Did The 2010 Freeman Emerge?

September 17th, 2012

Josh Freeman was quick to call his interception with seconds left in the third quarter a “bonehead” play after Sunday’s Giants-Bucs game.

And it was ugly Freeman. It was the force-the-ball into Kellen Winslow Freeman fans were tortured by last year when No. 5 led the NFL in interceptions.

But Joe has to focus on what Freeman delivered in the fourth quarter as encouraging. Down a touchdown with four minutes left and momentum completely owned by the Giants, Freeman was clinical with three passes to Dallas Clark before uncorking a monster, 60-yards-in-the-air throw to Mike Williams for a touchdown. That’s the fourth-quarter magic and fearlessness Freeman delivered in 2010.

Then down a touchdown again with 31 seconds left, Freeman rips off tight throws to Vincent Jackson and Williams, who was sickeningly robbed by officials’ overturning his catch at the Giants’ 16 yard line. Regardless of the call, it was another 2010-like, fourth-quarter precision throw by Freeman.

Joe’s taking Freeman’s obvious confidence late as a great sign. Not enough for a win yesterday, but the guy who made his mark on the NFL in 2010 as the comeback quarterback showed signs he’s still got those heroics in him.

43 Responses to “Did The 2010 Freeman Emerge?”

  1. Rrsrq Says:

    I thought that last throw to Mike Williams (that was overturned) was one of his best ever, he also showed great touch on TD pass to Vincent Jackson, but also showed tremendous confidence on the TD to Mike, which he hadn’t showed since first game against Detroit last year.

  2. flmike Says:

    Only a handful of QBs could have come back to beat us yesterday, unfortunately we were playing one of those handful of QBs, Eli is absolutely an elite QB, hopefully Josh will be there soon.

  3. Number 41 Says:

    Let’s be real about Josh Freeman — he’s 43 games into his NFL career and has 3 total 300 yard passing games. That’s not going to cut it in the 2012 NFL, where passing is the way you win games.

    He disappears for huge stretches of games — if he’d been consistently moving the offense, they could have buried the Giants in the 2nd half, especially after that big KO return by Benn to open the half. Unfortunately, he missed open guys and was unable to push the ball downfield.

    Also, he has developed this awful habit of shying away from opportunities to run. By running, he’d force the defense to play closer to the line in an effort to contain him, which would open up the intermediate areas (5-15 yards past the LOS) for guys like Mike Williams and Dallas Clark to operate. Just by taking off running 3 or 4 times per game, he’ll force the defenses to completely change how they approach pass defense.

    You can candy coat things all you want — in the modern NFL you need a QB who can move a team on his own. Josh Freeman isn’t that guy right now.

  4. Richard Says:

    I have to agree with Number 41. I’m not sure if it’s the playcalling itself, or if the playcalling is reflecting Josh’s abilities though. But then I look at those long passes, especially the TD bomb to Williams that had the guys on Football Night in America audibly in awe, and wonder just what it is that keeps us from doing that all game long.

  5. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Number 41, are you sure you are even a Bucs fan? I have yet to see you post a positive comment.

    Tell the truth…are you secretly Thomas 2.2?

  6. SteveK Says:

    Freeman needs to uncork his physical talents ad stop
    Trying to be a pocket QB.

  7. jim Says:

    Where is Dallas Clark? Seems like when he is used, drives are kept alive. I know the Bucs want to be a running team but they HAVE shown success when setting up the run with the PASS.

  8. raphael Says:

    some of you guys are on crack ! Freeman had some big time passes yesterday…all QB’s have bad throws…what is this Freemans 3rd system in 3 yrs ?

  9. Theodore Says:

    @Richard – “wonder just what it is that keeps us from doing that all game long”


    There’s no reason Mike Sullivan can’t turn the Bucs offense into the Giants-south. I won’t give Freeman Eli’s talent just yet, but I see no difference in VJAX-Williams-Martin and their Giant counterparts.

    Schiano’s philosophy is bruising running game and take shots down the field. That’s the Giants, except they complete more of those shots. If Freeman can step up, I’m hoping Schiano gives him more reign, because Number 41 is right – Pedestrian passing games don’t cut it anymore. Teams can now out-throw you to win… and that is exactly what we just saw.

  10. PieRat40 Says:

    Yup it is all Free, not the over conservative playcalling, etc… /facepalm

  11. BucNeckid Says:

    I like what #5 did in the fourth quarter and agree that his play may have shown the coaches a bit to have more confidence in him.
    I also thought that the Mike Williams pass was as good as it gets and the ruling should have been a catch as the replay clearly showed that he caught it, he took two steps WITH the ball in his complete control and then got drilled causing the fumble. Best way to avoid this is better ball security but still this was a catch with a bad overturn and it would have been really interesting if the ball stayed inbound with the Giants recovering sealing the victory at that point rather than the way it turned out. Home Team Fans would have went apespit then.
    Also that “Running First” gameplan proved to be the real difference in the early second half. The “Prevent Offense” NEVER wins

  12. houstonbucs Says:

    Not taking anything away from free, he played a excellent game yesterday for sure BUT, the giants do have problems at cornerback. I think that’s what gave him the confidence to throw down field and I was very very impressed. Honestly, I was on my way off the free bandwagon with all the checkdowns, and poor decision making, but he made me believe he can make every throw. And he did yesterday.
    Tough challenge next week against a very good pair of corners in Dallas.
    I think a even better measuring stick for free’s progress in his fourth year.

  13. bucsalltheway Says:

    Freeman trust his guys he hasn’t mastered backyard football throw it up and let em go get it….im. pissed d. Clark and lagarette blount are not heavily involved in the schemes. But I hope we use what Seattle did yesterday to merk the cowgirls

  14. lurker Says:

    pete d,

    i was thinking the same thing.

  15. JerseyBucsFan Says:

    I think freeman did a good job, the only thing i wanna see from freeman is move alil more when too much time goes by. nothing wrong with running for some yards

  16. Sneedy16 Says:

    You guys are forgetting that Freeman is learning a new system!!! They had to completely reprogram him. The QB you want to see and it will not happen over night. Was Number 41 listening this off-season about working on his bad throwing habits? You saw a piece of 2010 and 2011 Josh yesterday with him driving down the field for and score and also forcing the ball even though there was no one open. How many years in the NFL did Eli take before he made the jump to elite status? He look up the stats accuracy and passing yards were average at best for his first 4 years in the league. Look at Alex Smith now? He rarely throws for 300 yards but seems to win games by so yards means squat in this league is touchdowns is what matters. Lay off Freeman.

  17. BucFan20 Says:

    Freeman had good passes yesturday. But remember the run sets up the pass. The Giants Brown ran all over the Defense. Pick your poison. Help Talib or run support. Other than the improvised TD run The Giants ate the “Bell Cow ” up. So the run went nowhere to set up the pass. Other than a couple great long passes and a short field to score, no long drives. Again!! I can bet if they put Blount in the Giants come with run blitz because the line could not pick it up. This was a good Defense. Not the Panthers.

    Yes Freeman looked better. But making him a pocket passer, not wanting him to run and no run game. The Defense is going to stay on the field.

  18. Patrick Says:

    Freeman always has to play catch up……..why can’t he actually play good from the beginning? It’s not his fault I know, but he’s one of many reasons we lost yesterday. Until the 4th qtr, his stats were very lackluster.

  19. Patrick Says:

    *It’s not all his fault.

  20. Rick330 Says:

    Let’s not forget that Freeman has had a different OC the last 3 years. Each has tried to change the offense. The kid has talent. Yes, he made a bone head play. But he had more outstanding plays. The bucs should give him more freedom. I think he is told to not run, even when huge lanes are open to him. He is not Brad Johnson. Question- Any word on why Blount was not used?

  21. MR 941 Says:


  22. Dano Says:

    I don’t understand why Freeman REFUSES to run for extra yards when nothing is there. And they really have to use Clark more! Especially on 3rd down. They missed opportunities on a couple of 3rd & 1’s. Why not do a QB sneak on those?? That’s a very,very effective play.

  23. albuc44 Says:

    NO way … he let us down in 2nd half … its because of him our defense got tired and ran out of gas in the 2nd half… We had the game in the bag ..all we needed was a few field goals and to kill the clock … there was no reason for us to be playing catch up … then he ended it with the freeman of last year pick / interception – game over..

    that game fell on Freeman – soley on him .. we cant give the guy credit for trying too late…
    the babying stops now!!!

  24. BucFan20 Says:

    I can’t remember where I saw it but they don’t want Freeman giving up his body and taking the chance of him getting hurt. It was on runs it said but it did not say anything about sneaks.

  25. Miguel Grande Says:

    I’ve said since his first year, he show flashes of brilliance but his OC’s don’t trust him until there’s nothing to lose. He can move the ball 80 yards in 3 plays but he is kept in harness.

    I was reminded yesterday of the time when Buddy Ryan threw a punch at Kevin Gilbride, in the 2nd quarter when the Bucs comically couldn’t eat clock or pass successfully for a pathetic 3 and out.

    I think Kevin probably thought there might be a scuffle on the Buc’s sideline.

  26. bucfanjeff Says:

    Freemans throws this year have been quick, powerful and accurate. The coaching has helped him. He will continue to grow. Our problem is not at QB. It’s learning each other and trusting the system.

    Yesterday’s game reminded me of Jim Bates’ defense.

  27. Sneedy16 Says:


    What are you talking about it was all his fault? Was it his fault was stop running the ball? Was it his fault was ran 3 straight pass plays in the 3rd quarter with 25 seconds on the clock? Our defense needed a rest and all they had to do run one single run play to get to the 4th and they only burnt 18 seconds on a single series. Blame the OC not the QB. No one was open one those plays even though the Giants were blitzing. What happened to Legarrette Blount? I’m pretty sure a change of pace at RB would of probably help.

  28. chargedcbh Says:

    People understand if you run the ball out of the same formation, its pretty obvious to the defense what your doing. Then on 3rd down you bring out 3 wide, once again its obvious what your doing. When you call screen plays and all these little “safe” passes… LET JOSH PLAY!!!!!!!! I’ve been saying this for years, he plays better out of shotgun, 3 wide and spreading the offense. You can run the ball out of different formations! This team is already to predictable, on defense and offense.
    I think Josh would be incredible in a Patriot type offense, let him throw it! I can see him leaving the Bucs and going to a team that will let him throw it, he will be a great QB. Tell him to run!!! Tell him to run when nothing is there!! Take off the handcuffs…….

  29. FlBoy84 Says:

    Agree with Josh that his first pick was “bonehead”. Really seemed to wake the Giants up and was the major turning point in the game. If he takes the sack/throws it away and we pin them back again on the punt, think they stay in their fog and we might just win that game. Agree with most that Dallas Clark needs to be a bigger part of the game plan. Overall very good game, definitely need to get better pressure, especially on blitzes where you’re leaving the CB’s out on an island. Was reminded of Sapp & Lynch’s wariness of putting Barber at safety due to his guessing on routes occasionally. Paid the price on Cruz’s TD. Really like the fight in this team though. Curious to see how the play calling on both sides of the ball develops as the season goes on. If the team plays with this much intensity week-in and week-out, they’ll definitely have to be reckoned with each week and restore some of the pride that was lost under Raheem & Co.

  30. skp Says:

    there is still alot of development to do within this offensive system, i think we will be an excellent offensive football team by november and freeman will pick up several plays which were left on the field yesterday. you could see there is room for the freeman-jackson chemistry to grow and that will only make everyone else more open and create space for martin. it doesn’t help to think about “what if” but i can’t help but wonder if the outcome would have been different with a healthy Davin Joseph. all we needed were a couple first downs late

  31. guns4roses Says:

    I’d say it was an inconsistent performance from Freeman yesterday – some great throws, some terrible ones. The great throws were obvious, but don’t overlook quality throws into Dallas Clark over the middle in the late 4th.

    Both interceptions were caused by poor technique and poor decision making. For the first pick, he tried to throw over the middle late which is a cardinal sin for a QB. He definitely should have ran on that play. For the 2nd pick, he didn’t set his feet which resulted in the ball sailing on him.

    In the middle of the fourth, Freeman and Jackson had a chance to extend a drive with 1 on 1 coverage on the left. Aikman blamed Freeman for a poor throw, when it actually was a bad read by Jackson. Freeman was expecting him to break off his pattern to the outside as a hot route for the blitz. Some more time together and this type of thing will be come second nature.

  32. Number 41 Says:

    Freeman has played 43 games. How many more games does he get to use the “still learning” label?

    This needs to be a “step up” year for Freeman. Roethlisberger made a major leap in his 4th year as a starter to become an elite QB. Freeman needs to make the same leap, otherwise the Buccaneers need to seriously consider addressing the QB position in the draft once again.

    If you don’t have an elite talent under center in the NFL, your margin for winning becomes incredibly small.

  33. Sneedy16 Says:

    Eli played in 57 so what’s your point? Ben Roethisberger had a top 5 defense for most of his career and played with the same OC for his whole career. With the good running game the Steelers have, Trent Dilfer could make it to the Super Bowl with that defense. I will admit Ben is great and will do a lot with his legs but he is always banged up throughout the season. I’m not trying to baby the guy, but give him a full season under his new tutelage before banishing him.

  34. mark from the block Says:

    Number 41, I respect your opinion, just as you do to others but I want to make a couple of points.

    First if you actually look at the “Elite QB’s” you notice one key factor. consistency in their coaching staff, since Eli’s rookie year he has had the same philosophy offensive coordinator/coach which generally equals the same system, Rodgers,Big Ben, Romo, Rivers, Stafford are the same way, the lone exception being Mr. Drew Brees (who happen to go to a team that fit his style of play). As many have tried to explain to you Freeman is getting the Alex Smith/Jason Campbell treatment where they have had different coaches throughout their entire career and essentially are constantly being re-taught how to play the quarterback position. If you are in fact a true Bucs fan you might have read an article on here where they talked about how this Offense is a complete shift from a normal word based offense hybrid west coast offense (i.e. using terms like red, alpha normally called for a check out) to the aforementioned giants essential fake run and shoot offense which is based off digits. this is similar as many stated to learning Spanish after spending years of learning french. So there is going to be initial bumps in the road a game like yesterday is a positive sign that Freeman is going in the right direction, because although he was able to exploit a bad defense by taking shots on their porous secondary he is able to do something that he did not do at all during last season.

    Second point that I want to make is that you stated we should stop Babying Freeman because guys like Big Ben were able to step up in year 4 and Freeman is in year 4. Well aside from the aforementioned point on consistency in your coaching staff, Big Ben and Eli (who you would like Freeman to be at because each have two Superbowl rings) played in offences in their first years that relied HEAVILY on the run game. In the early parts in both QB’s careers when they were in these systems that Freeman is just now getting into they averaged well below the 250 yards a game because they would RUN the ball down people’s throats as a result they would then get 8 in the box and eventually through seeing tons of one on one coverage eventually got the comfort level to

    The third point: Hines Ward, Plaxico, Terrell Owens, Calvin Johnson, all have one thing in common and that is they were proven number 1 wide outs for these Elite QB’s before they were signed or played with these “future” Elite QB’s is the number one wide receiver. While you are complaining about the lack of 300 yard games, just name me one receiver on the Bucs besides Mike Williams in his rookie year that had over a 1000 yards receiving in a season, and once defenses started to shift over on his side he became invisible. Freeman never had a real option until the Bucs shelled out 55 million for Vincent Jackson and already in the second game he is proving more then Williams had all last season.

    I have many more points if you would like for me to go through but the point is that it is understandable to be a little down on the non instant results that Freeman has not given, because you see the early successes of Cam Newton, Robert Griffin III, and Matthew Stafford (and if you want to be honest on Stafford so far he has not been that impressive as he was when there was little film on him) but even those three QB’s have the three points that are listed above. The point is give him at least the rest of the season before you past judgement on the guy. Also remember there is something about Freeman that is that it factor, the guy has had it since his freshman year of college. It’s all a matter of getting him all the tools he needs to be successful and I think the coaching staff we have in place along with their philosophy and having a true number one receiver will be crucial in his development

  35. Nate Says:

    Hey we just need to beat everyone in our division and win a couple games maybe will play the giants in the playoffs!

  36. MTM Says:

    The offense works better when Freeman is in the 2 minute drill. I would put Freeman in the no huddle offense and let it ride. The Bucs played hard and didn’t quit. The problem was the conservative offense. This isn’t the first time the Bucs have been in that situation. Schiano needs to not wait until they are behind to be aggressive on offense.

    Go Bucs!

  37. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    There’s no way for us to really know whether it’s the conservative play calling or Freeman not playing with confidence. Either way it’s probably not good. One thing that I notice is that he rarely, if ever, audibles at the line of scrimmage. He may alter the protection, but he almost never seems to be changing the play. Most of the elite QB’s in today’s game do that quite often. I don’t know if he doesn’t have the freedom to do it, or if he doesn’t have enough of a grasp of the offense to do it. Again, either way, it’s not good. We will only go as far as Freeman takes us. Our defense is what it is. We aren’t going to become the 49ers defense. Problem is, we have the 49er offense. This is pretty concerning to me. He’s got the weapons, but he’s got to take off the leash. Hopefully it’s coming soon.

  38. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I agree with you 100% MTM. He almost always is very effective in that offense. It’s as if no matter the coach, they are scared to use it, even though half the league uses it regularly.

  39. ben Says:

    unleash the kid man, they do it and get ahead and put the brakes on. after you score points, score more points. Even if there is higher risk i have enough confidence in our defense . Just let him run wild

  40. MTM Says:

    at Hawaiian

    Great comparison to the 49ers offense. I think Freeman has more physical skills the Smith. Your right Freeman doesn’t audible at the line either. That is the new NFL.

  41. Hawaiian Buc Says:


    Freeman is so much more skilled than Smith it’s not even funny. Got to take off his training wheels eventually, don’t you think?

  42. Ramdog Says:

    Did anyone hear Mike Martz’s play by play during the Carolina game?? Martz was awesome he dissected the game including Josh Freeman’s play.

    Martz said Josh looked like a different quarterback, his footwork, moving his eyes within his helmet (instead of turning his head and staring down receivers like last year) all of which he believes are the effect of Ron Turner’s coaching. Also he is progressing quickly through all his reads that last first down of the Carolina game the pass to Vincent Jackson was his 3rd option according to Martz who stated he used to run that play. During the replay he said it was amazing how he progressed that quickly.

    Did Josh make some bad plays against the Giants yes but he played well enough to win. He really wasn’t our problem nor was an offense that scored 27 points and could’ve scored 34 and sent it to overtime had the refs not robbed them.

    The problem was the Giants scored 25 points in the 4th Quarter. You won’t win too many games if you allow 25 fourth quarter points.

    True, some of that could be attributed to an offense that cannot run the ball consistently enough to sustain drives but that happens when you loose a pro-bowl Guard for the year in pre-season and must replace him with the Human Doormat Ted Larsen.

    In my opinion more blame should fall on the shoulders of our defense. They got no pressure even while blitzing. A line that played well against Carolina was non-existent against a short-handed Giants line. Also we played too aggressive when we should’ve played more zone and made them work it down the field. If we sit in a Cover 2 shell or run Sheridan’s “Dime” defense we may get another pick or two especially if we line up 3 lineman and run delayed blitzes. Of course if any of those blitzes he dialed up work we get a pick or two and win the game. But what do I know I am just a fan and that is opinion. Regardless the team looks much improved over last year and they will only get better as Shiano and his crew figure out the team and the NFL game.

    GO BUCS !!!!

  43. Fritz50 Says:

    “where passing is the way you win games”

    Funny, didn’t work that way against the Kittys. Truth is , scoring more points than the other team is the real way to win games.

    As for passing too much in the 4th, I seem to recall at least 3 3&outs that went Run-run-Pass. I was SCREAMING for a play action pass on 1st or 2nd down, by the 3rd one. Seemed like they were trying to set 1 up & then forgot about calling it. Feels like 1 or 2 1st downs more in the 3rd or 4th quarter would have sealed the win.