No. 5 Saved His Offseason

December 30th, 2012

Josh Freeman got rattled far too much this season, and his rollercoaster play and body language led every Bucs fan paying attention to wonder whether No. 5 has the mental makeup to be a winning quarterback.

That debate absolutely can still be had, but Joe’s very happy that today Freeman spared himself an entire offseason of Bucs fans and media brutally attacking at his viability as the Bucs starting quarterback. A loss and/or a crappy performamce by Freeman in Atlanta would have delivered just that — from now through his next bad throw in the 2013 preseason. And frankly, Joe doubts that Freeman could have handled that pressure. But Freeman delivered a win and had a decent day today.

Bucs fans have come to know “Good Josh” and “Bad Josh,” and against the Falcons it was more “OK” Josh. He threw an ugly interception and flashed his typical spotty accuracy, but Freeman delivered 2010 playmaking and appeared in command.

Yeah, Freeman set all kinds a Bucs single-season passing record today, as well as franchise career touchdown mark. But Joe only cares about winning when it comes to quarterbacks.

Freeman’s got a running game, quality receivers, solid pass protection that should improve with Carl Nicks and Davin Joseph returning, and he’s got an offensive coordinator that knows how to get the most out of a quarterback.

What more does he need?

Sure, the Bucs could get No. 5 even more toys this offseason, but they shouldn’t have to. Freeman just needs to develop his head, and more weapons won’t help that. The lone “best friend” Freeman is missing is a smothering defense. And that’s got to be where the Bucs pour their resources.

47 Responses to “No. 5 Saved His Offseason”

  1. tj Says:

    A slot wr is needed underwood drops way to many tavion Austin from West Virginia can be got in the 2 round

  2. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    That actually wasn’t an ugly interception. Samuel made a great play to come back and cut the receiver off. From Freeman’s perspective it looked like the receiver was open. Underwood is also partially to blame for not working back towards Freeman. He just stood there motionless and waited for the ball. He could’ve helped the QB out there.

  3. raphael Says:

    good grief ….how about another in the same system with the same players and our probowl guards back…………the play calling was really good today

  4. raphael Says:

    *another year *

  5. the_buc_realist Says:

    Number 5 will always do just enough to save his Job.

  6. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    All the criticism of Freeman is fair, but he played very well today. He was clearly the better of the two QB’s. Its fine to criticize him when he plays well, but give him credit when he deserves it.

  7. free's a boob Says:

    He stares down his receivers…doesn’t have the ability to look anyone off.

  8. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I still don’t see a logical better option out there. Only Miguel thinks KC is going to trade their first pick for Freeman.

  9. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    There’s not a better option out there in free agency or the draft as an upgrade to Freeman. Doesn’t exist, at least not right now. However, we can still give him competition by drafting a QB in the middle rounds to be the backup and possibly challenge Freeman in 2014 or 2015 if Freeman doesn’t improve. Guys like Landry Jones and Zac Dysert are mid-round picks with good upside. I think it’s time to invest a decent pick in a QB at a minimum as an upgrade to Orlovsky. If he pushes Freeman in a year or two that’s just the cherry on top.

  10. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    “Yeah, Freeman set all kinds a Bucs single-season passing record today, as well as franchise career touchdown mark.”

    Ever see a NBA All Star game. Those guys score 150 points because there is no defense. Same thing with a NHL All Star game they score 20 goals because there is no defense.

    Gosh sets single season records because his team plays no passing defense.

    Tell Scot Pioli how great Freeman is. KC is shopping their pick for a veteran QB. A match made in heaven.

  11. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    ^And just where do you get this insider information that KC is shopping their pick for a veteran QB?

  12. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    ^From looking at mock drafts.

    Some people are projecting the Chiefs draft Geno #1 overall but say they are actively shopping the pick for a veteran QB that will save the GM’s job.

  13. Macabee Says:

    This should be a good year in FA. McCoy will be restructured and Freeman by way of extension. Money will not be a problem!

  14. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    Why would McCoy agree to a restructured contract? He’s a pro bowler now.

  15. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Using the same method they used to restructure Nicks & VJax: transfer a large chunk of the 2013 salary to 2012 and pay it as a cash roster bonus. They get their money now and the team gets massive cap relief for 2013. It’s a win-win.

    I’m just wondering if there’s something in a rookie contract that’s different from a veteran free agent contract that might prevent the Bucs from restructuring guys like McCoy as opposed to Nicks and VJax.

  16. PRBucFan Says:

    Same as VJax and Nicks he would get more money now. Same length.

    Nice article by the way Joe.
    Next year all excuses get thrown out.

  17. CanadianBucsFan Says:

    Free has thrown for the most yards and touchdowns out of any buc QB in in bucs HISTORY, oh and he has a bunch of starts for a guy of his age ( 24 if im correct? ) you have to take the bad with the good sometimes. We cant give up on this guy just yet, especially with one year left in his contract. Let him play it out next year, dont lose confidence in him, but if we sign him to a huge contract before next season starts, wow I dont even know what to say about that, let him finish his current rookie contract

  18. rickster Says:

    If anything this game gives us more evidence of free’s inconsistency. He had a good game, I mean he only threw one pick. 😉

  19. Teddy Says:

    Personally, I think all Josh is missing is a bit of maturity. Sure, he’s “mature” for his age, but what he needs is to develop the mental toughness that will come only with experience. Right now, watching him play, you can see by his body language how things are going. If you were to turn on the TV in the middle of the game and have no idea of the score, you would probably be able to pretty much guess how it’s going based on whether Josh is slumping his shoulders or not.

    The INT he threw today was a lazy pass, and after that INT and a couple of penalties (particularly the holding call on Donald Penn), you could see him whining a little bit. He needs to develop the confidence and killer instinct of being a tough SOB and a leader, and I think the rest will take care of itself.

    With those improvements, he will be the franchise QB we’ve never really had around these parts.

  20. kenny Says:

    Why dont we critisize tiquan he drops passes every game…we need a shifty slot
    Receiver to give us some separation quickly not all these long striders…

  21. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Their GM is going to be fired Miguel. Sometimes your stupidity and complete ignorance to anything related to football truly amazes me. Whatever mock drafts you have been reading, I suggest you stop.

  22. BucFan20 Says:

    Mark my words. And you know who they will come from next year. ” And he’s only 25″. We will see next year if we see The Good, The Bad and The Ugly Freeman. My bet goes same as usaual. Depends on the team and the pressure they put on him.

  23. PRBucFan Says:

    No way in hell they have the audacity to come up with more excuses next year????

  24. Gus Says:

    PAY FREEMAN NOW! I’d rather have him now for cheap now then for him to explode next year and he demands a lot of money.

  25. buccanay Says:

    He’s not accurate enough to hit these smaller burner types. They need the ball delivered ACCURATELY so they dont have to break stride, and also the smaller, shiftier guys dont have near the catch radius as our 2 current WR’s. We could use a big, athletic TE, but again, if you notice, we dont throw, or have alot of success down the middle of the field, because it requires a higher degree of ACCURACY. Be alot more tipped balls flying thru the middle of the field with Freeman trying to hit smaller, quicker guys in stride. I’d like to have a real speed demon, shifty slot guy, but I would put alot of value on one due to our QB’s stregnths and weaknesses. Freeman didnt to make any egregious errors, and our D and running game was enough for us to win. We need to concentrate on D and oline depth. The offense has everything it needs to win right now, as long as our QB doesnt implode.

  26. Andrew 1 Says:

    There is one safety blanket that Freeman is missing that would greatly help him out, and that is a good Tight End. I would draft Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame if he is there in the second round. that guy is a beast.

  27. bwallstreet Says:

    i dont know that all of you understand everything you speak on

    transferring 2013 money to 2012 is not restructuring….the cap space they have can get carried over so there really is 0 point to that

    Josh doesnt need to win a super bowl next year to prove us right, he needs to continue to improve. If he plays better and shows growth thats a great start and hopefully more wins and a playoff spot come along, which i think they will.

    if we had the 20th ranked pass defense this year wed be in the playoffs, thats not that much needed.

  28. bwallstreet Says:

    ok so this was my last wishlist/mock and I havent changed it because nothing has changed my mind so far on any of my picks

    1. Jonathan Banks CB, Mississippi State
    2. Eric Reid FS, LSU
    3. Khaseem Greene OLB, Rutgers
    4. Stedman Bailey WR, West Virginia
    4. Jordan Reed TE, Florida
    5. Quanterus Smith DE, Western Kentucky
    6. Robert Alford CB, SE Louisiana
    7. Marcus Lattimore RB, South Carolina

    let me add some FAs for ya
    CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
    DT Issac Sopoaga
    TE Martellus Bennett

    cut/resign/restructure/let walk
    resign michael bennett
    let walk roy miller, dallas clark, e.j. biggers and the rest of FAs
    give eric wright, and quincy black both pay cuts or cut em (prob. cut black)
    Sign Josh Freeman and Mike Williams to 5 year extensions…50 million for josh 25 for mike

    QB Josh Freeman
    RB Doug Martin
    FB Erik Lorig
    WR Vincent Jackson
    WR Mike Williams
    TE Martellus Bennett
    LT Donald Penn
    LG Carl Nicks
    C Jeremy Zuttah
    RG Davin Joseph
    RT Demar Dotson

    other notable offensive players
    Slot Reciever Stedman Bailey
    Backup TE Jordan Reed

    DE Adrian Clayborn
    DT Gerald McCoy
    DT Isaac Sopoaga
    DE Michael Bennett
    OLB Lavonte David
    MLB Mason Foster
    OLB Khaseem Greene
    CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
    CB Jonathan Banks
    FS Eric Reid
    SS Mark Barron

    other notable defensive players
    Nickel Corner Eric Wright (CB could be switched around)
    Dime Corner Robert Alford (or L.Johnson depending on camp/preseason)
    DE Rotation Daquan Bowers

    KR/PR Stedman Bailey

    ^^^^this is the answer to everything

  29. lurker Says:

    how are you gonna have bowers as a backup?

  30. Patrick Says:

    @bwallstreet…………so let Blount walk and leave Doug Martin with NO help in the backfield? And sorry, drafting a running back in the 7th round doesn’t count.

  31. lurker Says:


    we still have micheal smith…lol
    he’s so fresh and clean with minimal use.

  32. bwallstreet Says:

    @lurker i would be perfectly fine with a Bowers and Clayborn being our DEs, I dont think mayn others are including those inside the organization. Hes still developing and not healthy, right now he should be used to spell both DE’s and possibly inside next to McCoy in a “Nascar package” i added him to notable defensive players cuz he will see significant snaps especially on 3rd down and obv. passing downs.

    @patrick i didnt feel the need to pick under the radar and mainly depth players…i think taking doug off the field on 3rd downs has proven a bad idea, i know we need to limit his snaps/touches….d.j. ware could be the backup or another backup type player could be signed…tashard choice, felix jones, cedric benson would all be good plays in my book…and I like Lattimore a lot, he will slip because of that knee injury but Dom has never been scared of them one bit

    blount is a restricted free agent, we will get some sort of pick for him if he signs elsewhere, normally its the pick he was drafted in and he was undrafted so i dont know. I would sign him to a one year deal under a couple conditions. Most importantly, he be used and used significantly and be the main backup. Secondly his attitude needs to improve, he was not happy down the stretch and somewhat fairly but you cant have a scowl on your face every game. The reasons he doesnt play havent improved, he has ball security issues and doesn’t pass block well. When Doug got pulled vs. STL when he fumbled and recovered it, LGB let Josh get blind-side leveled. Unacceptable.

  33. PRBucFan Says:

    Sorry but your wish list seems to be missing the best talent at CB both in the draft and in F/A


  34. PRBucFan Says:

    Not to mention Roy will be resigned.
    Schiano loves him

  35. lurker Says:


    i’ll defer to your draft analysis. i haven’t studied up on the college players outside of some of the big names.

    also, i am not sure if bennett will resign. he might want to go elsewhere (with his brother? of course we could use a new te) or want too much $$.

  36. Patrick Says:

    Felix Jones is a horrible running back……why? I live in Texas and watch the Cowboys every week and he always gets stuffed at the line. Cedric Benson is alright but he’ll cost quite a bit more money as opposed to just re-signing Blount.

    Michael Smith is a 7th round draft pick. How many of those picks work out to be impact ones?

  37. Patrick Says:

    Blount has a 1,000 yard season under his belt and has for no reason been in the doghouse for the last 2 years. He’s proven to be effective; 7th rounder Michael Smith hasn’t. Doug Martin needs a proven backup or he’s gonna be another Cadillac if he gets the ball too much.

  38. princespanky Says:

    The more I think about the lack of Michael Smith this season the more I think it was an insurance and grooming move. I would still have liked to see what he has, but I think the offense is so run focused the NSO knows to protect their bread and butter.

    Blount was not the answer as backup in this offense… fare thee well LGB.

  39. Patrick Says:

    So I guess all that excitement he gave us in 2010 is for nothing now right?

  40. PRBucFan Says:

    Yes it was.
    He’s not a compliment to martin. He’s a weak blocker and is exceptionally weak in short yardage situations and that’s the type of compliment back we need for Martin. The thunder to his lightning.

  41. Mr Lucky Says:

    Unfortuately there are no starting QB’s to be found among this years draft. Yes Luck and RG III are once in a decade starters – but how do you explain Wilson from Seattle, a round 3 draft pick?

    What the Bucs need to do is get a Matt Flynn in here to compete with Freeman. Should Freeman get a contract extension? Only under 1 condition: Reduce next year’s salary to $5 million with incentives; otherwise let Freeman PROVE that he’s worthy of the big bucks.

    Freeman proved yesterday one thing and one thing ONLY: HE WILL NEVER BE AN ELITE QB.

    Yesterday Freeman did enough to win against a team that really didn’t care, however if this game was 2 months ago the Falcons would have won. Freeman’s passes aren’t accurate enough to hit our receivers in stride. In addition Freeman is such a basketcase he won’t throw the ball until the receiver is WIDE open but by then the defense is able to read Freeman and jump on the ball hence the INT yesterday.

    Next year there isn’t any good excuse and no good answers for the Bucs at QB, except to get a Matt Flynn into camp to press Freeman.

    The ONLY thing I could see would be Rockstar pulling off a trade: Romo for Freeman & our 2nd round pick.

  42. bwallstreet Says:

    @mrlucky thats a completely ignorant statement, how bout the vjax game tying touchdown in carolina in double coverage that was wide open?

    That spin move was great on the td pass to mike yesterday.

    What’s your definition of elite, pretty easy to make claims when you throw out general statements. If your definition of elite is top 3…breaking passing records, then maybe not. If your definition is top 10 and taking his team to playoffs and super bowl, then I think he can do it.

  43. Mord Says:

    If not for the extraordinary efforts of Vincent Jackson yesterday, catching nearly uncatchable passes and effectively defending would-be-interceptions, we’d be having a much different conversation right now.

    Freeman can, and may yet end up a great QB, but right now, he seems entirely lost in his head.

    Much is said of how hard he works, how diligently he studies, how extensively he prepares. And yet, as with any discipline, the best results are sometimes impeded by trying too hard, by thinking too much.

    Think about driving a car.. . How much better and safer are you now than when you had just turned 16, just learning the car itself while getting a feel for the road and the traffic around you. I know it’s not a perfect analogy, but here in the first year of this new offense, under the demands of a new set of coaches, it’s not hard to imagine how a focus on all the ‘shoulds’; on properly operating the system may at times have kept Freeman from reacting instinctively to his full potential within the offense.

    The fact that he shows occasional flashes of good football instincts along with the physical capacity to do something with them tells me he could become ‘elite’ someday … Some have suggested he would benefit from some work with a sports psychologist/counselor. I tend to agree with that , but given his approach to things, I’d also fear he could get lost in trying too hard to follow a whole new list of instructions and ‘shoulds’.

    Sadly, if he doesn’t settle into his skin a bit more, he’ll end up a backup somewhere else where someday, he’ll get an opportunity: Without the pressure of carrying a franchise, without the expectations, without the pressure … with nothing to lose, he’ll excel, and we’ll wonder why he couldn’t put it all together when he was still here.

  44. 76buc76 Says:

    Geno Smith with this offence and that rookie fighting Irish TE.He’s more accurate than Freeman without even playing a down in the NFL yet.Plus on the cheap 5 mill per like Newton.Freeman or Smith should lead this team to the playoff’s next season.The difference being in 2014 when we make a superbowl run Smith will still only make 5mill per.But Freeman might cost 15mil per because somebody in desprate need of a QB will give him that.Team’s give up draft pick’s and big contract’s for guy’s like Kolb.Kolb had one great game as an eagle.I’m sure they’ll have no problem giving up a big contract to keep there 1st or 2nd rounder’s.C’mon people when we do make the playoff’s do you really trust that Freeman can put together 3 or 4 great games.Against elite team’s.We need to take advantage of the fact nobody watches the Buc’s.His stat’s are good but us buc’s fan’s know he played horrible when we needed him most.Plus if we send him to KC he’ll never come back to haunt us.If he find’s a way to throw a football or read a defence or pump fake or not stare down reciever’s or plant that anchor leg

  45. 76buc76 Says:

    The defence showed up yesterday.That’s why we won.Yes Freeman can win games if his rb Get’s nearly 150 rushing yard’s and the defence hold’s the opponate to under 300 yard’s.But so could almost every QB in the league

  46. 76buc76 Says:

    Let’s beat the cowboy’s to the geno smith punch.You know they would trade Romo to KC for Geno.They have to be suffering from RG3 envey

  47. PRBucFan Says:

    ELITE = Consistent Top Level Play

    Sorry but an elite play here and there doesnt make Free Free ELITE

    His INCONSISTENCY definitely disqualifies him from even the most remote consideration that he is elite. That is undebatable.