THE OPTIMIST: Freeman’s On Target

October 13th, 2011

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe also brings you THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the Buccaneers goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.

I work at a local restaurant (soon to be unemployed, anyone know who’s hiring a kitchen manager?) and after the 2010 Super Bowl when the Saints beat the Colts, we had an awful lot of chicken wings left over.

“Super Bowl sales were down for the first time” was the report, as every year for the four previous years each Super Bowl Sunday resulted in an increase in wing sales from the previous Big Game.

But it turned out the wing sales were right where they were supposed to be. The year prior, the Super Bowl was in Tampa, and with all the local excitement of having a Super Bowl in our backyard, sales were inflated.

It holds true for the progression and expectations of our quarterback Josh Freeman. Many have the beleaguered QB “regressing” in his third season. All of a sudden, the pre-draft concerns are coming out of the woodwork again. 

The truth is, Josh Freeman is right where he is supposed to be for a third-year QB — if it weren’t for such a spectacular 2010 season, where Freeman tossed an amazing 25 TDs to six interceptions. That was a record for a second-year QB and rightfully so; it’s a great set of numbers for even a veteran signal caller.

So good that you can’t help but expect Year 3 to be even better, but just like our wings situation, if you take out the incredible number, the end result of growth in the third year is exactly where it should be.

Wings Cases Sold

2006  10
2007  14
2008  17
2009  29
2010  23

Year 3 in the Josh Freeman Franchise project, he is still learning and doing the things he is supposed to in his third season of growth. But our expectations of Freeman, and perhaps the Bucs in general, is that there should be growth from last year year when that may not always happen.

Of course, a win cures everything. We were still amazed with Freeman and the Bucs after their comeback over Minnesota in Week 2, even Ronde Barber had a career day last week in the win over Indianapolis.

Yet how many people after Sunday want Barber to retire because he looked too old. In truth, the whole team looked guilty of not being ready, and when every single player and facet of the game is played so poorly, you can’t do anything but look forward to the next game and write it off as an aberration.

As long as it doesn’t happen again!

9 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Freeman’s On Target”

  1. tampaTrae Says:

    You lost me at soon to be unemployed kitchen manager….

  2. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    This article has no basis unless you insert some numbers showing the expected progression of a QB over time to support your argument. Your chicken wing analogy is, um, interesting (I’m being nice) but how do cases of wings equate to TD’s, INT’s, passing yards or QB ratings? It makes no sense at all without stats to support it.

    I’ll be nice and give this article an “I” for incomplete.

  3. Captain Stagger Says:

    Ok …..I’ll bite…..
    So wing sales increased due to an outside variable, what outside variable caused Freemans stat spike last year? Is his play in 2011 that much further along than 2009? Let’s say he threw a pedestrian 18 TD and 12 int last year, has he progressed beyond that?

    Reasons he has regressed:
    No offseason, new game tape, and recievers that are open less than a girls legs at Deja Vu.

    Just sayin….

  4. bucfanjeff Says:

    The article is on point as is Captain Stagger. Freeman isn’t regressing, he just isn’t playing all world like last year. What hurts him is lack of WR’s getting open, thus Freeman is indirectly forced to take chances by forcing the ball. If he drops back to pass half of the plays, is he not ever supposed to throw it because WR’s are covered? No. He will just take more chances. (Olsen also needs to dial up more deep shots, period.)
    Yes his decision making has been bad at times, but aside from last weeks TEAM melt down, his leadership had us at 3-1 after a quarter of the season.
    And, while he might be a 3rd year QB, game experience only has him at the latter of year 2.
    We’ll be ok.

  5. McBuc Says:

    Bucfanjeff…I agree 100% This town gets a bit nuts after a loss, and that was a whopper of a loss. The lack of an off season is what is hurting the entire offense. The young wide outs and Free did not benefit from coaching and practice, part of being a young team. They will bounce back, it is not time for the sky to fall.

  6. gotbbucs Says:

    good o-coordinators find ways to get thier best wr’s into single coverage situations. olson had a whole offseason to scheme for the extra attention williams was going to get and it appears like he spent all his time at the beach.

  7. bucfanjeff Says:

    @gotbbucs – Olsen is getting Parker and Benn in nice matchups, but it’s still up to the WR to take advantage of those situations. We might see more gains from those matchups if Olsen would stretch the field a little more often and loosen the defense. Right now defense are not spread deep enough. For a loose comparison, other teams are playing like when they’re in the redzone. They can only play so deep because they run out of real estate. Right now, they’re doing that up and down the field by design.

  8. patrickbucs Says:

    I remember a number of trick plays last year (not counting end arounds or Josh Johnson), believe Caddy tossing it deep against Falcons to draw a flag for 1. This offense imo hasn’t done a good job of keeping the opposing d-coordinators and defenses on their toes. It’s pretty much a run or some sort of dump off. Lets come out with something for this game that looks different, maybe that will help Freeman and this offense get some sort of flow. I can’t think of a skilled offensive position that has matched last years production potential to this point. Blount has been mostly underused so tough to say on him.

    I can’t see without a Brees injury how we can keep this team under 24 pints. If we don’t have Blount I can’t imagine Greg Willams is worried about Graham. They will stack the box and pressure on almost all downs. Give Freeman a real opportunity to shine.

  9. Niko (The Optimist) Says:

    Florida Boy in Dallas- The two equate to each other, in that people expected growth from the last years numbers. If you look at the Wings numbers, and you take out the 29 cases sold in 2009, the numbers for 2010 are right about where they should be. about 3 or 4 cases each year.

    As for Freeman, If you take away 2010, and you look at his 2009 games (Remember the 5 INT game vs Carolina?) even in his worst game last week he looks better than 2009.