Josh Freeman’s Surprising Year

December 28th, 2011

There has been a lot of surprising things about this Bucs season, and as far as Joe can see all of them have been surprisingly awful.

Take the sordid franchise record the Bucs are on the brink of setting. Then the (once) surprising seal-clubbing by the likes of Jacksonville, Dallas and Carolina, twice in fact.

But for Pat Yasinskas of ESPN, a giant surprise has been the implosion of Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman, so he penned in a leaguewide look at quarterbacks.

Worst surprise: Josh Freeman, Buccaneers. I truly believed we’d see greatness out of Freeman this year. His 2010 season, his first as a starter, was filled with all sorts of promise. But 2011 has been a disaster. Freeman deserves some of the blame, no doubt. But his supporting cast has been dismal and that’s made him look even worse. The Bucs have to do something dramatic or else they’re going to ruin this kid.

Can’t argue with Yasinskas. Now part of the reason for Freeman’s struggles, let’s be frank, he’s been hurt a lot more than he has been healthy. As Yasinskas points out, receivers unable to get open didn’t help either. Also, the Bucs rank third in the NFL in dropped passes. But no one but Freeman decided to rifle passes into double- and triple-coverage in order to force a ball to Kellen Winslow.

Whoever the coach is next year, if Freeman struggles, so too will the Bucs.

17 Responses to “Josh Freeman’s Surprising Year”

  1. Meh Says:

    There is plenty of blame to spread around, but this was a really bad year for Freeman. His health has been an issue, but his decision making has been the bigger issue. I really hope some new coaches can sort that out.

  2. Garv Says:

    Josh Freeman needs all the help he can get, players he can trust and depend on, to continue with the more pass orientated offense that is need to win in today’s game. We need another RB, probably two with hands and speed to go with Blount’s power. We need Blount to hold on to the ball. We need WO’s who can separate and catch the ball.
    That and a defense is all we need, all Josh needs to be the QB I know he can be.

    Happy New Year!!!

  3. bucfanjeff Says:

    High 5 has already mentioned that he’s more comfortable in an up-tempo, spread offense where they attack. SO, I’ll continue to say we are not a run first team. Let’s look at the Patriots and Packers for a moment. Do they have good defenses? No, not really. Offenses? You betcha – passing offenses. They pass to set up the run. Blount vs an 8 man box – not so much. Blount vs a little space created from the passing game – deadly.
    You want to sell tickets? Put out an attacking, passing offense that puts up points. Make it exciting, entertaining and THAT will sell tickets.
    Yes Freeman owns some of the mistakes this year, the dude is young and full of talent. He’s held back by the offense. Imploded? Please, I don’t think so. Did he force passes? Yes, but he had to since the WR’s weren’t getting open. What is he supposed to do every pass play? Never throw it or throw it away because WR’s are covered? Why is it when we spread and go up-tempo we have some success? Part defense, part scheme.
    Fire Olsen and bring in Billick or Norv as OC.
    Hire Spags as DC, maybe even Del Rio.
    (I still think Raheem stays, though I can’t defend the firing – much.)

  4. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    Rough year for all. He hasn’t been the most vile QB in the league, but the depth of awful our WRs have been is abysmal. Combined, we are in healthy competition for the epithet of “worst passing attack”.

  5. Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    Great post BucFanJeff!
    Raheem is gone though, like it or not. Josh has lacked protection much of the year, and I think he misses Cadillac too.
    But I feel he will be ok when our new coach installs his scheme, and gets us some better players to surround Josh.
    We lack speed for one thing, and teams are crowding the box, taking away the short, crossing routes Olson’s offense is built on.

  6. Patrick Says:

    Josh needs real coaches and better players around him. He needs better receivers and an extra running back to help him!

    They better upgrade our roster for once!! I’m sick of all the offseasons going by and it’s just same ole, same ole.

  7. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    @AppleRoofCleaning Indeed. With the single worst RT in the NFL, year after year, it is hard to maintain solid protection. Trueblood creates a void in which Joseph has to fill, which leaves Faine(who isn’t very good) carrying extra weight he simply cannot bear.

    I did find it amusing that the farther the players are from Trueblood the better they grade lol Even TEs and WRs lol

    Just imagine what Joseph might be able to accomplish without Trueblood thwarting his every effort.

  8. Thomas Says:

    this; “you surround freeman with better this and that” – i’m just not buyin it! any good quarterback will be better if you surround him with better weapons & an elite coaching staff, but imo it should be the quarterback that makes everyone around him better. ask yourself, if you put cam newton in this offense would we be better.
    i’ve been always on the fence with freeman, now i’m just not so sure.
    not trying to get anyone angry or be negative, i’m just very passionate about the bucs….i love this team and i want to see them consistently win. that’s all.

  9. Pete422 Says:

    On top of what you guys have already mentioned, Blount has to become an every down back. He needs to spend the off season perfecting blocking/recognizing blitz pick ups, catching the ball and red zone running. Not that the Bucs shouldn’t have another back or two for added dimension, but if Blount is only in on 1st and second down, it just makes the offense too predictable.

  10. bucfanjeff Says:

    Olsen’s offense (aka Gruden’s offense) is boring and predictable. All it is is short and intermediate crossing routes based on mismatching the defense. What that really does is compress the defense towards the line of scrimmage. In effect, it’s like playing against a red zone defense every play. When you have a vertical attacking offense, it DEcompresses the defense – stretches them. Thereby you have more opportunity for big plays, but more importantly, consistent success. Now add a speed WR to that same offense and you open it up even more. Freeman is not a play-action pocket passer, I’m sorry. He CAN do it, but his game is more to that of…well, his 4th quarter comeback style. He needs to have a little more patience vs a 3 man rush and brush up his technique, but he’ll be fine. The last few games he’s been stepping in his throws and following through – lasers. The kid is 23…change the offense and watch him go. Promise.

  11. Dew Says:

    Free had a terrible year and I’m tired of him always calling out the receivers. Read a great article on another site about how arrogant Free is. After this season I totally believe it. Didn’t he say he was better this year than past years? Right.

    And remember last year when it was all about Free on 3rd down? This year it was all about not spending money so we got a hopeless Lumpkin who can’t block a lick. Cheap bastards.

  12. Pinnacl3 Says:

    Freeman’s decision making has been the biggest problem. People say that the WRs don’t get open, but that simply isn’t the whole truth. Josh looks to the primary receiver for far too long before he looks elsewhere. He stares them down. He often misses wide open receivers when they do get open. What people are asking of the WRs are what you’d be asking to do cover a BAD QB. “Fight for the ball so the he breaks up the interception.”?? That’s to make up for the QB under throwing balls. “Come back to ball”? After the QB has stood stared down a receiver for 6 seconds and the receivers have all run their routes to completion?? Josh was to be a “mobile’ QB. He’s gotta learn to be a better decision maker. And he needs to be held accountable much like Blount had to be held accountable for fumbling. Competition at the QB position wouldn’t hurt either.

  13. Bobby Says:

    I would love to see them take either Trent Richardson or the WR from S. Carolina.. Jeffery. Either one of them would give Freeman a huge weapon to work with. Personally, I’d rather see Trent Richardson. The reason being I believe our receivers can get open but only if we have a legitimate running game and that means we have to have an every down back that can stay in on third down. We could run both Blount and Richardson but if we kept Richardson in on third down they would still have to respect the run. Right now they compress the field on us because they don’t believe we have a legitimate vertical threat to get deep. Blount has been one dimensional and goes out on third down leaving us with….Lumpy. Getting Trent Richardson would be HUGE. He’d be like Caddy without all the knee injuries. He can do it all…block, catch, run. He is also a legitimate breakaway threat when he gets to the second level. I am sure he’ll be there for us if we don’t decide to trade down and get more picks. I would be so excited for next year if we can land him.

  14. Bobby Says:

    I agree that Freeman stares down the receiver far too long. He needs to learn to go through his progressions QUICKLY. I watch Brees and I just marvel at his decision making. He throws some picks but he knows that when he gets the ball back he’s gonna make things happen. I think ‘don’t turn the ball over’ was drilled into Josh so much as a rookie that he is overcompensating now. He is waiting far too long for the receiver to get seperation instead of trusting the route and throwing before the break. He throws late a lot.

  15. McBucs Says:

    Bobby, It took Brees a few years to perfect that. Also, I watch every game to the bitter end, How can you guys tell who, where, and how long Freeman is staring? Maybe I am not as detail oriented as some of you. Six second? Has he ever even had the ball for six seconds without running or being sacked? Even then, six seconds…really? Many QBs in the NFL have off seasons, and many happen in their second year. Freeman is not the problem. We need a coaching staff that will truly build the team around Freeman. Play to his strengths. Gruden may want to go after Olsen on copy right laws…All he did was get rid of the shifts. Also, if you always play from behind it limits your offense. more attempts means more INTs. Not to mention everybody in the free world and China know it is a pass when Kregg is in. Granted, he had the best game of his NFL career last week…but the CAR D sucks…just not as bad as whatever Morris calls this mess.

  16. Garv Says:

    Obviously, we have much to complain about this year. Many players have let the team down.


    THE most important position on any football team is the QB and IMO we HAVE a QB. Josh freeman is someone you can build a team around and that IS a positive in a very negative year.

    Happy New Year!!!

  17. Bobby Says:

    So Thomas…are you saying that Newton would be the same QB without Steve Smith, Williams & Stewart???