What’s The Deal With Josh Freeman?

December 13th, 2011

Last year Josh Freeman put up gaudy numbers that made Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik look like a genius. Freeman, in just his first full season as the Bucs signal-caller, became the comeback kid with his fourth quarter rallies and his eye-popping touchdown-to-interception radio.

But this season Freeman has crashed landed into the depths of Trent Dilfer-like numbers if not worse, harrowing as that is. Freeman leads the NFL in interceptions, more than Rex Grossman and Tavaris Jackson of all people, if you can imagine such a thing.

This had led Tampa Tribune humorist Martin Fennelly to wonder if Freeman really is the answer at quarterback for the Bucs.

It’s impossible to not give Josh Freeman high marks for toughness after Sunday in Jacksonville. But there’s no way around it being one of the worst losses in recent Bucs history, and his fingerprints were all over it along with his bad shoulder print.

So, where does he stand?

We’re at the point, near the end of his second full NFL season, when we’re beginning to wonder if this is the learning curve or a step back. It looks like the latter.

Joe would suggest both.

Look, this season is a lost season and the best thing to come out of it will be the Bucs’ first round draft pick in April (Mo Claiborne, please.) But Joe will take you to the not-so-way-back-machine.

Several times Joe noted that it’s very possible that thanks to the asinine lockout, coaches had little to do but study video, both of college prospects and of NFL foes. Joe is quite certain opposing defensive coordinators pored over video of Freeman and Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn to scheme ways to not just throw them off but shut them down.

The Bucs troika simply hasn’t been able to adjust yet.

45 Responses to “What’s The Deal With Josh Freeman?”

  1. knucknbuc Says:

    Agreed Joe,
    I think its kind of asinine that some people would want to call for us to draft a QB? when freeman has had all this stacked against him. Alot of great QBs have had terrible second, third seasons Roethlisberger ( think he threw close to 20 picks his third year) Brees and Favre come to mind. Freeman will be alright you really think he’s not gonna study his ass off this offseason to improve on everything he’s done wrong this year? I doubt it. Ppl are all caught up in the cam hype right now but watch next year when dc have a whole offseason to look at tape and find out things to take away.

  2. Meh Says:

    Freeman’s going to be the QB next year. I think we’ll have a better idea after that. New coaches should make a big difference. If they don’t, it will be time to start thinking about a new QB. Not yet though.

  3. Bucs55 Says:

    I wouldny put all the blame on josh mike and benn I would put most of the.blame on olson hes plays r predictible and dosent know how to balance in the right.situation as well we dont have a deep threat thats y alot,of,defenses r playing man,up wit,underneath safety help and josh them has to try to fit it in I would love to see deshawn jackson here next year mixed up with our other receivers he would help alot expecuallt wen we,trow that underneath route alot ….

  4. bucfanlostiniowa Says:

    anybody remember “bust in waiting”

  5. Nick2 Says:

    Joe, the BEST thing to come out of this lost year will be a shiny new head coach that can actually provide an offensive coordinator for Josh Freeman who can actually game plan for the team we face! Yes thats a novel idea instead of reacting to defenses we might actually be attacking them!! Yes the best thing to come out of this lost season is that we lose Raheem and Mr. Olson. Cya!!!

  6. bucfanjeff Says:

    At least half his picks are off the hands of the WR’s popping the ball in the air. You make it sound as if they are all his fault.
    Please people.
    I once had a coach tell me, ‘if it hits you in the hands, you should catch it – period”.

  7. eric Says:

    Coaches were pouring over film to stop the bucs juggernaut?

    Maybe for about five minutes or so.

  8. AtlBucsFan Says:

    Regardless of what happens to the HC, the best thing to come out of this season is the experience of losing so many consecutive games! Part of the growing process for the players and I would expect a more intense effort next year to turn a bad game around immediately.

  9. stimpy Says:

    The Eagles should fire Andy Reid. Or we need a better QB coach/OC.

    It seems he does not trust his receivers anymore. Last year he would just throw the ball and let them make plays, which they did. This year, not so much. They drop balls and dont fight for them like they did.

    I think his confidence may be shot. But i dont know, im not him.

  10. thomas 2.2 Says:

    What’s The Deal With Josh Freeman?

    he is coached by rah rah “cliche” morris.

  11. Sooner in Tampa Says:

    What’s the Deal with Josh Freeman?

    His Offensive Coordinator is offensive!

  12. Anthony Says:

    Fennally is a terrible writer.

  13. BucfaninMI Says:

    Olsen is what’s wrong. Josh will be fine.

  14. eric Says:

    The GM didnt get him any damn help like he said he was gonna.

    Best target is a second year wide out with a 11.3 yard per catch average.

  15. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    Why not draft a QB in the mid-late rounds at the least? I’d feel more comfortable with Freeman having competition in camp from someone other than a veteran that’s not a staple of the future, or the weak-armed, under-sized, practice-squader Rudy Carpenter? I bet Brandon Weeden tumbles due to his age, but it’s not like his wheels are coming off anytime soon. If this isn’t a fluke year, the Bucs could be behind another couple of seasons in securing an offensive juggernaut to lead this team. Vince Young keeps coming to mind.
    @bucfanjeff – “at least half have been off receiver’s hands”? That’s saying more than half my friend. Clearly I’ve been watching different Bucs games. I’d bet not even a third have been tipped or deflected balls. He’s lucky not to have more due to drops. Last season, his six was a lucky stat due to the drops by db’s.
    Truthfully, other than Freemans abysmal accuracy this season, it’s most important that he shows more poise and tact when faced with diversity. He just doesn’t seem to be having fun.

  16. bucsguy Says:

    the best thing for tampa right now is for the season to end so they can finally get a full offseason together. Not having that his season is a huge reason for the way the bucs have been playing. And Joe i saw you wrote tampa should get the cb from lsu…. You dont think Linebacker is this teams biggest need? The only one who does anything is the rookie who barely knows the playbook and hes making more plays then any linebacker we have. Tampa needs to go draft luke Kueckly or however you spell it the linebacker from BC the man is a tackling machine then we can move foster to outside (his natural position) then we get sorry as quincy black off the field.

  17. sandbagrudy Says:

    having that crossed eyed olson as an oc got him staring down potential disasters. you see what I’m saying Josh no you can[‘t even see what your saying cockeye that guy was wide open Josh yeah coach but he was but he was wearing a jaguars jersey chislehead

  18. OAR Says:

    Olsen is Freeman’s fault? Funny, Olsen was his coordinator last year with Freeman. If it was all Olsen’s fault, Freeman wouldn’t have had those numbers last year, right? Not saying Olsen is great, but trouble reading defenses, receivers don’t get separation, forcing balls, starring down receivers, poor decisions; now those are faults!
    BTW its more like a third or fourth of Freeman’s INTs were in and out of the receivers hands.

  19. Brian Says:

    Josh is a young guy. He’s a really young QB. He doesn’t have many weapons, and the weapons he does have aren’t available because the offensive play system is abysmal.
    Take a look and watch all these 2nd and 3rd down replays during the games, where they show the receivers running routes. Are those really the routes the bucs are running? Half of them are run 5 yards and turn around, and the other ones are just straight ahead and the db’s are running in their lanes because they know we have very limited routes.

    Give Josh a new O.C. Then, if he still fails, maybe there’s something to it. There’s a reason that when olsen took over O.C. in St. Louis, that their offense lost alot.

    Oh, and anybody who is calling for raheem to be fired, atleast wait for the end of the season. Who would our interim coach be? Olsen? That’s a scary thought, and NO defensive coordinator.

  20. simeon Says:

    i say draft a QB in round 1, put some scare into freeman. Remember Drew Brees/Philip Rivers, Drew Brees played lights out knowing there was someone behind him his last year in SD. Who knows how good brees woudl be if they didnt draft rivers.

    Id like to take this opportunity to express my disgust in the team this year. this is the most undisciplined squad of athletes i have seen in my life and there is no one stepping up to be a leader. This team is a bunch of kid thugs with a kid head coach that needs to go. I blame this 100% on coaching, do you think that NE, Pittsburgh, GB, NO really draft better than us every year? It is up to the coaches to lead, teach and get the best out of players. I have never wanted someone fired so badly, this team is a complete disgrace and the Glazers should be ashamed of the product they are selling us. Raheem is a complete dope and i wish he would STFU and stay out of the media until he starts winning again.

  21. macabee Says:

    This is not a comparison between Freeman and Rodgers, but it’s a fact worth stating. Rodgers was kept in the lab with an excellent QB coach for 3 yrs. In 2008, when he did start he went 6-10. Nobody panicked and the people in GB seem pretty happy with their QB nowadays. The best example is Steve Young whose record as a starter with the Bucs was 3-16. In his 19 games with the Bucs, he threw 11 TDs and 21 INTs. Bill Walsh recognized that his problems were due to a struggling Bucs organization and the rest is history. I’ll spare you the Doug Williams adventure because you all know how that story ended. So if past is prologue, between a rabid press and an impatient fan base, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if history repeats itself!

  22. Hillbilly Heaven Says:


    At this point, the true goal should be to play the back-ups and lose out to end the season and improve draft position.

    Who cares who the coaches are – they will all be gone anyway.
    Let Jimmy Lake finish the season as DC and Olsen as OC.

    God, look at the staff….you can’t pick a future HC out of them, let alone an interim. That should tell you all you need to know about this team & RM.

  23. Bobby Says:

    Simeon….never mind. Some posts just don’t even deserve a response….but I will. Yes, let’s draft a QB. I mean sure we need DB’s and LB’s like a dying man in the desert needs water but what the heck, let’s just jack off our first round pick on a QB!!!!!!! My God!!!!! Just shoot me!!!!!!! I don’t even drink but a few more posts like that and I may start…..

  24. Bobby Says:

    Oh yeah….and after we draft a QB if we lose the first 4 games we should just LOSE OUT the rest of the season to protect draft position..’swig’….aaaahhhhhhh! Yeb…thad’s wad I thin we zhuld do…’erp!’

  25. eric Says:

    I wouldnt even put Freeman in the game vs. Cowboys and Ware.

    He played hurt last week, and his confidence is shot.

    Whats the benefit?

  26. Snook Says:

    I have zero worries about Freeman. With a good coaching staff and a full off-season, he’ll improve his numbers. He just needs an offensive coordinator that’s not an idiot who knows how to use the talent on this team.

    Put Blount, Benn or Williams in Green Bay, they’d be stars. Or at the least, they’d be much better than they look now.

    Use your players according to their strengths. What a concept. See Denver.

  27. simeon Says:

    Bobby, stastically, we have the near the worst QB in the league this year. His decision making this year has been putrid. And, has he shown any leadership qualities this year? Last year was a long time ago.

    You can make the case that we need a QB just as badly as we need any other position.

  28. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    Actually Simeon, he is the worst QB in the league this year.

  29. K2theSoldier Says:

    Look, I hate Greg Olson just as much as the next Buc fan, probably more. But this talk of blaming all of Freemans struggles on Olson is just stupid. Olson was the coordinator last year and Freeman was sick. This year his decision making, footwork, accuracy and play recognition is among the worst in the league. I watch a lot of Redskin games and I’m not kidding, at times I’ve seen freaking Rex Grossman make throws that Josh hasn’t made all year. Josh has gotten WAY too much of a pass this year, he’s one of the central reasons we suck. He turned the freaking ball over 3 times against the Jags! BUT. I still have faith that at some point he’ll get back to the way he was last year, fix his decision making and footwork and be Tampa’s QB of the future. My only point is that he hasn’t received enough flak for his season this year.

  30. K2theSoldier Says:

    And agree with you Joe on Morris Claiborne, good eye! I’d be very happy with him for the first pick. Or the BC middle linebacker, or UNC outside linebacker.

  31. BKNYfootballhead Says:

    Amen, K2!
    …and just b/c a poster recognizes it and says so, doesn’t mean they’re any less of a fan that disagrees.
    Everyone gets their undies in a wad if you say something about Freeman, I just don’t get it.
    He’s flat out sucks this year.

  32. eric Says:

    I like Free, and certainly havent given up on him.

    On the other hand the streets of CHicago are filled with one year flash in the pan guys.

  33. CC Says:

    Vinny Testeverde part II

  34. k_bassuka Says:

    Last year he was lucky on most of the bad throws he made while this year the expected is happening. He is not a very accurate QB and the joke of a OC is not helping him either, why is he in the pocket most of the game is absurd when everyone knows he is a good scrambler and should be much better if put in a position to extend plays… I wish Olson gets fired that way we really can tell if its all Freeman’s fault.

  35. Bobby Says:

    You can’t blame Olson for Freeman. My God…do you guys actually know ANYTHING about position coaches??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alex Van Pelt is the culprit. Luckily he is being courted as a head coaching candidate, for Pitt I think. Freeman needs a new mentor. This guy has done nothing to change Free’s bad habits. Olson doesn’t coach Freeman’s mechanics, he is the OC..that stands for ‘offensive coordinator’ but yeah…he’s responsible for all Freeman’s bad habits….. ‘geez’.

  36. Mike J Says:

    I agree with you, Joe, and with K2theSoldier. Claiborne makes me drool like Jessica Alba. Guy has ”All Pro” written all over him. Never seen a CB so NFL-ready.

  37. sharkcoasttactical.com Says:

    booze. concha or world of warcraft..you heard it hear first.

  38. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I saw an interview with Rick Stroud (I think it was Stroud) on the NFL Network today. He was attributing a lot of the INT’s to Freeman having to press because we are always down. I never thought of that, but it is a very good point. Especially since our defense is so bad, I’m sure he feels if we don’t score on this drive they will be down another TD the next time the offense gets the ball. That can certainly lead to a lot of mistakes.

    I think another part of it is just as simple as having a bad season. It does happen to really good QB’s every so often. It’s happening to Rivers this season. It just started out bad, and he can’t seem to shake it. If we are talking about it, I’m sure he is thinking about it. Once your confidence is shaken, it’s very difficult to get it back. The offseason can’t come soon enough for Freeman.

    I think it will also help if and when he gets some speed on offense. We have no deep threat whatsoever (I like Benn, but he’s not exactly Willie Gault), so defenses can bring everyone up to cover the shorter routes. This also makes it more difficult to run the ball. We have to be the slowest looking NFL offense I have ever seen. Add this to horrible play calling by Olsen and there is not much chance for success.

    I admit I am a little worried about Freeman, but not half as much as some of the other players on this team. With the exception of our kicker and Davin Joseph, I feel the entire team has regressed. I actually agree with Thomas that a new coach should help fix that. There Thomas, I actually agreed with you on something.

  39. Bucfan34 Says:

    aside from last year, what in Josh Freeman’s career says that he’ll be anything other than mediocre?

  40. k_bassuka Says:

    @ Bobby

    Olson is the one responsible for the bad play calls on offense. Like trying to do a play action pass on the 3rd play of the game, or after 2 consecutive successful running plays turn around and pass 3 or 4 straight times…

  41. McBuc Says:

    @Bucfan34…Other than this season what in Freeman’s career says he will not be great? That is a silly argument in either direction.

  42. TheProsUseAdvoCare Says:

    J Free started the year rough. His play has been a downward spiral since that game in San Fran. It may be/have been injuries…. but his play has been/is terrible.

  43. Bucfan34 Says:

    @McBuc, in his 6 years as a starter (college/pro), Josh has a winning record in 1 of them. Losers lose.

  44. McBuc Says:

    We will see, his mistake was going to KState…The pro scouts disagree with you. Times are tough, but it is crazy to give up on Freeman at this point. There are plenty of guys that won all the time in college, but sucked in the NFL. To judge by college at this point is foolish. The guy has all the skills, the Bucs should have found a good vet back up to help him along the way. It is good for many young men that pro scouts do not use your same measuring stick.

  45. Bucfan34 Says:

    Going to KSU says something about his judgement. Winners win and losers lose. Josh’s record as a senior in High School? 7-4.

    I know that intangibles are not entirely measurable, but go down the line and the kid is just very rarely on the winning team.