Teammates, Schiano Race To Defend Freeman

December 19th, 2012

After four straight weeks of declining productivity, largely turning the Bucs from a team with a clear shot at a postseason berth to a team that will watch the playoffs on the couch, Josh Freeman has become sort of a pinata for Bucs fans. They’re impatient with Freeman’s lack of progress, especially in important games, and pine for the team’s first playoff win in a decade.

Joe can sense the tidal wave that has turned on Freeman believes the Bucs never will play in mid-January with him as a starter.

It has gotten so bad that Freeman’s teammates and even coach Greg Schiano have been quick to defend Freeman and be outspoken that the problems with the offense aren’t just Freeman’s and that he is working overtime in an effort to right his wrongs.

“He is the most focused on the team,” Bucs wide receiver Mike Williams said on Buccaneers Total Access Monday, heard locally on WDAE-AM 620. Freeman is “first one in here and last to leave with the coaches, I don’t see any other quarterback doing that. I know it sounds cliché but it is true. He tries to get better every day. He always knows what mistakes he has made and how to get better from his mistakes.

“Basically, he is a fighter. He will keep fighting. He is the ultimate competitor. He wants to win. That’s where he got his nickname from, the comeback kid. If we are in the game in the fourth quarter, I will give [the ball] to Josh every time. He is trying to do all the right things. People see a couple of mistakes and think it is his mistake and it isn’t even his, sometimes it’s the receiver didn’t see the read or we didn’t see the high and supposed to break off the route or sometimes it is the line. He is going to make mistakes as a young quarterback but he is going to get better too.

“That’s what people have to realize that it’s not always the quarterback’s fault and a lot of times it is not his fault. A lot of times it is just a communication issue.”

Williams wasn’t the first to come to Freeman’s back. So too did tight end Dallas Clark after the game, so reported NFL freelance writer Dory LeBlanc.

“It’s definitely not just one person,” Clark said. “[We] got a lot of things we have to iron out as an offense. Unfortunately in this league the quarterback, head coach, and other guys are always the first ones to throw under the bus, but I’ll be the first one to say it’s me, it’s everyone. We all have to play better and I think we have people here that will make it happen. But certainly no one should take the brunt of any of this. It’s a team thing right now and we have to get it fixed.”

When pressed about Freeman’s, which came at the worst possible time for the Bucs when they were 6-4, Schiano shrugged his shoulders and was confident Freeman will eventually come out on top, so he said in his day-after press conference Monday.

“If Josh Freeman wasn’t coming in and spending all kinds of time here and I wasn’t getting texts and our coaches weren’t getting asked questions at 10 p.m. at night about coverages and things like that, then yeah, I’d have reasons to be concerned,” Schiano said. “But I know everybody goes through better times and lesser times. I also know those who persevere, who tend to their work, they will be fine and Josh [tends to his work]. He will be fine. Sometimes if you get into a swell or a slump, you have to fight your way out.”

Even Bucs icon Ronde Barber got into the act last night on the Buccaneers Radio Network, specifically calling the 2010 and 2012 editions of Freeman– not 2011 — among the most detailed, hardest-working guys he’s ever been around. Barber said Freeman always has notes with him, is constantly talking Xs and Os, and only Brad Johnson might have been a more obsessed quarterback, which Barber says led to Johnson lasting 17 years in the NFL.

28 Responses to “Teammates, Schiano Race To Defend Freeman”

  1. Ian's Gay Lisp & Ron's Drinking Problem Says:

    Focus on your mechanics then…… are gaining on Tim TeBlow in that department

  2. thegregwitul Says:

    As as this losing streak has been, let’s understand that Josh Freeman will finish the year and will also be the starter next season, which barring a drastic coaching staff change, will mark the first time he’s been in an offensive system for more than one season without changing everything up. Save the panic. There appear to be no franchise QB’s in this draft. Sure, it’s likely that at least one QB will turn out to be very good or maybe even a star, but the Bucs have some real holes to fill, and QB isn’t one of them. I’m all for upgrading the backup spot, especially if Freeman implodes next season, but he’s still young and he can still bounce back from this. If he falls off the map next season, the team as a whole is likely to be in the toilet, which in turn will likely mean a top 10 draft pick, one that we can strongly consider using on a QB while letting Freeman walk away.

    No is not the time. Most of us have been patient for the last several years, how about one more season (and the remaining two games left in this season), and then we can go bananas with the QB talk. But let’s lay off the bathsalts, because I can promise you that Danny O and Adam Weber are not the answer.

  3. thegregwitul Says:

    First sentence obviously is supposed to read ‘As bad as this losing streak…’ as if anyone needed that to be made clear.

  4. BucDan Says:

    Josh has all the time in the world behind our line. He needs to get with Peyton and Eli during the off-season and pick up that shuffle move in the pocket. They say that it keeps them mobile and ready to move as they PROGRESS THROUGH THEIR TARGETS. Just a little emphasis on PROGRESS THROUGH THE TARGETS, Josh. Please. If I could rate JFree’s pre-snap awareness on a scale of 0-100, I would say that it is somewhere in the 60-65 range. Right with a decision a majority of the time, but with the lack of consistency that we are all seeing to get him to the 80-85 range of making good decisions with the ball. Seeing the correct hot read (which was DClark on the VJax pic. Ran right passed the blizting LB and looked back for the ball as VJ took the deep safety’s attention). On the pick to Dallas, the RB was WIDE OPEN in the flats, but Josh stares down the ONLY receiver in double coverage… MORE AWARENESS. He’s almost there.

  5. J-villeBucs Says:

    Josh lost us 1 game. Defense lost us everyother one. We need to continue the prosses of drafting defense. We got the tools on offense outside of another TE/RT, but defense I’d like to see us double up again in the first 2 rounds on CBs and Take another DE/DT in the 3rd. We can win with Freeman. If Tebow and Sanchez can get to playoffs by having a good Defense Freeman could definilty get us there. Build the Defense first. Complain about Josh later.

  6. Legarrettes Blunt Says:

    Joe, I have a question for you. With Freeman being a pretty mobile quarterback, is it too much to ask for to run a bootleg throw. I dont understand how we dont make the game come easier to Freeman. Some short throws along with some bootleg will help him gain confidence early in the game, then propel that into a strong second half

  7. Adam Says:

    If only the offensive line would defend Freeman…….

  8. ctord Says:

    All well and good. Asking questions, last to leave, first in, and all that but there has to be greater progression. He was great his first year. As a fan, I thought if he is this good now then I can not wait until he really “gets it”. The problem is the progres has been glacial to this point. His accuracy has stayed the same. There are plenty of quarterbacks that just don’t progress past a certain point and Freeman could be one of them. We will all have all of next year to figure it out. In the meantime, the bucs fanbase will get to watch younger and less polished quarterbacks lead there teams to the playoffs. I still support Freeman but I really need him to give the fanbase something to believe in.

  9. buccanay Says:

    Indecision seems to be at the crux of Freeman’s problems. Doesnt seem able to process info fast enough and make decision based on that info. His accuracy is what it is…a problem, but if he could make quicker decisions and react accordingly, IMO his game would improve tremendously. When a lane is open, needs to take off running, when receiver covered, next progression, etc. Needs to really speed up mentally. Also, he doesnt seem to have any kind of anticipation as to throwing before receiver makes his cut, seems to rely on being “visibly” open, as opposed to throwing to a spot.

  10. PRBucFan Says:

    Since when does the focus or the desire to be great mean the player has what it takes to be great? Sad truth is just cause someone genuinely wants to be great, sometimes they just aren’t able to be. That’s Free for ya. So kudos kid for your dedication but if it doesn’t show on Sunday’s ultimately it’s not worth discussing.

  11. FlBoy84 Says:

    Hate to give Washington props, but really like the move to draft Cousins when they had RGIII in the fold as well. Gives them a nice backup to develop and a great trade chip in the future as well. Hopefully the Bucs will take note.

  12. Eric Says:

    Feeling warm and fuzzy as we miss the playoffs yet again.

  13. DOUGismyHERO Says:

    I agree with the bootleg comment. I’ve seen Josh make some of his best decisions while he is running behind the line of scrimmage with his eyes down the field. Unfortunalty we have seen very little of these plays this year.

  14. RichBucsfan Says:

    Yawn …. tired of the rhetoric … need to see the product on the field. Too much talk, too little action.

  15. ramdog Says:

    Yeh future HOF Ronder Barber what does he know? People on this site know more about football than him.

    Who cares if Josh had a good year or not bottom line is we are keeping him for the foreseeable future. He is somewhere in the middle of all the QB’s so let’s move on. They may or may not draft a QB in the draft. They probably will, but the bottom line is until we get someone else in there pissing and moaning about how much Josh does or doesn’t suck doesn’t matter. Also for all you folks on here who somehow think we can trade/and or draft Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, RG3 or Andrew Luck dream on or are saying if we had any of those three we would be so much better. Look Brees is a much better QB than Josh agreed ?? How many games has he won ?? Why ?? His D sucks ?? So does ours does this sound like a theme ?? Can we move on – PLEASE.

    Anyone up for discussing the draft and how to make the BUCS better ?? There aren’t many stud free-agents out there. Many think Grimes from Atl, Port from Den., and Derek Cox from Jax are 3 that come to mind also I have heard Shields from the Packers could be a cap casuality. Also who should we draft there ?? Johnthan Banks, Trufant ?? Should we get an impact DT or DE ? Should we pay Bennett ?? There is a 6’8″ TE Williams he sure would look good in a BUCS uniform should we draft him in the 3rd or 4th ?? What about the SMU DLineman who has the record in blocked kicks ?? He is very raw but it would be nice to have a person who can knock down or deflect passes.

    See so many better topics than oh we should trade up all of our draft picks and get Geno Smith or Matt Barkley – geeze whatever.

  16. Tim Says:

    At this point, I don’t care to hear how much time he spends off the field preparing himself. I just want to the dude to learn how to throw a damn football. I guess it’s good that the team isn’t turning on him, but come on, we all know Freeman’s accuracy issues are the main culprit to our offensive woes.

  17. DOUGismyHERO Says:

    Idon’ mind eeing our young QB have a bad game now and then. But what does bother me is his inability to win us games in the 4th quater. We can blame he defense all we want, but Josh did nothing on his last drive against Washington when he could of give us a 2 score lead………..Against the Saints at home Josh had great field position when our D got a huge turnover late in the 4th. Instead of puching it in for a TD, like a playoff team would do, he only lead the offense for a FG and a 6 point lead……..Against Philly all we needed to do was get us a FG when we were up 5 and #5 couldn’t deliever.

    If Freeman is to be our frachise QB, above all else, he must convert these key opportunities!!!!! In all fairness to Josh I will lie some of the blame to play calling……….In our last drive vs the Eagles we had a 3rd and 8. Sorry coach, but you gotta let your QB make a play there. Running should not be an option……….And that Giants game was a joke. We had a fine lead at half time, NICE. Now lets secure the win and put a few more points on the board. After all, we are playing the defending Champs. They have an explosive offense and an elite QB. With 30 minutes left, sitting on the lead should not of entered Schiano’s mind……He should of thought, GEE, what would Bellicheck do here? I really had hoped our rookie coach would have learned a bitter leason from that game in New York. Hopefully, at the least, he will learn this offseason and us fans will not have to live in shame. Shame happens in football; wimpy play calling should not!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    I’ve defended Freeman, and still believe he’s the best option for us, at least until 2014. However, I will share my experience in Tampa this year after the Falcons game. My family and I went to One Buc Place in the late morningon Monday to check out the museum. We saw all the players coming into their parking lot. We went out front to take a picture by the sign. As we were there, Freeman came speeding around the corner in his Range Rover. We walked back and saw that he had parked his car in the “expectant mother” stall in the general parking lot, then ran through the museum because he was running late. So although I totally believe he is a hard worker and is serious about his job, I know for 100% fact that he is not ALWAYS the first one in the building. I even have the picture to prove it.

  19. ScottB Says:

    @buccanay and @PRBucFan – couldn’t agree more. Freeman reminds of a previous Bucs QB that would stare at his target as soon as he broke the huddle, while at the line of scrimmage barking his signals. during presnap motion…. another Chris Simms

  20. PRBucFan Says:

    *Yawn @RamDog
    all these names and similar posts are just getting a little repetitive. Bottom line is Josh Freeman is our QB not any other QB mentioned here or in any of your previous posts. He is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB and he will be critiqued accordingly. All the what ifs, who else’s, and if onlys are irrelevant. He will be the QB for the foreseeable future being the remainder of his contract. There is no way in hell he is here past that unless he puts together a season that proves he is past his issue of inconsistency and inaccuracy. I hope to God he can, however I’d rather move on as fast as we can if he isn’t. Always having to worry that your QB can at any moment go from Jekel to Hyde is a major major issue in my opinion.

  21. stevek Says:

    Freeman and Romo are one in the same. They both can look like an elite QB one minute, and comepletely clueless the next.

    We must have consistency from the QB position. We can not sustain a “roller coaster ride” from the QB position.

    Why can’t Freeman throw a 5 yard dump off to a running back with some touch on it? Why? That, to me, is most frustrating about Josh’s game. Developing touch and accuracy is surely a skill that should be improved at this point.

  22. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    The Freeman and Romo comparisons is completely legit. I’ve never thought of it before, but it is very true.

  23. Gus Says:

    @Ramdog I couldn’t agree with you more.

  24. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    If Freeman was a fighter, he would never make it past the 2nd round. A great fighter analyzes his opponent and counter punches like Peyton.

    As far as preparation, you can’t fix stupid.

    As far as Schiano supporting him, it’s the blind leading the blind.

    If Gosh is Romo’s twin, it’s a good thing he’s not the holder on place kicks.

  25. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Really wish you would stop comparing football to other sports. Not only is it completely stupid and irrelevant, it’s just plain laughable. Don’t make yourself into a bigger joke than you already are.

  26. Miguel El Magnifico Says:

    Joe wrote, “Basically, he is a fighter. He will keep fighting. He is the ultimate competitor. He wants to win. That’s where he got his nickname from, the comeback kid.”

    First read the articles, then attack me personally.

  27. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    You’ve on numerous occasions stated that if he was a pitcher as well Miguel. Don’t sit here and pretend otherwise. Stick to hemp eating, diabetes curing, and Chip Kelly admiring. Leave the Bucs talk to the big boys.

  28. PRBucFan Says:

    ^lolol that was good stuff