Brad Johnson Talks Josh Freeman

August 21st, 2012

Yesterday, former Bucs quarterback Brad Joshson, who led the Bucs to a Super Bowl victory over the Raiders 10 years ago, dropped in to talk Josh Freeman and the Bucs with Todd Wright and Booger McFarland on WHFS-FM 98.7.

Johnson discussed how the Bucs’ new offense should help Freeman and that Johnson believes Freeman should be on the cusp of some special things. Oh, yeah, and how Greg Olson was a Chucky-and-duck disciple.

Booger McFarland: The Bucs are in an offense where they are going to be run-oriented and then take shots downfield. How much pressure does that put on the quarterback than when you do throw the ball, you have to be accurate and on the point?

Brad Johnson: Hopefully the line gives you better coverage to take those shots and get you those one-on-one situations. You can imagine situations where you are not always in third-and-eight or third-and-ten. I remember when I was in Washington with Norv turner and we have Stephen Davis who was an unbelievable runner. It really helped me in the play-action game because I threw for over 4,000 yards. That was my best career year as far as numbers go and that is what you want from Josh. Take care of the ball and when you do take your shots, you have to hit them. [Freeman] has playmakers to make those plays. But the running game, that will get you into a third-and-short, third-and-medium type of a game where you don’t have to force things on third-and-long. It is redundant when you talk about that over and over but the neat thing is for Josh this year is the hot [reads] will be a little different this year from the past.

McFarland: Josh in his fourth year, at one point in your career, the term “light goes on,” at what point did things calm down where you could play at a high level?

Johnson: I was in a different situation in that I didn’t play that much at Florida State. When I got to Minnesota, I was backing up Rich Gannon, Jim McMahon and Warren Moon. It took me to my fourth or fifth year until I was the actual starter. Thing about it, I was in the same system for seven years so I got to know the offense like the back of my hand, learning concepts from Brian Billick and later with Norv Turner so by the time I got to Tampa with Dungy and Gruden, I understood concepts pretty well. I do think the system that Josh was in was formulated from Gruden, the audibles and the formations and his adjustments for protections. He has a lot more playing time than I did so he is probably ahead of his time. I think Josh is ready to take that turn.

Well, some interesting comments there. High praise for Freeman, indeed. Joe believes Johnson hit the nail on the head in that for Freeman to make connections downfield on third-and-short, he needs protection. One reason Freeman struggled against Tennessee last week is that Freeman didn’t often have time to sneeze much less throw a pass.

The offensive line for the Bucs simply must be able to not just open holes for LeGarrette Blount and Doug Martin to make this offense work, it also has to keep Freeman’s jersey clean.

It all starts up front.

Oh, and it didn’t take Johnson to tell Joe how Olson was like Chucky in that he’d rather go down throwing the ball then using the talent on hand to pound the football.

5 Responses to “Brad Johnson Talks Josh Freeman”

  1. Jessup Says:

    Third offense in three years. Sure hope Sullivan sticks around for a bit before we end up “Alex Smithing” our quarterback.

  2. Jrock(mobile) Says:

    Brad had a really good interview. He also talked a lot about decision making, and how Josh HAS to get better in that department before he “turns the corner”.

    Also a lot of good talk on how safetys dictate defenses and the chemistry neded between Josh and his receivers to take advantage of what the defense gives you on the fly. I hope it builds quick!

  3. Garv Says:

    I know this. Booger McFarland is excellent on the radio. I had no idea he’d be as insightful and interesting as a radio host. He knows football and expresses his knowledge in a way we can all appreciate and understand.
    and he doesn’t talk down to fans but is admittedly one himself.

    Good job Booger!

  4. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    Where did he say “that Gruden (or Olson) would rather go down throwing than use his talent (rushing) on hand?” I didn’t see that.

    Gruden loves running backs, like Ricky Watters, Charlie Garner, Alstott, Pittman, Dunn, Caddy, E G – and he used all of them. Gru was much more balanced than you suggest.

  5. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    In fact, I recall a stat on Gruden that was surprising to most: Gru is historically a 60/40 pass to run playcaller in the first half.

    However, if he had a lead coming out of halftime, Gru would shift to a nearly 30/70 pass to run ratio for the remainder of the game. Gru also has great stats on winning close games.

    Finally, if you know anything about the West Coast offense it’s basic premise is to confuse the defense by using the pass to set up the run – not vice versa which is conventional. Thus, many short-drop high percentage passes are utilized as quasi-runs.

    Gru helped popularize frequent passing from 2 tight end sets and frequent runsfrom trip or quad receiver formations. Olson was not as savvy in this regard which was a mistake.