Freeman Decision Looks Like A No-Brainer

August 23rd, 2010

Joe may be a marketer, but he’s no doctor.

However, Joe does have an advanced degree in common sense.

And Joe knows that common sense says Josh Freeman and his busted thumb shouldn’t be on the field for opening day against the Browns in 20 days.

The thumb, albeit a minor fracture, is on his throwing hand. This is not a situation where the Bucs can just give him some drugs to numb the area and get him in the game, and it’s not a part of his body they should consider letting heal sufficiently after the season.

He’s the 22-year-old franchise quarterback, and the Bucs have no chance of winning the Super Bowl. This should be an easy and obvious decision. Especially considering Mark Dominik made it quite clear that Freeman’s safety was paramount when the Donald Penn signing was expedited last month.

Joe’s not heard of too many busted QB throwing fingers being 100 percent in three weeks. And at best, it seems, Freeman would enter the opener against Cleveland on limited practice reps on the heels of limited preseason reps.

Exactly this kind of situation is why you turn to a backup quarterback.

Now Joe’s sure there’ll be all kind of Chuckyesque gamesmanship going on regarding Freeman’s status, to confuse the Browns and their game-planning. And maybe the Bucs will, in fact, trot Freeman out to play on opening day.

Joe just doesn’t think that’s a good idea.

27 Responses to “Freeman Decision Looks Like A No-Brainer”

  1. Jonny Says:

    Tony Romo was rested for like 4 weeks (5 actually with a bye week in between I believe) in 08 season due to an injured pinky. That season Dallas was supposed to be the favorite from NFC to win the title and yet Jerry Jones gave his starting QB enough time to recover and be back 100%.

    This seems like a very similar situation and like you say Joe, I doubt if a fractured thumb heals in 2-3 weeks, might be more than that. But I can see the reason why Freeman might be rushed to play against the browns. If Bucs lose to Browns at home, no matter who the starting QB in that game is, Bucs fans are not coming to any more home games unless the team turns it around and looks like a playoff contender.

  2. Blackmagic00 Says:

    This could be a blessing for JJ. JJ practicing with the first team and playing a significant amount in games could be our true answer to the backup qb and trick plays. A lot of practice. Then when Freeman comes back we might have a lot more to work with, plus it might relieve some of the pressure on everyone knowing we have a backup plan incase this happens again.

  3. eric Says:

    I agree.

    If the thumb interferes with his throwing motion he could have a bad day and lose confidence.

    I’d try and get him in at Carolina, as I wouldn’t want him facing the Steelers in his first game back. They look poised to bounce back defensively IMO. That could get ugly real quick.

  4. Buddhaboy Says:

    Fun to speculate, but wont know for a few weeks. Each person heals at their own pace. “When your talking bout healing, just make sure it heals all the way before getting him back..” Coach Rah.

  5. jlynch Says:

    Man you guys act like this guy is made of glass. Other players play with worse stuff than that Treat him soft your gonna make him soft

  6. Not A Rocket Surgeon Says:

    JF has a well documented history of being durable and a quick healer.

    I too would err on the side of caution, but not so much as to be overly cautious with him.

    Time will tell. Collateral issues (swelling and soreness) are causing the real problems with his ability to grip the ball.

    If those things linger, keep him out til he’s 100% – if they do not, and he can grip the ball – let him play.

    September 12th is 21 days (three full weeks) away… we’ll know on the 11th.

    I actually am not that upset with the idea that JF takes all his mental reps against what Cleveland is going to bring for the next 3 weeks.. Ideally, he gets a head start on the 1st quarter of the season in the next 2 weeks.

    Also allows us to confirm if young JJ has really got what it takes to be our 2nd stringer during the preseason.

  7. Demetrios Says:

    Joe, I guess you were right after all. He was a “bust in waiting”….. he busted his thumb. Seriously, though, we need to compare apples to oranges when discussing other injuries to Freeman’s. I’m not sure what part of the digit was fractured with Romo, but my guess is it was not the tip of the finger. When you have a fracture, or sprain for that matter, that involves a joint, then the digit must be immoblized to maintain the stability of the digit. In this case, it’s the tip or distal phalanx and will have no affect on the stability of the thumb if he plays with it. Flexion and extension of the thumb will not slow the healing process and in a couple of weeks, throwing a ball should not be an issue funtionally. Surely it will hurt and it might affect his accuracy but I’d still rather have Josh “bust in thumb” Freeman in there instead of JJ.

  8. eric Says:

    I knew that guy had a weak distal phalanx before we even drafted him!

    Big wuss.

  9. troxell8t8 Says:


    I appreciate the work you do on this website. However, the “no brainer” is if he is relatively healthy he is going to play. This team needs to sell tickets, of course the franchise QB is going to play the home opener if he can. The Bucs almost have to beat the Browns to get fans back excited in this team. Freeman is the best option to do that even if he is only 80%.

  10. eric Says:

    I doubt the marketing plan includes a lot of wins this year. If it does they realy are clueless over there at onebuc.

  11. Joe Says:


    Both Mark Dominik and Raheem Morris’ job security is tied to Josh Freeman. If he’s not healthy, he won’t play.

    This season isn’t about this season, if you get Joe’s drift.

  12. bucfanjeff Says:

    His thumb will be sore and bothersome all year. If he can practice and throw the week prior to the opener, no reason he shouldn’t play. Sometimes you just have to man up. We’re not talking about a sprained knee.

  13. BamBamBuc Says:

    It’s a fracture…. it’s not a break. Typically this is at the tip of the thumb, and other than being painful under pressure is not really a big deal. Throwing with a fracture at the tip of the thumb is not going to cause long term damage or impede the healing process. It feels like a really bad bruise. If he says he can play, let him play. It’d be different if he’d actually broken it.

  14. bob Says:

    joe, why are you acting like you know the severity of this injury? for all we know he could be out there this week throwing passes around in practice.

    he shouldn’t play week 1!! huh? calm down dude !!

  15. eric Says:

    Might be smart to hold him out until after the bye week.

  16. McBuc Says:

    Favre would play…LOL, well, he would.

  17. troxell8t8 Says:


    Agree with you to a point. However, it is about this season in selling tickets. I understand your common sense approach, but I think we can agree almost every player in the NFL plays hurt at some level. Like you, I am not a doctor so I can’t predict how a fracture on the tip of the thumb will effect Freeman. My assumption is that if the medical staff gives him clearance to play, the man will play because he knows he is the leader of this team. That’s just what leaders do is set the example.

  18. lightningbuc Says:

    Man, it’s good to know that this site has so many orthopaedic surgeons among its readers and posters.

  19. D Kremp Says:

    Joe, why u gotta hate saying the bucs will not be in the superbowl. ya never know lol! look at the cardinals in 08.

  20. thomas Says:

    Listen – why play free if it close? The difference between him and JJ now is not that significant. Free is still a 10td 18int 50% completion qb – who is improving.

    Let the kid heal – if it is week 1 or 2 or 3 it doesnt matter- either way you are either 0-3 or 1-2 at best.

  21. pete Says:

    Cleveland should suck. If we lose to Cleveland in week 1 and look like we did last year, ticket sales may never recover for this year. Frankly its critical to beat a team like Cleveland in Tampa in week 1. The loss of Freeman makes that look more remote.

  22. eric Says:

    Since they are married, Freeman can borrow Rah’s thumb.

    But we all know where his has been for two years……………

  23. Jonny Says:

    eric Says:
    August 23rd, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    “Since they are married, Freeman can borrow Rah’s thumb.

    But we all know where his has been for two years……………”

    The same place where your head has been buried in forever?

  24. nick Says:

    jj sucks plain and simple if freeman doesnt play in week 1 were screwed right off rip, jj shouldnt even be a backup hes a joke

  25. Tom Says:

    “However, Joe does have an advanced degree in common sense.”

    Yes but Joe had to buy it from the University of Phoenix and is now over 10k dollars in student loan debt. No one seems to be hiring people with an advanced degree without any experience using common sense. So now Joe has to move back with his parents so he can afford his car insurance while he works at the local coffee house. Seems like Joe’s degree is pretty worthless, just like Joe’s take on Derrick Ward or Rookie-Josh Freeman.

    At least that’s how I imagine it went…

  26. drdneast Says:

    Here we go getting more medical opinions from writers. A fracture can be as simple as a “hairline” fracture which is the exactly the size the name implies. It certinaly wasn’t a”compund” fracture, which is when the bone is broken in two. See Joe Theismann’s leg.

  27. No koolaid Says:

    Ronnie Lott breaks his thumb in the middle of a game and wants it amputated so he can keep playing and Freeman gets a little boo-boo and is out for three weeks? Come on. Lott must be rolling over this one.