ESPN: “Very Bad Team” Around Freeman

November 18th, 2011

Nothing steams Joe more than hearing chatter from those who blame the Bucs’ woes on a lack of talent.

Sorry. Joe can’t let those through. It’s a bogus take, floated this week by beat writer Stephen Holder and now ESPN NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas. The latter, in an ESPN live chat today, says Freeman’s struggling because he has a bunch of second-rate talent around him.

CC (Atlanta): Aaron (Bay Area) is right. Freeman should get alot more heat. You just make excuses for him. Funny… you have no problem blasting Matt Ryan despite a porous OL. And Ryan has been alot better than Josh this season.

Pat Yasinskas: Yeah, Ryan has been better than Freeman this year. And I don’t think I’ve blasted Ryan very much. My point on Freeman is this — have you seen what’s around him? A very bad team in a lot of ways.

First, the Bucs have a punishing 1,000 yard rusher in the backfield that they refuse to use with regularity.

Second, the Bucs have a very high-priced offensive line with two guys, Donald Penn and Davin Joseph, universally viewed with upper-echelon regard. That’s a damn good line in front of Freeman.

Third, Mike Williams was voted the 80th best player in the NFL by his peers for a reason this offseason. Anyone who watched the 2010 combine could see he was the most talented college receiver behind Dez Bryant, and he proved it his rookie year. He’s had too many drops this season, but Williams is not a “bad” player by any stretch. Arrellious Benn is a legitmate threat used all too sparingly. Preston Parker is the best slot receiver the Bucs have had since Ike Hilliard, far better than Sammie Stroughter last season.

Joe could go on, but the point is this offense with largely the same cast and coordinator moved the ball very well the second half of last season and churned up fat yardage on the ground. They even seemed to have an identity.

It’s not a “very bad team” around Freeman as Yasinskas claims. Joe has no explanation for Blount’s use, or lack thereof, or why the Bucs haven’t adapted to the increasing man coverage on their receivers. But Joe’s quite sure the answers aren’t that all these guys have turned into a pile of crap. The coaching just isn’t getting nearly enough out of them.

26 Responses to “ESPN: “Very Bad Team” Around Freeman”

  1. Thomas 2.2 Says:


    You are trying to force Benn forward again, he has been a huge disappointment. Parker is our best receiver right now, with fewer snaps Parker makes WAY more plays. Benn isn’t targeted because he can’t get open.

  2. Joshua Licht Says:

    I wouldn’t put the lack of talent on the offense(Trueblood just isn’t good) but on the defense. Black, Hayes(inconsistent), Jones, Barber(not a lack of talent but a lack of young legs), Biggers, Jackson, Miller, Lynch, Lewis(maybe a bit too early to start calling him talentless)…… Really, the only guys I see as solid on our defense is Talib, Foster, Watson, Price, McCoy, Clayborn and Bennett.

    I do find it interesting that one of our weakest points on defense is an area our head coach is supposed to be most familiar with. Perhaps the players could shine under another coordinator.

    On offense there are areas that could deserve an upgrade but nothing that stands out as a clear lack of talent or skill(outside of Trueblood and Larsen).

    Freeman lacks a coordinator that understands his arsenal. Olsen has weapons, he just hasn’t figured out how to turn the safety off and fire.

  3. Architek Says:

    No Thomas Joe’s not forcing Benn out front but the point is we all watched the less talented Broncos call a competitive game with a subpar qb and found a way to keep it close based on their personnel. Freeman at this point a way better than Tebow but yet we can’t maximize our roster as we build. Damming of the coaches and direction if you ask me. Just as the players are evaluated the offense coaches should be to. I questioned the route combinations and gameplan weeks ago. If a team is pressing you, then we should counter with rub routes and quick pick routes and slants but we don’t do any of that. It’s a very dark cloud over this team and I think its the coaching.

  4. Jimmy Says:

    Whilst I agree coaching and play calling has a lot to do with it this season, I wouldn’t be in a rush to call Freeman’s surrounding cast particularly talented. Let’s consider the players Joe has singled out here. Penn and Joseph. Playing well but that still means we’ve only got 2/5ths of a line. LeGarrette Blount, only useful on two of three downs. Mike Williams. Exceptionally talented but dropping passes left, right and centre and occasionally gifting CBs interceptions. Arrelious Benn – rarely gets open. I’d say Preston Parker is the only player performing at a level you’d expect.

    So all in all, this doesn’t give Josh much to work with.

  5. Patrick Says:

    How bout we just say the “whole team” is bad right now? Really, it seems like we don’t really know what it is. Is it Freeman’s performance? Is it the receivers that are at fault? Is it our coaches? Is it Olsen’s pathetic playcalling? Really, our team is a mess right now. Too many areas that have question marks.

  6. Nate Says:

    I remember when we went 3-13… A couple years ago.. people saying we were the worst team in the nfl.. Hmm Then I think we beat a few good teams one of them being the PACKERS! Yeah yeah the packers are alot better now but our team was way worse then too.. We have a chance its the Nfl… We just have to get it together… and run the ball hold the ball!!! Cleveland beat new england last year with that same mojo..

  7. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Saying he has a very bad team is a huge exaggeration. He certainly doesn’t have a great team around him, but certainly not bad. I happen to believe our team is pretty average right now talent wise. Unfortunately, our coaching this year has been average at best. Although I like Morris and still feel he is the man for the job, he has done a poor job of keeping this team motivated. We looked shell shocked from the beginning against Houston, and got out hustled and out played in every single way. Sad part is, it’s not the first time it has happened. I expect a much better performance against GB, as well as the rest of the year. If it doesn’t happen, then I may have to step over to the dark side with Thomas and the Thomasettes (who funny enough have been invisible all this time until we start losing). I truly hope that doesn’t happen.

  8. Stanglassman Says:

    We have played some really good teams lately, I believe this is the toughest 6 game stretch in 18 years. I understand the team just isn’t playing well but the good news is that this week we have such low expectations that we have nothing to lose. In the words of Laurence Taylor we need to go out to Lambeau Field and play like a pack of wild dogs. Go Bucs!

  9. Eric Says:

    It amazes me that everyone focuses on the offensive side of the ball. Yeah the team is very mediocre offensively.

    However, the painful truth is that by any objective standard Rah is one of the worst DC’s in the NFL. There is the bigger problem.

    And if we have “lack of talent” defensively the rock star needs to be called out because the team has spent high draft choices and Glazer boy money to upgrade the defense. Yet, it has not upgraded in terms of Sundays.

  10. macabee Says:

    Stan, If I can hold my hand steady enough to type after the Thomas and Thomasettes reference, I would like to agree with you – even in defeat if we can show a ” this ain’t gonna be no easy win” attitude and fight like Genghis Khan and his mongol horde, I will be satisfied. However, in today’s NFL, playing with intensity is often frowned upon, with stiff fines and penalties for motivated play. As far away from NFL accepted football was Denver’s win over the Jets, it reminded me of football before the passing game and television took over the NFL.

  11. Eric Says:

    I might be a Thomassette, but your grandmothers run like a bulldog.

    So there!

  12. Blubber Price Says:

    Joe has officially lost his mind , what little there was to lose…

  13. Blubber Price Says:

    Anyone who thinks our WR core is talented is smoking more crack than Tanard Jackson.

    Talented looks like calvin Johnson.
    Talented looks like Andre Johnson.
    Talented looks like Greg Jennings.

    Talented does not look like a slow possesion WR who can’t catch ( Mike WIlliams) Talented does not look like a slow horrible route runner who is never open ( Arrelious Benn )

    Might they develop into decent NFL wr’s ? Sure. Are they top-tier talent ?? Not by NFL standards.

  14. BigMacAttack Says:

    ” Joe has no explanation for Blount’s use, or lack thereof…”

    Uhhhhhh, Greg Olson.


  15. thomas 2.2 Says:

    Invisible! Hilarious. Average coaching! More hilarious.
    We started 3-13, we have been losing since 09. Ihave been here that long.
    Too many pina coladas.

  16. thomas 2.2 Says:

    Talented does not look like “a running bulldog” apparently.

  17. the_buc_realist Says:

    to all that are screaming about the hardest past 6 games in 18 years. If the Bucs had won some games, it would not be the “toughest” strech of 6 games.

  18. Brandon Says:

    Our wide receivers are ridiculously untalented. They all fit the same mold, big, slow, can’t catch or get open. That is not a good combo.

    Mike Williams may have been a top 80 player last sesaon but he has been Clayton 2.0 this season. He is among the league leaders in drops. Benn also can’t get open and hasn’t seen as many looks, and his drops have come almost as frequently as Williams. Briscoe is showing why he was cut by Cincy. Too slow to get open. They’ve got AJ Green, Jerome Simpson, and a few others that are far better than our group, I think Cincy made out by cutting Dez Briscoe.

    Our best WR is Preston Parker, an undrafted, slightly undersized, pretty darn slow but at least he’s quick, guy with decent hands. Don’t get me started on Kellen Winslow. He hasn’t gotten separation in a long time and his routes are sloppier than the Soldier Field turf on a rainy day.

    No matter who is running the team next season, the offseason priority is obvious: A WR that is both consistent AND a game changer. They have nobody to stretch the field, nobody that can beat press coverage quickly, nobody that is a downfield threat. It’s like Freeman has been crippled by forcing him to throw a bunch of TEs out there to pose as WRs… only the TEs have had their hands cut off.

  19. Sgt Mike Says:

    Bad Coaching of potentially good to great players. Fire the coaching staff now and start the rebuild at coaching now so they are in stride with improvements next season. We certainly are not legitimate contenders for anything right now.

  20. MTM Says:

    The real problem is ownership. The owners put or let all this happen and continue to go down the same road. Lackluster coaching, thrifty spending and bad scouting/draft selection = piss poor product with no hope for improvement. Team Glazer keep spending on the kickball club.

  21. ramon Says:

    I think that besides those 2 players, the oline is complete garbage. Freemans size and eluaiveness makes them look a lot better than they are.

  22. CC Says:

    I heard Freeman on his radio show. Caller asked him why don’t you run when you have the opportunity? It seemed very effective for you last year. His response “I am a NFL quarterback. My job is to throw the ball.” Imo the coaching staff on this team has told him to not run. They are trying to make him a pocket passer. He was not that in college and to this point in his career. Our coaching staff needs to let him do what he does best. Move around and make plays. I believe are BIGGEST weakness on this team is our coaching.

  23. crazy Says:

    Just as Gruden’s “Gulf Shore Attack” was too full of pre-snap trickery this year’s Bucs are so busy trying to outsmart their opponents they’re blowing too many opportunities themselves. The talent is there to play with most anybody if they would just stick to the basics and execute. That goes for the playcallers too! Stop trying to Maddonize the plays on the field and just play sound fundamental football and they’ll be fine.

  24. Oahubuc Says:

    The media needs to learn the name Greg Olson.

  25. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    It’s Mai Tai’s moron. Piña Coladas aren’t a Hawaiian drink you idiot

  26. gt40bear Says:

    So which is it, bad team or bad coaching? You can’t have it both ways. What they did last year means nothing if they don’t back it up hs year, just ask Michael Clayton! So either the entire NFL can’t evaluate talent, most Bucs recent draft picks are concensus best at their position, or the coaching staff can’t develope said talent. I know where my money is.