Freeman’s “Erratic Accuracy Is A Serious Matter”

May 22nd, 2012

Longtime NFL Films guru Greg Cosell, nephew of the iconic Howard Cosell, has pored over Josh Freeman game film and has penned an interesting and rather sobering look at Freeman on his NFL Films blog.

Here’s a snippet below, but Joe definitely recommends you read the whole thing. In short, Cosell is very eager to see what Freeman does under a new coaching staff that can attack his many flaws.

Freeman’s size and mobility, however, camouflaged some concerns that were evident on tape in 2010. And as we know, the eye in the sky never lies. I already mentioned his technique issues, but they were exacerbated by a nagging tendency to drift in the pocket, rather than drop straight back on what we call the midline. His accuracy was at times scattershot; he missed on too many throws that you need to make. Most people don’t make the connection between proper technique repeated over and over, but it may be the most decisive factor in producing precise ball location.

I remember the Redskins game in early December of 2010. There’s no question a Jim Haslett defense gives a quarterback a lot of looks, both before and after the snap, but Freeman really struggled reading coverage. I sensed he predetermined a lot of his throws in the pre-snap phase, failing to properly assess the coverage after taking the snap. One thing that did stand out in 2010 was Freeman’s willingness to make tough throws; he was not tentative pulling the trigger. He made a lot of tight window throws. That’s a positive.

The overall point is that Freeman’s 2010 season, while the numbers looked good on paper, was not quite as strong as the perception. There were some concerns that needed to be addressed if he was going to reach the “elite” status many had already bestowed upon him. Those issues remained in 2011, and consequently Freeman’s third season spiraled downhill fairly quickly. I remember finishing the San Francisco tape on the season’s fifth Sunday — a game Tampa Bay lost 48-3 — and being very surprised at what a poor job Freeman did recognizing and reading coverage. He missed basic reads. He left the pocket too early, with no pressure forcing him to do so, because he was not getting a clear picture of the defense. Two weeks later against the Bears, he continued to struggle with his reads, his decision making and his accuracy. Make no mistake, the erratic accuracy is a serious matter.

This season really is a clean slate for Freeman. He’s got new coaches. He can draw from his experience, their experience, and those of veteran pass catchers Dallas Clark and Vincent Jackson. He’ll also have what should be a thunderous running game and a top-flight offensive line.

Essentially, the Bucs have now taken away every possible excuse from Freeman and given him weapons most QBs dream about.

Freeman has to show some serious improvement this season, otherwise the scary reality is that the Bucs will be thinking about drafting a quarterback come 2013.

39 Responses to “Freeman’s “Erratic Accuracy Is A Serious Matter””

  1. BraveBuc Says:

    I’m a big Freeman fan but he was nowhere near an elite level in 2010. That was just the bipolar media doing their thing.

    I don’t think individually 2010 was as good as everyone seems to think and I don’t think 2011 was as bad as everyone seems to think. At least in reference to his potential. The entire team was pretty terrible in 2011.

  2. Eric Says:

    One thing about the Winslow thing, it proved they are willing to turn the page and move on.

    Merely because a player was drafted high, or a high pick was used to trade for him, won’t be enough to save anyone.

    I think your spot on that this is the year the franchise QB must play like one.

    Sure hope he does.

  3. BraveBuc Says:

    I initially cringed when you said that but you are right. He really has no excuses this year. The offense is pretty loaded IMO. If they don’t put up a lot of points, he is probably going to be the reason why.

    I think he will have a good year though.

  4. jvato24 Says:

    I dont buy it …

    I completely agree Freeman has some issues needing correction but you 100% cannot take away his 4th quarter clutch factor in 2010. I dont give a DAMN what any Guru says, Play good when the game is on the line and you have a chance at the HOF even if your stats are so/so.

    And umm .. How old was Freeman in 2010 when he put up good numbers but struggled to read Defenses ?? oh yeah 22!!! Please .. SOmeone show me a 22 year whoopin the NFL’s ass ???

    Freeman is 24 now … He still probably wont start to *GET iT* until he is 25 or 26 .. IMO of course.

  5. jvato24 Says:

    For everyone acting like this is a make or break season for Freeman …

    He is now 24, or will be 24. How many QBs have made the PRO BOWL @ 24 ?? I would really like to know.

    That said … Freeman just needs stop forcing BS throws to K2 … (CHECK) and relax and let the game to him.

    A successful season for Freeman to me would be 22 TDS 10 Pick offs

    or atleast a 2 or 3/1 pickoff ratio.

  6. BraveBuc Says:

    I’m with you jvato but if does not show any improvement this year. That will be two years in a row that he did not improve. We can’t expect him to be a top 3 QB at this point in his career but he needs to keep getting better. Otherwise he may need some competition.

  7. Sensiblebuc Says:

    Glad Cosell saw some of the same things I saw and pointed out a few months ago. His mechanics have been terrible which take away from his impressive arm strength and improving accuracy. Free can be a very very good player in the League if he can do the same drop every time and actually go thorough progressions. Losing all the weight will certainly help the process.

    Between getting rid of K2, being in this Sully Ball offense, having terrible mechanics early on in his career, etc., Free’s career arc is becoming more and more similar Eli with each passing player & coaching transaction…

  8. Bobby Says:

    @jvato24….totally agree. I mean c’mon. How long did it take Eli to finally get it? These things take time and it takes coaching…something Freeman didn’t have before this year IMO. He has all the tools and all the desire. Not worried about Freeman.

  9. Buckleberry Finn Says:

    We will see early on if Free has grown this offseason.

    Teams WILL play 8 in the box against the Bucs. To stuff our heavy run game and also to blitz Free to see if he’s accurate and makes the correct read.

    If we lose three or four games in a row, Orlovsky will get a shot. And in the 2013 draft the new GM Rockstar Barber (moves to the front office) will give up the farm to draft Matt Barkley.

  10. Bobby Says:

    I guess the guy who wrote this article is saying that no matter what the ststs say about Freeman’s 2010 campaign… “stats are for losers”?

  11. Macabee Says:

    To be completely honest, Freeman is the only player I’m concerned about this year. Perhaps it’s because I want so bad for him to succeed, but there were always those little things that I would see from time to time that bothered me – the tendency to throw high and the staring down of receivers. I hope he has a promising year this year. Doesn’t have to be elite, but needs to show enough progress to put the QB issue to rest.

    Below is a comment posted by Scott Reynolds on PR message boards re: Highlights from Tuesday’s OTA at One Buc Place.

    • The passing game was out of sorts with Josh Freeman and the receivers not connecting on many big plays. There were some overthrows on Freeman’s part and some drops by the receivers.

  12. bucfanjeff Says:

    How often does a QB drop back on the “midline” per game? Not many unless you have the great wall of china in front of you. It may start that way, but you have to react to what’s around you.
    The article makes him sound worse than he is. As far as 2010, we were 10-6 and that’s not by accident. Nobody can say the defense kept us in games all year.
    This year will be a better gauge, I mean, we have coaches now.

  13. Tuggz Says:

    Not to be “that guy”, but I think Greg Cosell is Howard’s nephew.

  14. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    I want to be a Josh Freeman Fan, but what I saw last year, is exactly what Cosell saw.
    I saw receivers reading, and adjusting to coverages, then Josh yelling at them for not running the route he thought they were going to run.
    Josh was to blame, because he did not read the defense.

  15. Macabee Says:

    jvato24 probably has it right. As I recall Aaron Rodgers was kept in the lab for 3 years after being drafted in 2005. When he finally took the reins in 2008, he had a terrible year going 6-10, but turned the corner in year 5 or 2009. And in his 6th year 2010, the rest is history!

    I’m not comparing Rodgers to Freeman – totally different skill set. But I’m referring to the the timeframe for the maturation of an NFL QB. There are always exceptions like Rothlisberger, but typically it takes a while.

  16. Mr Lucky Says:

    Should’ve traded Benn to Denver for Tebow!

  17. OptimisTroll Says:

    Roethlisberger won a Super Bowl at 23, Brady at 24.

    I don’t think age comes into play. I think the terrible, terrible play calling was most of the problem.

  18. Fired Greg Olson! Says:

    “If we lose three or four games in a row, Orlovsky will get a shot.” — completely untrue.

  19. Tye Says:

    My gut feeling is that he will not even be in the League 3 years from now…. He just hasn’t been consistent from week to week as a QB of a playoff team should be….. Just maybe this is the year he pulls it off…..

  20. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    This is a scary analysis for a Buc fan. I sure do hope he is wrong.

  21. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Joe…why wouldn’t you show the positive stuff the article says? You know most drones are just going to read what you publish here (which were the negative things):


    “Later in the 2011 season, Freeman showed some improvement. The Green Bay game in November was a strong effort. He was better in all areas, particularly progression reading and overall accuracy. But the bottom line is this: As Freeman enters the 2012 season, he remains a work in progress, a talented signal caller who has yet to refine the subtle disciplines of NFL quarterback play. He’s more sporadic playmaker than precise passer. There’s no question he has the tools to take that next step, and with a new coaching staff, I would not be surprised if we see significant improvement.”

  22. jvato24 Says:

    Im not making excuses ,… Freeman looked like Crap last season … and also looked like a Young QB trying to do too much to bring his team back into the game.

    In 2010 Freeman threw the ball away when the play was dead, and it paid off big time. Throw Aways were Brad Johnsons best pass when we succeeded under him.

    But I still think Freeman has a lot of growing to do and will take a few seasons. We dont need an elite QB, We just need a clutch, Pretty Damn Good QB!!

  23. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Buckleberry Finn
    You are insane, lol.

    I hope we get a good 3rd stringer though.

  24. mitsurugi Says:

    Pittsburgh in 2005 and NE in 2001 had strong veteran defenses. Ben’s and Brady ‘s stats were average and neither of them were elite at the time.

  25. musclehampster22 Says:

    It will be fun to see all these Josh Freeman doubters slither back under the rocks after his string 2012 season.

  26. pdferlita Says:

    Freeman regressed last year? Tell me what Buc’s player didn’t regress! I hate to keep bashing Rah but, it seems none of our players were very dedicated to their film study and improving themselves. I would guess very few Bucs actually prepared well for anything. I also think the Bucs believed the same press clippings that Rah and the “Rockstar” were basing the stand pat attitude we had last year.

    I am by no means a Freeman apologist. I thought drafting him that high was a HUGE MISTAKE. I will place my trust in Schiano and his coaching staff. Freeman will be better than last year; he has nowhere to go but up stats-wise. I think he will need a couple years under Schiano to improve on the fundamentals. If he doesn’t improve then he may not be committed enough to his craft as some of our recently departed players seem to be. I heard more than once last year that Freeman wasn’t watching film or studying as much as needed to be completely prepared, and it showed in my opinion.

    You know what Schiano’s has the right attitude, “Don’t look back”. I have high hopes Josh is a competitor and is very dis-satisfied in last years performance. Let’s get going!!! GO BUCS!!!!

  27. Thomas2.2 Says:

    Didn’t 2 qb’s younger than 24 make the pro bowl last year – newton and Dalton?

  28. Thomas2.2 Says:

    In Free’s defense, any person being led (or not led) by RahRah will regress.

    2010 was an obvious and ridiculous anomaly of a season – every objective person knows that – even some subjective people like RahRah himself admitted that.

    Free had some awesome 4th quarters – but he also had some rough first halfs and a lot of good fortune- the opposite happened last year
    Cosell’s analysis is dead on.

    Free has mechanical defects and he also makes poor decisions at times – this is common in the first couple of seasons. Free’s strength are his size and intangibles (escapability, durability, poise) which are great.

    The point: free will be prone to inconsistency until he improves his mechanics and read ability.

  29. Bobby Says:

    I don’t even think it’s his mechanics. I think it’s his confidence. No matter what he tells the media, I don’t think he had the confidence that his receivers were going to be open and he threw too many times after the break. He needs to learn to trust the routes his receivers are running and throw before the break. I think V-Jax will help in that respect. It’s one thing to lack trust in a rookie but V-Jax is a pro. Freeman will develop the trust and that will carry over to his secondary WR’s as well.

  30. Stranger Says:

    Actually Thomas, objectively speaking, it’s hard to say one way or another about what 2010 exactly was. During that three year span, the 2010 season was the only time that we had a truly normal offseason. The year before there was a lot of QB battling and the sudden staff change, while the year after had a lockout. So, we wont truly know what that year was until Josh plays this year.

  31. #1bucsfan Says:

    Stranger – Thomas 2.2 doesn’t think objectively. More of an azz talker to get a rise out of Joe. Wishes he had his own blog…Ummm yeah, he’s “that guy”

  32. gotbbucs Says:

    Greg Olson………..need I say more? Poor kid never stood a chance.

    Lets see what he can do now that some adults have finally entered the building.

  33. marks Says:

    What Bobby said..+1

  34. gotbbucs Says:

    I’ll second everything Thomas said.

  35. Sambizle Says:

    Bobby’s right he didn’t throw the ball when he should have. He waited too long over and over again. I must of heard 10,000 times from most of u bloggers saying our WR’s had no sepeation.

    Tom Brady’s 99 yarder to wes welker….welker was well covered when Brady released the ball but by the time the ball got there he was barely open then ran the rest of the way.

    FREE took too long to throw…PERIOD!!!!

    P.S. A lot of happy feet in the pocket too, like stated above.

  36. funkymunkey Says:

    I like Josh but this has been his issue even before he came out of college. His accuracy has never been that good. I hope with a HC who is a drill sargent for fundamentals will help him out. And and all around better offense should help out as well. We have a stud OL, 2 really good RBs, a great 1-3 WR combo with above average 4 and 5 WRs. I hope Clark still has something left. But if nothing else he will be a great mentor and can help out JF5 more than anyone on our roster or coaching staff IMO, since he knows exactly how Peyton ran his offense in Indy for all those years. He can def. help out Josh in that aspect.

    I said before the draft, if we could make a trade that allowed us to get RG3 and give up Freeman we should do it. But JF5 is our QB and I will support him no matter what this season. Last year shouldn’t count against him. But this is a make or break season for him! He will still have some value left even if he has another bad season. But not a lot like he did this offseason. I hope he and the Bucs do GREAT, but Matt Barkley would look great in a Tampa Uniform as well!!! Just throwing that out there!!! But I think we can win atleast 8 games this season so we would have to give up a lot for Barkley. But if JF5 doesn’t produce I would have no problem giving our 1st, 2nd, and JF5 to get MB if MB has another superb season, which he should considering USC will be a top 5 team all season. Thats going off the assumption we would be drafting somewhere between 15 and 20ish. MB will be the #1 pick more than likely next year.

  37. Derek Says:

    freeman can and will get the job done now. and my man crush will continue to grow

  38. DallasBuc Says:

    I always defended the previous coaching staff and fully believe in Raheem Morris but this article makes very good points and says way more about the coaching staff than the player. As the eternal Bucs optimist I expect that issues raised here are being addressed by a better coaching staff.

  39. JA Says:

    Freeman’s last two games of 2010 were, we hoped, a sign of things to come. However, 42 of 52 for 489 yards with 7 TD’s and 0 picks seems a little bit better than pure luck, as suggested in the article above. I just think he was trying to do too much last year on a horrible team. Unless he lost all confidence, he should be back. The talent is there, he just has to get his brain to accept that.