Bucs “Little Concerned” About Josh Freeman

September 28th, 2011

Last year Josh Freeman went from a quarterback with a number of question marks to an NFL elite.

Freeman had an astounding touchdown-to-pickoff ratio of 25-6, which is mind-boggling for any quarterback much less one who was in his first full season as an NFL starter.

Freeman came within a whisker of guiding the Bucs to the playoffs as the team lost a tiebreaker to the eventual Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

Freeeman — as Joe’s good friends at WTSP-TV Channel 10 like to refer to him as “Starship” — established himself as the king of comebacks, rallying the Bucs to fourth quarter wins. That continued this season when Freeman and the Bucs came back from a 17-0 deficit to beat Minnesota on the road.

But Freeman hasn’t been as accurate this season and even Bucs coach Raheem Morris noted this in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio earlier this week, which Joe is transcribing for publication later today. Freeman’s two interceptions in the red zone in the past two games demonstrate he’s not yet locked in.

This, per Woody Cummings of the Tampa Tribune, moonlighting for SportingNews.com, has “Bucs brass is a little concerned.”

Freeman did a superb job of recognizing opportunities and risks a year ago when he threw for 25 touchdown passes and just six interceptions. He has not been as sharp this year, and the Bucs aren’t sure why.

It could be that Freeman is simply not picking up lurking defenders as well as he did last year or it could be that his confidence in his ability to make a play is so high that he’s simply taking more chances.

Either way, the team needs to Freeman to play a little smarter. The Bucs are ranked 31st in the league in red-zone efficiency and Freeman’s picks are a big part of the reason for that.

Naturally, if your starting quarterback is not accurate that’s going to be an issue, no question. Joe’s going to go out on a limb and suggest that Freeman is seeing all sorts of different looks and defenses flashed at him that he’s never seen before.

Think about it. During the asinine lockout, coaches throughout the NFL had little to do but break down tape, both of NFL players and college prospects. Perhaps Freeman not just surprised NFL fans last year, but NFL coaches too?

It stands to reason that NFL defensive coordinators pored over Freeman’s tape in the offseason to devise looks and schemes that would confuse the Bucs young leader, and his early-season struggles are part of that.

24 Responses to “Bucs “Little Concerned” About Josh Freeman”

  1. Meh Says:

    Freeman’s definitely been a bit off, but it is way to early to be panicking. I think some of this is lockout related, but not all of it as he’s been missing some easy throws and making a few bad choices. I expect him to settle in as we play more games though.

  2. billyjoesyphilis Says:

    Josh will be fine, any other player on the roster…. (aside from Ronde Barber or Gerald McCoy and Mason Foster in a few years) I would worry about. This kid is mature and steady and will put in the work to get right… Bucs brass needs to calm down and feel good about this kid. He wins games. Josh is not stuck in reverse about his own numbers or a few bad reads, he sees it purely as a team game. The only other QB even close in this regard would be Drew Brees and we know what he has done for the team formerly known as the ‘aints’….. so I reiterate…Josh is going to be fine.

  3. Garv Says:

    Some may be worried but I’m not one of them. There is no doubt the asinine lockout hurt Josh and the young Buccaneers. But I think they’ll get better as the season goes on though some tough games on the schedule may not make it look quite like that.
    Josh has been missing some easy throws too but again, I have no doubt he’ll improve, continue to improve. Meanwhile, he’s still the leader he is and still has the confidence of his teammates. I like how he doesn’t let a bad play into his head to the point of being hesitant later in the game. He still plays to win and does win most of the time.

  4. Mauha Deeb Says:

    He didn’t play all that well in the first few games last season either. He’ll get it going shortly.

  5. IMHO... Says:

    Free will be fine. Sunday’s game showed more of his toughness in a gritty game. Once he builds a better rhythm, stop staring his recievers down and be wiser with his deep throws things will come easy 2 him.

  6. Freeman4President Says:

    The only thing that has concerned me since preseason is he is not stepping into his throws, which is causing alot of passes to sail high on him.

  7. flmike Says:

    IMHO it looks like he’s working on his touch, watch some of his checkdowns and his sideline passes, it looks to me as if he’s really trying to work more touch into his passes instead of just letting them go and hoping the receiver can catch his fastball.

  8. Ian_620WDAE Says:

    If Tony Dungy were still here he’d say that Freeman is just out of synch. If anything I am more impressed with #5 for not having a good game but still having the ability to make plays by any means necessary and deliver a win.

    Brady threw 4 ints last week and no one in New England is panicking, Im not saying that Freeman is on that level yet but nobody in Tampa Bay should be panicking either.

    Freeman is the QB we always wanted but never had until now

  9. Teddy Says:

    Joe, your point about opposing coaches having extra time to devise schemes to confuse Freeman certainly makes sense, particularly for Detroit (since coaches always seem to scheme extra for the first game of the year) and for division opponents (well, all except Carolina because they have a new coaching staff who had enough on their hands learning about their own team before focusing solely on opponents).

    That said, this team is still 2-1 despite the growing pains, and with a little luck they could have been 3-0. Pretty impressive for such a young team.

  10. Capt.Tim Says:

    At Kansas, Josh spent the offseason in the film room. First off season here- spent in the Filmroom. This off season- the asinine Lockout kept Josh away.

  11. Dave Says:

    I do not buy that reason at all JOE. Record number of QBs are throwing for 300+ yards. Rookies like Cam newton went for over 400…. twice. Ryan Fitzpatrick looks all world.
    I find it hard to believe that Freeman is confused or got schemed more than anybody else.

    It seems to me he is indecisive for a split second and it is costing him. Maybe it is because the WRs aren’t open. Maybe it is double teams on Williams and K2. Maybe he has just started the season slow with a little step backwards.

    What I do know is the more they pound Blount, the quicker he will get out of it.

  12. Teddy Says:

    Oh, and Ian…you’re absolutely right about Freeman being the QB we always wanted but never had.

  13. Jorge Says:

    Tom FREAKING Brady threw 4 picks last week…F-O-U-R!!! I don’t know why, or how maybe lockout probably…but everybody is throwing picks…biggest stat HE WINS…I hate the picks in the redzone!!! but he makes up for it..HE WINS

  14. Joke Says:

    I’m a little concerned that he’s looked off in his throws. I also feel like the receivers haven’t been doing him any favors (except for MWill’s TD catch vs Det) with some drops on catchable balls.

    I’m thinking Benn may not be ready yet — he looks unsure of himself and tentative out there.

  15. raphael Says:

    Freeman was 8 for 8 on the first touchdown against atlanta.thats preety good .He has been a little off for some reason.no need to panick though.Brady through 4 ints vs bills.

  16. Espo Says:

    non issue

  17. IMHO... Says:

    I agree with that statement, not 2 mention tha weather playing a role in terms of were and how he was throwing his passes. Only if he had a true deep threat

  18. Buddhaboy Says:

    I think they needed to bring in more playmakers. Darren Sproles. Someone, maybe go get steve slaton. Need more speed.

  19. flmike Says:

    @IMHO, I think we do have a deep threat, Benn is a burner, I think they are still holding him back a little, especially on our field. Also, Briscoe can fly. The offense will open up, don’t worry.

  20. jim Says:

    He needs to throw from the ‘Gun’. I would like to see a comparison of his stats from under center VS the shotgun.

  21. mikeck Says:

    “The only thing that has concerned me since preseason is he is not stepping into his throws, which is causing alot of passes to sail high on him.”


  22. BamBamBuc Says:

    Not that anyone here cares about ESPN statistics, but their new QBR system is very similar to what the good folks at PFF and Football Outsiders do. They chart each play, determine success based on down and distance, with a lead or behind, don’t subtract from the QB for WR drops, etc. Well, season to date, Brees is the best in the South. But Freeman (although he hasn’t looked particularly sharp) is 2nd in the NFC South with a 55.3 (out of 100). Cam Newton is 3rd and Ryan is bringing up the bottom with a 40.5 (rated 24th overall in the NFL). That could have something to do with Freeman’s near comeback against Detroit, the comeback against the Vikings and also because a lot of things aren’t necessarily his fault (the Bucs WRs have dropped 6 passes, 2nd most in the league). Of course, Roddy White now leads all WRs with 4 drops on the season after the 2 he dropped against us. Freeman is probably also bolstered by his ability to scramble, the number of first downs he’s gotten on bootlegs and sneaks, and the TD he scored on the sneak.

    Just saying, if you look at more than just basic statistics, you can see that even having an off year so far, he’s still doing pretty good.

  23. McBuc Says:

    Hard to believe we are two and one and some are nitpicking Freeman. I guess it should be expected here in Tampa. It seems like many of you feel you know what his problem is, just from watching TV which gives limmited views, or going to the game and watching from a distance. The slow starts seem to have come to an end, so maybe Free’s slow start will as well. Who cares how many yards different QBs in the league have, have those great yardage ganes for Cam resulted in more wins than losses, NO! In fact, the Panther’s one win was his least yardage game thus far. Someone above said the only real stats to worrie ab out is the W/L stat.

  24. Diary of a Wimpy Ruud Says:

    Freeman is the least of our worries…