The QB Blast: Expect Freeman To Use Old Script

July 22nd, 2010

Former Bucs QB Jeff Carlson


Former Bucs quarterback Jeff Carlson (1990 & 1991) writes The QB Blast column here at 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.

23 Responses to “The QB Blast: Expect Freeman To Use Old Script”

  1. Matt Says:

    LOVE the last two paragraphs and, as Joe knows from yesterday, couldn’t agree more 😉

  2. McBuc Says:

    Nice read Jeff.

  3. Gary Says:

    So do you agree with sticking to the script Jeff? You expect the status quo, but I would have like to read what you think we SHOULD do.

    Good post. Totally agree with the Garcia thing.

  4. sensiblefan Says:

    Solid work Jeff.

    I read on PR that Van Pelt expects Freeman to get 70% of the practice snaps during camp. He and the receiving corps should have plenty of time to develop some chemistry.

  5. bucfanjeff Says:

    And I’ll re-state my comments for Joe from a recent post where
    Joe asks, “You want Josh Johnson in there or Jeff Garcia?”
    “Joe, to answer your question, I’ll take Josh Johnson over Garcia.” – and let me add, “any day of the week and twice on Sundays.”

  6. eric Says:

    Perhaps Mr. Carlson should have tried Mr. Garcia’s technique. Whatever he did didn’t keep him in the league very long, did it?

    In contrast, Jeff Garcia played and started for years, including playoff games for San Fran, Eagles, and Bucs. Plus pro-bowl appearances.

    Not bad for a Jack Russel.

  7. eric Says:

    Man, I had to go look up Carlson’s stats, having forgotten his steller play.

    2 whole td passes vs. 9 ints. in three seasons.

    34.1 QB rating.

    If Garcia is a Jack Russel, Carlson must have been a toy chihuahah.

  8. Sobo Says:

    And you Eric, what are your NFL GM credentials?

  9. sensiblefan Says:


    Re: Carlson

    Those who can; Do.
    Those who can’t: Teach.
    Those who can’t teach; Blog.

  10. Kevin Says:

    I have to say it is in poor taste to bash a guy like Jeff Garcia in that manner. The man had a pretty successful and LONG NFL career compared to the author.

  11. McBuc Says:

    Come on now, Jeff puts himself out there, so Eric has the right to disagree and rip on him a bit. I used to hate watching Jeff on Bay News 9 after the games. I also used to give him a hard time on these blogs, but I prefer reading his articles over those overly critical win or lose bay news 9 days. Eric, you also have to hand it to him, only a small group of men play in the NFL…even short runs with the Bucs and the Pats. I can not beleive I have defended Eric twice now!

  12. eric Says:

    Playing in the NFL is an awesome achievement.

    Playing as well and as long as Garcia is a super awesome achievement.

  13. BamBamBuc Says:

    And being a fan means you know more than a guy that made it to the NFL, but only for a short time?

    I agree with the article, the team will stick to the “standard” preseason routine. I also agree that I’d rather have a Josh Johnson backing up Freeman this year than Garcia. And I think Garcia did a pretty good job when he was here.

  14. Gary Says:

    Come on guys. If us average folk think our opinion holds weight, then of course Jeff’s holds even more weight since he actually played in the NFL.

    Stop ripping him. He thinks Garcia had his flaws, just like many fans out there.

    He knows enough about the NFL to see whats what… he doesn’t have to be Peyton Manning for us to respect his opinion.

    McBuc… watch out now! Defending Eric is like a disease. When you don’t kill that desire immediately, it will become bigger and spread. Next thing you know you’ll be predicting a 0-16 season! LOL.

  15. eric Says:

    Hey, I am a small time local lawyer, so I wouldn’t call F. Lee Bailey a hack!

  16. Sobo Says:

    Would that be F. Lee Bailey before or after he was shamefully disbarred. …I think it’s clear that Carlson was merely saying that a 40-year-old, off-the-couch Garcia isn’t going to get it done. And as for him letting plays fall apart quickly, that wasn’t all bad when he could scramble with the best of them. Don’t think he can do that now. Josh Johnson can.

  17. BamBamBuc Says:

    Jeff didn’t call Garcia a “hack”, eric. He stated the obvious…. that Garcia is 40+ (which he is), he’s been out of the NFL for a year (true again), and that he has a tendency to scramble immediately after the snap…. which is the only debatable piece of that… I think he may have waited a second or two before scrambling sometimes. Gotta love Garcia… loads of heart, but he is a OC’s nightmare (and sometimes savior)

  18. eric Says:

    “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”.

    That is not a comment on his age, but a remark on how he played during his career.

    For a guy who only had slightly better stats than Randy “why not Minot” Hedberg, it seemed a little harsh.

  19. BamBamBuc Says:


    That’s funny stuff… I laughed when I read that (just the image was amusing). C’mon man, get a sense of humor. It wasn’t a knock on him, just a funny way of saying how he played the game. It’s true, he was so small compared to the rest of the guys, he looked more like a Jack Russell Terrier running away from a pack of wolf/pitbull hybrids than chasing rabbits… but it’s a funny analogy.

  20. BamBamBuc Says:

    and I would give Randy “why not Minot” Hedberg just as much respect for getting into the NFL as anyone else….

  21. eric Says:

    Ill give him points for humor. It is clever.

    As “Bill” once said:

    Perhaps I over reacted.

  22. McBuc Says:

    Just watch out…Jeff is still in pretty good shape, and may figure out who you are…Just kidding, I have heard he is a pretty nice guy. Everyone always says this and that about the talking heads on TV and the radio, most of them played as well. The only reason you guys are upset that anyone questioned Jeff is that it is right here in writing where Jeff can see it. Jeff has been around a while, and I am pretty sure he can take it.

  23. George C. Costanza Says:

    you misused the word “whom” in the lede.