Is It All About No. 5?

December 31st, 2011

Joe could spend from now to midnight documenting individual woeful play of Bucs players. But a good place to start is with the starting quarterback.

Josh Freeman last year was nothing less than a stud. He appeared to be on the rise to elite quarterback status with his fourth quarterback comebacks and his gaudy touchdown-to-interception ratio.

But something happened on the way to Canton. Freeman has been less than stellar this year. In fact, statistically, he is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL for 2011. Veteran sports columnist Gary Shelton documented just how far Freeman’s star has fallen in the St. Petersburg Times (that’s the last time Joe will type that).

For whatever reason, Freeman has struggled. For the year, Freeman’s quarterback rating is 74.9. Remember Vinny Testaverde’s final year with the Bucs? His rating was 74.2. Remember the disappointment in Jack “The Throwin’ Samoan” Thompson? He was at 73.3 in his full year as a starter.

In Dilfer’s final year, he was at 75.8. In Shaun King’s full season as a starter, he was at 75.8. The Bucs have replaced a lot of quarterbacks who played at the same level Freeman has this year.

You probably remember the closest fall to Freeman’s. It was Brad Johnson, another Buc quarterback. In 2002, the Super Bowl season, Johnson threw only six interceptions. In 2003, when the team fell to 7-9, he threw 21. Still, Johnson threw for more touchdowns and more yardage that year, so his overall rating didn’t plummet as sharply. In 2006, Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a similar drop, his interceptions climbing from nine to 23 and his rating falling by 23 points. Still, his touchdown passes didn’t fall off in the same way.

Last offseason, Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik stated often it was all about “No. 5.” It had better be now. For if the Bucs don’t get Freeman turned around, the next few years appear to be dark for Bucs fans.

19 Responses to “Is It All About No. 5?”

  1. canadianbuc Says:

    Ok joe so the seasons over lets get some draft articles. Who do you like? Offensive player or defensive player?

  2. Joe Says:


    1) Season isn’t over.

    2) LOT of stuff to cover before Joe gets knee-deep into draft. First, who is going to coach the Bucs? Then, who will be the assistants? Then there is Super Bowl media day.

    As usual, Joe won’t go heavy into the draft until mid-February probably.

  3. treybuc Says:

    Get Free some help and OTA’s and he will be fine!

  4. Mean D Says:

    Time for the “rock star” crapola before Dominik’s name to disappear.

  5. Brad Says:

    I have no doubt Freeman will be fine with the right coaching. Let’s not forget he is far from the only Buc having a bad year. I don’t think any of the Bucs Qb you listed at a stellar resume any one year as Josh’s first. He is the least of my worries going forward.

  6. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Freeman is by far the most important part in the future of our franchise, even more than the coach (although the 2 probably go hand in hand). I don’t care who is coaching us, if he has a repeat of this year, we will never win. I have confidence he will be fine.

  7. Rob in Orlando Says:

    Freeman won the close games last year, with help of course , but has lost any shred of confidence or good decision making he displayed last year. I feel he deserves a mulligan for this year due to no help at all from anyone on the offensive side of the ball. Wouldn’t hurt to draft the best WR with the first pick or RB in my opinion. Either pick makes Free and the Buc offense better and will sell tickets. Don’t forget a new set of experienced coaches though, Joe.

  8. james from dunedin Says:

    The Glazers have been bluffing for way too long, their hand has been called. I can’t wait to see what they are holding. This off season we will learn alot about the Glazers true intentions. I have to say I’m looking forward to it.

  9. TPCMatt Says:

    Man…Free has killed me ALL season. Right from the 1st game. R D gets a fumble recovery, inside the 10, I believe. What do we do? Throw an int on the next play. I swear, Free threw a redzone int the 1st 4 games of the year. I have 2 believe Free is “The Franchise”. He sure is making it tough. He disappointed me in his post game pc’s, as well. All he had 2 say, when asked about his decision making, “they just made a great play on the ball”. C’mon Free! U threw it in between the defenders #’s. My boy said Free is a career back up, his rookie yr. I sure hope he was wrong.

  10. Patrick Says:

    Get a Freeman a new coaching staff, an extra running back to take the pressure off him (cut Lumpkin), and a proven star WR out of free agency. This year, the list is pretty good for the position.

  11. Captain Stagger Says:

    If its all about #5, then V jack, D Jack, Blackmon, Wright, Richardson, James, Miller, Polk, Ball, or Martin will be in pewter next year. Preferably two of the aforementioned names.

  12. derek Says:

    I still believe in josh. for alot of his woes you have to look no further than a sorry offensive coordinator and unreliable wr play. tons of drops and hes got no big play wr and since we wont commit to the running game all he can do is force the ball to winslow whos easily the best receiver even with his bad knees

  13. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    Get him a RT that can protect him and Free should be fine.

  14. Wisconsin Bucs fan Says:

    The only position on o-line that is not in need of major upgrade is right guard, Faine is horrible, so is Trueblood, LG is invisable, Penn has mastered waving his red cape and shouting “Ole'” as the bull (defensive end) goes by. Wide recievers are slow and can not get separation. Need faster recievers. Blount is slow and O coordinator keeps trying to bounce him outside, he needs to hit the hole fast, right up the middle. We need another faster, shifty back to compliment Blount, and a real fullback. Do these things and #5 will be a top 5 qb in NFL. Defense has 2 ends and 1 linebacker (playing out of position) and a 37 year old corner that may retire, and not much else. Doubt if Landry, Noll, Walsh, or Belicheat could win many more games with this roster.

  15. Northend Says:

    lets take a late round pick up of boise kellen moore.dude is a stud.very brees like #s,very accurate,mature and has “it”.good future grooming,someone to push#5 and if it dosent work out with 5 we have one of the best qbs coming out of college in the last 3 years who is not getting the love because he is only 6-1.let johnson walk.imo

  16. Garv Says:

    It IS all about Josh Freeman and who he has to work with. I’m convinced he’s our guy to lead this team. REALLY want a speed WO who can separate and another RB to compliment Blount who I still believe in.

    Happy New Year!!!

  17. Bucfan34 Says:

    Aside from last year, Josh has never had a winning season college or pro.

  18. Pete Dutcher Says:

    Gary Shelton is an idiot…he proves it week in and week out.

    Replacing Freeman would be one of the biggest mistakes the Bucs would make in their history.

    I’m not aside from bringing in another QB to compete with him, so long as politics do not play a role.

    Bucfan34, what does it matter? Before last year you would have (or may have) said that he had no winning seasons at all. Now he has one and you are still discounting it?

    Freeman is far from perfect, but he’s also extremely young. He’s only now reaching the age that most QBs get drafted at. If you can agree that coaching has been awful and the team as a whole has been awful, then it makes sense that the decline for Freeman is not entirely his fault.

    From the start of the season this year, Olson went from being Vertical to short range passing. You can’t stretch the field like that. It also provides less ground that the opposing defense has to cover. Less ground equals easier coverage…which would drive up interceptions.

    Not to mention he has no idea how to get the run game going right.

  19. Big Picture Guy Says:

    Pete, I don’t think Gary is saying we should replace Freeman, in fact his article is quite the argument FOR why we should build around him. Give it a read before you call someone names.

    Watching the saints and panthers game today, if you took any skill players and compared them to the ones playing in this game, we are outclassed by a country mile. No one on our team can make the plays that these guys have been making today on either of these teams.

    Mike Williams should be a #2, Benn wouldn’t stick with half the teams in the league and any other WR is a #3 receiver prospect at best. Winslow, don’t get me started. Blount has played very 1 dimensionally despite showing potential, but in the end its still just that; potential not production.

    We need upgrades across the board.