He has a large effect on the outcome of games but he still needs his teammates to play well. Giving up the second most yards in NFL history is just more proof of how often we led in games. If Freeman didn’t have us in a position to win so many games then teams wouldn’t have been throwing nearly as much and I sincerely doubt we end up with the worst pass defense and best run defense if we were not ahead for such a large portion of games.

  58. stevek Says:

    When the offense averages over 34 points per game for a quarter of the season, and then over the next next 4 games it drops to 17 points per game, who is that on, really?

    What is the base line for this offense?

    What about all of the 3 and outs? How is that on the D?

  59. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    All I am trying to say is we could do much MUCH much worse. Without a defense trying to set records of futility we can now accurately assess Freeman this season. As long as our defense can be even top 20, it will be much more fair to judge Freeman on the wins and losses of this upcoming season.

  60. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    What about all of the 3 and outs? How is that on the D?

    How many times, on third down, did you see Freeman chuck it down field? You think that was his doing or maybe someone was telling him to do that? (Maybe the guy hired to do specifically that? Sullivan?) It has been awhile now but I seem to remember quite a few third downs where Freeman was asked to throw it down field. Sometimes that works out and you get a cheap TD but statistically it is not going to get you very many first downs. I attribute the abundance of 3 and outs to same reason his completion percentage dropped. Play calling.

    That doesn’t mean Freeman didn’t miss wide open guys often. Or that he is not, at least in part, responsible for the losing streak. Just that he was asked to get the ball down field way more, which will naturally lead to more 3 and outs and incompletions and even turnovers because he is holding the ball longer for routes to develop down field.

  61. Stranger Says:

    I hope Freeman does not play at Dalton’s level. Dalton is very mediocre.

  62. Tiny tim Says:

    @ whoever keeps saying the bucs season didn’t start going south until free’s play declined is so wrong. THe bucs were lucky to have been 6-4 with a defense like that. Free had to play at a historic level in order to have won those 6 games. Asking any player to perform at a historic level in order to have a chance at winning is crazy. NEWS FLASH………The great Drew Brees didn’t make the playoffs this year. Why? Because the saints defense sucked!!! Get off of Free and let the 24 year old QB continue to grow and mature. Thank you microwave society!!!

  63. Tiny tim Says:

    Mark Sanchez is better than Freeman too because he led his team to 2 AFC championship with his always consistent play and clutch passes lol.

  64. Tiny tim Says:

    As it relates to three and outs….Its also the defense’s job to get three and outs and allow Free and the offense to get the ball with good field position. The fact that the bucs D could not do this coming down the stretch also contributed to the offense not scoring as many points. Again, being a successful “TEAM” has many factors and it does not hinge on whether or not a QB can score 34 pts a game.

  65. stevek Says:

    Bottom line, the Defense was addressed.

    Freeman needs to hold up his end of the bargain, no more hiding behind a porous D, time to deliver.

 
 

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