Josh Freeman And Pressure

December 11th, 2012

Last week, when Joe noted Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman folded under pressure and vanished for a quarter, which the Broncos took advantage of and rallied for a key win, Joe was largely raked over the coals for pointing out what some fans considered heresy.

But more proof was on video Sunday for all to see — all who cared to see. Freeman was simply off, terribly so, in an embarrassing, playoff-killing loss to the Beagles, a game in which a rookie, third-round pick playing in his fifth NFL game stood tall under constant pressure from the Bucs and delivered a win.

Well, the folks at have studied the video and are of the mind that Freeman’s performance was far more ghastly Sunday then Joe initially believed.

In short, when Freeman faced pressure from the Beagles, he completed a grand total of zero attempts.

Off Day for Freeman

Buccaneers quarterback, Josh Freeman (-1.8) was a little off for most of the game. He never seemed to settle into a rhythm, finishing the game 14 of 32 on his graded passes. All year Freeman’s struggles have come when he is under pressure, and this game was no different. When under pressure Freeman didn’t complete a pass, going 0 of 9, and many of those nine were way off target. As soon as he feels pressure he rushes his throws and becomes extremely inaccurate. His QB rating with no pressure was a very impressive 106.9, but against pressure just 39.6.

As Joe has pointed out, priority No. 1 for Greg Schiano come January is to brainstorm a way to repair that sieve of a secondary. Whether that means changes to personnel and staff, time will tell.

The No. 2 objective for Schiano and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan will be to find out why Freeman gets so rattled under pressure. Hell, Joe even kept his composure when he met Rachel Watson this past summer; no small feat.

Given Sullivan’s track record with Eli Manning, Joe’s confident Sullivan can help Freeman. It will be an important task as the near future of the Bucs franchise may very well depend on that outcome.

55 Responses to “Josh Freeman And Pressure”

  1. ShutTheBucUp Says:

    The guy can run and take a hit with the best of them. If no one is open and theres a lane, tuck it and run! I’m sure he’s not scared of being hit, but more scared of taking a sack and then tries to push the ball out too soon. It’d be nice if he had the option to run on every play.

  2. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    I cant help but feel like it might (at least recently) have something to do with the shot to the knee he took a few games back. I’m not sure which game but the other team was penalized and Freeman was pretty noticeably inaccurate afterwards.

    Not sure if he was injured on the play or if it just makes him a little more paranoid under pressure now. I don’t seem to remember him being THIS off on his throws before that hit.

    Just a thought…

  3. Brandon Says:

    Freeman’s problems are fixable with coaching. His movement in the pocket is nearly non-existent. He needs to work on his feet, sliding to the side, stepping up, sensing pressure and moving away or past it and keeping his eyes downfield for a throw. Too often he stands as still as a statue, eyes downfield while the rush inches its way to him. Then when it’s there it’s too late. At other times, he takes off, abandons the pocket, drops his eyes and runs. He needs to be trained to use his feet to buy time, not necessarily just to pick up a couple of yards. A QB moving his feet ever so slightly can buy precious seconds. Freeman still hsa not learned what two of the slowest athletes in the NFL (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady) learned a long time ago.

  4. Stranger Says:

    It was the Von Miller hit, which Von got fined for.

  5. Nick2 Says:

    Joe, I couldn’t agree more. Last night on the coachs show another caller asked the coach why Freeman was snapping the ball with 8 seconds left on the clock when we were trying to grind the clock. Last year Freeman had the habit of throwing while backpedling when under pressure which never works (the analogy is a fadeaway shot in basketball just as difficult.) Freeman definitely needs help on pressure situations. Regardless of how good our line is there will be times that Free will see some heat. Now its Schianos job to fix it.

  6. WestCoastBucsFan Says:

    @Stranger, I thought it was the Broncos game but wasn’t sure. It would be nice to see some before and after stats on the hit.

  7. Have A Nice Day Says:

    And to think, in 2010 Freeman was one of the best in the league under pressure with 67.2 accuracy percentage(like completion percentage but excludes dropped passes). Good for 6th best in the league.

    That was in a west coast style of offense that had many quick options to throw to. Now with a deep passing game full of long developing routes, those short routes are far and few, forcing Free to throw early when the pressure hits before the routes develop.

    Either the OL needs to protect better(not going to happen this year with the top guns on IR) or the OC needs to scheme for this. More short routes are needed.

  8. Raphael Says:

    Hmmm. I thought all QB, have a lower rating when under a lot of pressure… me capt obvious but maybe better blocking is in order….Or maybe some high percentage passes to start the game..

  9. Ramdog Says:

    @Joe – LOL you are a reader of Profootball Focus too huh ?? I am a stats junky being an engineer and huge BUCS fan as well. Great Site by the way !!!

    I read that article yesterday. I am a Freeman supporter which is also based on his stats (25 TDs – 8 INTs over 3,000 yds. and over a 90 QB Rating). However that said, he is horrid against pressure has been all year just our line has been playing well enough that he doesn’t get much. I mean all QB’s are affected by it but you have to complete more than 40% of your passes. Also 6 of his 8 INT were when he was under pressure – Wow. The only person who is worse than Josh is Mark Sanchez, which to me is scary. There is a lot of room for improvement but I am sure Josh, Sully and Schiano all know that. He needs to get more accurate and better under pressure which I think will improve with another year in the offense and a big slot receiver who can go over the middle for the quick slants when heat is coming.

    Another stat I found interesting is his QB rating on play action passing 108.2 and when he gets rid of the ball in under 2.5 seconds 99.2 (this .4% behind Peyton Manning). His rating actually drops the longer he takes in the pocket to 83.5 when he gets more than 2.5 seconds.

    As I am sure Joe knows QB rating is perhaps the strongest predictor of win percentage in the NFL. The team with the Higher QB Rating wins about 80% (yes 80%) of the time, according to a Cold Hard Facts Article by Kerry Byrne. For instance look at the year the BUCS won the Superbowl they held teams to a miniscule QB rating in the 50’s (yes 50’s) for the year. That is how you win a Superbowl without an Elite QB. Although no insult to Brad he had a Phenomenal Year and Playoffs that Superbowl Year but so did our D.

    GO BUCS !!!

  10. PRBucFan Says:

    It’s never Free’s fault

  11. SteveK Says:

    Freeman oh Freeman.

    I hope he gets back on track. If he fizzles out the rest of the year, then IDK what we do?

  12. Nick2 Says:

    I really like Freeman but as everyone has seen there are times under pressure his eyes get as wide as headlights like “uh oh what do I do now??” Not a look I have ever seen Tom Brady have. I am still with Freeman all the way but if Schiano and Sully think he doesn’t have accuracy improvements necessary on short routes and can’t be more poised under pressure we all are in for a long 2013.

  13. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    This is no longer news. Everyone in the league, and every Bucs fan, now knows that Freeman loses it under physical pressure. Sure he can handle the mental pressure of leading a fourth quarter comeback, but put a defender within two or three feet of him and he folds like a cheap suit. It’s obvious he’s afraid for whatever reason.

    You know what’s sad? A rookie QB (Nick Foles) handling getting hit over and over and over again with such poise, completing pass after pass under the most crushing defensive pressure. Compare that to a fourth-year QB in Freeman who, while under much less pressure than Foles, scatter shooting his passes all over creation and failing to act like a man with cajones when under pass rush pressure.

    How embarrassed I was as a Bucs fan to see our QB get outmanned by a rookie mid-round QB under far more pressure than our own QB had to endure. Now that sucks.

  14. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    Freeman was completely off from the opening handoff to the end. VJ, Dougie and Mike Williams bailed him out of many jams.

    This is a 4th year QB who has not improved one iota.

    Doug Williams was an incredibly raw QB who made every mistake possible, once. He always learned by experience and coaching. I remember he once overthrew a sideline route to kill the clock, only problem was, it was 4th down. Killed the drive.

    Time to dump his sorry ass.

    There are small lies, big lies and statistics.

  15. 76buc76 Says:

    The only difference between Freeman and the average NFL QB is…that he throw’s 3 or 4 WAY OFF pass’s in a game.I think he need’s consistant footwork and too stand tall.He seem’s to have so much knee bend it makes him smaller. And get’s to many ballz knocked down.Watch Brady he stand’s tall sometimes stand’s still.But he’s consistantly anchored so he’s accurate.It’s as simple as that for Freeman.His throwing motion is not the problem and I think they have him thinking to much about it.

  16. DCBUCSFAN Says:

    What is really going on with Freeman? The dude just looks soft now days! At the post game press conference on Sunday, his hair looked like Michael Jackson’s. He doesn’t have the beast quality any longer.

  17. Ramdog Says:

    I am Stats fan more than a Freeman fan and the stats bear out that Freeman is good enough to sign long term (25 TD, 8 INT and 90+ QB rating). The best veteran QB heading to Free Agency is Joe Flacco and I don’t see him as an upgrade.

    However, for the future of the BUCS there should always be a QB “waiting in the wings” doesn’t have to be a first rounder either you can find talent in the later rounds (Brady was a 6th rounder, Brees 2nd round, Johnny Unitas 9th round, Joe Montana in the 3rd round) blah blah blah. Oh and I hate to tell you but I wouldn’t blame the current state of the BUCS on the current GM. Think about it how many players on our team are veterans that Bruce Allen drafted ?? Which wasn’t that long ago. Four, Davin Joseph, Jeremy Trueblood, Quincy Black and Adam Hayward. Of these only one would be considered quality or pro-bowl (Joseph) the rest are average at best.

    Many of the players Bruce Allen drafted are not even in football anymore. So how is this Dominik’s fault ?? Give Schiano/Dominik more time to get their players in here.

  18. bucbucbuc Says:

    It’s obvious what the problem with Freeman was on Sunday. Everytime he dropped back, he would continue to move backwards away from the pocket, especially when he sensed pressure closing in. Nick Foles, on the other hand, stepped up into the pocket and bought himself more time. Although our pass rush was mauling the Eagles O-line, Foles was able to make more time himself with good footwork and the presence of mind to step into, rather than away from, the pocket. There was a play when the protection broke down and he spun backwards and then tried to scramble out and make a play. That simply won’t work.

  19. Sneedy16 Says:

    A good slot receiver will help a lot with getting rid of the ball. Underwood is good, but it he has been dropping balls more recently and from my understanding running the wrong routes.

  20. Sneedy16 Says:


    You really can’t compare going against the Bucs secondary competition. WR were 5-10 yards open on almost every play and they pass rush was inconsistent. Yeah they got a few sacks, but the rest of the game Foles had all day in the pocket. I’m not saying Freeman played great, but the last time I check the Eagles had 2 Pro Bowl CB that made him question his throws. Freeman stepping up in the pocket wouldn’t help with the line getting push back into him, that is why the DE’s didn’t get any sacks but both DT’s for the Eagles did.

  21. Andrew Says:

    @ Ramdog- good point

    @ 76bu76- I agree

    If Schiano thinks he is good enough to be our starting QB, then that’s good enough for me.

  22. buccanay Says:

    Sad but true. Well said flboy.

  23. BadNewsBucs Says:

    Sullivan & Schiano have put Josh Freeman in a pocket-passing box, and I for one think it’s criminal not to fully utilize a QBs mobility. Freeman needs to learn to do more with less, as he & Peyton Manning both threw for 242 when we played Denver, with Manning attempting 1 less pass and completed 10 more than #5. That there basically sums up why Freeman can’t be “elite” just yet, I wish Freeman had a runner’s mentality at the very least.

  24. Drew Says:

    It’s funny how some of the folks posting here who told me to F**K off in a previous article. Due to a comparison I made to an Elite QB not to mention his name Tom Brady. Are to some degree finding fault in Freeman. Stop being hypocrites.

    Miguel… word of caution on what you post pertaining to Freeman. You’re likely to be told to F**K off.

  25. Mike J Says:

    Sneedy16, I have had the same thought recently. The Bucs don’t have any WRs with short-area quickness; they need their own Wes Welker.

  26. SacBucs Says:

    Drew I’m new here and I want you to walk the plank..What kinda die hard fans leaves a dynasty like the Pats to be a Buc.. Not a knock on my pirates at all..We don’t want none!

    You bandwagoner!

    SacBucs been a Buccaneer when we Only Had Hardy & Rhett..I’m going down with the Ship too! Arrrr

  27. SacBucs Says:

    Hey Sneedy16 its a pleasure to read your post.

    O yeah Drew, miguel can have his moments at times but he is still one of us! A BUCCANEER!

    Can you read this popo! F the grammer police

  28. BucFan20 Says:

    As more proof unfolds that Freeman Folds , the excuses from some people still keep comming. It’s always something or someone else but Never Freeman.

  29. SombreoBro Says:

    Hey Joe, you were pissed when Boomer Esiason was blasting Freeman………. so now what?

  30. Pelbuc Says:

    FLBoyin Dallas and Miguel el Magnifico couldn’t have said it better. Freeman always chokes under pressure. His problem is from the neck up. He’s been given every opportunity to win the big game and has failed in each and every chance for 4 years now. No more patience! He is what he is and will never be the guy who leads us to a championship, much less the playoffs. Bucs will need to drastically improve their defense/secondary and try to become a team whose defense leads them to win like the old Bucs. In the most important must win game of the season against a bad team at home before a sellout crowd, Freeman played his worst game in years, enough said. Bring in competition! If they sign him to a long term deal, they will alienate Bucs fans again.

  31. Tye Says:

    Hopefully this HC is planning on getting his own QB to bring in after what he has seen from Freeman’s film…. I have no clue who is or will be available in the offseason but Freeman hasn’t figured it out in 4 seasons, he doesn’t deserve yet another in my opinion!…

    What has Freeman done to have so many people coddling him is beyond my understanding.

  32. dmatt Says:

    Freeman does not over throw or under throw due to pressure along. He has done the same this year with no pressure at all…on multiple occasions. There were times when the line gave him the amount of time the Patriots line gives Brady…but unlike Brady, he made multiple bonehead plays.This is what I do not understand about this guy. He looks confused in the huddle, confused before the snap, and confused after a play. And, he always appears confused during post press conference. During his post conference Sunday I thought he was a band member for pop star Buno Mars. Based on comments and feedback from thousand of Bucs fans regarding Josh’s lack of performance, it appears to me that he needs to go back to the basics… maybe invite himself to the 2013 NFL combine.

  33. grif4foozball Says:


  34. Sneedy16 Says:


    You all might as well start boarding the spaceship because he is getting his deal. They will have a chance to get a better backup, but top backups will be Jason Campbell or Byron Leftwich. I would like to see how they work out as starters. I do not see them drafting a QB in the first 2-3 rounds, because they have a more pressing need like CB’s and DT.

    Call me a homer or a whatever, but I will continue to rooting for Freeman until he is in another team jersey.

    Go Bucs

  35. Drew Says:

    Setting the record straight. Moved to Florida in 79 to go to College – USF. Became a Buc fan when I played pickup basketball at Egypt Lake in the off season with a lot of Buccaneer players. I can honestly say I had the opportunity to get to know many of the Buc players at that time on a personal level. Yeah I’m a die hard Buc Fan and in memory of my dear friend Robert Futrell will always be. I do however have roots with the Patriots, having grown up in New England.

    Take a few moments on a busy weekend and go to Egypt Lake. As you approach the courts on the left hand side written in concrete is In Memory of Robert Futrell a Tampa Bay Buccaneer.

    If I seem overly critical of some of the players, it’s because of the history I have with the team and many of the players who passed through there.

  36. BucFan20 Says:

    So as the season is closing down let’s look at what we know.Does he make good throws. Sometimes. Does Freeman have a lot of passing yards.Yes. Why. Bombs to VJ and Williams (alot that were acrobatic or had to be taken away from defenders). Low Ints. Yes. Why. Lucky as hell. Many passes were drops by defenders or or receivers took the ball away or knocked it away. Good passing %. Under No Physical Pressure. Yes. Under Physical Pressure. No. Good clock Management. Most of the time.

    What should this tell anyone? He is good against bad defenses with no pressure. He is bad against good defenses. Do you give him a big extension reward and payday now or wait till after the 2013 season to see how he performs with his toys then and holds up against pressure?
    If it were me…. after 2013.

  37. Drew Says:


    Totally agree with all of your post. I would love to see the Kid improve, but in 4 years he hasn’t shown it. The only thing holding all that talent back sits above his shoulders.

  38. Sneedy16 Says:


    I don’t think they will be looking at Freeman’s contract this year. Micheal Bennett contract is the one I think they will be looking at. I don’t think Dominik and afford another Micheal Clayton, Quincy Black contract, a nice contract with the hope that he will improve.

  39. SilenceTheCritics Says:

    Agreed, I think it’s a given Free will be given one more year before they talk about extension. Another year like this one though and I don’t believe he comes back.

  40. BucSnob Says:

    As a fan that actually goes to the games, I support Freeman 100%. I’ll admit he’s off at times but to say he needs to go is just plain stupidity. The guy has done more in the short time he’s been here than other QBs we’ve had. He will get an extension and a lot if you will be pissed, I on the other hand will be excited. As a true fan I will stand by him and continue to give him my full support. He’s young and has shown the makings of a classy leader and franchise QB. Go look at the top QBs in the league and see what their stats look like in their 4th year. You’ll be surprised to see that Freeman is ahead of most. #TeamFreeman

  41. Architek Says:

    I tend to side with Drew, BF20, and FLBoy because they’re realist. I traveled to the season opener to support my Bucs and while we won I had a empty feeling inside because something about the game wasn’t right. I brought it up to Joe, I will never forget and I asked what is wrong with Freeman? Many of you frowned and mocked me but things always come full circle.

    Freeman has these issues to me:
    – Lacks mechanics
    – Skiddish under pressure
    – Questionable instincts for the nuances of the position
    – Bad decision making

    I personally would let him play out next season because he deserves the opportunity to have a second season in this offense with these weapons. But the Bucs really need to bring in considerable competition. I have seen Andrew Luck and RG3 as rookies and a mid rounder outplay Freeman so starting over shouldn’t be the variant. Luck and RG3 would both upgrade over Freeman. They have the it and poise as rookies. Their accuracy and instincts trump Freeman. So if the Bucs decide to draft or replace him it is possible upgrade a inconsistent 4th year qb.

  42. Sneedy16 Says:


    I don’t understand what you are talking about the Bucs never played the Colts so how did Andrew out played him? To get the talent like RG3 or Luck is rare and the Bucs will have to go 2-14 to do so. Redskins gave up the house to move up 2 spots to get RG3. There are no QB in this up coming draft even close to their caliber. I’m not saying if they are available I wouldn’t take them, but lets be realistic here. For every RG3 there is a Sanchez so the QB position

    I continue to hear that he was outperformed, but any QB can shine with the Bucs secondary. The only QB that had a bad game against the Bucs was Brady Quinn and that isn’t saying much.

  43. PRBucFan Says:

    lol so Free has to have every piece in place and EVERY player signed around him including a Wes Welker now before he learns to improve on even the most basic level??? lol please, he’s not a rookie peeps

  44. Have A Nice Day Says:

    @PRBucFan – Name a 24 year old or younger QB doing better than Freeman that isn’t a rookie….

  45. Have A Nice Day Says:

    You know what, name one QB, that isn’t a rookie, you’d rather have as your starting QB that is at least 24 years of age.

  46. Have A Nice Day Says:

    *at most 24 years of age*

  47. PRBucFan Says:

    Does ur question have anything to do with addressing the issues Free is facing now, fixing his issues? Cause, if Free continues to crumble under pressure and if he somehow doesn’t fix his issue of inaccuracy the Bucs organization would be hard-pressed not to go in a another direction. I myself like Free and I want him to succeed but I’m not stupid enough to not realize that at some point Free needs to start taking accountability for what Free does. For me, that time is coming soon.

  48. PRBucFan Says:

    And although ur tactic is to try to make it seem that our search would somehow be limited to a search for a fourth year QB, same age as Free. No sir, if indeed it does come soon it would be bye bye Free, fresh new start wherever we can get one… Point not being that we found a solution already, but that we are admitting our current solution wasnt it and moving on from him.

  49. Have A Nice Day Says:

    So, two replies deep, two questions dodged. Way to go.

  50. Have A Nice Day Says:

    Sorry, not questions, but requests for answers.

  51. PRBucFan Says:

    I did not dodge your question at all lol. I told you it’s not my fault you can not understand what’s logical. If Freeman does improve and proves to be unable to get past this crucial problem than it time to move on. Any available prospect in FA that hasnt proven a failure or in the draft at the time that the FO chooses would be fine with me. You asked me to answer a question that I never in my posts said I wanted or thought. Right now, in this moment, in this week, I still want Free to succeed. I however am not naive or blind in my desire for him to succeed enough to think that Free is somehow immune to being held accountable when he plays attrociusly. With how Free played this past Sunday ANY QB would have been able to step in there and put the buccaneers fanbase’s embarrassment to an end.

  52. PRBucFan Says:

    So when he plays like that…ANYBODY ELSE

  53. Have A Nice Day Says:

    That is absolutely ridiculous. Your words are hilarious.

    I see why you guys are the few.

  54. PRBucFan Says:

    Yes, ridiculous…
    As he continues to plummet further and further.
    Ill say it again. ANY QB

  55. PRBucFan Says:

    Tell me, so how goes it with your precious Free?