Unlock The Chains

September 27th, 2012

There are good things thus far in the early season about the 2012 Bucs.

Last year, the ole’ defense was no less than revolting. Lawn chairs could have tackled opposing runners just as easily (and, Joe might add, cheaply).

Bucs coach Greg Schiano has turned that defense around. Now the Bucs have the best run defense in the NFL (the pass defense, well, Joe will skip for this post).

Now if the Bucs only had an offense to go with that run defense, this team could be something special. The offense has been, well, like a stunted Woody Hayes offense, two yards and a cloud of field turf pellets.

Tampa Tribune humorist Martin Fennelly believes, if one is to read between the lines, that Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman is being held hostage by the Bucs offense, and that the tightening of the noose is doing neither the Bucs nor Freeman any favors.

All those extra pieces they picked up this offseason, from free agency and the draft, were supposed to help surround Freeman with what he needed for an accurate answer to the question: Which is the real Freeman, the 2010 Josh who threw all those touchdowns in 2010, at his best with the game on the line, or the 2011 Freeman who threw all those picks?

How can we get any kind of answer out of a game like Sunday in Dallas?

The Bucs have been competitive in all three of their games, but Freeman is going to have to be freed up more if the Bucs want to be the ones kneeling down at the end of games. I don’t see how turning No. 5 into the day watchman for this offense is getting the most out of him.

That’s pretty much accurate. Freeman, for lack of a better phrase, is little more than a traffic cop. And when one needs to make an arrest of an armed criminal, a traffic cop is not usually the first to turn to.

Look, Joe understands that Freeman is learning a new offense and that it takes time (spare Joe the Alex Smith analogies). And Joe also gets that Schiano has irritable bowel syndrome when it comes to turnovers; so does Joe.

Freeman is gifted with both a cannon for an arm and legs. How about having him run controlled rollouts periodically so he doesn’t have such a bulls-eye on his back from defensive ends and blitzing linebackers?

22 Responses to “Unlock The Chains”

  1. bucfanjeff Says:

    I absolutely, 150%, could not agree more.

    It’s a passing league, we have the weapons, what gives?

    Schiano, I know you want to run the ball – kudos, but you have a QB with a sandlot style and flair. Roll him out, go 4 and 5 wide, let Freeman spread his wings and watch the Bucs soar.

  2. flmike Says:

    I said it yesterday, Freeman is playing to not make mistakes, personally I think he is in fear of pissing off Schiano, I think Schiano has put the fear of god into him and this is the result. We as well as Schinao have to accept the fact that Freeman is going to make mistakes, especially in a new system, but he has to let Freeman know that as long as those mistakes are limited and are not based on negligence it is okay to make them as long as he learns from them and doesn’t repeat them.

  3. the_buc_realist Says:

    Joe, if you run rollouts against Dallas and Giants you will roll out right to there Defensive Ends. The offense looked the way it did because of who we played and how little we can run out of the playbook. There is a reason we could move the chains against the Panthers but no NY and Dallas.

  4. SensibleBuc Says:

    Excellent point about roll outs at the end Joe (a point I’ve been making all week).

    I’ll have to go back and find the tape to make sure but I believe Greg Cosell (producer of the NFL Matchup show) said that Freeman’s accuracy from the pocket vs. his accuracy/completion % on the run was night and day. Get him on the move outside the tackles with limited options, tie those boot action plays in with some actual running plays going outside and we might have something.

    Also, we all have seen enough of Free to know the he has a limited ability to go through progressions (Cosell mentioned that he never sees Free even look backside), so if we cut down on his options maybe he won’t look so robotic in his drops and actually run with the ball every once in awhile.

  5. Jarret Says:

    How about Freeman not hesitate on is reads and try hitting someone in stride other than vincent jackson. I saw a lot of last year’s Freeman against Dallas. Drops back, holds the ball a second too long and decides to throw a dump off for 4 yards on a 3rd and 7.

  6. SensibleBuc Says:


    If you really want to run those rollouts you can do it to any team, no matter the formation. Run it to the wide side of the field and have either your tackle reach block the end or bring your TE in motion to that side to have him double team the end and cut the backside DT & DE.

    The problem is, we don’t run many plays with motion and we don’t run many plays outside the tackle box and we don’t seem to know how to play to our players’ strengths yet. Blount, Clark, Smitty & Benn could use a few more touches/targets.

  7. Gunner Eleven Says:

    I hate being the pessimist, but Freeman is just awful. My wife called it correctly after the 2010 season. All those young players on the Bucs were playing well, because they didn’t know what they didn’t know. It’s the same reason why some rookies explode in their first season and then disappear. When you play without any fear of failure, astonishing things happen. The inverse is also true. Freeman is playing scared. He won’t ever get back to 2010. The only way I would by into a turnaround is if we find out that Freeman is injured.

  8. bucfanjeff Says:

    I would like to see us try a few 4 or 5 wr sets. See how the defense reacts. Vjax, williams, benn, tiq, and Clark? Wow.

  9. Jarret Says:

    @ Gunner

    Your post lost all credibility when you wrote “my wife called it..”

  10. robert Says:

    when will the excuses for jfro stop????? really, I just can’t take it anymore….

  11. raphael Says:

    Freeman is an awesome QB….spot on story ! unleash the BEAST #5

  12. chargedcbh Says:

    chargedcbh Says:

    September 26th, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    Have the Bucs ever had an offense that scared people? At this point I would LOVE to see Martz come in and coach. This is like a high school offense, why are they scared to play players? Do they even have a 5 wide formation? Instead of wondering if they will re-sign Freeman, ask yourself why would Freeman want to sign back? Since he’s been in the league, how many sell outs have they had? Your handcuffed as a QB, they don’t trust you, why come back? I wouldn’t….

  13. Gunner Eleven Says:


    I knew someone would respond to that. Are you saying women can’t watch sports? Are they capable of formulating opinions and providing astute commentary based on keen observation? Or is football too complicated? Back to the topic, I would love to see Freeman succeed and take advantage of his new weapons. But I don’t think if you line up 5 wide, he could hit an open Vjax two yards in front of him. Freeman is now a big, slow, and dumb QB. It’s all on the Defense for the remainder of the season. Over/Under on Freeman throwing for more than 150 yards against the skins? 50% completion?

  14. Jimmie Says:

    @ Jarret

    LOL, Ditto!

  15. Jonny 3.3 Says:

    LOL @ Gunner. My wife said this, my 8 yr old daughter said that….

  16. sneedy16 Says:

    @ Gunner

    You must not watch football much and rely on your wife for observations. Not saying women can’t make observation, but what you are saying is just plain idiotic.

  17. SteveK Says:

    We need Freeman to step up.

    If he continues to produce mediocre to subpar performances, then we will be a 10= loss team.

  18. Gunner Eleven Says:


    We’ve been through this before with Buc QB’s. I’ll be here all year. Let’s hope things change, but Freeman is a tree pretending to play football.

  19. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    I’m just hoping we win enough games to stay out of the Matt Barkley race…

  20. BucFan20 Says:

    Can’t wait to see the comments if the offense scores high on the Skins. Oh how much they improved. I told you Freeman was great. All that will come against one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Just like 2010. After all that is the excuse that is being used by a lot of people. In many other posts “Our schedule gets better now”. In interviews on TV, other players have said the new system is not the problem. “We need to get open”. Another excuse. Freeman is still Freeman. Stares down receivers. Even Troy saw it. Threw to VJ while staring down VJ who was covered. But Clark wide open in the middle. He does it time and again.
    I think I figured out what his problem is. In the huddle he must have a reveiver telling him “GIVE ME THE BALL”. He just can’t operate unless he has one doing that.

  21. Rican Says:

    I don’t agree at all that he’s had any chains on him haha. If anything he’s handicapped himself mentally. Why would the coaching staff give Free more passes when he is a heart attack waiting to happen for every fan watching him every single time he drops back lately? Steve white wrote a phenomenal article showing and explaining all the issues Free and the running game is facing. I really do hope he over comes his mental hurdle. More than anything though it would be nice to see the strong confident Free who is no doubt a leader and not whatever it was we saw on Sunday.

  22. Rican Says:

    http://potg2.blogspot.com/ says it all. No chains here, just Free