December Will Answer Freeman QuestionAugust 22nd, 2013
No one knows what the immediate future of Josh Freeman holds. He could blow up; he could implode. He could have a fantasy football season but be watching the playoffs on the couch. He could be on the cusp of being one of the richest young men in America, or hope to land a job as a second-string quarterback.
No one knows. Not Bucs coach Greg Schiano, not Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik, not Joe nor the Mike Glennon Mob. No one knows. No one.
But Anwar Richardson has an idea. The former Bucs beat writer who now covers the NFL for Yahoo! Sports appeared last night on “The Fabulous Sports Babe Show” heard locally on WHFS-FM 98.7 and noted that all the world will have a good idea about Freeman once the calendar flips to 2014.
Why then? Because the month of December has been Freeman’s kryptonite, Richardson explained. It is largely due to Freeman’s subpar play during the month of December in his four-year career that has kept him from being a playoff quarterback, Richardson said.
“This is an all-star team and all you are waiting on is if Josh Freeman is going to be the guy. The problem is, he hasn’t been. I like Freeman. Great guy, great character. Here is a key stat for me when I look at Freeman: If you want to be an elite quarterback, you have to learn how to close out the season. The month of December has to be your money month. And he hasn’t done well. When I looked it up his record in the month of December since 2009 is 5-12. The elite quarterbacks — the quarterbacks in this league who make the plays are the ones who close it down, down the stretch. Find a way to win the game. Find a way to get your team in the playoffs. Get your team in the hunt. What Freeman has been unable to do is get this team in the playoffs, get this team in the hunt. And that is the problem. When the pressure is on him, he doesn’t do as well. When you throw four interceptions a game you have to put some of it on yourself. When you throw five touchdowns and nine interceptions you have to put some of that on you. You have the weapons, you have enough weapons to be successful. The Bucs started 6-4 and finished 1-5. I am sorry, a lot of that is on Freeman. If he wants to stay in Tampa, you are going to have to find a way to finish strong.”
It’s an interesting angle Joe hadn’t considered exactly. Joe has long argued that Freeman vanishes under pressure. His 6-15 career record against winning teams speaks volumes. But Richardson comes with a different angle on pressure, yet the result is the same: not good at all.
Though Freeman is at the crossroads of his career, if he just calms down, trusts his coaches, trusts his playmakers to get the job done, he shouldn’t have to become invisible in pressure situations.
And if Freeman cannot handle pressure in the regular season, just what makes anyone think he can handle the pressure of a playoff game? At the end of the day, that’s what it is all about, not fantasy football stats, but wins and rings.
Let your teammates help you in December. No need to play Santa Claus; there are plenty in the shopping malls that time of the year.