Can Olson Really Improve Freeman’s Mechanics?

January 8th, 2010
Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson

Joe’s experienced team of analysts, former Bucs Jeff Carlson and Steve White, are not afraid to get into healthy exchanges with fans in the comments areas of

These two are passionate Bucs fans, in addition to being well versed at the highest level in the Xs and Os of the game.

In a recent exchange, Carlson, the former Bucs QB (1990 and 1991), was asked by commenter FlBoy84 a pointed question: 

“In an article you did previously, you mentioned that most teams don’t have someone on staff to work with QB’s on tightening up the mechanics. Can you clarify? 

Here is Carlson’s response:

You are under the correct assumption that a QB coach should be there to tweak the mechanics, etc.

But the cold, hard reality is that of all the QB coaches in the league, only a few have ever been a QB or know much about correcting problems with different motions, so they just leave them alone and work on the Xs and Os of the individual plays, understanding the defenses and different blitzes for that week’s game, and making sure the QB knows all of his checks (audibles).

Byron Leftwich said he worked on improving his mechanics everyday. What did he work on? He certainly didn’t improve or change anything from his days with Jacksonville, Atlanta or Pittsburgh.

Even though guys are given credit for “developing” QBs (Charlie Weiss for Tom Brady, or the Gators’ Scott Loeffler for Brady, Brian Griese and others while at Michigan), they don’t help them improve their throwing technique; they try to help them make better decisions with the ball.

Did you see Tim Tebow’s throwing motion improve this year under Loeffler, the guy that “developed” Tom Brady? Not a bit in my opinion.

I don’t think Charlie Weiss, who never played football at all, is giving clinics to Tom Brady, Brady Quinn or his newest guy Jimmy Clausen.

Scouts say Clausen will be a No. 1 pick and he probably will be, but quote me as saying he won’t be a good pro.

He hasn’t improved his “strange” throwing technique in three years under Weiss, who has had him since high school.

So, can we expect Josh Freeman to improve his throwing fundamentals? No.

Small changes to his weight transfer and his follow-through would put him on balance after the release of the ball, resulting in a more consistent outcome. Freeman will probably become a better QB by better decision making skills, which is what the QB/Offensive Coordinator will be working on throughout the offseason, training camp and during the season.

If he makes better decisions, his stats should improve. But if he was able to improve his mechanics, his ball would be more accurate more often.

If he combined both, he would make large improvements in his play and improve the team’s potential for winning more games.

13 Responses to “Can Olson Really Improve Freeman’s Mechanics?”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Along those lines, I think Freemans inaccuracy was due to slower decision making and hurried passes. Both of which are correctable through experience. I think with this season under his belt and next season’s OTA’s and camp, he’ll look more polished. Once the decision making improves he’ll show big upside-even more.

  2. FlBoy84 Says:

    Wow Jeff, thanks for the response. You would think that, with the importance of the position, teams might put a bit more credence in value of proper mechanics, but I guess not. Hopefully, Freeman takes it upon himself to improve and does some off-season work to straighten out the kinks at a QB camp. 😉 Thanks again.

  3. Paul Wiezorek Says:

    Ben Zobrist and Jason Bartlett hired a private hitting coach in the offseason. It seemed to work out pretty well for them (serious understatement). Are there credible private QB or other position mechanics coaches available? If so, are there any examples of some, and the QB’s that benefitted from them? That could be a cheap but valuable investment to make for a team. Hell, hire a guy like Dan Marino to spend a month or two in the offseason with him. Seems like a better idea than keeping an aging QB on the team who had horrible mechanics to begin with, and paying him all year to tutor your young star.

  4. JDouble Says:

    I don’t think Freeman has bad fundamentals or mechanics. He isn’t a Peyton Manning type guy, he is a Rothleisburg/McNabb/Farve type guy that moves around and brushes off would be tacklers then delivers the ball no matter what awkward position he is in. He needs more experience to slwo the game down, so he can make better reads and see thw whole field, but that comes with time. I’m not worried one bit.

    I liked very much Joe’s idea to sign Chad Pennington as our 3rd QB. He’d be our emergency QB, but more importantly he could really help Freeman come along and progress better than any QB coach would. He would just need to know why he was coming here in advance and be willing to put in the time and effort to be that mentor to Freeman.

  5. kezzy Says:

    Apparently Carlson, DeBerg and Testaverde all live in Tampa. The kid is 21. Go get him a tutor. Agreed.

  6. JDouble Says:

    Also, Rich Gannon offered his assistnace to the Raiders to see if he could help thier loser of a QB, but Al Davis no thanks. If he’s looking for that kind of role, then maybe we could make him a QB coach here. He was a very smart QB.

  7. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    JDouble – Doubt Pennington would come in here as a No. 3 quarterback, only as a No. 2. But given his reputation, it’s likely he could welcome that role since he’s working his way back to health. Josh Johnson could stay in the mix. …The Bucs should be finding other ways to use Johnson in the offense anyway.

  8. FlBoy84 Says:

    Only thing I’d caution as far as bringing in a past QB to work with Freeman is to make sure that, BEFORE the team hires him, that he has an understanding of the proper mechanical tweaks needed to help Josh. Using Leftwich as an example (as Jeff did), just because you are a QB doesn’t mean you understand the nuances of the physics involved in throwing a football. I understand Jeff runs his own QB school, maybe someone can drop his card in Freeman’s mailbox.

  9. FlBoy84 Says:

    Agree Joe, if the Bucs were able/interested in adding some Wildcat formations to their playbook this off-season, Johnson would be a great weapon (ala Pat White in Miami).

  10. Josh P Says:

    first of all if Pennington was the 3rd qb are seriously saying the Josh Johnson would be a head of him???? thats insane

  11. BigMacAttack Says:

    To Hell with Freeman, what the f#ck is Olson doing calling plays???

  12. Greg Says:

    Olson or whomever is the OC next year HAS to take JJ into account in this offense, he’s too fast and agile to leave sitting on the sidelines! FLBoy hit it on the head, JJ could become a great weapon just like Pat White!

  13. Jeff Carlson Says:

    Most of the comments here make sense when combined and I want to be clear. Josh Freeman has pretty good mechanics, but they can be better (like every other player in the league) and that can make him a better player.
    Sunday’s Tampa Tribune Sports cover story is about Ben Zobrist’s hitting coach that Paul W. was talking about. Ben Zobrist made it to the big leagues without this special hitting coach. The Rays pay their own “hitting coach”, but this guy obviously did something for Zobrist to improve the way he did.
    Freeman got to be a #1 draft pick throwing the way he does, but it doesn’t mean that he can’t get even better now with tighter mechanics.
    Check the photo of Freeman on Joe’s main page and look where he is holding the ball. His hand is too far back on the ball for his size. He has less control over the ball because of this.
    More importantly is how far he pulls himself off balance on regular throws, which cause inconsistency (back shoulder throws or one too far in front) in his simple throws to backs and receivers on short flat or option routes, etc.
    Check the SmileBox greeting at to see how still photos of Freeman’s warmup throws and see if you think he can get better.